We hear it in the news, bold letters across social media and perhaps on a more intimate front, conversations amongst friends and family. One word sums it up, OFFENDED. It seems these days there is an offense for everything and everyone. Offended , defined as ‘resentful or annoyed, typically as a result of a perceived insult.’ Most of the time we tend to quiet ourselves or withhold as to not offend, and politely… rightly so. Yet, while doing this, we hold back about our faith, our God, “I-I-I don’t know, talking about God might offend them…” So?
I find it somewhat humorous; there are those who are shocked that the Gospel of Jesus IS offensive. Of course it is! They want to extend only the softer side of God; love, joy, peace, hugs, and smiles. However, they fail to mention the reality of the gospel; the sin factor and the answer. Regardless of how tender and loving the message of redemption is presented, it will offend. When a heart is convicted by the ‘living and active…’ word of God and their need for the Savior, with the Holy Spirit wooing them, all they see is a reflection of what they are not. Offended? Yes.
The offense does not come from the messenger, (if presented in love) it is the message itself. “The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.” (Paul, 1 Cor. 1:18) Pastor Erik Raymond of Nebraska wrote: “There are sharp edges to this gospel. There is blood, death, wrath, sin, greed, and anger. You can’t sand that down without losing it all. Paul continued to preach Christ because he knew that this same (foolish) gospel was also the saving gospel.”
Jesus said, “I did not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Lk. 5:32) The gospel wouldn’t be so tough if it wasn’t so stinkin picky about sin. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23). The message of the gospel is confrontational.
May we echo Paul’s word, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Ro. 1:16) When it comes to the bible and my God, I will not tenderize the meat of the message, white wash to gain a sparkling appearance, no matter how much I love bling! Nor will I water it down for easier swallowing. The message is and will be, Jesus. The One sent from Father God to redeem us back.
Jesus told His disciples He was the true bread of life, that partaking of Him, they will live forever. This in contrast to the manna provided in the wilderness, it was temporal and sustained their physical bodies only. What He was providing was spiritual. It says that for some this was too much, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” they said. Jesus asks, “Does this offend you…” Many of these men turned back and no longer followed Him. (John 6)
Is Jesus offensive? Yes. In the most loving way, may we not water-down, white wash or temper the message. Those ‘annoyed’ NEED to hear and see it! The sharp edges of the gospel are meant to prick!
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Heb. 10:24)