Luther said it: When God speaks to humanity, God always speaks in baby talk. God does this, says Luther, because God is love. Therefore, God never forgets that no matter how old or how big we become, we are still helpless, dependent, unknowing babes so far as our faith is concerned.
So God bends to our infirmities. When God speaks, he tells us only as much as we need to know, only what we can take. God knows we cannot stand the whole weight of the full truth. The Creator knows the limits of us creatures. So God talks baby talk to us.
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Oscar Wilde penned a powerful story about behaviors and definitions and justice called The Picture of Dorian Gray. Dorian was a handsome young man, a model of physical beauty and moral virtue. People complimented him on his good graces. Parents pointed to him as an example to their youth. One artist even painted an exquisite portrait of him.
"Have you seen it?" whispered the Barbie doll to her next door neighbour.
The next Barbie doll in line was instantly alert. There were five different Barbie dolls, who lived jumbled together in the toy cupboard but who were so jealous of each other that they rarely spoke. "Seen what?" asked the second Barbie doll, blue eyes darting all round the room.
"The Princess," replied the first Barbie with glee. "Caitlin's done her hair and it looks terrible!"
These verses from Mark's gospel are a call to commitment, a call to sacrifice, and a call to give up everything of earthly value in life. To say these are difficult verses is truly an understatement. It is pretty clear that the disciples are not at all ready for what Jesus is saying. They are not ready for Jesus to die and they certainly are not ready to die themselves.