Panera and Psalms: Where do you find much-needed reflection?
I recently read a Wall Street Journal feature on Ron…
Bailey McBride | InsightAlthough the song focuses on the ascended Lord, it does not mention the importance of truth in the presence of Jesus. I am struck by Jesus’ total honesty with the people in his presence. He seldom leaves people complacent with their lives because he always tells them of their condition. Jesus possesses high standards and never hesitates to speak honestly to people.
When Jesus is invited to dinner by Simon the Pharisee, a woman “who had lived a sinful life,” as Luke’s gospel tells us, washes his feet with perfume, tears and kisses. Simon questions why Jesus would allow such a woman to touch him.
Jesus tells the parable of two men, one forgiven a small debt and one forgiven a massive debt. If both are forgiven by the lender, which of the two would love the lender most? Of course, it’s the one with the biggest debt, Simon answers.
Then Jesus sets the record straight: Simon had not given Jesus a welcoming kiss, nor did he have a servant wash Jesus’ feet — both serious breaches of hospitality. In the presence of Jesus, Simon had to see himself as a poor host and as a man who too easily passed judgment on the woman and even Jesus.
In the Gospel of John, we see Jesus ask a Samaritan woman for a drink of water. There at the well, she has her whole sinful life exposed as Jesus talks to her. She realizes that he is no ordinary man. She tells her friends about Jesus, and the whole community believes.
In the Gospel of Mark, when a rich young man asks Jesus how he can gain eternal life, Jesus tells him to obey the commandments. He’s done this, he says. Jesus feels love for this young man — so he must tell him what he still lacks: “Go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
The Savior confirms the young man’s works, but shows him the reality of his own materialistic values.
Jesus’ 12 disciples often are forced by the Savior’s words to see the truth of their character.
Peter — though he is one of the first to confess that Jesus is the son of God — begins to sink when he tries to walk out on the water to Jesus, as we read in Matthew. Jesus reveals to Peter the doubts and fears that hold him back. Later, Jesus predicts that Peter will deny him three times, despite Peter’s insistence that he won’t.
He does, of course. This time, it isn’t the words of Jesus — just a look — that forces Peter to realize the truth of his denial.
After Jesus resurrection, and before his ascension, he asks Peter three times, “Do you love me?” It’s a solemn reminder of Peter’s weakness.
In the presence of Jesus there is comfort, peace and blessed assurance.
But there’s also honesty and truth — truth that convicts us to change.
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