While all of Jesus’ teachings are difficult to live, some are more difficult to live than others depending on our seasons of life, where we are in our spiritual journey, and the culture we live in. The difficult teaching we are going to explore together today was a lot easier to live ten years ago, and it is my belief that given the direction our culture is moving in, this teaching is going to be increasingly difficult to live with every passing day.
Now let’s take a look at today’s difficult teaching.
“Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”
It is from Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 10, verses 32-33.
We will be tested on this teaching. The landscape here in the United States has shifted dramatically over the past ten years, and it is now more acceptable than any other time in our nation’s history to be anti-Christian. Keeping in mind that there have been times in our nation’s history that were appallingly anti-Christian, and anti-Catholic in particular.
Today things are said about Christians in the mainstream media that would never be said about people of Jewish, Muslim, or Buddhist faith. And while I do not like to be pessimistic, I do think the signs are there that things will likely get much worse in the coming years.
And so, the question becomes, are we willing, ready, and able to acknowledge Jesus? If we are willing, that getting ready, preparation, is essential to being able when the moment presents itself.
Preparation is essential. If you need to think it through in the moment, you will miss the moment. You need to prepare for the moment, whether it is at a dinner party or a public setting, at work or with family and friends. You cannot predict what it will look like, who will say what, but you can predict what your position will be and how you will voice your belief.
Later in Matthew’s Gospel Jesus speaks about the end of times, and many coming to him saying, “Lord, Lord, do you not remember…” and Jesus says, “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’
Today’s difficult teaching essentially says if you disown Jesus, Jesus will disown you. Imagine for a moment Jesus denying you before the Father. It’s a haunting scene if you really meditate upon it. Imagine Jesus saying to you, “I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.”
Is it hard to imagine? Not if you think of it like this. Have you ever had someone who pretended to know you more than they actually do? It happens all the time. And for public figures and celebrities its endemic.
What it really comes down to is this. Don’t pretend to know Jesus, actually get to know him in real and meaningful ways.
Watch the video!