Jesus Offends Our Minds In Order To Get Our Hearts
A spontaneous living room conversation after watching the first 9 chapters of a “Gospel of John” video...
It’s evident throughout John’s record of Jesus’ life that Jesus didn’t explain everything He said or did. People didn’t like it then and they don’t like it now. People want to understand. They want to make sense of things. But, the message today is the same as it was then. Jesus says, “You’ve gotta come through me to the Father. I’m the Way. It’s not through understanding. It’s through ME.” Christianity isn’t about understanding. It’s about being humble. It’s not about knowing things or making sense of things or understanding how it’s going to turn out or how it all fits. It’s about having a humble heart.
God was there with them. Right there! Yet they missed Him because they approached Him with their brains. Obedience is what matters, not understanding. When you approach God with your brain, you can’t get your hands around anything. So, because they approached Him with their brains, Jesus let them be confused.
He offends our minds in order to get our hearts.
“Eat my flesh and drink my blood.” He never explained Himself. He never defended Himself. “Oh, I didn’t really mean draw blood from my veins and drink it. I didn’t mean chomp on my neck. Come back and let me tell you what I really meant.” No, He didn’t do that. Even though they thought He was a whacko, He didn’t defend Himself. Think of how hard it would’ve been. Here’s a human being telling you that you can’t have eternal life unless you eat his fingers and toes. But Jesus was willing to offend them in ways that are incomprehensible.
That’s the only kind of Christianity there is: “If I can’t have your heart without you understanding every detail of who I am, then I can’t have you around.” They had to understand that God speaks a different language. They screamed, “He’s breaking the commands of God.” But, He wasn’t. But they couldn’t understand, and so they rejected Him. He was trying to offend their minds, because in the Kingdom of God you can’t figure it out with your mind. If you do figure it out, then it’s not Christianity.
“They’ve made themselves to be gods, knowing good and evil.” They were eating from the wrong tree: “It’s not fair unless...”; “If I don’t understand it, then it can’t be true...”; If I think it contradicts this, or in my mind I think the Scriptures are supposed to mean that, then I reject it because I’m in control and I’m “god.” And Jesus said, “Unless you’re as a little child, unless you come to Me because you love Me—whether you understand it or not—then it’s not really Christianity. You’re never going to enjoy Me and participate with Me in the unseen world as long as you have to be a god with your teeny-tiny little brain and figure everything out and have all the answers and have everything be fair and just and true and reasonable and provable.”
Christianity is not like that. The God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob (going way back BEFORE Jesus) was not like that. He never let us figure Him out. “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it entered into the heart or the mind of man what God has prepared for those who love Him.” It’s foolishness to those without the Spirit. But the Spiritual man judges all things, discerns all things. And, we have the Mind of Christ. This distinction is about how we view things.
It’s a scandal, a stumbling stone, to the Greeks and to the Jews. The Jews hate it because it doesn’t allow them to be in charge. It doesn’t allow them to do their rituals, to find their forum, and to be able to be the “chosen people” based on their bloodline. So, the Jews are totally offended by it. The Greeks’ minds are offended. They had to have it all figured out, and if they couldn’t understand it then they’re mad. So, the Jews and the Greeks both lose out. The religious people and the people who think they have to have all the answers, they have to have it on their own terms—all those people miss it (1Cor.1-2).
Someone says, “Well this guy’s from Nazareth, but the Messiah’s from Bethlehem.”
And Jesus just looked at him, “...Okay... if that’s what you think.”
“Yeah, I can prove it. It’s right here in the Scriptures. See! Right here: ‘Bethlehem,’ ‘David’s lineage’... I can prove it. So, you can’t be the Messiah because it says right here...”
Jesus said, “...Okay... if that’s what you think.”
He made no effort at all to try to help them figure it out. None. No explanation. He never said, “But, I was born in Bethlehem.” He made no explanation because if they couldn’t get it without all of the little helps in figuring it all out, then He knew that He’d never have their hearts. If they still had to be gods, then they’re competing with Him. And He said, “I’ll have no other gods. I’m a jealous God. I’ll have no other god before Me. And, you ain’t it. So drop it, love Me, sit at My feet... or go do something else!” That’s what He said in Jn.6.
He gave them every chance to see that in Him was Life and that Life became the Light of men. He gave them every chance to see Life. And if they allowed that Life to become their Light then they could walk with Him. But not many did. “Few will be those who find it.” Not many people will let Life become the Light. They have to have a handle on it. They have to have control of it, otherwise they are offended and they’re mad. And, Jesus said, “Soften up. Look to Me for Life. And if you see My Life and you see My smile and you see My Kindness and Goodness—then walk with Me and we’ll figure out the rest as we go along the way. Trust Me and we’ll figure it out as we go along the way. Trust Me NOW. I don’t have to prove it to you. I don’t have to justify Myself. I don’t have to give you all the answers and all the explanations. Trusting Me now means that I call the shots. That means that the way it IS, is the way I want it. And you’re going to have to trust that I KNOW BEST. And, until you trust that, then you can’t walk with Me.”
“You have to trust that I KNOW BEST,” saith the Lord, “and like it. LIKE it.” It goes against everything you want, everything that makes sense. But like it anyway, because He’s the Author and you know that wherever He takes you is going to be a good place. That’s trust. That’s faith. Without faith, without trust, it’s impossible to please God. So, the very nature of this thing that we signed up for (or are hanging around, for those of you who haven’t yet been born a second time) is very offensive to our little brains because the Call is to trust instead of the white-knuckled control thing that all humans want to do.
Few will be those who find it because few will be those who let Him be God. Would the pot or the clay say to the potter: “Why did you make me this way?” “Why can’t I have this or that?” “Would you please explain this to me?” “This isn’t fair because of _____” “I want this....” No! The clay doesn’t say that. The clay just rests and lets the Potter form it just as He pleases because clay is the Potter’s stuff.
That’s the big issue. We are created in God’s image so that we are capable (in the next realm, in the next era, in the next dimension) of ruling and reigning with Him, of judging angels, of reigning over a whole new galaxy, over a whole new universe, a whole different dimension. We’re created in His image so that we’re capable of doing all this stuff with Him on His level with HIM. We’re created in His image, but there is a problem with that. The problem is that we have all this stinkin’ arrogance and self-will that comes out just like lucifer, who was thrown out of Heaven. He said, “I will ascend. I will be like God. I will make my own decisions. Aren’t I pretty? Can’t I do good. Aren’t I smart.” He was thrown out of Heaven because he began looking at what God had made and he thought he was somebody. And lucifer became the devil. He became satan and was thrown out of Heaven. satan used to be an angel, but he was given the choice of whether he would look at himself or look at God.
We all have that same choice. Do we look at ourselves and play god, or do we look at God and abandon our right to make our decisions, to have our rights, get what we want, push our weight around, have our opinions, be frustrated, be disappointed, be egotistical or arrogant, or _____. Those are all qualities that the clay is not supposed to ever have. To be Christ-like is simply to be clay and let God be God.
So, we are created in God’s image and we have this capacity for seeing, knowing, feeling, and understanding. We have this capacity that animals don’t have. And that becomes a battle because now we have to turn around and lay that down. We’re created in God’s image so that we CAN rule and reign with Him. And, yet the ONLY way into that Kingdom is to abandon ourselves, make ourselves nothing, and take on the form of a slave.
“Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus. Though He was an equal to God, He emptied Himself and made Himself nothing, taking on the form of a slave... even to the point of death.” (Php.2).
Let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus. Created in God’s image, but “let this mind be in you.” Because there’s no other way into the Kingdom of God than to make yourself nothing. But it’s a choice, because you were given certain things: capacity to see, to feel, to know, to understand, and to have a will. Of course we were given that capacity so that we could reign with Him ultimately, and be with Him on His level to do the things He wants us to do in the next era, in the next realm. But, for now, the only way to get there is to make ourselves nothing. We can’t get there as long as we’re fussing and looking at ourselves. We can’t get there as long as we’re being dominated by our own flesh, dominated by the enemy taunting us and trying to provoke us into thinking that we are somebody, and that we have rights and opinions, and we know things.
“But He wasn’t born in Bethlehem.” Do you think you know that? And, do you think you’re right just because Jesus isn’t arguing the point with you? Wrong! You’re going to lose EVERYTHING because you have opinions. You’re sure you know and you’re sure you can prove it because the “Scriptures say” and because your brain knows everything there is to know about the way it’s supposed to be, doesn’t it?
The battle has to do with this issue of trust. Will we let go of all of our rights, our opinions, and our judgments... all of that junk? Will we let go of this thing warring inside of us that wants to be a god because we were created in His Image? Will we, instead, have this mind that was also in Christ Jesus and let go of all those rights and opinions and preferences... all this kind of stuff? Will we just let God choose our path, order our circumstances, put the things and people and circumstances into our life as He’s designed them? Will we let Him do that without us having to be the ruler and judge of everybody else’s things and opinions and circumstances: “Well, I would if you would....” That’s nonsense. God is God. You are not. Let it go.
Without trust it’s impossible to please God, to bring Him pleasure, to share His Pleasure. So, as we continue through John’s account of Jesus’ time as a man, keep watching for this enigma, this irony, this mystery of incarnation, of God in the flesh. Watch and see how flesh relates to God. This is all about the Jesus that we’re giving our lives to, and “few will be those who find it.”
Just because you hang around here doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t even matter if you’ve been around here for twenty years. It still doesn’t mean anything. You still can only get in one way and that’s to make yourself as a child. Empty yourself. Make yourself nothing. Trust Him. He knows what He’s doing. He’s God. He KNOWS WHAT HE’S DOING. Trust Him. Let go. Trust Him. Trust Him.