Offence at ‘lifting up the hands’

Offence at ‘lifting up the hands’

It seems that it has become a lot easier to offend people now.

We have to be really careful in what we say and what we do.

People get offended by language, appearances, politics, bad habits, affiliations etc. The list goes on and on.

There is a purity that not only isn’t pure it isn’t very happy either.

Can God offend your purity?

Jesus has just finished responding to the Pharisees criticism of him healing a man who was mute. Then this happens:

Luke 11:37-38 “When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with him; so he went in and reclined at the table. But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal.”

(The Message) “When he finished that talk, a Pharisee asked him to dinner. He entered his house and sat right down at the table. The Pharisee was shocked and somewhat offended when he saw that Jesus didn’t wash up before the meal.”

Since I was knee-high I remember the golden rule of washing the dirt off my hands before I ate. It makes sense. This is not that. If Jesus had dirty hands he would have washed them.

The Pharisees adopted a purification rite of washing their hands before a meal because they based it on the instruction given to Aaron and his sons before they brought a Temple sacrificial offering (Exodus 30:20). They were not priests in the Temple (that was left mainly to the Sadducees) so they applied this rule as an attempt to carry a ceremonial standard for their own homes, so that every meal is like a sacrificial meal in the Temple. The practice is called ‘lifting up the hands’ and it is still performed today by the Jews.

Jesus comes in to the Pharisees house for a meal. But he doesn’t perform the ‘lifting up the hands’ and the Pharisee becomes offended.

Jesus will offend our paltry attempt at being pure and righteous especially when it is an interpretation of the Bible handed down by generations and applied to our lives in a way it was never meant to be. They exist in our lives and our churches. Every Sunday there is someone becoming offended in church because it wasn’t done the ‘family way’. The irony is that we can lift our hands up and at the same time be offended with the fact that the leader or someone isn’t performing the ‘lifting up the hands’ or is doing so in a wrong way. Offence arrives unknowingly because we don’t usually believe we are offended for we know it is wrong to be so! We just sit in judgment and the meal becomes awkward (the communion meal perhaps).

Are you easily offended?

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