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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Offended



It has been a long time since I have gotten really mad at something one of the pastors has said on a Sunday.  Today I was livid.  

We were talking about Ezekiel, which is one of my favorite books in the Bible.  Pastor Dan started out talking about King Manasseh.  This was a bad dude.  He worshiped the pagan gods killed so many people it was said the streets ran with blood.  This guy even burned his own son in a sacrifice. 

As we know, God doesn’t let men like that stay in power in the Old Testament.  God allowed the Assyrians to take Manasseh into captivity.  While there he repented.  God, seeing the change in his heart, forgave him and freed him.  Manasseh had a second chance. 

Pastor Dan tried to make the point that this kind of resurrection should offend us.  He went on to talk about the valley of the dry bones later in the book.  This is one of my all time favorite stories in the Bible.  Here’s what happens:  God comes, plucks Ezekiel up and drops him in the middle of a valley of dry bones. 

God has Ezekiel prophesy to the dry bones.  As he is speaking he hears a rattling and sees the bones come together and the tendons are formed and muscle and skin.  God then has Ezekiel call the breath for the bodies.  It comes in and enters the body and they all come back to life; a vast army awakened from a deep slumber. 

Still the pastor tried to say that resurrection should be offensive to us.  That pissed me off.  We should not be anymore offended by the idea of a God of resurrection than a God of love or a God who will fight for us. 
If we as Christians claim to profess the resurrection of Christ, then we should not be offended of resurrection.  It’s what our God is about.  In the Old Testament we see it with the dry bones; we see it with both Elijah and Elisha when they brought people back from the dead.  We see it in the way God continually takes Israel back even though they constantly spit in his face.  And when Christ dies the book of Mark says that the graves are opened and the dead go walking around.  Resurrection is what our God does! 

I am offended by the thought that I should be offended by the resurrection.  When we are claiming ourselves as heirs to the resurrection of Christ we should not be offended by that inheritance.  There are no lost causes with God.  There is no one who doesn’t deserve a second chance.  Everyone gets that who ‘confesses with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes in their heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved.’  You will be saved from damnation; you will be saved from yourself; you will be saved from the things that consume you. 

The resurrection doesn’t offend me, it gives me a reason to live.

2 comments:

Jacqui said...

I wasn't there to hear it, but maybe that's what he meant and just didn't communicate it well? Like Brennan Manning's idea of "vulgar grace." Manning knows the importance of grace and how dependent he is on it. But he says we should offended by a God who is so tasteless as to extend grace to some of us. But God does. God is willing to be so undignified as to be found in the company of such vulgarity. And that is where the true beauty of grace lies - in just how offensive God chooses to ignore that it is.

There's also this. http://churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/164601-jamie-arpin-ricci-why-youll-be-offended-by-the-justice-of-jesus.html#.UPVybNg1j0I.twitter Dan and I once had a small twitter battle about willingness to tell johns Jesus loves them.

ichthus607 said...

That may have been what he was trying for, but he did not succeed. He just kinda got stuck on the reasons we should be offended and never quite made it to the point that we should expect it. It was kind of a 'well we don't like it, but God does what he wants.'

We should long for it, not just tolerate it.