Summary: Many people believe the worst thing you can ever do is offend someone.

Today I want to start with a simple question. Have you ever been offended by God? It sounds like a stupid question. Everyone knows that you should not offend people. Some people believe offending people is the ultimate failure. Many of you know my son. He attended a college close to Pittsburg for a year. Before COVID hit and they all went virtual, they had a flag on the campus that was lowered to half-staff whenever someone reported that they were offended by something someone said on the campus. During open house, they bragged how the flag had not been lowered in weeks. In passing I mentioned to one of my son’s teachers that I found this very troubling and asked how this related to freedom of speech. The professor, who came from an autocratic country, told me that she understood my concern and that she was chairing a committee to determine if freedom of speech was compatible with the school’s culture.

I learned a long time ago that you cannot live life wondering if you were going to offend someone. I was pastoring a church one time where we lost a family because they were offended that I greeted him with a handshake and her with a hug. I offended a co-worker one time because I commented on her new haircut.

We don’t like being offended. No one does. What happens when God offends you? There are numerous examples of this in scripture. One of them is our text today.

And after the two days, He departed from there for Galilee. For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country. So when He came to Galilee, the Galileans received Him, only because they had seen all the things that He did in Jerusalem at the feast; for they themselves also went to the feast.

Therefore He came again to Cana of Galilee, where He had made the water into wine. And there was a royal official whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and began asking Him to come down and heal his son; for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.” The royal official said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies. Jesus said to him, “Go; your son is alive.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went home. And as he was now going down, his slaves met him, saying that his son was alive. So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. Then they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” So the father knew that it was at that hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son is alive”; and he himself believed, and his entire household. This is again a second sign that Jesus performed when He had come from Judea into Galilee. (John 4:43-54, NAS)

It doesn’t take too great of a leap of imagination to put yourself into this situation. By this time Jesus was starting to become famous. All kinds of rumors were circulating about him performing miraculous signs including changing water into wine. People crowded around him curious about His ability to do miracles, wanting to see Him do something else. Many of them probably had relatives who were sick or maybe disabilities of their own and they wanted to see if Jesus was really the miracle worker that he was rumored to be. Can you imagine the instant celebrity in “My brother-in-law was healed by Jesus!”? One of those voices assaulting Jesus was a man who begged Jesus to come heal his son. Jesus rebuked the crowd “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe!”

I imagine at this point the crowd got quiet in the face of his rebuke. Many probably reacted by putting Jesus firmly in the charlatan category. He’s covering for his inability to do anything. I’m not the problem. He is. If He could do anything, why won’t he?

Out of the silence, a lone voice said, “Sir, come before my child dies.” I guarantee this man was like everyone else. He came to see Jesus do miracles. What set him apart was the fact that he had a higher priority. His son was dying and he truly believed that Jesus could heal him. He reacted to Jesus’ rebuke, not by being offended, but by making an internal correction and focusing on his faith in Jesus.

In Mark 9, Jesus rebukes a father whose son has been having seizures for his lack of faith.

And when they came back to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. Immediately, when the entire crowd saw Him, they were amazed and began running up to greet Him. And He asked them, “What are you disputing with them?” And one person from the crowd answered Him, “Teacher, I brought You my son, because he has a spirit that makes him unable to speak; and whenever it seizes him, it slams him to the ground, and he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes stiff. And I told Your disciples so that they would cast it out, but they could not do it.” And He answered them and said, “O unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him to Me!” And they brought the boy to Him. When he saw Him, the spirit immediately threw him into convulsions, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth. And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to kill him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” But Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible for the one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again!” And after crying out and throwing him into terrible convulsions, it came out; and the boy became so much like a corpse that most of them said, “He is dead!” But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him, and he got up. (Mark 9:14-27)

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion