Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Christian Message has always been Offensive

"When Jesus knew that His disciples were complaining about the things that He was teaching, He asked, "Does this offend you?"
John 6:61

In verse 66 of that passage the Gospel recorder writes, "At that point many of Jesus' disciples just quit following Him." 

If you read the four Gospels in the New Testament that chronicle the life and teachings of Jesus (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and the words sit warmly in your soul, they calm you and bring a relaxing smile to your face - you probably need to read them again. You didn't get it.

Jesus was killed because of the things that He said.

Yes, many have changed Jesus into a Hippy Holy Man, a sandal-footed Flower Child from God - but that is not what He is - or ever was.

Paul the Apostle told the new Corinthian Christians (1Corinthians 1:18) that the message of the Cross of Jesus would always be foolishness to people who were not followers.

Those Greek Christians were trying to pretty-up the Christian story by melding it with their sophistries and philosophies. 

Paul told them to leave it alone - it's ugly, rough, crude, and offensive.

When the early church Deacon, Stephen, publicly preached the story of Jesus only a short time after Christ's Crucifixion and Resurrection the angry audience killed him. He was the very first Christian who would die for offending a crowd. He was not the last, by a long shot.

In Acts 7:57 Luke records that while Stephen was speaking, the members of the crowd screamed out, plugged up their ears with their fingers, and rushed him in their anger and hate. They dragged him outside the city and stoned him to death.

I am not a Christian because I agree with everything that Jesus said or says. I do not follow Him because we line up perfectly and always see eye-to-eye. I don't always like His words or teaching.

I do not try to mold and shape His teachings to fit my sense and sensibility. I must change, and submit to Him and His words. Does that offend you? Does that sound demeaning and offensive to you?

Again in John 6, after so many of Jesus' disciples were offended and left Him, Jesus turned to the ones who stayed (they were offended, too). He asked them, "Will you also go away?"

Then Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom would we go? YOU possess the words of Eternal Life. And we believe and are convinced that YOU are the Christ, the Son of the living God. 
John 6:68-69

I began following Jesus because He called me.

I continue following Him because of Whom I believe that He is.

I struggle every moment of my life with the things that He said, and in THAT struggle, He is my Savior.

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