Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Offensive Jesus

One of the more outrageous statements coming from certain sectors of American society runs something like this: “Jesus would never offend people like ____ does / do.” For years – actually decades – doormat Christians have accepted this hype, and shut their mouths when they should have defended Truth.

Last Sunday, I was sidetracked as I listened to an excellent sermon (sorry, Brother Paul!). The sermon focused on the Gospel of Matthew, and as I checked out a reference that Pastor gave the congregation, my eyes fell on these words: “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard [the words of Jesus]?” (Matthew 15:12). In case you are not familiar with this passage, these were words spoken by Christ’s own disciples – to Jesus Himself! And I’ll bet that you are equally unfamiliar with what Jesus the Messiah did next: He didn’t apologize. He didn’t slink back into the shadows. He didn’t offer an explanation. Instead, he served up another plate of Truth.
“Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots,” Jesus replied to His then-politically-correct disciples. “Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit” (verses 13-14). Pretty harsh words from “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” – right?

In case you are not aware of this fact, there are plenty of modern-day Pharisees around us. They insist that their authority trumps Biblical, God-centered authority. They insist that “modern” trends like same-sex civil unions and gender-confused children should be elevated above Biblical marriage and parenting. They especially delight in the “evil-called-good” syndrome when it comes to abortion and “good-called-evil” subterfuge regarding the persecution of ordinary Christians like Barronelle Stutzman, the florist in Washington State who refused to provide flowers for a gay “marriage.” God’s Word warned us thousands of years ago: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20). But modern-day Pharisees staunchly defend such outrageous behavior, presumably because they believe they are in charge of the dictionary.

What to do? How about following the Lord Jesus’ example? Keep speaking the Truth in the face of these people’s reprehensible conduct. Stand firm, as Jesus did. Yes, you may be crucified. But Who arose the third day? It certainly wasn’t the Pharisees.