“And they took offense at him.”

The beginning of Mark 6 (vv. 1-6) has Jesus coming back home to Nazareth with His disciples.  Jesus teaches in the synagogue there causing many kin and neighbors to marvel at the learning, wisdom, and “mighty deeds” coming from this man whom they have long known (or thought they knew) and who still has a mother and other relatives living there.  Apparently the tone is negative because Jesus is “amazed at their lack of faith” (v. 6) thus being able to do little healing there.

My first thought upon hearing the words in the headline had to do with our contemporary culture that, when unable to ignore or dismiss Christian principles, seems to increasingly take offense at them.  This is true, of course.  What is worse, and what is the focus of this episode in Jesus’ life, is His being rejected by those who knew Him best!  We, as Christians, should know the Lord best.  This is why it is all the more disturbing when we reject Him by our words and actions.  All sin signifies rejection of Jesus in some way, but does not necessarily indicate a complete break (mortal sin is the decisive break from the life of grace).  Do not Christians “take offense” at Jesus when they promote intrinsically evil acts like abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and homosexual “marriage” (the so-called “non-negotiables”).  We are to be the light of the world, advancing the Kingdom of God here on earth, not advocating for evil or being silent in the face of it.  Jesus was rejected by family and friends for His words and works.  Are we willing to accept this for ourselves when our Christian faith collides with popular culture, political correctness, “tolerance,” and a false sense of compassion?

Jesus carried the burden of being offensive all the way to Calvary.  How far are we willing to carry it?

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