Why Jesus Spoke Hard Words

Why Jesus Spoke Hard Words December 22, 2017

Jesus spoke some very controversial verses in the Bible, many of which are still controversial, so here are some of Jesus’ most controversial statements in the Bible and why He said them.

Luke 14:26 If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

If you read this at face value and without reading the context, you might think this is a command to hate your own family, but context is king since taking texts out of context can create a pretext, and often, a false one, so looking at the context is critical to understanding Scripture. The context of this radical verse rests within the costly call of discipleship, and a costly call it is. Sometimes it costs familial relationships and personal friendships, but Jesus is not saying that we must actually hate our family, but when we follow Jesus, our devotion to Him is so strong that it looks like hate to the world. Jesus is incomparable. He is before all things and has preeminence before all people (Matt 6:33).

Matthew 18:9 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.

Jesus uses some extreme words here to be sure, but again, we must look at the context, and what He is saying is that we must take extreme or radical measures to deal with ongoing, besetting sins. One example was when I was counseling a young married man who had an addiction to pornography. I told him about this verse and said it would be like getting rid of the Internet. At first, it might seem to be an overreaction, but I asked him, “How badly do you want to overcome this?” and “Isn’t saving your marriage worth it?” By cutting off the source of pornography, it could be seen as cutting off a hand that was causing him to offend, and sin before God and his wife and family.


Luke 6:22 Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!

Why people who have trusted in Christ are never persecuted is a mystery to me because the Apostle Paul said “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:12), and the last time I checked the Greek (“pas”), all still means all, so the problem is either the believer is living a life of isolation or they do not desire to live a godly life, and if that’s the case, they might want to read 1 John chapter 3 and do a self-examination. Paul wrote, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test” (2 Cor 13:5)! Jesus did not bring the good news to solve our every problem, including personal relationships. He said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household” (Matt 10:34-36), so again Jesus says, “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 14:26).

Hard Sayings

Jesus said, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt 16:25), which brings light to Philippians 1:21 where Paul wrote, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Paul understood the cost of following Jesus and why Jesus would say, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). For most of us, it won’t be losing our life, but losing some of our time, talent, and treasure; in short, our life. As we sow these three into the kingdom, it denies the world’s conventional thinking because “whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave. For even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt 20:26-27). Jesus spoke such hard words in order to soften the hard hearts and humble them, because just like many today who declare themselves good people, the Jewish religious leaders were trusting in their own righteousness (Luke 18:9). They thought they were good, but not even one is good (Rom 3:10-11). It’s just that we’re saved by a very good God and have Jesus’ righteousness imputed on our behalf (2 Cor 5:21). If only they had listened to Jesus’ warning that “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matt 7:21-23).


Jesus referred to Himself as the Living Water (John 4:10-15), and the Bread of Life (John 6:25-59), so when He said, “my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (John 6:55-56), it is not strange that “After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him” (John 6:66).  Only later would this strange verse make sense; at Jesus establishing the New Covenant at the Passover.  How interesting that those who reject Christ in this chapter are set against Christ, because whoever is not for Christ is against Him (Matt 12:30; Luke 11:23), and even the chapter and verse number (6:66) is symbolic of being anti-Christ. Jesus spoke some very hard words but only to those with the hardest of hearts; even this was in the hopes of softening them. For Jesus, hard words were spoken to hard hearts because they can sometimes soften hearts, while soft words spoken to hard hearts (like the self-righteous, self-justifying) will only serve to further harden the heart. Either way, controversy followed Jesus wherever He went, so the fact that many of the Bible’s controversial verses were from Jesus Himself should not surprise us. His ways are certainly not our ways, and His thinking not like our thinking (Isaiah 55:8), but the first step in understanding His ways is by humbling ourselves. God will always oppose the proud, but only to the humble will He give His grace (James 4:6).

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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  • pud

    Demonstrate ANY non biblical evidence that any “jesus” character ever existed….waiting

    Show and list the names of those who took dictation of the exact words this “jesus” character spoke…bonus points for how they did it even when this “jesus” character was entirely ALONE!

    This is what is fundamentally wrong with your wiring….You subscribe to a fictional book written by delusional people like yourself in the 1st century and 5th century B.C. The muslim lunatics subscribe to their fictional book written by their psychotic “prophet”…the mormons subscribe to their fictional book written by their delusional “prophet” ….the hindus subscribe to their ancient fictional book written by who the fuck knows….you ALL share the same idiocy in constructing your entire life around the rambling, absurd, impossible nonsense jotted down by no name authors in time periods of abject ignorance about EVERYTHING!

    What kind of person models their life after anything this stupid? What kind of pathological person willfully subscribes to and defends a demonstrably false cult doctrine? Why haven’t you sought out qualified mental health counselling in the hopes of becoming a rational person?

    • Barrie Beaumont

      Your wait is over. Two ancient historians, and you can look them up because I am not going to do it for you. You will not listen to me.

      Eusebius. The first Christian historian who recorded the events and personalities that characterized Christianity in its crucial first three centuries from Jesus to Constantine.

      Flavius Josephus. A Jewish historian born in Jerusalem only four years after Jesus was crucified Josephus was an eyewitness to much of what he reported in the first century AD.

      If you set your sad bias aside for a period of learning and looked at the works from these two historians, hopefully, you may see some light to bring your thoughts into focus.

      My observations, when reading comments like yours pud, are that they are sadly leaning on the side of convenient disbelief because you, and those who think like you, do not look positively, but comment on the base of their predudice. Put another way, dislike for something and scant knowledge of it.

      Take a pause pud, put aside your prejudices and re focus.

      No offence intended in what I have written.

      • pud

        Born: 37 AD, Jerusalem, Israel
        Died: 100 AD, Rome, Italy

        NOT CONTEMPORARY….saw nothing, wrote a phrase mentioning “jesus” that was proven later to be a forgery

        Born: 263 AD, Palestine
        Died: 339 AD, Caesarea Maritima, Caesarea, Israel

        NOT CONTEMPORARY…saw nothing wrote hearsay centuries after the made up events

        Try again without using YOUR bias trying to fit facts to your preferred pre supposition

        • Barrie Beaumont

          Well you are an exeption pud when contrasted/compared to past, and modern day theologians who frequently quote Josephus. It is not just of his mention of ” At this time there was a wise man called Jesus, and his conduct was good and he was known to be virtous.Many people among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. (….).” He recorded the Jewish revolt and many other notable events. It does not stop there because Christianity is based on faith which you sadly attempt to bring down. It appears to me that regardless of what the two historical and respected ancient historians recorded, or anyone of note for that matter, you looked more specifically at how you could come back at me.You say you “saw nothing,” and that indicates that you are,I suggest, over, and conveniently selective in using both the truth, and the source of your information.

          A lot depends on whether you as a critic, and doubter, want to see things in the true context, or continue to attempt to work on with your bias and assumptions. Today, I have read and studied some interesting articles on how the secular world want to smash and discredit Christianity. I did the same with some that expressed concern at secular attempts to break the true Christmas apart, but you, as one example, and quite obviously, will only place it in the context that suits your argument.

          You will accuse me of the same to your convenience, but I know the solid ground I am standing on. I have other forums to engage in, rather that continue to cross swords with you. I could take you on because I am a mature age theology student with a reasonable knowledge of Christanity; its history, and the present.

          I respect you for your opinion, but not your effort, particularly in this forum.

          We can look at, and handle an orange, admire its colour, shape and its texture. It is not until we taste it that we know what it is like. Christianity is the same pud.

          Reference.Josephus The Essential Works. Maiher Paul L. (Kregel Publications,Grand Rapids) 1988.

          Hebrews Chapter 11 is a recommendation.

          • pud

            Sorry to hear that you’re throwing your life away.

            Joshepus described “the history of the jews”…there is NO historical evidence from him or ANYONE…not a single contemporary account…NOTHING from anyone lending credibility to your claim that the “most important figure in human history” (which is longer than 6000 years LOL) actually existed. This all critical figure left not a trace! Not a word, not a note, not an artifact…NOTHING! Odd don’t you think?

            I don’t care if you respect me or not. You and your kind are malicious, delusional, willfully ignorant, gullible fools.

            And you’re paranoid. There is no organized effort to destroy your religious cult…it’s doing a fine job all by itself losing every argument and getting pushed further and further back into the dark ages from whence it sprang.

            “Faith” is THE most dishonest position anyone can take. You don’t need truth, evidence, facts when you cling to “faith”

            Every religious lunatic and cult member that has ever existed has their own orange to taste too and they all taste just like yours.

            I don’t craft my life around a wicked ancient book…good luck with that

            Try harder! lol

          • Barrie Beaumont

            There is nothing more to be said and I prefer not to engage any further with you. The way you write is sufficient reason to stay

          • pud

            LOL so typical. You lose, you run away. I pity you and feel sorry for your wasted future tender snowflake

          • Debra Wallace

            my goodness mr. pud………if you dislike this stuff soooooo much? why do you keep reading and replying? do you honestly think your attitude and comments change anyones thinking? maybe you should think about directing all this hostility into something more productive…….take all those thoughts and write a book or something………..life is so short…..i feel sad for you that you seem so angry about something that just is not going to change. if you dont believe in any spiritual things that is ok…..it is your choice…..but why do you insist on writing these comments that will not change anyone elses beliefs. i am assuming that maybe you are just a bored kid with an attitude or a messed up adult with nothing better to do…..so you see, all these remarks are for nothing….

          • pud

            Fair question that’s been asked of me many times…I’ll tell you why…

            You and your cult…like all religious cults…are not benign. You vote. You seek influence over the rational world. You lie to children. You promote fantasy, superstition and oppose science and the advancement of the human race. You are an apocalyptic death cult which makes you malignant and an enemy of civilization.

            If someone wanted to combat alcohol addiction would they give their sermon in a church or a pub? I go to the heart of the christian cult and dismantle your absurd notions in the hope that some of you will see the light of day and not stay wallowing in your Bronze Age nonsense corrupting the minds of children. If you were silent and kept to yourselves I wouldn’t care but the religious cults of the world are not happy unless everyone subscribes to their perverted, ridiculous dogma. I oppose you on your own turf.

            I’m not angry…I simply have contempt for you, your cult and every nonsensical thing your promote

            Demonstrate the existence of anything “spiritual”….one more of your nonsensical made up woo woo words

            Your “assumptions” are as stupid as your “faith”

            You have no idea if I help anyone join the rational world or not do you?

          • Debra Wallace

            did i say what i believe? and again you are just saying the same thing you say over and over…….i believe we all see your position and how you feel………so, what is it you would want….there is no denying how you feel or think about organized religion…..so now that you “oppose us on our own turf” neither side is going to change what they believe, so what’s the point of your combativeness?

          • pud

            People regain their sanity all the time…There are whole organizations for preachers who have rejoined the real world. I’m just doing my little part in exposing the lunacy of “faith” It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it! lol

          • Debra Wallace

            i see……so how’s that workin for ya?

          • Debra Wallace

            i as well do not believe in organized religion…….it sounds as though maybe you have been hurt or let down by some sort of religion or religious leader

          • pud

            Nope…never bought in to any of it. Stop groping.

            You don’t “believe” in “organized religion” but you love invisible jesus right?

          • Debra Wallace

            sorry you took that as groping…….I love the creator and ruler of this universe and yes His son Yeshua….. and no you cannot see Him physically now but at one time people did…..and yes i know you do not believe that and that is your choice…….and you can argue your point till the cows come home…we get that……..everybody gets that…….my point is not to try and convert you or get you to believe in something you do not believe…….if you feel the way you do why do you insist on continuing your arguing……….sounds as though you may be trying to convince yourself instead of us……..i certainly havent tried to convince you of a god or not………you brought it up

          • pud

            Ah yes…the invisible celestial dictator…how did I know?

            People actually saw him eh? Tell us all how you KNOW this to be true. You don’t and you can’t because there is NO rational case you can possibly make

            I think you fail to understand me…I’m your enemy…I want your cult and all the current religious cults tossed into the dustbin of history where all the other made up thousands of “gods” reside.

            You and your cult are dangerous. You are enemies of reason and therefore a threat to civilization, me, my children, the human race.

            I don’t seek to convert anyone…I want to help eradicate your deranged delusional death cult and all superstitious nonsense.

          • Debra Wallace

            well you certainly avoided and side stepped my last post…….and that is ok………you sound like a radical islamist……..or a satan worshiper……and again that would be your choice……..i can see my little fingers have typed for naught..lol……..sorry you are such a miserable angry person…….enjoy the rest of your day…..and……………….get ready for it……here it comes……..bam!!!!!! and God Bless you

          • pud

            LOL. I do not “believe” anything. Only the credulous, gullible and stupid “believe” things. Rational intelligent people provisionally accept certain propositions based upon evidence. Idiots “believe”…in bigfoot, alien abductions, angels, demons, jesus, shiva and elvis still living. Rational people seek truth, don’t build their lives around ancient mythology or blindly accept the preachings of cult leaders.

          • Jean Camille

            Well left, Barrie. You may like to check out my response to JRene’s comment

          • Barrie Beaumont

            You want something contemporary try the September 2017 issue of National Geographic. Happy Christmas.

          • pud

            Explaining why you and your kind suffer from religious addiction? That’s an interesting subject actually. Why do people willfully engage in addictive practices like drugs, alcohol, religion, cults etc.

            I hear that gentle jesus meek and mild cures hangnails with prayer…funny that he doesn’t do much about heroin addiction don’t you think?

          • JRene

            So, in other words you have no persuasive rebuttal and appear to be the one lacking unbiased analysis.

          • Jean Camille

            Please do not be so hasty to judge.

            Barrie was talking with a man who believes he has no beliefs and cannot see the contradiction in that. He rejects science and logic if it does not suit his purpose (see “When The Scriptures Say ‘But God’” DEC. 18, 2017 Comments). He demands material evidence of immaterial matters and cannot see he is begging the question in its original sense of assuming the very premise to be proven.

            It seems we are dealing with one of those “foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear” (Jeremiah 5:21). Barrie chose to respond according to Proverbs 26:4: “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him.”

            You may have been more creative, but please allow that Barrie made a reasonable judgement call.

          • Rational Human

            Please put aside your bias and research Josephus. Most of what Christians cite is forged propoganda, done decades later by lying Christians trying to insert their zombie savior into history. The rest mentions Christians, at best, not Jesus of Nazareth. And none of it is contemporary. Eusibius? Please. Well documented as a fraud and liar.

            Get your head out of apologetics and do some real research, it should embarrass you to ma!ke these silly arguments when you have the real historical facts right at your fingertips.

          • Barrie Beaumont

            I have no wish to engage with you and argue about your assumptions.

            I am a mature age student at a Theological College and I am constantly engaged in research on Christianity and Church History. I respect your view point even though I believe it is seriously skewed from the truth. Please respect mine with the good grace I am showing to you.

            You may wish to consult the following. MacCulloch, Diarmaid. Christianity The First Three Thousand Years. Penguin Books. New York (2010)
            Blainey, Geoffrey. A Short History of Christianity. SPCK London (2016)
            In addition the works of Justo Gonzalez are recommended.

            Happy New Year.

          • Rational Human

            I am a mature age student at a Theological College and I am constantly engaged in research on Christianity and Church History.

            What does that even mean? Are you suggesting i Am of “immature” age? Or that you Are past the age of reasonable discourse and debate? Then I pity you. You need to open your mind to studies outside your dogmatic presuppositions, else you will never actually learn anything.

          • Rational Human

            I respect your view point even though I believe it is seriously skewed from the truth. Please respect mine with the good grace I am showing to you.

            Good grace…BS. You are spouting nonsense and falsehoods, and I am under no courteous obligation to respect lying and falsehoods.

          • Barrie Beaumont

            As I said I respect your view and that is the end of my engaging with you.

          • Rational Human

            Typical cowardly Christian. Go re-read 1 Peter 3:15.

  • Doug Barron

    Yes; Jesus makes one get off the fence on one side or the other!
    Excellent article! Thanks, Pastor Wellman! Keep it up!

    • pud

      You need to extract the fence pole first

      • Barrie Beaumont

        There is no need to be vulgar pud.

        • pud

          I wasn’t addressing you…mind your own delusion son

  • pud

    “Jesus spoke some very controversial verses in the Bible, many of which are still controversial”

    Says who? List the scribes and stenographers who followed him around night and day (even when he was alone! explain that!) and then tell us all who they were, how you know, how you know they are credible let alone believable and why anyone should care.

    You can’t. You don’t know. You don’t care.

    Your storybook “jesus” ordered you to obey all 600+ mosaic laws….stone anyone lately? Eat a shrimp? Wear mixed fabric clothing? Beat your slave? SINNER!!

    Your storybook “jesus” endorsed slavery, rape, murder, warfare, women as property….everything the “old” storybook commanded.

    Your storybook “jesus” didn’t cure diseases he did magic tricks making him a moral monster

    You are a low level cult leader. You couldn’t care less for facts, truth, honesty, honor, rationality, logic or reality….you are a minor propagandist making a cheap living lying to people and worse, children…telling them nonsense you can’t possibly know and indoctrinating their vulnerable young minds with fear, guilt and shame. You should be in jail, a real jail not the mental shackles of your backwater church.