This morning I had an epic Daddy / Daughter Date in Fredericksburg, OH. Piper and I ran the “Trot on the Trail” 5k together. She was awesome! She ran the whole 5k without stopping even once. We wound up running 3.13 miles in 30 minutes and 06 seconds (although Piper probably finished in 30 minutes and 05 seconds because she definitely finished before me). We ran at an average pace of 9:37 per mile. I am super proud of her. She was awesome!
Kyle Wittel, a fellow #5kMay2018 participant, won the Trot on the Trail 5k this morning. Great job, Kyle! Dave Fletcher, another fellow #5kMay2018 participant, also had an awesome run this morning. Great job, Dave! Mark Rowe, yet another #5kMay2018 participant, ran 20 miles this morning and then hung around to cheer us on. That was pretty cool. It was neat to have so many #5kMay2018 participants in one location. I hope you guys are all enjoying this journey as much as I am!
Today in Matthew 13-15, I was caught again by the peculiar phrase in Matthew 13:57.
And they took offense at [Jesus]… (Matthew 13:57a, ESV)
I know that Jesus is offensive. I know that the cross is offensive. I know that righteousness is offensive. I am convinced, though, that all of these things are offensive only to those who take offense at them.
If I knew that you were having a hard time paying your bills, and I offered to pay them for you, you could either be (a) thankful, or (b) deeply offended.
You may become offended by the fact that I know of your plight. Perhaps your offense towards me is simply a cover for your own embarrassment.
Or maybe you would become offended because you realize that you were unable to fix the problem yourself. Perhaps your offense towards me is really a cover for your own feelings of not measuring up.
Or maybe you would become offended by me because you think I am only offering help to prove that I am better than you. You assume that I am motivated by self-importance rather than compassion, but it is really your own unhealthy desire to feel important that keeps you from acknowledging and accepting my compassionate offer.
This, I believe, is what was happening with Jesus in the New Testament. Those who refused to believe in Him actually took offense at Him because they were embarrassed, felt like they didn’t measure up, and were motivated by an unhealthy desire to feel important.
This, I believe, is what is happening with Jesus today. Those who refuse to believe in Him actually take offense at Him because they are too embarrassed to admit that they need help, feel like they don’t measure up if they can’t fix their own mess, and think of themselves as more important than they really are.
Jesus is offering to pay for so much more than our bills. He is offering to pay for all of our sins and give us eternal life!
Our plight is really bad! We have all sinned and we all deserve death! We don’t have to be embarrassed. We’re all in the same mess. We can just accept His gift!
We will never be able to fix our own sin mess. It is true that you don’t measure up to God’s perfect standard. No worries! When we trust in Jesus alone to save us, His righteousness becomes our righteousness! When God looks at us, He no longer sees our sin -instead He sees Jesus’ work on the cross and considers us righteous! We will never be good enough on our own, but we can accept His gift and immediately become good enough!
We do not have to take offense at Jesus thinking He is better than us. He is. He is the most perfect, most amazing, most compassionate, most caring, most awesome Person to ever walk the earth. It’s okay to be second place!
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. (Romans 12:3, ESV)
Perhaps in reading this you realize that you are someone who has taken offense at Jesus. Why? Are you embarrassed? Does He make you feel like you don’t measure up? Do you have an unhealthy need to feel important? You can hang on to those feelings, or you can drop them and instead hang on to Jesus! Those feelings will get you nowhere! Hanging on to Jesus, and simply being grateful that He paid your sin bill, will gain you eternal life!
I am reminded of something Jesus said a few chapters back.
“The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” (Matthew 11:5–6, ESV)
I, for one, am thankful for Jesus offering to pay my bill!
*5k Every Day in the Month of May 2018 is brought to you by Jeff Polen Music and Vertical Runner of Wooster. If you are joining the fun, don’t forget about the Facebookgroup, the Strava group, and the printable PDF.