One of the most frustrating (and powerful) things about the story of Jesus, are what many people see as contradictions in the things that he taught. We talked about one of those instances Sunday. In Matthew 10:9-15 Jesus sent his disciples out with the instructions not to take anything with them. No money. No changes of clothing. Nothing. Later, just before leaving to be betrayed, arrested, and crucified, Jesus urged his disciples to make sure and gear up for future preaching trips with plenty of spare clothing, money, and even pack a sword or two on their travels. (Luke 22:35-38). If you find that confusing, I’m sure the apostle Peter would have agreed. Just hours after Jesus’ “Pack some heat” directive, Peter whipped out his sword and slashed one of Jesus’ attackers, only to be told to “stand down” while Jesus healed his opponents wound.
Following Jesus can be confusing. The Bible can be confusing…frustrating even…IF you are looking for detailed “recipes” for living. If you are looking for a detailed lists of “do’s and don’ts to dictate your every move, RELIGION offers exactly that…Jesus didn’t. The religious leaders of Jesus time were masters of “recipe” writing. They turned the 10 original commandments for the Jewish nation into over 600 detailed regulations for everyday living.
Jesus was THE master Chef…NOT a recipe writer. Yes, there are ingredients and practices that the chef prohibits because they are dangerous, poisonous, even fatal. And yes, there are reoccurring “ingredients” like Love, Mercy, and Grace that show up in nearly every meal. (Just like a great italian chef can create infinite delicious combinations with tomatoes, garlic, and pasta.) However it’s the lack of “recipes”…the way a great Chef tosses in seasoning without measurement… that is both inspiring, and at times difficult to follow.
Jesus did not leave us a religious recipe book. He didn’t leave “heat and eat” instructions for how to deal with every situation in life. Instead, he offered an amazing opportunity and a difficult choice summed up in the words. “Follow Me”. With those simple words, he invited us all to come learn to cook WITH HIM in his kitchen…and leave the “recipe book” behind.