In culture today, we are so careful to be politically correct for fear of offending someone.
No matter what is done or said, it seems to offend someone these days. Anything is considered offensive now if one person claims to have been offended. That's all it takes.
We are so careful to be offensive to someone or be offended ourselves. Especially when it comes to religion.
I think that is so interesting when the Gospel we believe in is the most offensive. If we don't feel personally offended every time we read scripture and allow it to analyze our hearts and lives, then we are reading it wrong.
In John 6 we find a story of Jesus preaching in a synagogue. What he is teaching makes quite a few people upset.
Jesus claims that He is the "living bread" in verse 51. He then says that "this bread is his flesh" and that you live forever when you eat it. Then he goes on to say to drink His blood. I can only imagine what this crowd was thinking.
Jesus is asking a lot from them. This is how they respond to all of it...
On hearing it, many of his disciples said, 'This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?'
These followers of Jesus were just confronted with something that didn't quite make since. It made them a little bit uncomfortable.... well maybe a lot.
Jesus has quite clearly offended the crowd. He's about to offend them even more...
Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.”For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”
Jesus calls out the ones that are questioning him. He is about to see who is here to just to see some cool things and who is really here to follow him.
These people are now confronted with the decision to allow this offensive truth filter through their life and put their faith to action... or give up and leave.
The truth of the Gospel always demands a decision and it always weeds out the spectators from the players.
From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
Only the original 12 remained.
It's scary to see the response from these so-called followers. They were amazed at what Jesus just did by feeding the 5 thousand earlier in this chapter... but as soon as Jesus said something to make them uncomfortable it changed everything for these followers.
I am concerned for our own churches today. I am so afraid that we have so many spectators that are just hanging around for all the great things that God will do, but the moment it becomes a little hard to obey and follow they will give up and leave.
You know, it's interesting that as Christians we call ourselves "followers of Christ". To follow means you have to actually be moving and pursuing Christ. Following takes action. So, if being a Christian means to follow Christ and there is no active movement is there a Christian?
I am so frightened that our churches hold far too many people who are watching Jesus and they think that's good enough.
The Gospel is offensive! It creates tension in our lives not to bring us down, but to build us up. This tension is called conviction and conviction is when we allow the Truth of God to be a mirror into our life. Once we see the ugliness of our sin we can claim victory over it in the name of Jesus and grow.
I am burdened for the ones that do not allow conviction to change them. They run away and hide from it as if ignorance is bliss.
We can't afford to water the Truth down. We can't afford todays culture of political correctness to stop the True work of the Gospel and the Holy spirit in our lives. It's not supposed to be easy. It's not supposed to be comfortable. It's just simply supposed to be Truth and that Truth moves us closer and closer to our Creator.