The Absurdity of Jesus

Once upon a time, there was an American who took a hike in the Smoky Mountains.
'The_Good_Samaritan'_by_David_Teniers_the_younger
He was a couple of days down the trail when he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.
Maximilien_Luce_-_Le_bon_samaritain
Now by chance a State governor came along the trail, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.
Good_Samaritan_(icon)
So likewise, a conservative talk show host happened upon the American as he walked down the trail, and he too passed by on the other side.
El_bon_samarità_(1838),_de_Pelegrí_Clavé_i_Roquer
Also a local pastor, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
Bon_samaritain
But a middle-eastern man, dressed in military fatigues and carrying a sub-machine gun, looking much like the pictures of ISIS soldiers, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds…
Much of what Jesus says is ridiculous. Completely unreasonable and absurd. Crazy, even.
You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and to the evil.
Then the King will say…, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father…For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a refugee and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.
It doesn’t make sense and it is uncomfortable and it is hard. It is so very hard.
Domenico_Fetti_-_Parable_of_the_Good_Samaritan_-_WGA07860
The idea of praying for those who want to bomb me is ludicrous. The thought of welcoming people who might be preparing to hurt my children is absurd. It makes my heart freeze and my stomach hurt.
I am frightened and I want to obey Jesus only when I can see the outcome, only when I know that I will be blessed, not blown to smithereens, in return.
There are so many commands of Jesus that I skip right over. I look at them, read them, and decide that they are not for me. Following Jesus is hard, and I am a coward.
Which means, if I am honest with myself, that I am no better than those I am frightened of.
while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son…
And God reached down to earth for me. He became a refugee, a stranger, for my sake, to bring me back to Him.
God, help me.
Give me courage, give me strength. Give me faith to trust that in Your ridiculousness, You know what You are talking about.
Help me to love You enough to obey You. To obey all that You command.
If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever.
Help those who do not love You, including myself who does not love You enough.
All_Saints_Church,_Bracknell_Road,_Ascot,_Berks_-_Wall_painting_-_geograph.org.uk_-_898496
Emmanuel, God-with-us, help me. Help your Church.

Art Credits for Good Samaritan paintings in order: David Teniers the younger; Maximilien Luce; Russian iconPelegrín Clavé y Roqué; Rvalette; Domenico Fetti; All Saints Church wall painting

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Comments

  1. Thank you Elizabeth

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