Our King Isn’t Safe, But He’s Good

‘Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.’ —C.S. Lewis, ‘The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe’

From the 13th-century Deesis Mosaic in Hagia Sophia.
From the 13th-century Deesis Mosaic in Hagia Sophia. (photo: Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain)

Among the most pernicious of lies about Jesus is the one that paints him as innocuous and “nice.” People who read the Gospels should know better — and yet, here we are. For our edification, here are 14 times Jesus wasn’t “nice” or “safe,” even though he is always good:

1. Jesus openly warns his listeners about hell. He’s not joking. (Matthew 5:22, Luke 12:5)

2. When Jesus is asked how many people are going to heaven, he says: “Go in through the narrow gate, because the gate to hell is wide and the road that leads to it is easy, and there are many who travel it. But the gate to life is narrow and the way that leads to it is hard, and there are few people who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

3. “I never knew you.” Jesus warns us in painfully clear language that if you deny him, he will deny you. (Matthew 7:21-23)

4. Jesus recommends that his disciples remove their sandals and shake off the dust at those who reject the Gospel. (Matthew 10:14, Mark 6:11, Luke 9:5)

5. “Those who declare publicly that they belong to me, I will do the same for them before my Father in heaven. But those who reject me publicly, I will reject before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33)

6. “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the world. No, I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. I came to set sons against their fathers, daughters against their mothers, daughters-in-law against their mothers-in-law; your worst enemies will be the members of your own family.” (Matthew 10:34-36)

7. Jesus warns us that those who wish to be his disciples must “hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sister, yes, and even his own life.” (Matthew 10:37-38, Luke 14:26)

8. Jesus calls the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees “blind guides,” “a brood of vipers” and “whitewashed tombs.” (Matthew 12:23)

9. Jesus upbraids Peter, saying, “Get behind me, Satan,” even though Peter had just admitted Christ’s divinity. (Matthew 16:23)

10. “And Jesus went into the Temple of God, and cast out all those who sold and bought in the Temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, ‘My house shall be called the house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.’” (Matthew 21:12–17, Mark 11:15–19, Luke 19:45–48, John 2:13–16)

11. Jesus goes hardcore on those who reject the Gospel. “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?” (Matthew 23:37-39) Most definitely not nice. (Matthew 23:33)

12. Referring to Judas, Our Lord says, “It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” (Matthew 26:24)

13. “Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Things that make people fall into sin are bound to happen, but how terrible for the one who makes them happen! It would be better for him if a large millstone were tied around his neck and he were thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.’” (Luke 17:1-2)

14. Jesus offers nothing but doom, gloom, destruction and some harsh words for the churches of the ancient world at the Eschaton. He even said he would “spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:16) to the lukewarm Laodiceans.

No, Jesus isn’t nice. He’s not safe. But he’s frank, blunt and merciful.

And he is love itself.