Have you ever been in a position where the hand you were being dealt seemed completely unfair? Maybe to the point where you asked God, “Why is this happening to me?
Especially when people in circles close to you seem to have miracles dropped in their lap or favor in situations they are going through…..especially when you see their life and (let’s be honest) think that they don’t deserve it??
11 When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities.
2 Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. 6 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
Had John begun to question if so lowly a Person could, indeed, be the promised Christ?
Had he expected Messiah to be a glorious prince with an earthly kingdom?
Was he staggered to find himself in prison under Herod’s power?
Was John, himself in doubt?
There have been many suggestions as to why John sent his disciples. Some have said he sent the messengers for his own sake, for he was then under a fainting fit of unbelief.
As with most of the children of God, their weakness is most seen where their strength lies.
The whole reason John was in prison was because he stood up to King Herod. And it is possible that John after having boldly confronted Herod and declaring, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife,” may have doubted what he was doing when he found himself shut up in prison with no known sign of the Messiah’s kingdom coming (His ENTIRE mission). Prison may have been a severe test of faith to John—we are all affected by the atmosphere in which we dwell.
Shortly after this Scripture, John was beheaded while in prison. (Matt 14)
Herod had John beheaded, and Jesus just let it happen. Even when John asked for help, Jesus didn’t get an army together. He didn’t drop what he was doing. He told someone else to tell John about all the great things Jesus was doing for everyone … but him. “The blind see, the lame walk; lepers are clean, deaf hear, the dead are raised;” while John, who invested more of his life into Jesus than anyone to this point in history … sits in prison. All alone. Do you ever feel that way?
But I thought the Bible said,
“Deuteronomy 31:6b (NIV)6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you (other versions say ‘he goes BEFORE you’; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
I want to talk about 3 types of people that let the “Offense of Christ” affect them:
1) Those who REASON Him out of their life.
In Christ’s day people were offended by him because of his appearance.
He was JUST the son of a carpenter.
He looked like a peasant.
Even on his greatest most triumphant day, he rode just a colt.
And he claimed to be GOD! – Equal with the Father- Eternal with the Father….
In today’s world, people write of the One who saved us because of the grandeur of His claims, because of the hypocrisy of his people, and because it doesn’t make sense with our minds.
We doubt the existence of God because reason and logic tell us to.
We’ve always leaned on the scientific proof and psychological reasoning of what our professors have taught us, and we completely disregard the revelation of Scripture.
We are taught that emotions aren’t real and prayers that are answered are coincidence.
Our Gospel makes no sense to them. How can one person’s blood atone the sins of all?
Why would he do that?
They are offended because of the graciousness of the Gospel. It has too much free Grace in it for them. They would like a mingle-mangle of Grace and works. It makes more sense to just “be a good person”
Grace is too messy.
Lev. 17:11 “for the life of the body is in its blood. I have given you the blood on the altar to purify you, making you right with the Lord.[a] It is the blood, given in exchange for a life, that makes purification possible.”
Salvation through eternal love, salvation through mercy alone—salvation, not of merit, salvation, not of the will of man,but Salvation by the will of God, who has said,
“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion”— Grace free as the air, spontaneous, undeserved, but given of God because He delights in mercy.
2.) Those who RIVAL Him out of their life.
These are the ones who have become a part of the Church and become offended through circumstances, hurts, apathy, and lack of conviction in their life.
But why would someone profess to know Christ and then become offended by His message?
They are circumstantial in their beliefs and in turn a quick and sudden victory in their life would sustain their faith, but to carry a cross and follow before winning their crown is not on their mind.
When their family, or circle of influence disagrees and challenges what they believe they realize this wasn’t they signed up for…. The never counted to cost… and so they are offended because of Christ
In our society, we’ve become so thin-skinned and we can’t even stand up for what we believe in –When opposition arises it’s so easy to go along and say we agree.
It’s so easy, when the “church” doesn’t meet their every beck and call to decide that “religion” has disappointed and wasn’t what they were looking for.
Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message) “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
What happens with the ones that rival Christ out of their life is that they were never changed at heart in the first place. They don’t know what it is to be “Christ-like”, to be meek, to be humble.. so they find his yoke aggravating and his burden heavy.
Illustration – TJ from school
On the other hand, one of the saddest things to me is seeing young Christians offended because of other Christians.
There is no worse trial to a young or struggling believer than to see mature Christians walking inconsistently and living a lukewarm life.
Phil. 2:12 (NIV) Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
The last type of person is this:
3.) Those who REALIGN their life to Him.
These are the ones who take full advantage of the Grace that has been given and hold on to Christ under any and all circumstances.
They don’t look back and don’t let the words and thoughts of their surroundings make them lose heart.
Psalm 139: 13-16 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
You were chosen before the foundations of the world.
You have been specially redeemed by His blood.
You have been given a new heart and a right spirit.
The ones who will not be moved and will follow Him all of their life are the ones who are blessed.
God loves to reveal Himself to the ones who dare to take a walk on the bleak side of the hill with Him. If you are willing to follow Him when the wind blows in your teeth and the snow flakes come thickly till you are almost blinded…you will have such a revelation of his love that it will make you forget the sneers of man and the sufferings that come –Charles Spurgeon
Most of you already know this by experience.
Psalm 7:10 says, “My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart.
Matthew 10:32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.
These are the ones who are faithful to their convictions and let the Spirit of God guide their lives.
They are considered idiots by some, but with all their faults, and mistakes, and missteps, and imperfections – God is not ashamed of them. He blesses them even in the midst of their shortcomings – because of His grace.
Have you counted the cost in what you are living for?
Have you thoroughly come to Christ?
If you are doubting the one who came to save you, then I challenge you to rely solely on him in your heartache, in your fear, in your time of desperation.
I challenge you to let him prove his love.
I challenge you to let him see you through your pain.
Because it is so beautiful on the other side of the pain.