Summary: Many people think of Jesus being in the worlds of Charles' Wesley's carol. But he wasn't. He came to do the Father's will even if it ruffled feathers. And he may even set Father against Son, as I experienced myself

You will probably recall that famous Anglican hymn writer Charles Wesley’s famous hymn that start with the words “Gentle Jesus meek and mild”

You have to be kidding - as we see in the Gospel today!!

Jesus is anything but gentle, meek and mild as our Gospel reading today shows

Story: At the very start of his ministry in Florence, Savonarola the Italian political reformer (1452-1498) noticed an elderly woman who used to come and pray regularly before that statue of the Virgin Mary.

One day, Savonarola took an elderly priest aside, who had been serving in the cathedral for many years, and said,

"Look how devoted this woman is. She comes every day to offer prayers to the blessed Mother of Jesus. What a marvellous act of faith."

But the elderly priest replied,

"Do not be deceived by what you see. Many years ago when the sculptor needed a model to pose for this statue of the blessed Mother, he hired a beautiful young woman to sit for him. This devout worshiper you see here everyday is that young woman. She is worshiping who she used to be."

And in the same way, the Jesus we think we are worshipping in the 21st Century is not the true Jesus that we find in Holy Scripture.

My liberal colleagues focus on “his love for mankind” – forgetting that he called us to repent of our sins and follow him wholeheartedly.

We focus on the two Great Commandments –

• to love God and

• to love our neighbour

and find that so comforting

• yet we forget that Jesus was very controversial in his day.

Darrel Brock in the NIV Application Commentary on Luke summed modern thinking up about Jesus by saying this

“He came as the ultimate peacemaker, who sought peace at any cost.

He never challenged anyone other than to call for love and tolerance.

As a teacher of wisdom and a teller of parables, Jesus did not force people into hard choices; or if he did, it had nothing to do with his own person only with the need for Israel to reform ethically.”

But this is not the Jesus of Scripture.

Scot McKnight said this about the modern view of Jesus – expressed in the Jesus Seminar said this

“Such a Jesus

would never have been crucified,

would never have drawn the fire he did,

would never have commanded the following he did,


would never have created a movement that still shakes the world”

Jesus’ teachings were in their day revolutionary, because he exposed a corrupt society.

What is interesting is that he started with the Church of his day and not the Roman oppressors.

Jesus’ ministry was prophesied from his birth as being controversial

Before Jesus was even born, his mother Mary realised that.

And you will recall on the day of His Dedication to God in the Temple that the old prophet

Simeon held Jesus in his arms and said in the Words of the Nunc Dimittis :

Lord, now lettest thou Thy servant depart in peace;

according to Thy word

For mine eyes have seen: Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared:

before the face of all people

To be a light to lighten the Gentiles: and to be the glory of Thy people Israel

Then he had looked at Mary and said,

“This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (Luke 2:34-35)

Luke’s account of Jesus’ ministry begins in his hometown synagogue in Nazareth.

There Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah that day, and the congregation was so incensed by what he said that they drove him out of town and tried to throw him over a cliff. (Luke 4:16-30).

Hardly the “Gentle Jesus meek and mild” of Charles Wesley’s hymn.

If Jesus was persecuted, then we as his disciples can expect similar things to happen to us, of we truly follow Christ

Being a Christian can still be costly.

Story: In an article in The Conversation this is what they said about recent attacks on Christians.

The International Christian Concern, in a report

on 15 May 2022, described Nigeria as the world’s scariest country in which to be a Christian.

The report argued that:

Christian communities in the Middle Belt of Nigeria have effectively suffered a twenty-year long genocide.

Attacks appear to be escalating.

In early June 40 worshippers were killed in a church attack in Owo, Ondo state, south-west Nigeria.

The BBC reported that by the middle of this year there had already been 23 attacks on church premises and people linked to them.

This was compared with 31 attacks in 2021 and 18 in 2020.

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