This Should Offend You!
“. . . while hearing, they may hear and not understand . . .” Mark 4:12
Receiving and knowing Jesus is not a neat and tidy transaction. To experience the full veracity of Jesus one must allow the scandal of the gospel to have its full force. The parables of Jesus are not modes of education, but rather forms of offense intentionally designed to obstruct the truth.
Jesus uses the offensive to shatter our comfortable world where everything fits neatly into its place. Jesus speaks to force us into a crisis or collision that requires we not just believe in an idea, but participate and move into a place of action.
For His disciple, there is no in-between place for following, it’s an either/or proposition – either you are dirt by the road, a shallow ground full of rocks, a yard full of thorns, or you are good soil.
The real truth is, we don’t like these kinds of categories. We try to avoid them and if we can’t, we seek to minimize them, as to conveniently sidestep any confrontation with the real condition of our life.
The scandal of the gospel veiled within the parables is a necessary component to encountering Jesus and having faith. The sower, the seed, the soils are designed to create a crisis that reveals the hidden desires of the heart. Face it, three out of the four soils will be alienated from God.
Being offended exposes ones sin. Jesus sometimes offends the mind in order to reveal the heart. By veiling the truth, Jesus takes the risk that the offense might drive one further away or back toward God. If our yearning for God out strips our need to be offended, then we can work our way through the offense and come closer to Him.
We might ask ourselves what we find so offensive about these parables and Jesus’ explanation of them and examine why we are offended.
Does your offense stem from the discovery that God’s ways are not your ways?