“Does this offend you?” (John 6:61). For those easily offended, listening to what Jesus said can be painful. When Jesus started his ministry, some of his first followers became offended at what Jesus said and stopped following Him. As we listen to Jesus’ words and take in what He taught, we must guard against being offended.
In John 6:60-64, the disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” They were referring to Jesus’ earlier statements that those who follow Him need to “feed” on Him. We will study this teaching in depth later on, but the point of this study is to beware of initial reactions of offense when studying what Jesus said. It is not realistic that I will understand and agree with everything Jesus said the first time I read it. Or maybe not even the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th time! However, when I read and study the Word, it must be with the baseline belief that I will accept it, because Jesus said it! Even when the teachings are hard; even when I don’t understand them; even when I don’t necessarily agree with them at this point in my walk with God.
True Seekers Don’t Turn Back
Later on, in verse 66, many of Jesus’ disciples turned back and no longer followed Him. How sad. Instead of putting their pride aside, and digging in and digging deeper, they got offended and left Jesus. Do we do this sometimes? When we are a little confused or conflicted about something in the Bible, do we pull back? Or do we press on with an open mind and heart? Are we offended when we study what the Bible teaches about divorce? Homosexuality? Or any other topic? If so, do we continue on, in study and prayer? Or become offended and turn back?
Call to Action
Pick a topic that challenges you to take offense. Examples might be what Jesus said about divorce, water baptism, loving your enemies, or the Sabbath. Some people get offended (like I used to) at stories about God’s mercy, because it goes against their sense of justice. Examples for study scriptures for this topic would be Jesus’ story of the lost son in Luke 15, or the parable of the workers in the vineyard in Matthew 20.
Whatever the topic, make a commitment to spend the next week studying it out. Use a concordance or online tool to find relevant scriptures about your topic. BEFORE you begin, PRAY. Pray for a heart that truly accepts and embraces what Jesus said. Pray that your human, natural self will submit and become obedient to Jesus’ teachings. Be sure to pray this each time you sit down to work on the study. I also highly recommend that you journal about your study. Before you begin, write down your initial thoughts and impressions on the topic. Each time you study, journal about what you are learning. When finished with studying out your topic, journal your final thoughts and compare them to your original ones.
If you need help finding relevant scriptures for your topic, please contact me by clicking here and filling out the Contact form. Be sure to include the topic you have chosen to study, and I’d be happy to help you get started.
Jesus loves us so much. The Cross was the ultimate sacrifice and atonement for all. Based on what Jesus did for us, in faith we can certainly trust everything He said, without doubting or taking offense.