Dumbing Down Jesus

Dumbing Down Jesus

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” -Matthew 7:12

Ah yes, the golden rule. Something we can all agree on. Liberals. Conservatives. Atheists. Agnostics. Religious and non-religious people around the world all believe that we should do to others as we would want them to do to us. There are few who would take this point to task. And rightly so. For any civilization to function properly and rightly, this rule must stand.

What’s interesting to note, however, is that Jesus doesn’t stop there in verse 12. He continues this line of thinking into verses 13-14. What does He say?

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13, 14 NIV)

You certainly won’t read this on the wall of your local elementary school. And sadly, you won’t hear it preached in many of our watered-down churches across America. It’s not politically correct. It draws a distinguishing line of demarcation. Because what Jesus is doing with the golden rule is He is setting the stage for the big jab to the throat of all religious and non-religious types. He begins with something we can all agree on. And then takes this common ground and uses it as a launchpad for the a-bomb that He drops in our laps. It’s a brilliant teaching technique. And Jesus was a master of it. First, He softens the guard of his hearers with the nice, fluffy truth of the golden rule. Then, when they least expect it, he delivers the tough, harsh reality that simply following the golden rule is not enough. It’s a start. But that’s all it is. A start. Everyone must enter through the narrow gate–Jesus. He is the only way of salvation. Maybe it’s rightly so that outspoken followers of Christ are deemed “narrow-minded.” If, by narrow-minded they mean that I believe that Jesus is the only way to Heaven, (the narrow gate) then yes, yes I am narrow-minded.

The dumbing down of Jesus’ teaching by our culture has folks believing that the golden rule is the end-all to global peace and harmony. And while it is a start, the only real peace is found in entering into new life through the gate of Jesus.

For those of us who are teachers of the Bible, let’s be careful that we are teaching the whole counsel of the Word. Let’s be careful to teach all not some of what Jesus said.

For those still seeking after truth, know that we are not offended by the title “narrow-minded.” You didn’t come up with that. Jesus did.