It is quite easy to offend people. Either by what we say, do or even how we look. 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. But the question is this: Can God offend your purity?
Some context before we read a couple of verses.
When the Temple was destroyed in 586 BC and also in AD70 there was obviously no way that the acts of Temple sacrifice and offerings especially for cleansing of sin could be conducted. So teachers of the law, rabbis, Pharisees, debated continually until they reached a decision on new teachings that were created to keep the purity laws despite not having a Temple. After AD 70 they were compiled into what is known as the Mishnah. One of those purity laws is called ‘the lifting up of the hands’ and it is based on the Temple instruction for Aaron and his sons as they are before the altar in Exodus 30: 17-21. 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. No, this is ceremonial washing is to continually make every meal akin to a sacrificial offering in the Temple.
It seems the religious leaders in Galilee in their desperation called for the big guns to come up from Jerusalem to deal with Jesus who seemed to be flouting the ‘lifting up of the hands’.
“Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” (Matthew 15 v 1-2)
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!
If a person is easily offended then maybe they should be.