Jesus had a special way with words. The information from his mouth had the capacity to lift someone up, humble them, or have them walk away scratching their head. Rarely do we find Jesus saying the things he is expected to say, or doing the things he is expected to do. According to the first century religious establishment, Jesus was at best controversial, and more likely a heretic. It intrigues me how fine the line between the two is. At the heart of Jesus' words was an invitation. Yes to eternal life, more importantly to a new pattern of life all together.
Jesus was not simply using words so people would be amazed at his teaching and oratory adeptness. He was using words to engage people in the journey of transformation. The religious establishment of the the day had boiled everything down to do's and don'ts. For the person to be religious all they must do is follow the correct regulations, and make the correct contributions to the temple. Living a transformed life had long fallen off the radar screen.
One of the many reasons I am deeply challenged by the words of Christ is because of their relevance no matter the age. Jesus spoke words of truth in the first century, and those words are truth today. Contrary to what most churches try to "sell" the world, Jesus is not about converting people to a religion. If He was I am not sure he would be converting people to modern day Christianity. Jesus is still inviting people on the journey of transformation. This means living lives very different than before. Not simply going through the motions, not simply saying the right words and the right times. Transformation means fundamentally changing the way we function.
Religion and transformation, words are at the foundation of both. Jesus used words to challenge religion, and invite people into transformation. Are we using words to further a religion?