Did Jesus Practice Tolerance?


      Introduction:  The person who is grounded in faith, has convictions, and speaks out to expose and reprove error (Col. 1: 23, I Cor. 15: 58, Eph. 5: 10, 11) is often charged with: "you have no tolerance! The charge presupposed we are to be unconditionally and without qualification tolerant. Our question  focuses on Christ regarding his life and teaching. For those of us who believe Jesus is the promised Messiah, Jesus' attitude toward error and sin is very important.

I. Jesus was tolerant in matters morally and doctrinally indifferent

  A. The Pharisees were very concerned and intolerant at Jesus' disciples plucking and eating corn ("wheat," dm) on the Sabbath.

   a. However, Jesus was tolerant (Matt. 12: 1-8).

  B. The Pharisees were also very intolerant regarding Jesus' disciples eating without "washing."

   a. Jesus, on the other hand, was tolerant (Mk. 7: 1-13).

II. Jesus was intolerant

  A. The casual reader of the New Testament has observed many instances of Jesus being intolerant and outspoken.

  B. In the mentioned cases regarding the Sabbath and the washing of hands, Jesus was intolerant with those who bound their traditions (Matt. 12: 1-8, Mk. 7: 1-13).

  C. The most wonderful sermon ever delivered is the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7).

   a. This sermon actually is an expose of Phariseeism. Jesus expressed much intolerance and was very plain and outspoken (Matt. 5: 20, 27, 6: 1-8).

III. Was Jesus inconsistent?

  A. Beloved, upon closer examination one sees that when Jesus was tolerant, there was no sin involved, when Jesus was intolerant, sin was involved.

  B. Christians are to mimic Christ (I Pet. 2: 21).

   a. Hence, in matters not involving sin, the Christian is tolerant; but in matters involving a violation of God's laws, the Christian must be intolerant.

  C. God's word is also the standard to determine right and wrong - not emotions or what is politically correct (Gal. 2: 14).

    Conclusion: When a discussion of tolerance is experienced, there must be determination as to the nature of the particular situation.  Is it a circumstance that is morally and doctrinally indifferent or does it involve moral and doctrinal matters?  Such a determination decides whether or not we are to be tolerant.