When Jesus becomes offensive!
By: Ysrael De la Cruz
When you examine the life of Jesus; especially his ministry during those three years, you will discover that he offended lots of people with his words and actions. When you read any of the gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) you soon realize how the religious people were offended by something Jesus said or did. Jesus would travel everywhere from Judea to Galilee and lots of people followed him. Many became his disciples. John tells us the time in his ministry when some of his disciples stopped following Jesus. Something happened and lots of people left Jesus; they did not continue to follow him.
The reason they did no longer followed Jesus was because they were offended by something Jesus said.
When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is hard saying, who can listen to it?”
Jesus’ interaction with the Jews in Capernaum. They challenged Jesus to give them a sign so they can believe. Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness. (v.30)
Jesus told them that their ancestors ate the manna and died, but that God gives them the true bread that comes from heaven.
“I am the bread of life” (v.35) whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”
(v.48) I am the bread of life; the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.”
(v.49-51) I am the living bread that came down from heaven, if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.
53) unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. (v54) whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.
(v.56) Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in, and I in him.
(v.58) This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.
v.60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard teaching, who can listen to it?”
Since Jesus knew they were complaining about what they heard said to them. Does this offend you? Are you offended by this? “Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before?” (v.62)
Jesus had spoken to them in figure of speech when he said to eat his flesh and drink his blood. They took him literally therefore got offended by the fact that a man would suggest eating his flesh.
In verse 63 Jesus explained to them that his words were spirit and life.
Jesus has been proclaiming the kingdom of God and salvation to those who believed in him, but there were some who still did not believe.
(Jesus knew who would believe in him and who would betray him; truly nothing took him by surprise.)
Many disciples deserted Jesus (v.66)
After this, (after this incident, after they heard his teaching about being the bread of life), many stopped following.
Jesus asked the twelve apostles if they too wanted to leave. (“Do you want to go away as well?”
Peter’s answer: (v.68-69). “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
Following Jesus is a choice one must make. The apostles chose to continue following Jesus because they recognized that eternal life is found only in him. They recognized Jesus as the Holy one of God, the Messiah who was to come.
But there were some who followed Jesus until his teaching became to personal. They followed Jesus until they were offended by something he said. Those who stopped following Jesus did it because they were offended. (v.60) “This is a hard message who can listen to it?”
They did not like Jesus’ sermon and stop going to church. This happens all the time even in our time. People get offended by a message and they leave the church. The word of God is going to be offensive to us because it pierces our deepest thoughts and would challenge us to change. No preacher, no person should ever apologize for proclaiming God’s truth.
They misunderstood Jesus and left.
Notice Jesus never apologized to them or changed what he had said. He would never apologize for preaching the truth. Notice Jesus did not go after them either. Because following Jesus is a personal choice you make. Jesus is not begging anyone to stay. When Jesus asked the twelve if they wanted to leave also it was as though he was asking them if they too were offended by his message. But the twelve took no offense at what Jesus said, even when they did not quite understand the teaching. They would always ask when they did not understand.
The message of the cross is going to be offensive to a lot of people. The Bible is offensive to lots of people because it says things contrary to their ideologies or lifestyle. God is not going to rewrite the Bible because some are offended by it; he would not apologize either. They would either follow Jesus or not.
When you get to acknowledge Jesus as the one through whom we have eternal life, you would never be offended by what he says, but you will grow in your understanding of who he is; you will grow in grace.
He is the bread of life who came from heaven to satisfy our spiritual hunger. Bread would satisfy your hunger. Jesus as the bread of life satisfies our spiritual hunger once and for all. You will never be hungry spiritually speaking once you eat the bread of life. We need him to live eternally, but we need Jesus daily for sustenance, energy, growth and healing in our lives. Truly whoever feeds on him has eternal life.
V.35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”