Jesus was never much for long committees. Our Lord did not spend a lot of time debating, discussing, or analyzing every little possible problem that might arise before obeying His Father. The Good Shepherd did not require His disciples to set up long lists of procedural guidelines before He sent them out to preach. Jesus believed most people would sort out their problems in the course of applying His truth to reality. Observe how Jesus Christ brought people to a point where they had to make an important decision.
1. Jesus thought objectively about His relationships. The Lord did not allow subjective feelings to cloud His sense of judgment. He said, "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother… a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household." (Matt. 10:34-36)
2. Jesus did not allow nepotism to deter Him from even making His own family decide based on Christ’s priority of doing the will of God. While Jesus was talking with a crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside wanting to speak to Him. Someone told Him, "Your mother and brothers are wanting to speak to you." Jesus replied, "Who is my mother and who are my brothers? Pointing to his disciples he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." (Matt. 11:46-50)
3. Jesus brought people to a point of making hard decisions. Most people like to put off making difficult decisions that may not be reversible. The Lord knew that every person would have to decide if they are more committed to Him or to their own loved ones. The Savior indicated that unless our love is so great for God that it makes it appear that we hate our own Father, Mother, wife, children, brothers or sisters and even our own life, we cannot be His disciples. He said, "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me…" (Matt. 10:37)
4. Jesus helped people clarify their priorities by asking them pointed questions. Jesus once asked His disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." Jesus said, "But what about you? Who do you say I am?" (Matt. 16:13-15) It takes courage and even a willingness to hurt special friends, but we must do it for the sake of helping people grow in all aspects into Him who is the Head of the church – Christ.
5. Jesus was not afraid to bring big people to a point of making decisions about difficult subjects. One day a rich young ruler asked Jesus, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said, "Sell all that you have, give it to the poor and come follow Me." Sadly, the rich man turned away because he was not willing to pay the price for following Jesus Christ. Hard questions tend to separate out the committed from the spectators.
6. Jesus helped people to not get offended by His questions. The Lord showed people that He always had their best interests at heart. However, some people took offense at Christ’s questions because they had evil motives in their hearts. The Pharisees became angry with Jesus because they took His questions personally – as an attack against them as religious authorities.
7. Jesus tried to help His disciples learn faith, obedience and responsibility when He turned and said, "They do not need to go away. You give these 5,000 something to eat." (Matt. 14:16) Immediately, the disciples offered excuses saying, "We have only five loaves of bread and two fish." Do not get discouraged when people try to wiggle out of responsibilities. The Holy Spirit will use these occasions to show people where they are weak in faith and understanding.
8. Jesus was willing to let ordinary people present Him with difficult questions. One day a woman came and knelt before Him, "Lord, help me!" Jesus said, "It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs." Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table." Jesus was pleasantly surprised by her persistent faith and He said, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted. And her daughter was healed from that very hour." (Matt. 15:2528)
9. Jesus knew how to handle difficult questions from those who opposed Him. The Pharisees asked Jesus, "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat?" Jesus said, "What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him unclean, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him unclean." (Matt. 15:1,2,10) The Lord knew how to bring to bear His wisdom to all people in all situations because He wanted them to conform to the image of His Father.