Jean’s Gospel: Blessed are the Not Offended
By Jean Dragon
“Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’ And Jesus answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: 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. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.’ ” (Matt. 11:2-6)
It is a strange list of Jesus’ activities that the world finds so offensive.
- In a world filled with evil and oppressive rulers, why is the Christ expending precious time and power with the most insignificant segment of society? This seems inefficient and shows a lack of priorities. Jesus offends our reason and expectations for the breaking in of God’s reign.
- Jesus did not play by the rules of the religious establishment. He healed on the Sabbath. His disciples did not wash their hands when they ate; neither did they fast. Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners! And He preached with authority but did not receive His authority through the customary channels of either the Levitical priesthood or a recognized Rabbinical school. Jesus offends our religious scruples.
- Jesus exercised authority reserved to God alone: to forgive sins, which is the primary content of the good news that Jesus proclaims. But this Jesus was the poor, itinerant son of a carpenter, “with no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him” (Isa. 53:2), who is “gentle and lowly in heart” (Matt. 11:29). Jesus offends our imagination of what God should be like. (Claiming to be wise, we became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for idols (Rom. 1:22-23).)
- But the greatest offense of all was the crucifixion and death of God’s only begotten Son for our sins. How was that fair or just? Jesus was without sin. I feel totally unworthy to have Jesus die for my sins. Yes, I am thankful to have my sins atoned for, but it is very difficult for my conscience handle the guilt of knowing that Jesus was scourged, reviled and crucified for me. The mercy of God in Christ offends our sense of justice.
“Blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
So we come back to the blessing. Jesus says repent of being offended by Him. Everything Jesus did and is still doing today is according to God’s plan, is according to the Scriptures. The humiliation that Jesus suffered, is exceeded by his exultation, that is: Jesus triumphed over our sins, overcame death, defeated Satan, ascended to heaven, and reigns at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. Jesus is the first fruits of the resurrection that he alone pioneered for everyone who believes in him.
Yes, Jesus died for the sins of this undeserving world, but no one took His life from Him; Jesus had the authority to lay it down, and to take it up again (John 10:18). His incarnation, as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, was an act of self-giving love by God in Jesus, who accomplished for us what we are helpless to accomplish for ourselves. He sets us free! “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)
Therefore, do not be offended by Christ, but rejoice this Christmas in the faith and assurance that Jesus was born and given and raised for you. You are blessed of God, who in Jesus has forgiven you all your sins, saves you and promises you eternal life. Amen.