Monday, August 10, 2015

Offended, turned off, turning back

"Jesus Preaching In the Temple"
-Pierre Louis Van Schuppen

Jesus Preaching in the Temple by Pierre Louis Van Schuppen
TODAY'S SPECIAL: John 6:52-71

TO CHEW ON: "Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, 'This is a hard saying; who can understand it?' .... From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more." John 6:60,66

The disciples' offense arose out of Jesus' controversial statements about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. They couldn't understand it and it turned them off Jesus - John 6:53-59.

We are not immune from being offended by Jesus and what the Bible teaches. Though it may be a different set of concepts that give offense, people are turned off and turn back as much as ever. Even us so-called believers.

Who of us, for example, hasn't felt a twinge of offense when we envision Jesus' teachings fleshed out in our lives in the areas of:
- non-resistance to an evil person - Matthew 5:39-42.
- loving our enemies - Matthew 5:44.
- the exclusivity of "the way" - Matthew 7:13-14.

Jesus' clear teaching about hell, a place of eternal torment (Matthew 18:9, 25:30; Luke 16:24) is in disfavor among some Christians these days.

So is the Bible's stance on some issues of morality. I recently became aware of the Episcopal Church's rejection of the English Standard Version of the Bible because of its plain speech condemning homosexuality in 1 Corinthians 6:9. (Trouble is, they've already approved the RSV, NIV, CEV and other versions where the language is just as clear - article here)

Jesus' reported words and the teachings of the early church's apostles leave lots of room for faith and trust in areas that we can't make sense of with our minds or that don't fit with our current culture. Let's not let a lack of cerebral understanding or the fear of being politically incorrect cause us to go back and walk with Him no more, as it did some of Jesus' first century disciples.

PRAYER: Dear God, please develop in me spiritual understanding that is not offended by things I must take by faith. Amen. 

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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