Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What sins did Jesus discuss most?

Last week I read a tweet which referenced off-hand that Jesus spoke more about the sin of hypocrisy than any other sin. Yet another person stated that Jesus spoke more about love of money than any other sin.

Both were speaking in hyperbole to make a point, but it did raise an interesting question:  if we look at the Gospels, which sins were discussed most frequently by Jesus? I divided them into 10 categories, and of course how you count may differ slightly by person. But in general, the following is a good representation of how frequently Jesus discussed each sin in the Gospels:

Now this is very interesting to me for a few reasons. But before we discuss what I see in this chart, let's say one thing clearly:  less frequency does not necessarily mean "less importance" or "less sinful."  It would be wrong to interpret this chart as saying that lust or murder or false teaching is somehow less sinful. Obviously, anything that Jesus explicitly mentioned as sinful is not good.

That said, what it does reveal is what was on Jesus' mind the most, in that time, in that culture. (Which may or may not be the same, if He was here with us today!) However, the Roman Empire does bear many similarities to modern America (dominant superpower, dominant economy, extreme patriotism, general religious tolerance, decadent lifestyles, reputation of being quick to war, etc.). As such there is probably at least a reasonable alignment between what concerned Jesus then, and what concerns Jesus about us today.

The thing Jesus talked about the most was belief:  but rarely did He speak of simply intellectual acceptance. Belief to Jesus was more than simply acceptance of a creed; it was an acceptance of a lifestyle, and a willingness to follow His path even in spite of family preference, obstacles, suffering, or even death.

After disbelief, Jesus spoke most about hypocrisy among religious leaders and a lack of love and forgiveness among all men. This was followed by many speeches about greed and materialism.

Think that through for a second. Two out of every three times that Jesus preached on sin, He was talking about disbelief, hypocrisy, lovelessness, or materialism.  And what do we see around us in America? A society with many unbelievers. A society whose Christians are called loveless and hypocrites. And a society in which nearly everyone--Christian or not--is materialistic.


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