Being Offensive Like Jesus

The last few months I’ve been preaching through Luke. I’m amazed at how offensive Jesus is. By offensive I mean, “not defensive.” He takes it right to people.

Luke 14 is a classic example. He is invited into someone’s house for a meal. He confronts religious types trying to trick Him, nails all the guests for fighting over the best seats, upbraids His host for inviting the wrong crowd and then takes an innocent comment (seemingly) from a guy sitting next to Him to launch yet again.

It’s really amazing. Over and over people sayJesus is all love and grace, yet you don’t get this sense observing His interactions with people. The case can be made that He is indeed showing love and grace by confronting lies, yet this is not what people mean by “Jesus is all love and grace!”

Jesus does not like sin. He abhors self-righteousness and arrogance. He never skips an opportunity to level people who are guilty of these things. After Jesus leaves the dinner, He walks away with a large multitude of people following Him.

Does Jesus try to pump them up, or preach a nice simple message that will make the crowd bigger? Nope, He attacks them, says they need to hate their mom and dad and take up a cross. He’s relentless in His desire to offend the sensibilities of self-righteous people.

He did a fantastic job and it led to His crucifixion. If we have the mind of Christ and are to walk in His steps, how ought we to deal with others? Or was this just a role for a Messiah with a death wish?

Not only did Jesus’ crowds get smaller, any crowd hearing this stuff today will get smaller too.

2 thoughts on “Being Offensive Like Jesus”

  1. Jesus knew what was in the hearts of all men, we don’t. He was perfectly sinless, us, not so much. Jesus calls us to be good neighbors, like the good Samaritan. Whatever we do to least of these, (people) it’s as we have done it to Christ Himself.

    We should humbly confront those we care about in love, about their sin. To those who were of His flock, he dealt with much differently than those who were not of His flock. It may not be what we were taught to believe, but Christ doesn’t love everyone exactly the same. If we read His word, it is quite evident. Just look at how He dealt with Peter’s failings, compared to the Scribes and Pharisees, both were sinners, but for those of His flock He sought to restore. I think that should be our default mode, since we don’t know who is elect, and who is not.

  2. Paul, I’m not so sure there is a difference.

    To the Pharisees, when they were openly opposing him, he was unsparing. But to Nicodemus (a Pharisee), he also presented some of the richest truths. On the other hand, to the apostles, he once told them that they had “little faith”, then on another instance that they had “no faith”, and then again that their faith was smaller than a mustard seed. He named Peter as Satan on one occasion.

    Also, the Pharisees could have been considered as his “flock” also, since they were of the nation/religion of Israel, which is whom He came to be the Saviour and King of. It wasn’t until after the cross that there came to be a real hard division between the Jewish faith and the Christian faith.

    I believe it’s more of a case of treating the disease with the appropriate cure. When people are hardened in sin, and think they are righteous, then a hammer needs to be used to break the rock. But if they are already partly broken, then they need gentler treatment.

    I’m having some difficulty with this line of yours:

    “To those who were of His flock, he dealt with much differently than those who were not of His flock.”

    If you see the qualifications for the “flock” as being repentance, and faith…then fine, there is a good reason why the physician dealt a bit differently, as I just mentioned.

    But if there is some arbitrary division between them, based on a non-understandable will of God, then you have a recipe for bigotry, hatred, and persecution. As soon as one flesh thinks it is more favored and more valuable than another type of flesh, human rights will be abused, even in the name of God.

    I think if you look more closely, you will see that Jesus longed to reach the Pharisees, and used many ways to do so. They were just as valuable, so far as their flesh was concerned, as his apostles.

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