Blog Devotionals

The Reason Jesus Offends Some People

May 27, 2024 | Sam Rainer

Living like Jesus means you will be controversial. After Jesus interacts with the Pharisees, the disciples ask a question.

Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?” – Matthew 15:12 (NLT)

What did Jesus teach that was offensive? And why was it offensive? The Pharisees were not obeying the fifth commandment, and He called them out. We’ll cover more details about their disobedience on Sunday as we look at the entire chapter of Matthew 15. For now, consider this important part of the Ten Commandments.

Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you. – Exodus 20:12 (NLT)

Disrespect for parents in the Old Testament was an egregious sin. Exodus 21 teaches that if you hit or cursed your father or mother, you could be put to death. Serious stuff! These civil commands were ultimately fulfilled in Christ, so this level of punishment was resolved on the cross and is not something we do today. But the law still points to our need for Jesus.

The definition of honor is to recognize the value of someone (or something) and act accordingly. Honor means you hold someone in high esteem and offer public praise. Dishonor means you shame and disregard someone’s worth. The Hebrew term “honor” implies a weight. In the Bible, there is great significance in the relationship between parents and children. It’s a weighty relationship.

Honor in the home is the bedrock of stability in society. No culture or nation is stable when the family unit is weak. The family unit is the basic spiritual unit. God makes parents the spiritual leaders of homes. Children should be deeply grateful for the years parents put into raising them. For most of us, we don’t realize how much we need the guidance of parents until we become a parent.

I will give more background to the story on Sunday, but the Pharisees had created a loophole for adult children to get out of their responsibilities of caring for elderly parents. Jesus speaks strong words against their hypocrisy.

“In this way, you say they don’t need to honor their parents. And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition.” – Matthew 15:6 (NLT)

Selective obedience to God’s Word isn’t obedience. It’s convenience. And we don’t live a convenient faith. There is a great weight to honor. We honor our parents. We honor Scripture. We honor Jesus. Why? Because we understand the value of our salvation in Christ.