"And blessed is the one who is not offended by me” (Luke 7:23).
Eventually, the great wilderness baptizer, John, blurted out his question. His preaching against King Herod’s unlawful marriage had gotten him locked up. Imprisoned, John had heard of Jesus’ work. He thought it through, then asked, “Should we look for another?”
John does not strike me as a discouraged man, for courage was with him until the day of his beheading. No, he strikes me as a man looking for actions different from Jesus’ actions.
As the forerunner to the Messiah, John was waiting for the day of the Lord. He might have awaited political reformation, but Jesus healed the centurion’s servant. He might have awaited vengeance upon the enemies of God, but Jesus declared He had not come in judgment. He might have awaited the spiritual renewal of Israel, but Jesus came looking for a new wineskin.
John wasn't hearing of fire and judgement, but of healing and grace. This methodology shocked him.
What Jesus was doing, what had been reported to John, did not make him think Jesus was the Christ he’d hoped for. Clearly, he expected something, someone, different.
So he asked his question: “Are you the Christ, or shall we look for another?” He was confident the Christ would come, but not as confident Jesus was that Christ.
Jesus told John's disciples to reiterate His words and works to John: "The blind see. The lame walk. Lepers are cleansed. The deaf hear. The dead are raised. The poor have the good news preached to them." John waited for the ultimate Day of the Lord, and all these elements had to precede it. John needed to know.
But then this: “And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” Clearly, John was teetering. He was becoming offended at Jesus, more specifically, at the method of Jesus. He thought Christ should and would operate in a specific way, a way that Jesus wasn’t. This caused a bit of stumbling, potential offense.
Perhaps John was suffering from a syndrome common to man, the “If I were God” syndrome. John would not have done things as Jesus had done them. But John’s knowledge — and ours — was infinitesimal in comparison to Jesus’. He could see the entire scope of God's redemptive plan. Christ had a firm grasp on things John couldn’t think up in his wildest dreams.
Think of a little child. Your knowledge in comparison to that child is likely great. You know more, have experienced more, and can see more. But the gap between our knowledge with that of a little child is a small gap when we compare our knowledge to God’s. He has infinite knowledge and wisdom. He knows all things. The gap between our knowledge and His is unlimited. So, due to our limitation, His plans might not always look as we’ve expected. But there is a blessing if we aren’t offended by Him.
Notice this. Please notice this. The Christian world is chasing that word: blessing. Dare I say the entire world is chasing that word. We all want blessing. But how does it come?
Jesus says there is a blessing for those who aren’t offended by Him; to accept His methods, to trust His outworkings. To embrace His plan, though we often will not understand it, is a blessing.
Much in my life has veered off my expected course. Disappointments were often caused by expectations. Like John, I’ve expected Jesus to operate in a specific way in my life. When he doesn’t, I begin to question. But there has always been a blessing when I’ve been able to accept Jesus’ methods towards me. He is Messiah. I, certainly, am not.