WHY Does Jesus Make Us SO Uncomfortable?

Heritage Presbyterian Church https://heritagepresbyterian.org

Maundy Thursday
April 6, 2023

Scripture readings: Exodus 12:1-14 and John 13:1-17, 31b-35

On this very special evening, when we recall the long-ago events surrounding Jesus Christ, we begin with one question:

WHY are we so uncomfortable around Jesus?

Now some of you, a few of you perhaps, might think to yourself, “I’m not uncomfortable around Jesus!  I share my faith with others in a welcoming, non-judgmental way.  I try my best to live a life that is an example of Christian living.  I hear the words of the Bible, and even when they are tough to hear, I open my mind and heart to what those sacred words say.  I attend church as often as I can, and I support my church. 

No…I’m very comfortable around Jesus.”

If that is you, congratulations!  You are in a minority of believers.  Because most of us are uncomfortable with at least SOME aspects of being around Jesus.

Just to reinforce the topic of tonight’s message, I did a quick review of the four Gospels for examples in which Jesus made his own Apostles VERY uncomfortable.

  • I didn’t do a Google search;
  • I didn’t check my various commentaries;
  • I didn’t ask Brian.

I just did a quick skim through the four Gospels, and I came up a list of 22 times in which Jesus made his Apostles uncomfortable.  Here are a few examples:

  • When the Apostles returned from buying food in a Samaritan town and found Jesus talking with a woman at the town well;
  • The Apostles remarked that the vast crowd of 5000 men listening to Jesus was hungry; Jesus told them, “You feed them.”
  • When the woman washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, and anointed his head with a jar of pure nard – a very expensive perfume;
  • Speaking of washing feet, when Jesus insisted on washing the feet of his Twelve Apostles prior to the Last Supper.  (Note: this was something Brian and I debated for some time before deciding to wash each other’s hands instead.) 

There were so many others that I could take up our entire evening just listing and discussing them.  Like I said, Jesus often made his Apostles uncomfortable – and I think he has a similar effect on us today.  Again, let’s look at some examples:

  • Ask an elder to lead a prayer…
  • Ask someone in the church to fill the pulpit – and that someone has not been to seminary or had any training in sermon composition, delivery, or formation…
  • Ask a child or any young person to read a prayer or read a Bible passage…
  • Or how about just ask an adult to serve as a liturgist during worship?  Many would rather die!

Jesus makes us SO UNCOMFORTABLE!  

But look at how his Apostles turned out!  

Every single one of the Twelve – except John – was martyred for the faith.  They were murdered, executed, tortured, or sacrificed in some horrible public way.

I think that went a little beyond feeling…uncomfortable.

Yet, I feel fairly confident that if someone put a gun to the head of anyone in this room, we would still profess our faith in Jesus Christ.

If someone asked us to deny Jesus as our Savior, we would refuse – even if it meant our own death.

If someone went through a crowd and asked who the Christians were, we might not remain silent for fear of what might happen next.

If being a Christian meant living apart from the rest of a society you know and love, you would choose to live apart.

At least, that’s what I believe…and I hope you do too.

To be a Christian today means to set aside our temporary discomfort at times and embrace our faith right in front of God and everybody if it means making a difference in a moment that calls for a Christian to step forward.  

Sometimes it even means disagreeing strongly with other Christians we know when they make choices that go against what we truly believe.

Sometimes it means opening our mouths and saying something that can cause great unrest, embarrassment, or even scorn.

Sometimes it means being uncomfortably outnumbered – even when you know what Jesus wants you to do.

Sometimes it is as intense as if Jesus was sitting right next to you, looking you in the eye, and asking, “But who do YOU say that I am?”

Sometimes it is as skin-crawling as Jesus announcing to a table that included you, “One of you will betray me.”

And sometimes it is just Jesus whispering in your ear, “Will you help me with this?”

Oh, to be a Christian means we have to stand out where it’s uncomfortable instead of blending in where it’s safe.

Yet, if we make the right choices when they occur, perhaps we have the chance to truly serve Jesus not just as faithful people, but as his servant in a moment in which He needs you.

Jesus makes you uncomfortable?

Get used to it…his own Apostles did.  We can do this.