I’ve been reading the red letters in my bible – you know the words of Jesus that are highlighted in red. I’m trying my best to read what Jesus says, and understand what He says at face value. It’s actually not that easy because I find that I tend to take Jesus’ red letters and wash them out of all their color so that they become quite gray. For instance, just the other morning I read Matthew 8: 18-22 which says:
When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
I realize that over the years I have found ways to explain what Jesus says in this passage as “an exaggeration to make an important point.” I’ve told myself, “Well He doesn’t mean that when we follow Him we’ll have no place to lay our heads. He’s just using strong imagery to say ‘follow me.'” But I actually think Jesus means, “Follow me – no matter what! Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more imperative than following me!” If that is what He’s saying, I’m called to look at my life in an entirely different way. So it makes me wonder how many more discoveries I’m going to find in the year ahead as I read through the red letters of Jesus. How many times am I going to find that I’ve explained away what Jesus really means in order to make it mean something else – something more convenient to me? Do any of you see yourself doing this?