Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you?” … From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. (John 6:61, 66, NIV)
In our society, one of the worst possible sins you can commit is offending someone. We think we have the right to not be offended, but at some point in our walk with Jesus, He will say something to us that offends us. It happens to every disciple, there is no avoiding it. Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell all he had and give it to the poor. Jesus told Peter to put away his sword. Jesus told Ananias to go pray for a man named Saul who was actively persecuting Christians.
When Jesus offends us, it is the true test of our faith. It’s easy to follow someone you agree with, but much harder to devote your life to someone who challenges your convictions. There are things the Bible talks about, whether directly or implicitly, that we try to avoid because they make us uncomfortable. Perhaps it’s the Bible’s teaching about human sexuality that we find offensive because of a friend or family member whose life doesn’t align with that standard. Maybe it’s something like the story of creation in Genesis 1-2 that we think is outdated and has been “proven wrong” by science. It could be a hot-button political issue, like how we should treat immigrants or what we should think about abortion. Whatever it is, it forces us to decide what we actually believe about Jesus and evaluate why we’ve been following Him. By putting us on the spot, Jesus brings us to a crossroads where we have to decide what or who we love more.
So, rest assured, if you are following Jesus there will come a time when He turns around and says something that cuts to the heart, offends you, and requires a decision. In John 6, after Jesus’ hard saying, “many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.” When Jesus offends you, what will your decision be? My prayer for the week is that when you and I face the test, we choose Jesus.