Each Monday, we share quotes we found encouraging, convicting, thought-provoking, or all of the above.
One of the books I'm reading in my Synoptic Gospels class is F.F. Bruce's Hard Sayings of Jesus. I read something interesting in his discussion of the saying in Matthew 5:29, about plucking out your right eye if it offends you:
Shortly after the publication of William Tyndale's English New Testament, the attempt to restrict its circulation was defended on the ground that the simple reader might mistakenly take such language literally and 'pluck out his eyes, and so the whole realm will be full of blind men, to the great decay of the nation and the manifest loss of the King's grace; and thus by reading of the Holy Scriptures will the whole realm come into confusion.' So a preaching friar is said to have declared in a Cambridge sermon; but he met his match in Hugh Latimer who, in a sermon preached the following Sunday, said that simple people were well able to distinguish between literal and figurative terms. 'For example,' Latimer went on, 'if we paint fox preaching in a friar's hood, nobody imagines that a fox is meant, but that craft and hypocrisy are described, which so often are found disguised in that garb.'Even back then, the presence of figurative language was easily understandable by the general reading audience.
This is from a prayer for a time of bereavement by John MacDuff.
Let us hear Jesus' voice of encouragement and love, sounding amid the stillness of the death-chamber, and from the depths of the sepulcher, "Don't be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one who died. Look, I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave!"
O Helper of the helpless, Comforter of all who are cast down, better and dearer than the dearest and best of earthly relatives--give us that grace which You have promised specially in seasons of weakness. May we realize the truth of Your own precious promise, "As your day--so shall your strength be."
May this thought reconcile us to bear all and suffer all--that we shall soon be done with this present evil world--and be with our God, and that forever and ever! Hide us meanwhile, in the clefts of the Smitten Rock, until this and all other of earth's calamities are over and past. May we trust Your heart--where we cannot trace Your hand! We wait patiently for the great day of disclosures, when all shall be revealed; and all be found redounding to the praise and the glory of Your great name!