When Jesus Offends You

In John 6 are a group of people who I call “the shortsighted.” Because they do not understand the depth of their problem, they are not prepared for the radical message of the gospel or the glory of the Savior who reveals it. They are looking for only a new social activist, a religious teacher with flesh ideas, or a life coach who adjusts their lifestyle, not turns it upside down.

Jesus said some pretty offensive things in John 6 that caused a large group of his followers to turn away. Even his closest 12 disciples had a hard time with what he’d said. Yet, Jesus makes no attempts to explain himself or blunt the offensiveness of his teaching. He says merely, “Do you want to leave also?”

Peter answers in what has to be one of the greatest short confessions of faith ever uttered, capturing the dilemma and the hope of gospel faith, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we . . . know that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68–69).

This is the ultimate question for all of us: Do you believe that Jesus is the Holy One of God? Do you believe that he has the words of eternal life? Christianity is filled with difficult teachings and seemingly inexplicable dilemmas. The question is not whether Jesus will offend you, but what you will do when he does. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if Jesus is not offending you, then you are not reading him correctly.

When that happens, are you going to write him off, or are you going to submit to him, trusting him in what you do not understand yet? He did not come as a politician soliciting votes, but as the Lord with commands to be obeyed. Is he the Holy One from God?

There will be times that you don’t understand, times where your soul feels like it is in turmoil. In those times you say with Peter, “I don’t know all the answers, but I know You! You are the Holy One of God! You are God; you died for me; you rose again for me! Even when I can’t understand it all, I’m sticking with you.”

Worship is awe combined with intimacy. Knowing the infinitely-wise and all-powerful God loves you like an affectionate Father is bread for the soul. Knowing the overwhelming power and intimate presence of Jesus is eternal life itself (John 17:3).

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