“And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” Matthew 11:6 ESV
In Matthew 11:6 Jesus is answering a question sent to Him by John the Baptist, who is in prison. John had sent someone to ask Jesus if he was the Messiah or did they need to be waiting for someone else?
Jesus doesn’t say a simple “yes” or “no.” Instead He answers with what people have seen Him do. The blind see the dead come back to life. And then Jesus, throws in a line of Scripture that makes you go, “Huh?”
“Blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
What does that mean? Why would people be offended by Jesus. Ohhh…let me count the ways. The Pharisees, the Sadducee, the Roman leaders, and even many of the Jewish people took offense to Jesus all the time.
But here in this verse the word “offended” comes from the Greek word scandalizo to cause to sin, cause to fall into sin, offend, fall away from the faith, go astray, or to take offense.
Often times, we have certain expectations about what Jesus should do in our situations we take to Him in prayer. If He doesn’t answer the exact way we are expecting we assume He hasn’t answered our prayer. We often assume that His not answering in our expected way is lack of activity by Him.
I am pretty sure if I had been sitting in jail, like John the Baptist, I would have expected more than the answer Jesus sent. Maybe Jesus would have told the messengers, “Yes, I am the Messiah! And ” I will come help John soon.” Or maybe Jesus would have stormed the gates of the prison and rescued John. But He did neither. He just sent a somewhat cryptic message back. How do you think John must of felt?
How do you feel when it seems like God is not answering your prayers? Do you get angry? Offended that He is just sitting back ignoring you? Does it make you turn your back on Him? Do you go astray to look for something or someone that will answer exactly the way you want them to?
That is exactly what Jesus was talking about in this Scripture. Sometimes it is really hard to hold onto our faith when a loved one gets a bad health diagnosis, when a tragedy steals someone from us, when a divorce happens, or when we lose our job.
Jesus’ promise in this Scripture is what we need to cling to during those hard times. He promises us that if we hold onto our faith even when our expectations aren’t met. Even when our hearts are breaking, when we are angry that our prayers seem unanswered, or when we just don’t understand why. If we don’t get offended or fall away from our faith in Jesus, we will be blessed.
When we cling to our faith, Jesus will be by our side as we walk through the valleys in our lives. We will never be alone . He will comfort us in the pain. He will get us through this dark time to the other side where there is light. We might not be able to see the light right now because we are stuck in the darkness of unmet expectations, but Jesus will work even this out. (Romans 8:28)
I know this can be a hard message to hear. It is for me too. I would love it if God answered all my prayers exactly as I prayed them. But there is a much bigger plan at work than what my limited view can see. I just have to cling to my faith and my hope that God will help me through whatever happens.
We don’t have to let the enemy get his foot in door by getting offended at Jesus. So let’s rejoice when God answers our prayers (which He often does)! And let’s stand strong together in faith when our prayers aren’t answered in the expected way!
Until next time, blessings and healing.