“We don’t say ____; someone might be offended.” You may think that is a new attitude of our hyper-sensitive times, but in fact, they said similar things to Jesus. He paid no attention. Jesus constantly said things that offended people. So much so, they killed Him. Roughly paraphrased, He said, “I am God.” I don’t think anyone would be offended by that today.
But there are two words Jesus said that still offend people deeply today. I think the offensiveness of the two words has a lot to do with why so many people reject Him. The two words? “Deny himself.”
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” – (Matthew 16:24)
We don’t say “deny himself” or “deny yourself” today. People definitely get offended. We say, “find yourself,” “express yourself,” “help yourself,” “be yourself,” “love yourself” and “protect yourself.” But not that D word… “Take up your cross?” No problem. That phrase no longer contains any horror for us. Not like denying my self…
Jesus’ offensive truth is this: You cannot follow Him and follow your “self” at the same time. And to choose your “self” over following Him is to forfeit your eternal soul. I know, I know, we don’t say that. We don’t want to get anyone’s feathers ruffled. But Jesus not only said it, He explained it:
“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?…” – (Matthew 16:25-26a)
It sounds like heresy in our “Me” world. But instead of being offended, why not spend some time considering whether Jesus might have been telling the truth?