IN THE COMPANY OF CANNIBALS
Did you notice that Jesus does not avoid saying difficult things that will deeply offend the self-made man or woman? He does not hesitate to speak hard words in love to the ones he came to save.
47-51 “I’m telling you the most solemn and sober truth now: Whoever believes in me has real life, eternal life. I am the Bread of Life. Your ancestors ate the manna bread in the desert and died. But now here is Bread that truly comes down out of heaven. Anyone eating this Bread will not die, ever. I am the Bread—living Bread!—who came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this Bread will live—and forever! The Bread that I present to the world so that it can eat and live is myself, this flesh-and-blood self.”
52 At this, the Jews started fighting among themselves: “How can this man serve up his flesh for a meal?”
Dave Faulkner writes:
Dave Faulkner, http://bigcircumstance.com/2009/08/17/sermon-offended-by-jesus/
I want to introduce you to a new religion. It will involve cannibalism, vampires and the overthrow of cherished ancient traditions. Are you interested?
Or are you shocked? Because that is what the first followers of Jesus thought he was proposing. ‘Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them,’ he said. They were offended, and many on the fringes of belief turned away from him in this reading. They were scandalized by his claims.
We are still scandalized today by the claims of Jesus. We believe that the increase of knowledge somehow makes us better people, but it does not. We are a puffed up, prideful race who keep finding ways to ‘one up’ ourselves.
Dave Faulkner continues:
We have lived through several centuries of scientific discoveries, breakthroughs and advances. Human society has benefitted hugely from many of these things. The idea has arisen that the human mind will ultimately solve all problems.
Thus today, leading atheists like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and others mock the thought of anything that cannot be perceived by human reason. If it does not originate from reason, then it is superstition.
But these ideas are false. Yes, society has seen great wonders, not least in medicine. But the same human reason is fallen through sin, and science has given us nuclear weapons and climate change. Ultimately, the thought that reason can solve everything is pure arrogance and idolatry. God is not against the use of the mind at all – in fact it can be properly used to his glory – but he knows how we idolize our reason and so, in the words of John Arnott, ‘God offends our minds to reveal our hearts.’
When we stop and face the Cross of Jesus, what does it ultimately offend? The death of God at our hands says something profoundly disturbing and unsettling. It assaults our wisdom and morality as a people.
John Stott says,
Between Two Worlds, http://teampyro.blogspot.ca/2012/11/horrible-horrible-horrible-offense-of.html
Only at the cross can God be known. And this is doubly offensive to men and women of culture. They resent the exclusiveness of the Christian claim, and even more the humiliation implicit in it. Christ from his cross seems to say to us, "I am here because of you. If it were not for your sin and pride, I would not be here. And if you could have saved yourself, I would not be here either." The Christian pilgrimage begins with bowed head and bent knee; there is no other way into the kingdom of God except by the exaltation of those who have humbled themselves.