Matthew 11:2-6 (ESV)
"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."
First of all, my heart goes out to John. He's spent his entire, albeit brief, life preaching the coming Messiah. He baptizes Jesus and announces Him to the crown. "This is your Messiah. Stop looking and follow Him." I think that's probably the pinnacle of any life.
On that high, he has the guts to tell the king that he can't steal his brother's wife, and he's put in jail for it. Still, his hope rests on Jesus, the Messiah, the one who will free Israel and be the ruling king! Except Jesus is spending all of his time with nobodies: lepers, the poor, children, Samaritans, cripples. You don't get crowned king hanging out with people who have no voice.
So John sends his friends to ask, "Did I waste my life? I'm going to die in a prison cell or at the sword of Herod. Is it all for nothing? Was my message wrong the whole time? Are you really the Messiah?"
Jesus is so gentle with this broken prophet. He starts with encouragement, not that the cause is moving forward, gaining popularity and soon will be on the ballot. But that real life changing ministry is occurring for real people, people with big problems. Jesus is on the move toward redeeming not just Israel but all of mankind.
He finishes his message to John with a quiet rebuke disguised as one of Jesus' clever beattitudes. "Blessed is the one who is not offended by me." I've missed this verse in the past, skimmed over it as a head scratcher, just one more example of Jesus speak. This morning it made sense.
Jesus' methods were not what John expected. And let's be honest, when our expectations are not met, we don't react well. I really don't. I think that's what Jesus is talking about: becoming discouraged, angry, offended when God acts in His own way to His own purposes rather than meeting our expectations.
I'm very slow to come around to God's plan when it doesn't make sense to me. In Jesus' words, I'm easily offended by God's methods, and once offended, I don't quickly get over it. Not only does this show a deep distrust in the Author of history, but it means I miss out on God's work. That's sad.
So this is my beattitude for the week:
"Blessed is the one who is not offended by me."