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Jesus and Offense

Updated: Aug 28, 2021

Today’s sermon study led me to Mark 6. It specifically deals with Jesus returning to his hometown of Nazareth in the region of Galilee. While in Nazareth, Jesus teaches at the synagogue. People are amazed at his mastery of God’s word along with all the miracles that have surrounded his ministry. Suddenly, the text goes into a different direction. Scripture says:

“What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.” Mark 6:2-3

They took offense. I’d like to stop at this phrase as I find it applicable for today. The people of his town, who knew his family well and who should have been proud to be closely associated with the remarkable person of Jesus, took offense over his giftedness or better said his goodness.

If I were to call you a derogatory name, it would be appropriate to feel offended, as I would be attacking you as a person. But this text proves that people can become offended for almost anything. How strange is it to be offended by the author of our lives, the one who loves us generously, who has forgiven our sins, and demonstrates his compassion and kindness regularly? So what does this mean for each of us?

Even though Jesus’ intent was to help those around him, to be a physician to the sick (as he metaphorically puts it in Mark 2:7), his ministry confronted sin and exposed wicked hearts. Similarly, our lives can do the same. Despite us trying our best to love others and excel in our call, our lives will likely offend someone. And when that happens, take a deep breath, ask God for wisdom (as not ever offence is good), and continue to live for him.

Had Jesus stopped his ministry because people took offense, then we would not have received the beautiful gift of salvation. In fact, it was because of his perpetual offense that led to his death on a cross. Just know the difference between willfully trying to offend someone and offending someone as you humbly live out your faith. The later is what God is calling us to.

After Jesus recognized their offended hearts, Scripture says that “He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith” (Mark 6:5-6). When people are offended easily, or more specifically when people are offended by God and his word, they will ultimately miss out on his blessings.

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