A few weeks ago, Ryan and I listened to a sermon online. The sermon was about how Jesus is offensive. The preacher described how Jesus offends us when we are living against the ways of God. This offensiveness of Jesus leads us from living out of our own desires to live according to God’s desires.
Day after day we talk about Jesus with our friends here. They love to talk about Jesus. We do this because we love and follow Jesus and believe he is the way to God and to everlasting life. We struggle to tell stories that Jesus told and stories about Jesus (in Hindi/Urdu), because the story of who Jesus is and what he has done and continues to do shape our lives, they have actually given us new life!
In light of all of these things, I started asking myself, “How do I view Jesus?”. Is he offensive to me?
Yes, the things Jesus said and did and tells us to do are offensive to the desires I sometimes feel for my life. For example, the Sermon on the Mount: Mt 5:1-11
The blessed ones are described as:
the poor in spirit
those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
the pure in heart
Umm, those characteristics don’t exactly describe my everyday life…. If it were left up to me in my own strength and power to be and do these things, it would be very offensive and depressing actually, but that is what is so beautiful about Jesus. He is the one! He accomplished these things for us and because of his love and the Spirit of God we are inspired and empowered to live like him.
The adjective that I have been overwhelmed with to describe Jesus lately has not been offensive, but instead, beautiful. For those who follow Jesus and trust in his sacrifice for our shame, he is beautiful. Overwhelmingly, intoxicatingly beautiful. He is good news for all people. The more I learn a new language and learn to share parables and the stories of how Jesus interacts with people, it is coming alive in a new way. Jesus is totally radical to every culture, because no matter how different cultures and countries may be, Jesus was always speaking of a different kingdom, the kingdom of God. I long for that kingdom to take root in all cultures. It is going to be awesome!
Jesus is beautiful. Following him, though not always easy or comfortable in this life, is the most beautiful thing.