By Earl E. Robertson
“And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me” (Matt. 11:6). What Jesus said offended others. The multitude had followed Him after the miracles of the loaves and fishes, but many “went back and walked no more with him” when He taught them that He was the spiritual bread of life (John 6:66). The Jews accused Him of being demon-possessed when He taught, “If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.” They thought He was speaking of physical death (John 8:51, 52). They had not forgotten by the crucifixion His comment near the beginning of His ministry concerning “building the temple in three days” (John 2:20; Matt. 26:61). He referred to His body; they had the Jerusalem temple in mind. These sayings offended some.
Men are often offended today by what they think Jesus taught. Denominational divisions keep many away from Christ, but He taught and prayed for unity (John 17:20, 21). The Calvinistic doctrine of personal, unconditional predestination and election to heaven or hell by God has turned many from Christ, but He taught “whosoever will” may be saved (Rev. 22:17). Don’t stumble over the traditions of men by assuming that they are the teachings of Christ.
Many people do read the Bible some. What they read in the Bible does not agree with much they are hearing in the pulpits and classrooms. These obvious contradictions are offensive to sincere people. The common man wants to have respect for and confidence in preachers but, at the same time, he feels the Bible is absolutely correct in its entirety. The man who respects the preacher feels that the preacher, having been “trained” properly, understands the Scriptures and that he himself misunderstands; yet, he has read what God has spoken in His word. He knows that the common man is able to hear and understand God’s word. The person is disillusioned and, consequently, disinclined toward the Lord. “Woe be that man by whom the offence cometh” (Matt. 18:7). Preachers must heed the admonition. `If any man .speak, let him speak as the oracles of God’ (1 Pet. 4:11).
To illustrate the point more we suggest that the Bible says, “Buried with him by baptism (Rom. 6:4), while preachers say “sprinkled.” The offenses come because of man’s false contentions, not because of Christ’s statement. Do not confuse the source of offenses! The sayings of the Lord do indeed offend some. But have you thought about the fact that He might be helped by the misrepresentations of men?
Guardian of Truth XXVII: 3, p. 86
February 3, 1983