Hard Sayings

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Hard Sayings

Michael Pickford

Therefore many of His (Jesus’) Disciples, when they heard this, said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can understand it?’”(Jn. 6:60) The word “hard” comes from a Greek word meaning “difficult.” There’s no question that many of Jesus’ teachings were considered hard to understand. In fact, there are many things in Christ’s Gospel which are considered difficult to understand by many today. The truth is, there really are some things recorded in the New Testament which are difficult to understand. However, the reason one considers something hard to understand is crucial to whether or not they will someday understand them, or if they’ll just turn away from the truths of Jesus, just as these folks in John six did.

Consider three reasons folks fail to understand certain passages. (1) Some passages seem to contradict well established traditions. When Jesus taught God’s truth about marriage and divorce in Matthew 19, his disciples decided that it was better for a man to remain unmarried (Matt. 19:10). The most popular belief of the day was that a man could put his wife away for a number of reasons. Jesus, however, taught that fornication was the only valid reason. The same is true today. There are many who will not come to Christ because they are in an adulterous marriage. There are also many preachers who teach that they don’t have to leave their unlawful wives. To them, the Lord’s teaching continues to be a hard saying.

Another reason some may not understand a passage of scripture is because (2) they have not yet studied it in detail. They need to compare other passages, study some commentaries, use a bible dictionary or some other tools. With diligence, these passages can and will be understood. In fact, we are commanded to understand the will of the Lord (Eph. 17).

A third reason certain passages are difficult to understand is simply (3) because they contradict certain practices that folks refuse to denounce. Homosexuals refuse to cease their abominable lifestyle, so they fail to understand passages which teach against it. Drunkards refuse to give up their bottle, so they fail to understand passages which condemn drinking. Fornicators refuse to give up their promiscuity, so they fail to understand passages condemning fornication. As a result, we have in our society homosexuals claiming to be faithful Christians. We also have drunkenness and fornication existing even in many “faithful” churches of Christ. Accepting one verse will keep one from falling into the two dishonorable categories mentioned. “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine” (Jn. 7:17). If you truly have a desire to do God’s will, regardless of the cost, those hard sayings will eventually, with study, melt away.

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