Read Clint Decker’s April HOPE FOR TODAY column post here or on the column site.

I have had the privilege of being Guest Chaplain at the U.S. Senate and House of Representative as well as the Kansas Senate and House of Representatives.  I took these opportunities, not to religiously grandstand, but to genuinely pray for the legislators before me and for my state and country.  Only one time did I ever experience push-back.  After reviewing my prayer, the Chaplain sent it back and suggested some changes.  I did my best to honor him, but after the fourth revision, with great respect I finally said, “I understand the position you are in, but I must close my prayer with ‘In the name of Jesus.’”  Reluctantly, he permitted it.

The Chaplain was a good Christian, but concerned over the fallout he would receive.  He knew that some legislators, because of their religious position, would be offended at the use of Jesus’ name.

David Limbaugh, who wrote the book Persecution, summed it up when he stated “Jesus is offensive.”  And Jesus Himself explained “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before . . . you” (John 15:18).

From the moment of His birth to the present, Jesus has consistently topped the Who’s Who List for the world’s most polarizing figure.  On the one hand, every Sunday millions gather to worship and adore Him as Savior and Lord.  And on the other, over 60 nations are imprisoning, killing or culturally ostracizing followers of Jesus.

What is so offensive?  It is His name.  Jesus, means Savior.  He is a Savior from sin, and since no one can forgive sins but God, He is also deity.  These two truths inflame His adversaries and cause His followers to worship Him.

The deeper reason for the offensiveness of Jesus is the sinfulness found in human hearts.  Whether it is an individual, government or a religion, we all want to do life our way.  We want to be in control, make our own choices and pursue our own path.  That is sin.   And if the affects of our sin rise to unbearable levels we mask it with work, addictions or trying to be a good person.  Yes, we may acknowledge Jesus was a good teacher and person, but stop short of changing our ways for Him.  In a sense, when He comes knocking we hold up a sign in our hearts that says “Resist!”

One day, love Him or hate Him, He will bring the whole world to its knees.  The Scripture says, “God has highly exalted him . . . so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow . . . and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord . . .” (Philippians 2:9,10,11).  Instead of raising up your defenses towards Jesus, consider humbling yourself and discovering His joy and peace.