Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dare to Offend

In Luke 14:1-14 we find Jesus attending a supper at the home of one of the chief Pharisees. It was attended by many guests from the upper stature of society. We've all been invited to such social gatherings. There is a general protocol which demands politeness. We want everyone to think well of us so we are usually on our best behavior. This also tends to be our general demeanor in life; we are careful not to be offensive. Unfortunately, this often keeps us silent with regards to speaking the Gospel or a point of Biblical truth. We remain silent lest we offend.

As we examine the life of Christ we find something much different. We was never offensive in terms of being mean spirited or rude. He was the model of sinless perfection. He was filled with love, mercy and kindness. Most people, however, see these characteristics of Christ but fail to see the other side. He never ever withheld truth out of fear of offending someone. At this dinner party, in a brief period of time, Jesus offended everyone present. He accused the leaders of having a higher regard for mere animals on the Sabbath than for people. He then criticized the guests for being so arrogant as to seek the seats of the highest honor, and then He offended the host, accusing him of inviting only wealthy guests who would then return the favor by inviting him to their feasts. Obviously, Jesus was not particularly concerned about what others thought of Him or whether or not He'd be invited back. His only concern was pleasing His Father and speaking His truth.

How does this apply to us? How many times have we withheld speaking the Gospel to a person or group because we feared what they might think of us? How often have we remained silent out of fear of offending? The truth is the Gospel is offensive. It deals with the hearts of men which are hopelessly corrupt. It presents us as wicked and condemned before a holy God. The natural man does not want to hear such things. He will often be offended by such words. The preaching of the cross will always be offensive to those who believe not. The Word of God is a two-edged sword that cuts to the very depth of our soul. When we speak the truth we will often offend. This doesn't mean that we should be offensive. We must not be pugnatious or ill mannered. We must speak with gentleness and meekness -- but we must speak! We must not remain silent. Jesus spoke these words: "Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels" (Mark 8:38). May we go forth with zeal speaking boldly the Gospel of Christ. May we never be silent out of fear of offending.

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