Thursday, June 9, 2011

Jesus was God’s answer to the problem of a bad reputation

Now we need to look at the shadow side of this parable [of the talents]: the third slave who was given only one talent and did not do anything with it. Here is a somber warning without doubt. There are two ways of being unfaithful. There is the “hot” way, which is to abuse our powers and use them destructively. This is the sin of commission. Then there is the “cold” way of being unfaithful, which is to do nothing at all and therefore neglect and abort one’s potential. . . .  (You can read the parable by clicking here)

[It] may have been that the smallness of his talent led him to conclude that what he did with it did not matter. If I believe anything at all, it is this: in God’s universe, there is nothing that is insignificant. The great things were first of all little things that were lifted up to God in reverence and gratitude, and then used to the fullest. It is a mistake to confuse size with value. . . . 

But the text itself suggests that the real problem was one of mistrust. . . . Nothing distorts our humanity quite as much as the sense that there is not enough and therefore one has to fight or flee. Of course, more than anything else, this distortion is what Jesus came to cast out. The serpent put the whole human race off track by casting false aspersions on God’s character. He projected onto God what this slave projected onto his master—that God was hard, cruel, dishonest, and untrustworthy. It was to undo this misrepresentation that Jesus entered into history. In a study group, I heard author John Killinger claim that “Jesus was God’s answer to the problem of a bad reputation.” Killinger believes that reconciliation finally occurs when we let Jesus “show us the Father” and disprove forever the serpent’s distortion.

From Stories Jesus Still Tells by John Claypool, revised second edition (Cowley Publications, 2000).

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