When We Don't Like The Words Of Jesus

Text: John 8:46-59

In the name of Jesus. Amen.


Taking a razor and a scissor, he carefully cut out parts of the Bible that he really liked. Using four different translations of the Bible, with hundreds of small clippings, Thomas Jefferson then created his very own Bible.


It was rather simple, Thomas Jefferson took the portions of the Bible that did not offend his enlightened sense of reason and pasted them into a brand new Bible for himself.  


More specifically, after finishing his little art project, President Jefferson produced an 84-page Bible that focused on Jesus but did not include anything about Jesus‘ miracles, His divinity, His resurrection, and so forth.


In the truest sense, the Jefferson Bible represents how mankind attempts to separate Jesus from His Word and the Word from Jesus.  


In seminary, I heard about a group of liberal theologians and pastors who did the same thing as Thomas Jefferson. But instead of using a razor and scissors, they developed a color-coding system for the Bible. Each color represented whether or not the words of Jesus were actually said by Jesus Himself. For example, when you opened their color-coded Bible, if the words were colored red, Jesus most likely said the words. If the words were colored green, Jesus maybe said the words. If the words were colored blue, Jesus most likely did not say the words. This way, the reader could give attention to the real words of Jesus and disregard the unreal words of Jesus. 


Now whether it is the Jefferson Bible, the color-coded Bible, or the sentiments of liberal protestant pastors and theologians, they all are doing the same. They are pitting Jesus against the Word and the Word against Jesus. But why?  


Dear friends, when we do not like the Word of God but still like Jesus, we try to separate the two. We keep Jesus and only keep the words of Jesus that we like. And the other words we don’t like? Well, we either cut them out of the Bible or believe that Jesus didn’t say those words, to begin with. In the end, if we treat the Bible like it only contains the Word of God and the whole thing is not the actual Word of God, well… the Bible shrinks. If we get rid of the words of the Bible that offend us, the Bible becomes smaller and safer – it can no longer offend us. Again, this is the reason why the Bible is so tiny for liberal Protestants because they only accept the portions of the Bible that agree with their agendas and manmade doctrines.  


In confirmation every year, I ask the youth a very simple question, and that is this, 


“Do we read the Bible, or does the Bible read us?”  


The answer is quite clear, the Bible reads us. It is a cleverly worded question that is meant to teach the confirmation students that we are not the author of the Bible; we do not have the authority to edit, sift, copy, cut, and paste how we so, please. The Bible is above us, not below us. However, as it has already been stated, we humans never stop tinkering with God’s Word. We can’t help it. We want a version of the Bible to suit our own fancy.


In a lot of ways, we have it a whole lot easier to play silly games than the Jews did in the 1st century, as they encountered Jesus. As we consider our reading from John's Gospel, we again hear a conflict between antagonistic Jews and Jesus Himself. Long story short, the Jews and Jesus were locked in a battle once again. The Jews, though, were not able to refute Jesus‘ Words. Furthermore, the words of Jesus were quite clear. Jesus said that He spoke Truth. And those who heard the Truth of Jesus were from God, for the Truth that Jesus spoke was honorable before the Father.  


However, the Jews did not like the words of Jesus, and they especially did not view Jesus as authoritative. And I should add that they did not have the luxury to take the words of Jesus that they do not like and set them aside. So they had no other choice except to call Jesus a Samaritan and accuse Him of having a demon.


Do you see what I’m getting at this morning? The Jews were unable to combat the words of Jesus, and they did not like the authoritative words of Jesus, so they attacked His identity by calling Him a heretic and branding Him as One who was influenced by an evil spirit. In other words, we see the same thing happen in our day and age, but in our day and age, people are playing tricky little games so that they don’t have to be as blunt as the 1st Century Jews. Today, when we don’t like the words of Jesus, we don’t call Him a heretic, and we don’t say that He has an evil spirit; instead, we chicken out by separating Jesus from His words.  


Let me say this as clearly as possible so that no one misunderstands me. I am not commending the Jews from our reading in the Gospel of John for calling Jesus a heretic and saying He had an evil spirit. But what I am saying is that at least they were honest with themselves in how they viewed Jesus and His Words. At least they had the guts to call Jesus an evil heretic, whereas modern liberals today have the same problems with Jesus but do not have the integrity and courage to flat out say that they view Jesus as an evil heretic. Instead, they go the way of arts and crafts, cutting and pasting away the words of Jesus to create their own versions of Christianity with their own versions of a false christ. They attempt to have Jesus without all of His Word. They have a jesus but not the Jesus of the Bible, not the real Jesus. They are not worshipping Jesus but an idol that they have fashioned into their own likeness.


You see, when it comes to Jesus and His Word, there is no middle ground. Jesus is Lord. He is Master. His Word is authoritative, and it is Truth. Where you find the Word of God, You find Jesus. Where Jesus is, you have the Word of God. They cannot be separated. And so, when the Word of God challenges your ears, there are only three options. Either you reject Jesus altogether, or you play silly arts and crafts games like Thomas Jefferson and liberal Christians – picking and choosing what you want to hear and not hear, or you become captive to the Word of God. 


Baptized Saints, hear this loud and clear. Jesus cannot be separated from the Word of God, for Jesus is not only at the center of the Bible but is also the very author of the Bible itself. And so, you do not read the Bible as if it is a chose your own ending kind of book. You do not stand over the Bible and interpret what it means according to your own wishes. You can’t pick and choose what you believe should or should not apply to your life. No, you are captive to the Bible because you are captive to Jesus. There is only one Lord – Jesus. And there is only one Word – Jesus.  


But contrary to what your old Adam may think, being captive to Jesus and His Word is not bad. It is for your old Adam because the words of your old Adam are nothing compared to the Words of Jesus. But then again, your old Adam spews forth lies just like the devil does. But not Jesus.  


Your Jesus speaks only Truth into your ears. He speaks Truth into your ears about sin and the need for repentance. He also speaks Truth into your ears about the forgiveness of your sins and the gift of faith. And as He speaks Truth into your ears through His Word, He chases away fear, He bolsters you in the divine Truth, He makes you remain steadfast in grace, and He gives you strength to fight the good fight so that you may finally receive the salvation of your soul and the hope of everlasting life. 


And the really good news?  Because you cannot separate Jesus from His Word, you are burdened with picking and choosing what Jesus actually said.  You are not left to doubt whether Jesus actually said what He said.  And so, you can trust every one of His promises spoken to you – no doubt, no picking and choosing, and no wondering.  The Word of Jesus is Truth and He promises you that you will never taste death, sin will never condemn you, and the devil will never snatch you.  Dear Christians abide, remain, and keep His Word, as He keeps you. 


In the name of Jesus. Amen.

CLICK HERE to 'Like' on Facebook
CLICK HERE to 'Follow' on Twitter
CLICK HERE to Subscribe on iTunes

CLICK HERE to Subscribe on Podbean