Jesus never confronted anyone or pushed back when challenged—did he? Live and let live. So we should also be sweet and gentle. There is no need to offend.
Jesus is offensive.
Imagine hearing someone say, “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.”
That’s pretty divisive.
You go to dinner, and a guest doesn’t do the traditional handwashing. That gets pointed out.
His reply, “You Pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and wickedness! Fools! Didn’t God make the inside as well as the outside?”
Then the guest starts pointing out the host’s hypocrisy. He calls them hidden graves (making people impure by their presence).
Another guest says he feels insulted by that.
Jesus admits it and doubles down. He tells them they’ll face sorrow and be held responsible for the murder of all of God’s prophets.
Then he leaves.
You go to church. Sing along with the worship team. Say hi to whoever is behind you.
You sit and sip your coffee.
Oh, look, a guest speaker. It’s Jesus!
What’s he going to say?
“I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against—or two in favor and three against.
‘Father will be divided against son
and son against father;
mother against daughter
and daughter against mother;
and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law
and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.'”
The “meek and mild” Galilean is pretty rowdy. Jesus isn’t one-sided. As he’s complex, so we must be.
At times, firmness and ferocity are needed. Other times, a gentle touch.
It depends on the situation.
Like the woman caught in adultery. Jesus told her he didn’t condemn her (he was about to die for her). Yet he told her to go and sin no more.
In other words, Stop It.
Jesus challenged her accusers. A bunch of guys with rocks already in hand. Were they going to throw them at him too?
They backed up. Dropped those rocks and left.
Paraphrasing C.S Lewis, Jesus isn’t tame or safe. He’s dangerous.
But he’s good.
We’re to be like Jesus.
Scripture references are Luke 11:23; 39-40 and Luke 12:49-53.