Jesus loved them but he wasn't their friend
Jesus of course loved the religious leaders (Pharisees) but he certainly was not their friend and certainly did not reconcile with them. Yet, Jesus demands that we reconcile with our fellow man if we offend them.
Throughout the life of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Jesus constantly was confronted and verbally attacked by the Pharisees and in other accounts they tried to kill him, long before the crucifixion. Jesus would often lash out at them verbally and even used a whip on some folks who angered him by their irreverent behavior in the temple. http://www.freedominchrist.net/sermons/parables/the%20parable%20of%20the%20pharisee%20and%20the%20tax%20collector--luke%2018.htm
Jesus came to die for the very people who hated and rejected him. Jesus even asked His father to forgive the people who hung him on the cross. Jesus is love and knows no sin, but yet he continually did battle with and was no friend of the Pharisees and their kind.
Additionally, Jesus was very divisive, he caused division:
Dividing the goats from His sheep, the wheat from the tares, he divided people (John 7:43, John 9:16)
A. Simeon told Mary that God had appointed Jesus to reveal men’s hearts (Luke 2:34-35). B. The Lord Jesus Christ caused a division in the nation of Israel (John 7:43; 9:16; 10:19).
C. The Lord Jesus Christ is precious, or a stone of stumbling and offence (I Peter 2:6-8).
D. Jesus Chhrist did not come to bring peace: He came to bring a testing sword (Matt 10:34-39).
E. The perilous times of the last days exalt a form of godliness, so that those contending for
apostolic religion make themselves a prey to other Christians (II Tim 3:1 – 4:5; Is 59:14-15).
Paul was also divisive. Throughout the Epistles he was constantly butting heads with people in authority, He rebuked Peter and even turned a man over to Satan. 1 Corinthians 5:5
I've been compelled to study this because I too have many enemies in my life. Mostly since dedicating my life to Jesus. Seriously, when I was in the world and of the world, I really didn't have problems with so many people not liking me and choosing to fight with me. But once I became totally committed to Jesus was when I started running into serious problems in my relationships: Oddly enough, many of my enemies are so called Christians and generally good, law abiding citizens. Others may not appear on the surface be my enemies, but we certainly are not friends. I don't know what category to place them. If I had to choose only between two, I'd have to say they are also my enemies. Some unfortunately are family members. But Jesus told me not to be surprised because my very family would be my enemies. Matthew 10:36 .
Because Jesus is coming soon, I am really searching my heart to make sure I'm all squared away with my Lord. I wanted to make sure that all of my many enemies and I are in the right standing in the eyes of God. I mean are we set in a way God approves. Have I forgiven them and asked them to forgive me? Do I love them? Do I ask and have I asked God to bless them even though they've cursed me? Have I remembered one of them and recalled something I've done to offend them, and have I gone to them and reconciled with them so that I can be right with God?
I understand that Jesus told me to love my enemies. He told me to bless those who hate me and use me. To pray for them when they abuse me Matthew 5: 43-48 He told me to always live in peace and make peace, reconcile with someone who has something against me. Matthew 5:23-26 . He told me to forgive them. Matthew 6:14 If someone has something against me (could be anything, very subjective) then I must go to them and make peace with them, reconcile, before I can proceed to have a relationship with God.
Have I done all these things? Yes, I've done these things. However, many I've gone to have chosen not to reconcile. Therefore, I haven't been able to reconcile with many.
I've tried to great lengths and finally it dawned on me the reasons we've not reconciled is the reasons we separated and those reasons are the same reasons Jesus could not reconcile with the Pharisees as Paul could not as well with his adversaries. I tried several times to be at peace with these people but my stand for Jesus alienated us. I forgive them and I asked them to forgive me.
1 Corinthians 11:18-19 reads: For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
Titus 3:10 reads: Reject a man that is a heretic after the first and second admonition.
Galatians 4:16: Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
But for me, a question remains. Why would Jesus tell me he brought a sword and was so divisive and caused directly so much division and yet, on the other hand he tells me I must reconcile with my fellow man and seek peace. And tell me he did not come to bring peace?
We are looking at a perfect case of PARADOX.
It is confusing to be a Christian, unless we understand paradox . We read the Bible and see it is full of Paradoxes. We see Christ's life and see it is a tremendous paradox and what he spoke is a paradox.
Only by combining the two mutually exclusive statements do we arrive at the whole truth. That is the power of paradox.
I'm compelled to seek deeper into why my dear Lord Jesus is causing me to experience this division and yet commanding me to reconcile. Laying these two truths side by side, I ask God to grant me the understanding to fully grasp the deeper truth of this. Dear Jesus, please be formed in me. I pray in Jesus' name, Amen!
I was led to Exodus 4:10-12, 21. In the same manner God told Moses He would teach Moses what to say when he went before Pharaoh, Jesus taught us what to say to our enemy. And in the same way God placed Moses, a very humbled Moses who seemed beneath Pharaoh in status, who stood before Pharaoh as a testimony and witness for God's purposes, God puts us before people God wants to deal with. And the same way God hardened Pharaoh's heart for the purpose of using Pharaoh as vivid example of man opposing God and God's people, Jesus puts us before people who've hardened their hearts so that God may use us as a witness against them. But, since vengeance belongs to God and not us, we're to have clean hands and a clean heart before God and man and allow God to do His perfect work. We as mere mortals are totally incapable of judgement and punishment on an eternal basis.
Only through a paradox can we truly see these truths combined to make a powerful statement of truth and divine wisdom. The ways of God are so much higher than our ways. It is foolishness in the eyes of man.
Great article on Paradox: http://www.theocentric.com/spirituality/christian_living/living_paradoxes.html
We hate paradox since it is so painful getting there, but it is a very direct experience of a reality beyond our usual frame of reference and yields some of the greatest insights. It forces us beyond ourselves and destroys naive and inadequate adaptations... The capacity for paradox is the measure of spiritual strength and the surest sign of maturity.
- The humble are exalted. The exalted are humbled. "Those who humble themselves will be exalted." (Luke 14: 11)
- Lose your life to find it. Find your life and lose it. "Those who find their life will lose it and those who lose themselves for my sake will find it." (Matthew10:39)
- Slavery leads to freedom. "Having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness." (Rom. 6:18; cf. 1 Cor. 7:22)
- The foolish are wise. "If any one among you think that he is wise in this age, let him become foolish that he may become wise." (1 Corinthians 3:18; cf. 4:10)
- The poor are rich. "Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom." (James 2:5)
- The weak are strong. "...for when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:10)
- Die to live. "...always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body." (2 Corinthians 4:10)
- Give to receive. "It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35)
- The first are last. The last, first. "The last shall be first, and the first last." (Matthew 20:16; Mark 9:35)
- Wealthy Paupers (Matthew 5:3)
- Happy Mourners (Matthew 5:4)
- Unaggresive Conquerors (Matthew 5:5)
- Lusting Saints (Matthew 5:6)
- Self-Enriching Benefactors (Matthew 5:7)
- Realistic Visionaries (Matthew 5:8)
- Militant Pacifists (Matthew 5:9)
- Winning Losers (Matthew 5:10-12)
Once you become a disciple of Jesus, normal isn't good enough anymore. Christians are part of the wisdom of the world that is to come... Everything Jesus taught goes against how "normal" people see and function in the world. Turning the other cheek, going the second mile, giving the spare coat, washing underlings' feet, heaping blessings on those who curse you, living without anger, laying down your life - all these things "normal" people have a hard time understanding, much less thinking and living. The truth is, Jesus stood "normal" wisdom on its head... Christian spirituality is anything but sane if "sane" means logical, predictable, serious, or safe.
It seems I've imagined Him all of my life
The wisest of all of mankind
But if God's holy wisdom is foolish to man
He must have seemed out of His mind
For even His family said He was mad
And the priests said a demon's to blame
But God in the form of this angry young man
Could not have seemed perfectly sane
When we in our foolishness thought we were wise
He played the fool and He opened our eyes
When we in our weakness believed we were strong
He became helpless to show we were wrong
And so we follow God's own fool
For only the foolish can tell
Believe the unbelievable
Come be a fool as well
So come lose your life for a carpenter's son
For a mad man who died for a dream
And you'll have the faith His first followers had
And you'll feel the weight of the beam
So surrender the hunger to say you must know
Have the courage to say "I believe"
For the power of paradox opens your eyes
And blinds those who say they can see