God Knows We’re Dense

I’ve been working through the book of Matthew over the past few weeks; two chapters a day. I used to see the Gospels as a collection of valuable stories that taught great lessons… like Aesop’s Fables. Now I’m seeing them for what they are: baby steps. Jesus had to dumb things down a bit for people in the first century.  He had to simplify the concepts and bottle-feed even the disciples with parables because people were too thick-headed to listen and understand the raw truths themselves.

Idiots. I mean, really, I’m picking up on these ideas pretty quickly here… what’s the matter with these people?

Then I realize that I’m reading the exact words Jesus spoke to them in order to get them to understand.  Apply a little deductive mental computation here and you’ll begin to understand what I’m driving at… we’re just like them. Obviously God saw fit to speak to all of us like this. From the least to the greatest. After all, He did commission the work and methods of Christ, as well as the subsequent record of his labor (The Bible, folks). He knew that Christians twenty centuries later would need the same handicap.  We’re just as thick-headed and unwilling to hear and see the truth as those who actually saw and touched Jesus.

Maybe we can’t handle the raw, unabashed, unsweetened version of what God is communicating to us. Instead we must be coddled and spoon-fed the truths in the hope that one day we’ll catch on and be able to be nourished and healthy. But I’m okay with this. I like stories and simplicity and multiple levels of meaning. (It also breaks things down into nice bite-size sections using the heading The Parable of…). And I’m comfortable deferring to God’s judgment on how best to teach me the things he wants me to learn. Sometimes I think I could have even used some flash-cards or something.

You Want Me To Love My Wife?

30 seconds ago I was working on a different post. Then I got a slap in the face when I went to the home page of BibleGateway.com to look for a verse for that other post. Today’s verse:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25)

It’s simplicity and poignancy stunned me.

Now, I don’t think I’ve been particularly guilty of not loving my wife, at least not in recent memory (though she might need to confirm that). Nonetheless, the first four words of this verse pack a potent punch that cannot, and must not, be ignored. It’s a simple command to Love Your Wives. If I were a pastor I would walk to the podium and say “HUSBANDS! LOVE. YOUR. WIVES.” and then leave. Because what else needs to be said? It doesn’t say “Husbands, hassle your wives.” or “Husbands, abuse, ignore, neglect, betray, lie to, yell at, and annoy your wives.” It also does not say “Husbands, love yourselves.” or “Husbands, love someone else’s wife.”

Paul uses four simple words to convey what is, in my lowly opinion, one of the most profound and influential commands in the Bible. It’s a fundamental building block not only for the family, but for the church. And when the family and the church are healthy and grounded in the love of Christ (the metaphorical groom), the world that surrounds us stands will become healthier as a result.

The verses following clarify the command a bit more as Paul continues to describe both wives and the body of Christ using each to describe the other. He paints a picture of the church, and essentially the wife, as being cared for by Christ so that she may be washed in the Word – having a radiant presence, and exsiting without stain, wrinkle, blemish, or blame. And while all of this remains up to the husband to ensure, it is done by obeying one simple task. Love. Your. Wife.

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