“Do I offend you”?

Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see:   the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM. “And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” Matt 11:2-7

 What a strange passage of Scripture. John the Baptist is in prison and wondering if Jesus is the real deal. So he sends some friends to ask. Jesus essentially replies, “Tell him people are getting what they need and hearing good news.” That sounds great to you and me, but not John. He wasn’t getting any “good news”. And he is the cousin of Jesus…family…sitting in a dirty dungeon waiting for a deliverance that never will come. Jesus will never even go to visit or send word or seem to help in any way – There is no good news for John. He is not being delivered.

 Ever been there… Where God is giving to others the good stuff while you suffer?

 And on top of it all Jesus adds this last word, “And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” What a hard word to swallow. Jesus is communicating to John, “I am doing all these great things for others (not you) and you will be blessed if you are not offended at me.” How hard that must have been for John to sit back down on that hard dirt floor in the dark and tell himself – “Don’t be offended”.

 One of the hardest doctrines to grasp is God’s sovereignty over our lives. The right He has to do whatever He chooses with us, and yes He has a purpose. We may not know what He is doing, but it is not unloving or pointless. In fact, all His ways with us are purposeful and loving. And the real question comes down to John – “John, can I do anything I desire to do with your life and you trust me? Have I asked too much from you? Are you offended?”

 Ask yourself that question. Is or has God asked too much from you? Has the Jesus who laid down His life in a most bloody manner, drinking the cup of God’s wrath for you til it was empty; is He asking you to suffer to much? While others reap the jingle in life and you seem to get trashed, do you find yourself a little offended at Him…or them?  Do you watch others get the promotions while you are passed over? Is your  neighbor getting a new car while you just lost your job? Do you lose while others win?

 Deep down are you asking the question, “Are you really God, or should I look for another? Because you offend me?”

 Come on be honest, He can take it and you need to get rid of it.

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11 Responses

  1. I learned along time ago, when we lost our first baby, that Gods best can be viewed in two ways. One view makes you focus on self, the other makes you focus on Christ. Your relationship with Jesus at the time will determine which view you have. The human view is that suffering is terrible, and what did I do to deserve this? The spiritual view is, what seems like Gods hand removed is realy Gods hand holding you tighter.
    Gods best can not be measure in the way humans measure best. Humans would not know what best is if we did not have a worst to compare it to. Heaven doesn’t opperate that way. Gods best is just best. Gods ways are higher than we could ever understand, so it’s not to far of a stretch for me to believe that what seems like the worst, could actualy be the best from Gods own hand. Gods best is always a gift, and always produces growth. Maybe God knew John could handle it, because they were so close in relationship. Close enough that human view was overshadowed by spiritual view, and John could experience the peace that passes all understanding. Just a thought.

  2. As humans, we would naturally want to ask “why me” where was my God in whatever the terrible situation was. But, as followers of Christ, we know in our hearts that God has a purpose for us and has had that purpose even before we were born. Knowing that should give us the peace we need to carry on, however, that peace and acceptance does not always come easily because we are “human”.
    When your heart has been broken by a life shattering experience, like losing a child, you have to take a step back and, as Marsha said, get rid of yourself. Otherwise, you will be consumed by guilt and the “why me” syndrome.
    This analogy could also be applied to our tithing. If we believe in God and his word, then we have to believe in giving our 10% right off the top. Trust me, when you give the 10% off the top you will not miss it, God will reward you for it and you will be fulfilling your trust in God. Bob and I give more than 10%. We don’t bring home a lot of money every week, but we always give and we haven’t missed it yet. Tithing, to me, is the ultimate test of faith. God will provide, he will provide, he will provide – try it you’ll like it.

  3. […] am weaving my thoughts out here and turn the electronic pages over to Brad’s blog, “Do I offend you?” The loneliest place of all would be John the Baptist sitting in a prison cell asking my questions. […]

  4. Before I was a follower, I didn’t think I deserved much.

    When I spent time in jail for (some) youthful and (all) stupid misdeeds, I thought that I was pretty lucky to be a trustee, because I didn’t have to live with the “general population” while I was there.

    I got promoted early and fast at each of my jobs. More than I deserved.

    and on and on.

    When I finally opened the door to the Lord’s knocking, and I began to learn what I really deserved (worse than I thought!) —- well.

    Does He offend me? No. What possible thing could he give to someone else that I don’t have? I have it all.

    Now He’s teaching me how to work with it.

  5. I think the lonliest place to be would be anywhere that God is not. Is God everywhere, or is He only in the places we invite Him? To be in a place and acknowledge God might cause us to have to change some things. We would have to focus on God and not self. Sometimes we like sitting in self pitty. I don’t think that was the case with John. another thought!

  6. Does God ask too much of me? Yes, he does, but he has yet to ask me to give him the life of one of my children. He has yet to ask me to do something that I have refused to do, even if I think it is too much or not. I am compelled to do as asked by God – when my heart is open to his words to me.
    Of course, 30 years ago, when I first accepted Jesus as my savior I had not yet learned enough about God and his word to be able to open my heart to what he wanted me to do. I feel sure that he spoke to me many times back then and I refused to do as he asked because my heart was not yet open to his commands.
    How we interpret the bible all depends on where we are in our walk with Christ. We can only deepen that walk through reading and studying our bible, fellowshiping with other christians, etc.

  7. Jesus while on the cross cried, “My God why have you forsaken me?” Even in that moment – the darkest moment of the life of Jesus – living in the middle of God’s plan – taking the sin of the world – Jesus recognized his aloneness… as The Message puts it, “Why have you abandoned me?” Mark 15:34.

    Also read Psalm 22 (A Psalm of David).

    Jesus agonized in prayer that this cup would pass but he knew all along that this road to Calvary must be walked.

    I’m thankful I don’t have to bear the cross He had to endure. Yet, I (we) have a cross to bear… for anyone to expect anything less is mistaken.

    Brad your statement here is powerful:

    Jesus is communicating to John, “I am doing all these great things for others (not you) and you will be blessed if you are not offended at me.” How hard that must have been for John to sit back down on that hard dirt floor in the dark and tell himself – “Don’t be offended”.

    Thanks for this post!

  8. I looked Matthew 11:1-10 up in The New Living Translation. I think it helped me put a few things in better perspective.
    The great things Jesus was doing for others was healing them, raising them from the dead, and preaching the gospel, so that all would know He was the true Messiah who John had preached of. While the people were learning who Jesus was, Jesus took the time to answer Johns question and send word back to him. Johns disciples were asked by John to go ask Jesus if He was realy the Messiah, or if they needed to wait for another. Jesus told them to go back and report to John all the miracles they had seen and heard about. And to let him know the Gospel was being preached. I think Jesus wanted John to know that John’s previous work and his now suffering had produced something good. This translation sais in verse 6 (Jesus talking) And tell him, God blesses those who are not offended by me, footnote – or don’t fall away because of me. I think this could have been as much for the disciples as it was for John. Maybe He was trying to encourage them, as well as us, not to become discouraged and fall away or give up on God. Personally I think John was pumped and bumbed at the same time. What he had worked so hard to accomplish in preparing the way for the Messiah, was actually happening, but he wasn’t there to see it. The disciples reported back clear evidence that Jesus was the true Messiah. I am sure he felt like he was missing out, but I think he felt more satisfaction in knowing he really did prepare the way. He had done a good job. I can’t help but think he had a quiet satisfaction in knowing that it was all taking place, and that it would all be over soon for him. Two chapters go by and he dies. Sometimes we are rescued and sometimes we are not. But we are never without Jesus unless we turn our back on Him. I just don’t think John did that. as humans we can’t help but think God has turned His back on us and forgotten us. I don’t think that’s the way it was with John. God turned His face from Christ when He couldn’t bare to look at the worlds sin on Jesus, but He doesn’t turn from us because we are holy, and blameless because of Jesus paying our price. Even though we may turn from Him, He is always waiting for us to come back to Him. Roye, you are right that we all have a cross to bear. We are to pick it up and follow Christ. We can be assured that, because of what Jesus did on His cross,our cross will not be the one God turns His face from. Just more thoughts!!!

  9. Reading the good thinking in your blog and the associated comments makes me feel a little like Forrest Gump….

    You guys think and talk in oils and watercolors while i’m using street chalk.

  10. I didn’t mean to confuse the point. I get carried away some times.

    I think the point I was trying to make was that the human view of suffering can turn us away from God to self. While spiritual view can turn us away from self back to God. And that God doesn’t do the turning.

    Atleast this has been true in my life, but ya know, if I had to go through the things John did , I might have a different view of things.

  11. I guess I will have to leave more comments on your blog, BOB. Careful what you wish for. I think Street Chalk too.

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