And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” [Matthew 11:6]
What kind of people offend you? Rude people? People who tell racist jokes? Those who gossip about your friends or family? Those who make fun of your looks or heritage or religion? Those who say you are not good enough?
No doubt you have been offended by someone and probably not too long ago. And when someone offends you, what do you do? Run away? Confront them? Go on the offensive trying to offend the offender? Get violent?
Sometimes the offense is unintentional but whatever the case, when we are offended; a wall has been built and a relationship has been cut off. You want nothing more to do with that person since they obviously don’t understand you or care about you.
And then we have Jesus; the great offender. Seems kind of strange to say that but it is true. One of my favorite seminary professors told us early in our seminary education that the Gospel is offensive to some. And how true that is. The Gospel tells you that:
~ YOU are a sinner
~ YOU are worthy of death
~ YOUR good works do nothing to make God love you more
~ ALL your best efforts still fall short of God’s expectations
~ YOUR heart is full of evil and sin
~ YOU will die on your own
A sinner hears statements like that and it’s offensive. People want to hear the “good stuff”; how they can be successful not how bad they are. So it is no wonder why people are offended by the Gospel, especially in a culture where many so-called preachers are saying that everything will be alright if you just believe correctly or think correctly or dream big enough. That’s not the Gospel. And actually, it’s quite offensive to this pastor.
The fact of the matter (the Gospel) is that YOU are not good enough but JESUS is.
YOU fall short but JESUS does not.
YOU displease God but JESUS does not.
YOU are filled with sin but JESUS is not.
YOU are not worthy but JESUS is.
And the Gospel is that through faith in Jesus you are connected to him and thus live. If this offends you then you will be lost forever, but blessed is the one who is not offended by Jesus.
Holy God, grant us the faith to receive this Gospel. Help us to see that we fall short and that our only hope is to run into the arms of Jesus. May we never be offended by you, instead may we see you as our loving Father, wanting us to live with you forever. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
The Pastor -|—