Jesus is offensive.

Hi friends,
On Friday I was riding the SkyTrain, when a man on a scooter backed in to the car I was sitting in. This wasn't just any scooter, though: this man had signs hanging all over the place, with the Lord's prayer, the armor of God from Ephesians 6, and multiple other signs proclaiming the love of God for people. His scooter and his signs were covered with hearts proclaiming God's love. As soon as he rolled onto the train, the atmosphere in the car changed. People looked at him and at each other, elbowed each other, and snickered. I was so impressed by him--here was a man who did not care what all the strangers around him thought, who was thrilled to be one hundred percent about Jesus, openly and obviously, everywhere he went. I watched him for a few minutes, then went and sat down next to him and asked him to tell me what he was about. We got to exchange testimonies, and it was so encouraging for both of us. Afterward, when we got off the SkyTrain, I was walking with him toward the elevator, and we passed a group of teenage girls who started to yell at him, mocking his signs and making fun of Jesus. We ignored it and kept going, but I couldn't help but think, This man deals with this every day. He was not pushy, crazy, or offensive; he just had signs hanging off of his scooter, and teenage strangers yelled at him. Paul writes in 2 Timothy 3:12, "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." I went home awestruck, sat down and prayed for boldness despite the possibility of persecution.

Today I was talking to two ladies, helping one with her resume, when they started asking me why I am here, what brought me to Canada, what I'm about. I felt prompted to be straightforward with them, so I was up front about what God did to give me a heart to love Muslims. One of the ladies, as it turns out, was Muslim, in the process of strengthening her faith in Islam. She chewed me out and accused me of insulting Islam, or being a white supremacist, of all kinds of things. I grew cold all over and was shaking, but I felt tremendous love from God for her. I can't explain this love; I just know that it was there. I didn't fight her; I let her yell. She told me that Jesus is just a prophet, that Jesus is not Lord (I hadn't mentioned this), that I was basically a terrorist.

Here's the thing: I haven't drawn a line in the sand. I did not make the Bible exclusive. I did not make Jesus exclusive. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). Jesus drew the line. He made statements that, if taken seriously, are extremely offensive in this pluralistic society. Jesus is offensive, if you take Him seriously, if you take Him in context. If He had come, preached, and died, we could say He was merely a good teacher or good prophet (though, if He had only been a teacher, the things He said would classify Him very quickly as a madman). If He had come, preached, and died, we could take him just as seriously as we commonly take Mohammad, Buddha, or any other religious teacher. But He didn't just come, teach, and die. He fulfilled prophecies, He brought sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, freedom to those held captive all their lives, food to the hungry, and life to the dead. He foretold His death, burial, and resurrection, and He died exactly as He said, and He was raised from the dead, exactly as He said. He ascended to heaven in front of five hundred witnesses, and He claimed authority over all heaven and earth. He drew the line. He was and is different from every religious teacher that ever lived, and He is still provoking the same reactions today that He provoked two thousand years ago. Jesus is offensive.

  • God has witnesses like that man in the scooter. He is at work everywhere, even through unexpected people.
  • The community of fellow Christians is precious and beautiful and encouraging.
  • The party went well on Saturday. My Iranian friends shared their faith boldly. Some people were offended, but God can use that.
Prayer requests
  • Pray for the lady who became so offended and angry today. Pray for peace in her heart and life--true peace.
  • My Iranian friend with whom I shared two weeks ago appears to be giving me the cold shoulder. Pray that this is not so, that I would continue to have opportunities to spend time with her.
  • Please continue to pray for the status of my work permit and my BC health.
  • Pray for strong local partners for me and my Iranian friends to work with--especially in North Van, West Van, and Coquitlam.
  • Pray for health, peace, and unity in the Iranian church.
  • Please continue to pray for divine appointments.
Thank you guys for all of your prayer support,

1 comment:

ryan said...

Wow. Thanks for these stories. You're dead on. We work hard to make Jesus palatable, but his hardline stance on how to truly know God isn't acceptable to a ton of people.

Press on. Keep up the good work. I'll be reading your posts regularly now that I know about it. Your dad shared the url with us in class yesterday.

I'm going to repost a bit of this story on my blog and direct them to check out what you have to your stories.