Cover 2019-01-13

Ron Writes

I’m Offended

In a pluralistic culture, it’s easy to see how some might be offended at Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the father, but by me” (Jn. 14:6). That’s exclusive. This doesn’t sit well with those who want to “coexist.” The world is offended at anything that hints of excluding someone. Everyone is to win. Everyone gets a star. In Australia they’re considering a ban on students raising their hands in class. Apparently the idea is that it makes those who don’t raise their hands feel bad about themselves. To some, Jesus’ claims are offensive.

Peter and Paul both quote Isaiah who said that Jesus would be a "A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense” (1 Pet. 2:8; Rom. 9:33). It doesn’t surprise us when we read that the Pharisees were offended by Jesus’ words (Mt. 15:12). To some, Jesus’ teachings are offensive.

The implications of the cross can even be offensive. The cross says we’re not good enough to save ourselves. Some are offended that God would say we are sinners. Some would rather try to “be good” than to put their faith in the cross. Paul wrote, “we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness” (1 Cor. 1:23). For some, the way of salvation is offensive.

John the Baptist was bold. Uncompromising. However, after he’d been thrown into prison it appears that even he began to have some doubts. He sent some of his disciples to ask Jesus if he was really the One, or if there was another to follow after him. Jesus sent them back to report what they had heard and seen. Then he added, “And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me” (Mt. 11:6). We are blessed when we’re not offended by Jesus.

It’s ironic that the good news of salvation that is open to “whosoever” offends anyone. How could a rock so solid that you can build your life on it cause so much offense? And how are people offended by the ultimate expression of God’s love for all mankind demonstrated by a cruel death on a cross? May we never be offended by Jesus. May we always say with Paul, “I am not ashamed of the gospel” (Rom. 1:16).