He is SO controversial, that if you mention His name, unbelievers will scoff. The look on their faces, disgust. Bring up His teachings to these sorts, and you will find yourself in a full-blown argument if you're not respectful.
I've been around Younglife for a long time, where Christ and Him crucified is preached every chance we can get. Why? In my opinion, it's because if someone actually walks in the door, it might be the only time they ever even hear about Jesus. Why, then, are many of our churches preaching so much about money, sex, abortion, but not Jesus (I "affectionately" call these types "self help sermons")?! Churches are labeling themselves as "seeker churches," but are simply telling people how to be better people! These "seekers" are seeking JESUS, not a better way to manage their money. If they wanted that, they would have gone to a financial planner, not church. That being said, I understand why even the Church has failed these seekers. It's because they don't want to scare these people away by mentioning Jesus! If we can "rope them in" and teach them about money, sex, abortion and what God says about that, THEN we'll teach them about Jesus in small groups. That way we don't scare anyone away. I know other groups that do that. They're called cults.
Still debating on whether Jesus was actually controversial? Let's check out some Scripture. Flip with me to Matthew chapter 15...
First of all, these Pharisees were the Jewish superstars of their time. They were hell-bent on following the law to a "T," and they were good at it. On top of THAT, the Pharisees had some good 'ole boy "rules and regs" that were expected to be followed. These same Pharisees watched Jesus like a hawk, waiting for Him to break any minute law-or their "rules." In this part of Scripture, the Pharisees had a problem with Jesus and His friends because they were not washing their hands before they ate. What a waste of their time and energy! Don't get me wrong, I'm all about keeping a brother or sister in check in a loving manner, but these folks were just looking for a reason to condemn Him! The cool part about this Scripture is that Jesus flat-out called these guys OUT!
The Pharisees said to Jesus, "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat!" (vs. 2) Oh, The scandal! "Jesus replied, 'And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?'" (vs. 3) Later on, after giving them an example of how they were doing that, Jesus said, "Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'" (vs. 6-8) Then, Jesus teaches the crowd something that directly conflicted what they were teaching. The result? His disciples came up to him and said, "Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?" (vs. 12) GASP!!! I can almost imagine Jesus' reply: "Oh, no!!! I take it back! REWIND! I totally did NOT mean to offend you! I'm SO SORRY! Forget I said ANYTHING!" (That's sarcasm, folks. Jesus did NOT say that!) Instead, Jesus replied with more truth:
"Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit." (vs. 13-14)
Friends! We cannot be the blind guides in this story! We cannot be the people that preach our own "rules and regs" on "How to live a Christian life!!" The Pharisees did that and were called HYPOCRITES! But, rather, we MUST preach the resurrected Jesus with boldness and confidence! If we do not, we are the blind leading the blind!