We recently signed a new mortgage on property we were buying. The real estate attorney came over and, for a solid hour, he shoved papers at us to sign. I have copies of the paper mound we signed but we’re still clueless about what fine print said. We know it contains explicit instructions and details that further bind us together with a mortgage company for the rest of our lives.
If we are to be authentic followers of Jesus we need to read to understand the fine print in God’s word every day. Each word Jesus speaks in God’s word works through the Holy Spirit to seal a binding agreement between Jesus and authentic followers who obey.
On the surface, some folks reading these passages might think Jesus is mean and demanding. He says He didn’t bring peace but a sword. He sounds like He wants to break up families and set them against each other.
I admit I’m not very careful about reading fine print. On lots of things I read that obligate me in an agreement, I skim over the fine print. I don’t like to admit this but I read the Bible that way sometimes. I skim over the fine print. But we can miss the message when we skim over God’s word. When we skim over Jesus’ specific instructions we don’t read for understanding.
When we read God’s word we must read it, understand it, and apply it to our lives.
In Matthew 10:37-39 we read fine print that represents what Jesus desires in our relationship with Him. These harsh sounding verses would be easy to skim over if we’re not seriously trying to learn about God. Folks who observe us should recognize that we are learners. That we continually read the Bible to understand ourselves, understand what it’s teaching us, and understand how we can apply it to our lives. In these verses we learn a specific principle that we discover in the fine print.
Jesus spells out the commitment He expects from those who want to be His authentic followers. In the fine print Jesus tells us that the single most important relationship we have in life is our relationship with Him. Knowing Him and loving Him more than we love our spouses, our children, our parents or our extended family is paramount to becoming his authentic followers.
Is it possible to believe you love your spouse more than Jesus? Your spouse is not your God. Can you say you love your children more than Jesus? Your own lives more than Jesus? That fine print is easy to skim over, but it is Truth. Jesus shares it and expects us to obey it. Are you ready to proclaim to all your loved ones, “I have decided to follow Jesus regardless of what my loved ones think or do.”? We can’t define ourselves by what others say or do.
The truth is, the more we love Jesus the more others will love us. Many of us spend our lives waiting for the approval of others. They struggle to make all their relationships good. Many of those folks live in agony and struggle in life waiting for the affirmation from dad or mom that never comes.
They don’t understand the fine print, and they don’t want to.
Instead, Jesus wants us to look to the One who knows all about you, affirms you, accepts you and loves you unconditionally! If we follow Jesus, He’ll show us how to get along with everybody.
As we approach Resurrection Sunday the fine print says, HE IS RISEN!