This is a reference blog for “Did Jesus Have Boundaries?”
Here’s a pretty simple and understandable boundary Jesus had: He said no when tempted by Satan in the wilderness. At first, Satan wasn’t necessarily telling Jesus to do anything overtly sinful (turn these stones into bread, throw yourself off the highest point of the temple and God would protect Him) until he commanded Him to bow down and worship Satan. Not only did Jesus refuse, but He commanded Satan to leave.
When Jesus was teaching how to pray, He tells people to “go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.” That’s a boundary, plain and simple. Your relationship with God is something to be protected.
The Pharisees are offended with Jesus for eating with the tax collectors and “sinners”. This is one of the many times where Jesus offends the religious leaders and takes no responsibility for their feelings. He does not allow their offense to control His actions.
When Jesus sends out the twelve disciples, he tells them, “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.” What?! Isn’t that mean? Jesus doesn’t want the disciples to preach to anyone but the Israelites? Reaching the lost sheep of Israel was one of Jesus’ primary purposes on earth. We first have to conclude that God’s ways are not our ways. He has a much higher understanding than we do, so we have to trust Him with His priorities. What I notice, though, is that this is not a standard of His love because we already know that “God so loved the world.” Jesus’ love reaches to everyone, but He had a specific goal in mind during His three-year ministry. God also has a larger perspective than we do. He knew about a Pharisee named Saul (later, Paul) whom He would use to reach the Gentiles.
Here’s another example of Jesus offending the Pharisees when He healed a man on the Sabbath. This made the Pharisees so angry that they began plotting on how they might kill Jesus. Jesus had a purpose and it didn’t matter who was offended in the process.
“Aware of [the fact that the Pharisees were plotting on how to kill Jesus] Jesus withdrew from that place.” This is a pretty obvious boundary. Someone has intentions of hurting you, so you remove yourself from that situation.
The Pharisees and teachers wanted a miraculous sign from Jesus, but He would not oblige. He said no. That’s a boundary.
Jesus’ mother and brothers wanted to speak to Jesus, but He explained how His disciples are His “mother and brothers”. In other words, Jesus didn’t give in to his family members who tried to use their relationship with him to pull him away from a crowd He was ministering to (source: Jesus Set Boundaries).
Jesus explains to the disciples why He speaks in parables– “the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom have been given to you, but not to them.” This implies that Jesus has levels of intimacy; that only some were entrusted with these “secrets”. He didn’t share everything with everyone.
Here, Jesus explains in detail the meaning of His parables to the twelve disciples only.
People in Jesus’ hometown were offended with Jesus and couldn’t accept Him as a prophet. Jesus did not try to prove Himself or persuade them. Scripture says, “He did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” He respected the people’s right to feel the way they did, but He also wasn’t obligated to prove Himself to unbelieving people.
When the Pharisees asked Jesus why His disciples didn’t wash their hands before they eat, Jesus did not answer them, but rather responded with a confrontational question for them. He didn’t feel obligated to answer their questions.
Once again, the Pharisees are offended (Surprise! Surprise!), but Jesus didn’t appease them (take responsibility for their feelings). Instead, He said, “Leave them.”
Jesus calls Peter a “stumbling block” when Peter rebuked Him for speaking of His death. Jesus did not allow even one of His closest disciples to keep Him from His purpose, even if it seemed as though Peter had good intentions.
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Jesus has parameters (boundaries) for who is accepted as a follower.
Jesus only took his three closest disciples to witness His transfiguration.
“Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Boundary. This would be similar to having boundaries when guests enter our home: “If you want to come into my home, you need to treat me with respect, not steal from me, etc.”
In the parable of the workers paid equally, the land owner explains, “Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money?” The landowner represents God, so we can conclude that God also has the right to everything He owns–and that’s a good example for us, as well.
The mother of James and John asks that her sons sit at Jesus’ right and left in His kingdom, but Jesus could not permit this as “these places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” Jesus says no.
Jesus cleared the temple of those who were buying and selling. Jesus had this authority because this was God’s temple. This story is seen as one of Jesus’ most extreme actions. Some may even wonder how this story fits in with the picture of Jesus, the peaceful and loving Son of God. But when we understand Jesus as a man of boundaries and authority, it makes perfect sense. Imagine if you had a bunch of squatters taking over your home, a place where your family should feel safe and secure. Wouldn’t you desire to enforce your boundaries with fierceness? I would!
Once again, Jesus refused to answer a question from the religious leaders–“By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you this authority?” Jesus has a way of seeing right through people’s questions into their very hearts. The average person may feel trapped or attacked by a question such as this and, therefore, feel the need to defend and justify themselves. But Jesus is so secure in His identity and authority that he responds with a question for them.
In the parable of the wedding feast, a man was thrown out because he refused to wear the wedding clothes, which represent the righteousness needed to enter the kingdom. And this righteousness that is required is only through our complete acceptance of Jesus Christ.
In the parable of the ten bridesmaids, the bridesmaids who don’t share their oil are seen as “wise”. This goes back to the parable of the workers paid equally where the land owner asks, “Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money?” We have the right to our possessions.
When one of the disciples takes out his sword to defend Jesus as He’s being arrested, Jesus explains, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” In other words, Jesus is explaining that no one has authority over His life. No one has the power to control Jesus–arrest Him, kill Him, anything–without Jesus’ consent. He could have removed Himself from this situation, but His plan was to lay down His life.
“Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge.” This is a man in control, not someone who is pleading for his life. He feels no need to defend Himself or figure a way out of being put to death. He submitted to the Father’s will.
“He gave up his spirit.” Jesus willingly died.
Go back to “Did Jesus Have Boundaries, Part 2“