Ambiguity in Design
All too often we force what someone else says into our box of understanding. We hear what we want to hear rather than what is true. Consider the parables of Jesus. Talk about ambiguity! His statements, stories and parables were designed that way. The 'righteous' would hear one thing and 'sinners' would hear another. Ambiguity was a design feature of Jesus' parables. Ambiguity may even be a method of defense in the Gospels.
In recent months, Pope Francis has been accused of making ambiguous statements. The media will take his words and say, "Look how liberal Pope Francis is." But if you read further into it, he will have said another thing that seemed to contradict what he said previously. But are his statements truly contradictory? Our reactions are truly in the "eye of the beholder," are they not?
What we should find most interesting is how you or I react to what Jesus says. We should analyze our personal reaction to what we read in Scripture. We should ask ourselves, “Why do I feel this way because of what Jesus says? Why am I happy? Why am I angry? Why am I sad?”
It was because of what Jesus said that “the rich young man went away sad.” (Matthew 19:22)
If we can look at our heart's reaction and say, "Oh, what a sinner I am," then we will be transformed by the words of Jesus.
In the parable of the lost sheep, Christ goes after his lost sheep. It is always the one lost sheep that Christ goes after. The “ninety-nine righteous” don't need Jesus. When we read scripture, ninety-nine times out of a hundred we will listen with selfish ears. But we should pray that we become lost in what he has said. When we are lost and confused by what he says, and don't just think, "Oh, yeah, I already know what he means," then he will approach us. He will teach us what he really means. But that response takes deep humility, which is certainly a rare character trait in my own heart these days.