And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” Luke 7:22-23
What words we have here! Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist sends his disciples to inquire if Jesus is the Messiah or if they should look for another. John is in prison for a righteous standing against Herod. Of all words that could’ve been replied, this is Jesus’ reply to John.
Jesus’ reply doesn’t point to the different speculations of others about his birth, family or the unusual events of His life. All of these presented doubt in minds that the long awaited Messiah could be found in this seemingly ordinary Jewish carpenter. Jesus instead pointed to the miracles, the signs and wonders that flowed from His ministry. He confirmed that indeed He is the Son of promise, the long awaited Messiah who would deliver the people.
Jesus’ final words to John,”blessed are those who are not offended by (or because) of me” are quite intense. He is encouraging John to believe in Him and to not fall away from His faith based on other things. He is saying that He is the One and there is no need to look for another.
These word were sent back to John. While we don’t know why John sent his disciples to Jesus with these inquires, there are some good speculations. Was John shocked to now be imprisoned under Herod’s rule after standing for righteousness? Did he think Jesus would deliver him if he was truly the Messiah? Was John trying to encourage his own disciples by sending them to confirm that Jesus is the Christ? One can only speculate. Yet we can obtain so much from these words of Christ.
When we are bearing trials and tribulations, we can consider the blessing of following Christ and joining in the truth of His words. Blessed are we if we aren’t annoyed with what comes with bearing His will and words.
Many are offended with Christ back then through now and they deny Him as savior. Many are offended by His words and reject who He is. These kind often find other “gods” to worship or worship “self” as this is more comfortable and offers less offense to their flesh. Others accept Christ, but stumble upon difficulties and retreat. These people find their false ideas and unrealistic expectations of the way of the cross being destroyed and decide following Jesus isn’t worth it.
This is why Jesus’ words here are so critical, not just to His cousin John during that time but to every person now. Many speak against the words in red and try to get people to live for serving their flesh and not be held to an eternal life with Christ. If we join ourselves to Him, we must be bound to His humility and servanthood of His life and ways. May we not be offended because of His love and His ways. May we stand for His words and prepare the way for His words to transform lives like John’s life did even if that means dying to ourself and our desires.
Lord let us not stumble, fall away or be offended because of You.