Matthew 11:2-3 -Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?
This morning I was reminded of a passage in the Bible and I decided to blog about it. Generally speaking, I don’t blog until I feel I have something to say. And this morning I do!
In the Scriptural text, John sends two of his disciples to Jesus to ask Him, “Are you the One, or look we for another?” There are some interesting dynamics going on here, but the major thing is that John is offended with Jesus!
The word offense means “to have an annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult to or disregard for oneself or one’s standards or principles.” I believe that John was clearly offended with Jesus. The Bible doesn’t explicitly tell us the why of everything but there are some things we can infer.
Why would John be asking Jesus is He the One? Was it not John who declared, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:36)?” And was it not John who declared, “ I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost?” (Mark 1:8) Yes, it is he!
But John also said of himself that he was “the voice of one crying in the wilderness to prepare the way of the Lord” and that Jesus came after him but was preferred before Him. And the greatest statement John made about Jesus was, “And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God!” (John 1:34)
So I return to my original statement that John was offended with Jesus because he went from “Behold the Lamb of God”….to “are you the One?” Only offense will cause us to question our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!
Let’s return to Matthew 11, where Jesus responds to John’s disciples. He tells them to report back to John what they hear and see, but then He makes this statement in verse 6, “And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” Why would Jesus add this to what He wanted the disciples to tell John? Obviously, John was offended!
Why was John offended? I don’t know for sure, but I can surmise that John is in prison and he is about to die and offense has come in. He had a perceived notion that he would be protected from the devil because of his service to God. He has spent his entire life preparing the way for Jesus, getting people ready to hear the Messiah and the thanks he is getting is a beheading. What’s wrong with this picture?
You see, John had the same adversary that we have. While we are living this life in Christ, things are going to happen and the adversary will forever be there to accuse God to us! After all, he is an accuser. He accuses us to God and God to us! And so I am sure that while John was in prison, the devil was in his ear: You spent all that time working for God and now you are going to die! You thought Jesus was the Lamb of God, but if He is, then why are you in prison? Why hasn’t He delivered you! Your life has been a sham, a lie, a joke! He is not the Son of God! Admit it! Your life and ministry has been in vain!
And so John, in desperation, frustration, aggravation, and offense, sends a message to Jesus. And Jesus, in the way only He can do, sends a message back to John that will settle things for him and bring him peace…”the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the poor have the gospel preached to them…and oh yes, blessed is he, who shall not be offended in me!”
This is the biggest problem in the church! Offense with Jesus! Yes, we have a problem being offended with others, but the biggest problem is offense with Jesus! We get offended when He doesn’t answer our prayers the way we want Him to, or in a timely manner. We get offended when our loved ones die. We get offended when we are not healed miraculously. We get offended when our spouses desert us or our children go the way of the world. We get offended when our ministries don’t take off and we get offended when we can’t find a husband. And the list goes on and on and on. And once we get offended, we have a problem with Jesus, and if He is truly who He said He is, and can we trust Him to do what He said He would do!
Well, I am writing today to declare to you, that He is and He does!! He has given us exceeding precious promises and will fulfill all that we can believe Him for! But in the case of John, John knew that Jesus must increase and he must decrease. We use that saying to show our humbleness, but John said it because he had already been told that he and Jesus would not share the same stage. He really had to leave this earth. It was part of his assignment!
Jesus loved John! John was his cousin by birth, but John was truly His forerunner. Jesus eulogized John by saying that he was a prophet and more than a prophet. And Jesus validates John’s mission in life to prepare the way. Jesus was not uncaring about John, but Jesus understood that something greater was in the making! There was a bigger picture!
Recently a church member passed. We were believing God for her miraculous healing. But she didn’t get it on this side of heaven. Generally when people I have prayed for and with pass on, I have to fight against the lies and accusations of the devil. But I just made up my mind that I wouldn’t have to this time, because I wouldn’t participate with the lies of the devil. God is a good God! Nope, He is better than good, He is great! And when we get the right heart and mind regarding Him, the devil will not be able to lead us into offense against our Saviour!
I hadn’t realized that I had written so much, so I will end it here. If God tugged at your heart strings while you were reading this because you have become offended with Him, fix it now! Don’t let another moment go by with you being offended at the Lord! Repent and get your peace back! John did! And he died knowing that he had fulfilled all the plans and purposes of the Lord! And you can, too! Wonderful Jesus!