I am on a quest to list out various instances of intentional exaggeration that is not meant to be taken literally (hyperbole) in the Bible. This post is a continuation, listing various hyperbole found in the Bible. Clicky here, for all my posts detailing what I’ve found. Today’s treats are:
Jesus wants us to hate people?
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. ” Luke 14:26
No, really. Its okay to hate people. Jesus said so!
Everyone is a Christian!
So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!” John 12:19
I must not have enough faith. I can’t move trees.
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. Luke 17:5-6
This is one of my favorite hyperboles. Jesus uses it on more than one occasion, so I’m in good company. To figure out what He is talking about you have to read this snippet in context. Here it is:
“If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. 4If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”
5The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
6He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.
7“Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? 8Would he not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? 9Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’ “
The context is forgiveness; painful, repeated forgiveness. The disciples thought the idea of this was so preposperous, they cried they need more faith to obey! But Jesus, doesn’t let them use weak faith as an excuse to disreguard the duty of forgiving someone who has repeatedly wronged them. He gets smart-alecky and tosses out the idea of feeling more faith as the motivation for obedience as riduculous. He tells them the story of the slave who did what his master required regardless of how tired he was, how he felt about obeying, or how hard it was for him. It is a Christian duty to forgive regardless of how much faith we feel.