A New York Post article from January reports a man inside the Mall of America was ordered by a security guard to either remove his T-shirt or leave because it was offensive.
The offensive words?
The front of the shirt read “Jesus Saves.” The back of the shirt stated, “Jesus is the Only Way.” In addition there was a “Coexist” symbol, which represents peace among different religions, crossed out.”
One of the security guards told the man that shoppers at the Bloomington, Minnesota mall were offended and complained about the shirt.
“Jesus is associated with religion and it’s offending people,” one of the guards told the man.
According to a mall spokesperson, their policy forbids “picketing, demonstrating, soliciting, protesting or petitioning” on the premises
The security guard said the man’s religious tee still counted as soliciting even if he was not actively preaching.
Video shows the man pleading his case, and apparently, he was eventually allowed to remain in the mall.
This incident is reflective of the times in which we live. There is vocal opposition to Christ. Christianity. And Christian values. I doubt that if he was wearing a rainbow shirt promoting homosexual behavior,there would have been an incident. If 50 Christians had complained, the news story would probably have highlighted “their problem with homophobia.”
Yet, as Paul Harvey once quipped, “In times like these, it’s helpful to remember there have always been times like these.” How about in Bible times?
Following Jesus’ observation about the Pharisees’ traditions that violated God’s law, the disciples reported to Jesus, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”
But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”
When Jesus entered the synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth and began peaching, many who heard him, questioned his right to teach based on his occupation, education, and family background.
“Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” So they were offended at Him” (Mk. 6:3).
Jesus’ warned the apostles that preaching His name and message would upset people, causing “many to be offended” (Matt. 24:9).
The world wants to give lip service to Jesus, especially at Christmas and Easter, but live as they please throughout the year. If you dare condemn sin or point out their inconsistency, are you immediately charged with being an intolerant bigot. And people are greatly offended.
This problem, sadly, has found a foothold among too many church members. Some folks want a sermon that makes them feel good about themselves. One that doesn’t “reprove or rebuke” (2 Tim. 4:1-2). One that doesn’t make them feel uncomfortable. Or challenge them to change. Preachers are often warned to be careful and not offend folks.
Granted, our preaching ought to “speak the Truth in love,” (Eph. 4:15), “encourage one another” and “stimulate one another to love and good works” (Heb. 10:24). Yet, there are times to point our error. To condemn sin. To denounce ungodly lifestyles. To warn of Satan’s schemes. And, as Jesus put it, “to judge righteous judgment” (Jn. 7:24), based on God’s revealed righteousness in the Gospel (Rom. 1:16-17).
Preaching “the whole counsel of God” calls for providing the spiritual remedy that meets people’s needs. Just like a physician is required to tell his patient the truth about their condition and prescribe the correct medication, so should preachers and pastors apply God’s Word to heal the sin sick soul.
Yes, Jesus offends people. He did in His day. He has throughout the ensuing centuries. And He still does today. Actually, we ought not to be too surprised. Whether it’s the mall, a public forum, or even the church building.
Of course, none of this surprises Jesus.
In a world highly offended at his mission, ministry, and message, He says “Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me” (Lk. 7:23).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
2 responses to “Jesus Offends People”
Great article and to the point. Keep up your good work.
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