Posts Tagged literal


Matthew 7: 7 – 8

Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you for every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened.

I have a question for you today. Does or did Jesus have the capacity to tell a lie? Did Jesus ever tell one lie in his life? We need to know because he is the one who spoke these words we read today. Here is another question, is it possible that when Jesus said these words he meant them only figuratively? In other words, are the words in the quoted verses for today meant to express their literal meaning or are they some figurative, allegorical or metaphorical representation of another meaning? We need to know! Does Jesus mean what he said or was he speaking in nuanced riddles?

I looked up simile, allegory, metaphor and figurative and from the meanings I see there, none of them apply to these two verses. Still, many people excuse the literal meanings of Jesus’ words claiming that they represent some other ideas which are not actually spoken. Because Jesus sometimes taught by using parables, some people discount all of his speech as representative rather than literal. Okay, so let me ask you another question. Why would the Son of God, he who came to set us free and to lead us into truth and fullness of life, play cloak and dagger with his beloved? He came to earth to die for each and every one of us; he came to give his life a ransom so that we might be saved. Why then would he hide the ball from us? And yes, that was figurative language I just used and it was obvious and understood.

That is the point of figurative language. It is not meant to hide the truth. It is used to illustrate and make clear difficult concepts. Finally, if we intend to have a relationship with Jesus, one that is based on truth and trust, then we must believe his words have actual meaning. He spoke so that we could hear and be free. When he said, “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” (John 10: 10) we must assume and understand that those words mean exactly what they say. Otherwise they do not have meaning and frankly, the whole Bible is undermined. If Jesus wanted to communicate that the purpose of his coming to earth was to give us life, how else would he say it other than to use the words which have the meaning which normally and customarily mean just that? Do you see what I mean? Once a person reduces one of Jesus’ literal statements to fantasy or figurative poetry, then all meaning for all his messages is lost. Who can say which of his statements are mere figures of speech and which ones he actually meant as spoken? Honestly, it is beyond intellectual integrity for one to adopt this posture. It is the height of arrogance. People who excuse away Jesus’ words and meanings replace them with themselves and their reasoning. It is foolishness!

The point of all of this is that Jesus said that if we seek, we shall find. There is no figure of speech in that statement so really, the choice is whether or not we choose to take him at his word. Do we believe the Father of us all sent His only begotten son to earth to lead us into truth, wisdom, and freedom? Why would Yahweh, Abba Father, sacrifice His beloved on a cross for people He intended to mislead? Does that really make any sense at all? Jesus’ brother, James, said that we should ask God for wisdom promising that God would give it to us freely and without reproach (James 1: 5). Why, then, would God offer to give us all His wisdom yet cloak every word Jesus said while in the earth. It is illogical and unreasonable to believe that so, trust that Jesus came to open eyes and doors. Believe him when he says that if we ask, we shall receive. When we seek, we will always find. Knock on the door because Jesus is on the other side waiting to open it to you.

Jesus has so much for us. The Father invested everything He had to bring us into a personal relationship with Him. The Holy Spirit is hovering today with creative power in his hands. They long for us. Let our yearning reach out and take hold of the love offered. Ask, seek, knock . . . receive, find, be welcomed in.

That’s Life

1 John 5: 12

He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

I have been having some interesting discussions with people about the essence of life. What is life or who is life? Here we learn from John that the one who does not have the Son, does not have life. That is putting it plainly. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14: 6). John’s statement is certainly consistent with what Jesus taught him.

Jesus also told us that he came to give us life (John 10: 10). Do you think this is just a metaphor or is there a physical and spiritual law in play here? One of the things I have learned in studying the Bible is that it is much more literal that most of us realize. For example, the Word says, “As he thinks within himself, so he is” (Proverb 23: 7). I dare say most Christians accept the idea figuratively that as we think of ourselves we truly are. If you think of yourself as unintelligent, you will manifest less brilliance. If you think of yourself as gifted, your gifts will show. However, science is now proving that this proverb is literally true. Our health, for example, responds to our thought patterns. We are learning through the latest research that a person can affect the physical construction of tendons, ligaments, bones, etc. through our purposeful and directed thoughts. That is amazing! People are manifesting healing in their bodies through their thoughts. Remember, Jesus told us that we would receive what we believe.

So, when Jesus said that he is the life, is he being literal? One might think so. Certainly eternal life is in him but I think there is more to it than just salvation. Jesus is the life. Whoever has Jesus has life. He is the source of life or he is that spark which is life. Without Jesus, there is no life either figuratively or literally. We are all dead without the life of God which is in Christ Jesus. I have wondered many times what the world was like those three days that Jesus was dead. What did the earth go through for three days without the life? Did the earth begin to die?

Give this a bit of thought. It is fascinating to think about. Mostly, there is comfort and reassurance that our life is well guarded and preserved in Christ Jesus. He is our source. He sustains us. Let that be encouragement to wrap yourself even more tightly about him.