READ: Psalm 91, Amos 3, Luke 19, 2 Corinthians 10

RUTHLESS JESUS

There is a relentlessness about Jesus. Jesus must rule over all of me, all the earth, all creation, every atom, every galaxy; all things must be subject to Him. Jesus is the constant potter, shaping, cleansing, straightening, completing, and steadily bringing us to fuller life by forming us into His image. Jesus must have every part of us and He is absolutely intolerant of any rebellion. We do not naturally want to be subject (Luke 19:14), nor do we actually think we are that bad. We tend to judge ourselves by ourselves (2 Cor. 10:12), something Jesus does not allow. Jesus insists that we compare ourselves to Him and be ashamed.

Jesus is ruthless in exposing the pride of man. Deep inside us are two warring convictions. The flesh insists that we don’t need help, that we can make it in our own strength, that we really are not that bad, that we deserve mercy and favor. The Spirit furiously refutes this self-deception and constantly convicts. The forces within us are angry with each other. D.L. Moody thought that a mad sinner was better than a sleepy one. Moody said of Naaman: “First he lost his temper, then his pride, then his leprosy.” And this is often the journey of the unconverted. The ruthlessness of Jesus does not allow man to be self-satisfied.

Jesus is ruthless in forming the divine image. God is not a moderate. Moderation is praised as a virtue. But the balance of God is evidenced by a passion in what seems to be opposite directions: God is completely loving and completely just. God will ruthlessly break a person down and then just as relentlessly build him back up. God is forgiving and patient, slow to anger and abounding in mercy, and He will bring those that oppose His rule and have them executed before Him (Luke 19:27).

When Jesus sets to work on a person, He does not rest or cease but casts down every argument, brings every thought into captivity, and punishes all disobedience. God uses His authority for edification, not destruction (2 Cor. 10:8), but edification is often a painful process. Temples are not cleansed without some things and some people being driven out (Luke 19:45).

We can but be ruthless in response. What God does in humanity is so profound, it forces proclamation: “The Lord has spoken! Who can but prophesy” (Amos 3:8)? When God is at work, either we open our mouths and declare His glory or the stones will cry out (Luke 19:40). We do not proclaim Him widely because we have not encountered Him powerfully. We are mute because we are moderate. When Jesus is joyfully received, we will, like Zacchaeus, have an immoderate response (Luke 19:8). Biblical balance requires radical responses to Jesus. This is the peace of heaven (v. 38).

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