The Irony of an Offense

It can happen that what we consider truth may actually hinder us from growth in our understanding. Jesus revealed an ironic truth to the religious leaders during his conversation with them after he healed the man by the pool on the Sabbath. They rejected Jesus for two reasons; he healed on the Sabbath and he called God his Father. Both of which violated their mistaken understanding of the Scriptures; so they rejected Jesus. Jesus warned them saying, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.” (John 5:39-40 ESV) The leaders were convinced that they possessed complete truth from God, that their understanding of the Scriptures was completely accurate. They had reached a point which prevented them from further growth. Their conviction that their interpretation of the Scriptures was the only correct one rendered them blind to what the Scriptures actually said about Jesus and prevented them from enjoying eternal life, that comes through Jesus, not through the study and practice of the Scriptures.

Jesus’ words to the religious leaders instruct us that what offends us may possibly be pointing us to a growth opportunity. Peter was offended by Jesus saying that Jesus would be killed, but Jesus corrected him. Later, Peter was offended at the thought of eating what he considered unclean food, but again Jesus corrected him. Unlike the religious leaders, Peter allowed Jesus to overcome the offense in his life. His example instructs us to consider what Jesus says about what offends us. What does the Holy Spirit say? Is this an opportunity for me to grow? An offense should cause us to pause long enough to consider that our understanding of truth may not be complete or perfectly accurate and actually be an opportunity for growth in disguise.

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