I haven’t been reading many books lately but I continue to read Every Day With Jesus (a daily devotional by Selwyn Hughes). The latest one called, Tough Sayings from a Tender Heart has been particularly enlightening. Hughes looks at ten tough sayings of Jesus that causes people to be shocked or offended. He explains what they meant to the first hearers and what they mean for us today.
1. “… unless you can eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” John 6:53
2. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26
3. “… the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent take it by force.” Matthew 11:12 NKJV
4. “But I am among you as one who serves.” Luke 22:27
5. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” Luke 9:23-24
6. “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Matthew 20:16
7. “Love your enemies.” Matthew 5:44
8. Jesus’ comments about Elijah and Elisha. Luke 4:24-30
9. Jesus’ comments on piety and traditionalism. Mark 2:18-28; Luke 11:37-54; Mark 2:13-17; Mark 11:15-18
10. Jesus’ comments about money. Luke 16:13-15; Luke 12:15-34
The sayings speak of Jesus’ challenge to put Him first in our lives – above family, money, possessions and to extend compassion to foreigners, neighbours and enemies.
Matthew 22:37-39 (greatest commandment) pretty much sums it up.