Jesus offended many people during his ministry – Pharisees, friends, neighbors. His message to all was for a complete change of heart and obedience to God. His message today still offends the disobedient.
1 Peter 2:6-7 New King James Version (NKJV)
6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,
“Behold, I lay in Zion
A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”
7 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient,
“The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone,”
Jesus is the chief cornerstone and the rock of offense that causes us to be transformed by its power.
In Jesus’ time, believe meant to obey. Today it is accepted that to believe is to acknowledge the existence of something or someone.
Hebrews 3:12 New King James Version (NKJV)
12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;
Most of the people who were offended were religious leaders who valued their status and position more than obedience to God.
Luke 2:25-34 New King James Version (NKJV)
25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
29 “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”
33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against
Simeon was led by the Holy Spirit and gave us his public response to God’s promise to him that he would see God’s salvation before he died.
Matthew 15:7-13 New King James Version (NKJV)
7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:
8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
9 And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”
10 When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”
12 Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”
13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.
Jesus is saying that God will actually use offense to root people out that are not really planted in the kingdom. What we have today is a bunch of preachers that are lightening up their messages of truth in order to keep more people in the churches and it’s simple. If they broaden their message then they’ll increase their people. But that’s not how you bring people to Christ.