An early lesson God taught me through teaching the Bible to His people was how uncomfortable we are with unresolved tension. He taught me the difference between our minds and His. It was, and still is difficult, because it requires an admission that I can’t explain Him—the same admission I seek from those who wish I would “clarify something” following most of my Sunday sermons.
I had just finished preaching on Jesus’ healing of the demonized boy in Mark 9:14-29. One sentence in bold summarized my thoughts: If you want to follow Jesus, you must learn to fast and pray. An earnest gentleman approached me wearing one of those “I disapprove greatly” faces every pastor knows too well. Before I could greet him, he reminded me of about fourteen other passages, verses, and theological truths that just didn’t seem to fit with what I had just said.
“What about our bodies being the temple of the Holy Spirit? Good nutrition is important!”
“How do you think the overweight people in your congregation felt? You should be more sensitive to your flock!”
“Don’t you think it’s dangerous to tell people this when they might have a health problem? You’re causing sick people to stumble!”
“Did you know that the words ‘and fasting’ aren’t in the NIV or the NASB? You should have told people that before making it the main part of your sermon!”
I turned in my Bible to the passage we had studied. “I know this may be new to you, but fasting was an important spiritual discipline in Jesus’ life and in the early church. It seems clear that this is the lesson He was teaching His disciples here and in Matthew 6:16 Jesus says, ‘When you fast…’ assuming that His followers would. You’ve brought up some accurate and even important biblical and theological truths, but they’re not taught here.”
“Well,” he protested without looking down at the pages of my Bible, “I think you should balance the truth before you just say it!”
I closed my Bible, put my hands on his shoulders, and looked him in the eye. “That’s not what Jesus did. He just said it.”
The problem with totally “balanced” teaching is that if you say everything you say nothing.
If you think Jesus is easy to figure out, you’re reading a different New Testament than mine.
Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, will not be tamed.
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation” (Colossians 1:15).