Sunday, January 5, 2020

Offend Your Mind

Offend Your Mind
January 6, 2020
John 6:54  "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day."

Jesus was often offending the religious elite of His day. He challenged all of them, in their lifestyle, in their practices, and in their belief systems. His teachings were controversial for the day, healing on the sabbath and forgiving sins.  While Jesus appeared as an unassuming man, there was nothing ordinary about what He had to say or about how He challenged everyone to the core. He had mercy on the woman caught in adultery; He completely turned their world's upside down. Jesus was quite offensive, but in a good way.

On one offensive occasion, Jesus was telling the disciples that they needed to eat his flesh. He was teaching His disciples about the bread of life, with Jesus being the bread of life. He said that Christians need to eat of the bread of life if they are to partake in the work of Jesus. The disciples discussed the fact that they would have to literally eat the flesh of Jesus.  They gasped at the idea, thinking how could this be possible. Other pagan religions they were familiar with actually did eat human flesh or drink human blood and this goes against the original instructions from God, given to the Jews through Moses, as documented in Deuteronomy. The disciples were torn and disgusted at the notion of Jesus asking them to drink His blood. 

There is no scenario where Jesus actually made anyone drink His blood or eat His flesh at the time. Jesus died on the cross, rose again, and ascended into Heaven, all without anyone drinking His blood. But Jesus made the strong analogy to get the disciples attention, to reveal what was in their hearts. Jesus often offends the mind to reveal what is in the heart. Jesus was trying to get the heart attention of His disciples, teaching them a concept about their faith that would have to be akin to eating flesh and drinking blood. The disciples did not get it, though, at first. He was revealing to them that they were still thinking in such concrete terms, not understanding fully that Jesus only came to reign in their hearts, not physically on the earth with a human government. They were constantly getting it wrong and He needed to slap them in the face with it. He offended every part of their being, thinking that they would have to drink His blood. It went against their natural understanding of the order of things, still not fully grasping the Kingdom of Heaven.

Their earthly hearts were revealed when they thought Jesus was talking about drinking His earthly blood. Their focus was so in the natural, that He had to offend them to get their minds into the correct realm, the Heavenly realm. Christian, your mind has the chance, in the lazy church today, to grow callused and clouded. The Lord says were are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Often, the Lord is going to go against the teaching of the day, the accepted patterns of the world, to get your attention. Challenging what you know is not always about getting you to doubt what you believe, but to affirm the correct beliefs. If you are not offended on a random basis, by the world and its practices or by the church and its correct teachings, then you are slowly becoming a fixture of the earth.  When you are offended, does your earthly heart reveal a poor character or is the Heavenly Kingdom declared among men? Have you been offended yet about Christianity being about a living sacrifice, your own personal living sacrifice?  
Don't take my word for it; look it up:  John 6:41-66, Romans 12:1-2

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