When you are “The Rock of Offense” you’re bound to get up a few noses. And, He did. The religious establishment of the day hated Jesus so much they purposed to kill Him at the earliest possible moment.
If you make the powerbrokers so angry they’re determined to kill you . . . that’s pretty offensive.
But Jesus didn’t reserve His special brand of offensiveness for the rich and powerful. When it came to giving offense, he spread it around. Were you of high or low birth? No matter, He had something especially offensive for you, too.
And when it came to being “culturally sensitive” forget it. Jesus never couched his message so the sensibilities of the prevailing culture wouldn’t be offended. Check out John 6 where the people are gathered around Jesus as He explains who He is and what is required to be His true follower.
They’re not getting it (won’t get it) so He picks the one metaphor guaranteed to offend every last person present, including His closest followers. What Jesus did was outrageous but, what else should you expect from ‘The Rock of Offense’?
So, why did He do it? Why did He tell Law-observant Jews who knew dead bodies were unclean and drinking blood is an abomination to God that, in order to be His followers, they would have to become cannibals?
Yes, cannibals . . . to a bunch of Jews.
Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, dwells in me, and I in him. John 6:53-56
Was Jesus suggesting breaking the Law of God? No – that ‘s just what the spiritually deaf wanted to hear.
When it comes to His Way, and His Truth, and His Life . . . Jesus doesn’t care what anyone thinks or what the “culture” says is appropriate. He’s got a mission, a message, and He’s going to deliver it and the culture will have to get over itself.
It’s Him, or nothing.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life and no man comes to the father except through me.” ~Jesus
Now, that’s offensive.
We live in an age where every effort is made by 21st Century Christian religion to make King Jesus warm, fuzzy, and acceptable to everyone.
It will never work because The Rock of Offense’s basic message is, My Way or the Highway to Hell: You Choose. And, no amount of soft lighting, soft preaching, and the latest world-class worship vibe can soften His message.
The reason Jesus is so offensive is because He is driven by love. Jesus knows where mankind is headed without the salvation He offers. Sometimes being offensive is the most loving thing you can do.
Jesus loves people so much, he’s willing to offend their sensibilities. He knew they would kill Him for His Truth and He warned his true followers that they should expect the same from this world.
All men will hate you because of me. Matthew 10:22
For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake. Philippians 1:29
We can’t say we haven’t been warned.
If the Bible’s message of challenge and opposition for being a true disciple is obscured by our attempts to “love” people, to be liked, or to be culturally relevant, so no one could ever be offended, we are not preaching the Jesus of the Bible . . . and, we’re not loving people.
Sacrificing Truth on the Alter of “getting along” and not offending anyone may feel better in the moment but, it isn’t a loving act. It’s self-deception . . . and worse. The other person is being deceived, too, being given comfort where none is.
It’s a twisted effort at deflecting negativity, valuing what people think of us over the reproach that comes from the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Real Love is willing to risk offense. Real Love says what needs to be heard.
If someone is headed for Hell, he doesn’t need to be made comfortable for the ride. He needs to hear God’s Truth from you and from me – the True Gospel, the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes.
Yes, Jesus is the loving Bridegroom, drawing all people to himself – If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto myself, John 12:32 – and He also said, My yoke is easy and my burden is light. But, speaking the Truth in love never obscures from people the hard edge of Grace that challenges everyone to choose or lose.
People won’t come to Faith because we were deemed nice enough and avoided saying anything offensive. They will come the way they always have, Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God, Romans 10:17. And, to many, The Word is offensive.
Among the fruits of the Spirit (the manifestation of Him in our lives – Galatians 5:22-23) are peace, gentleness, and kindness but even Jesus, filled with these characteristics, did not avoid bringing deep offense. True disciples can’t either.
Now, if the offense is coming from you and me, shame on us. We’re walking in the flesh, not the Spirit, bringing reproach to the Name. Even so, as followers of The Rock of Offense, in a culture that (falsely) holds tolerance as a supreme value but bans Jesus from every public gathering because He and His Word are offensive, we need to face the fact that no amount of Spirit filling will obscure the reproach of Christ. The god of this world wouldn’t have it any other way.
Jesus has expressly stated that his enemies are our enemies – that anyone who witnesses of Him will, at some point, be hated. But, he said more . . .
In Matthew 10, Jesus tells his disciples that he is sending them out as sheep among wolves. Think about that for a minute – not a pretty picture. But, then in verse 33, he gives them (us!) a grave warning,
“ . . . but, whosoever denies me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 10:33
No-offense Christianity comes at a terrible price.
Will you stand with The Rock of Offense, witnessing of the Truth before hearts made hard by sin, or will you focus on making people comfortable on the road to Hell?
Matt Jacobson is a biblical marriage coach and founder of FaithfulMan.com a biblical marriage, parenting, and discipleship ministry providing written and audio teaching, as well as couples marriage coaching. He is the co-host (with his wife, Lisa) of Faithful Life Podcast and is author of the bestseller, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt is pastor of Tumalo Bible Fellowship and is married to Lisa, founder of Club31Women.com (they have 8 kids!).