What Did He Say Part 2

28“…I tell you the truth, all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. 29But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin."

  • The Bible is incredibly simple to understand.

  • The Bible is incredibly difficult to understand.

Which one of these statements is true?  It would be interesting to take a survey and see what you all think.  Me?  I could vote for either one.  Sometimes I read the Bible and it seems so straightforward.  Especially the more “Big Picture” I get.  God made the world.  Jesus came to show us who God is and reunite us with the Him.  We are members of the Kingdom of Heaven and we’re expected to act like it.  Pretty simple stuff.

But “the devil” is in the details.  It’s when I start dealing with specifics that the Bible can become really difficult to understand.  That’s because there are little statements scattered here and there that really throw me off.  They’re like the pebbles you occasionally get in an otherwise comfortable pair of sandals.  I can understand most of a passage, but then I’ll come across some statement and think, “Huh?”  And the Bible just says it and keeps on going as if it’s as clear as day.  Jesus is especially good at giving us statements like these.  He likes to go at something in a roundabout way.  My theory on that is that it makes us think rather than go on autopilot.

I’ve finally decided that I will never understand everything the Bible says.  There comes a point where a shrug is as good a response as any.  It gets me past the need to create an answer for every problem no matter how tortured my response may be.  What a relief just to say, “I don’t know.”

The recent issue of Relevant Magazine has this great article about what it means to be “agnostic.”  We tend to get all worked up by this term, but what it means is simply acknowledging that I don’t know.  When it comes to the Bible, there are numerous details about which I continue to be an agnostic.  The author argues that this is perfectly normal and even beneficial to our faith.  He says:  I mean to challenge the version of Christianity that says we’re called, above all, to play it safe…as if there are certain confessions of honest confusion or doubt our faith can’t afford.[1]

Today we’re going to talk about one of Jesus’ statements that can be difficult to understand.  I’ll tell you what I think Jesus is saying.  But that’s about the best I can do.  At the end of the day, I’ll have to live with the difficulty of not completely getting it.  It’s certainly not the greatest failure in my life that’s God’s grace will have to overcome.

[1] David Dark. “Insert Soul Here.” Relevant July/August 2009.