“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’
23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'”
Pious words, or serious obedience?
Never one to soften the prophetic role he had, Jesus stands with those unafraid to say it as it is.
To say what is never talked about. To dig up what is hidden. To expose the secrets. Truth will out with Jesus! Religion has a nice feel and can lift worshippers to rise above the drone and weariness of daily life. It is a solace to the soul and adrenalin in the mind. But therein lies its snare.
Jesus speaks about comfort and peace and joy and he demonstrates in his own life all that he promises. Here, however, he drives a sword into the restless and angry and grieving. Here he is demanding obedience of the first order. “Don’t do the ritual if you don’t do everything. Don’t talk the talk if you don’t walk the walk.” So does he give comfort and peace and joy to the disobedient? (What do you do with a disobedient child who runs outside in a rage and falls and breaks his leg?) This is a time to get rid of “bull dust religion”, to get on with fair dinkum obedience and to hope that his comfort is real when human weakness becomes overwhelming.
Peter Breen is the co-founder of Jugglers Art Space, a community arts organisation in Brisbane.