Offended

“And blessed is the one who is not offended by Me.” Matthew 11:6

Do I question Jesus as to Who He is or what He does? Do I doubt His authority? Does Who He is offend me? Does what He say offend me?

I have answered those questions with a resounding, “YES!” before I knew Him. I knew of Jesus and during those many years (except as a child), I did question His very existence. I thought He was a good teacher, a kind and gentle man. But I certainly did not trust Who some said He was. I mean, they said He was born to a virgin! He performed miracles! He chose 12 men to be apostles who followed Him all over the place. Why would I believe Him? Why would I trust Him with my life? Besides, if I did, I might have to change…change the way I did things, or even change my thoughts. Goodness, no!!! Yes, I took up an offense!

In Matthew 11, John the Baptist was in prison and questioned Jesus:

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.” Matthew 11:2-6

σκανδαλίζω

skandalizō

I. to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip and fall, metaph. to offend

  • to entice to sin.
  • to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey.
  • to cause to fall away.
  • to be offended in one, i.e. to see in another what I disapprove of and what hinders me from acknowledging his authority (Matthew 11:6, Mark 6:3, Matthew 26:31, Matthew 13:57-58)
  • to cause one to judge unfavourably or unjustly of another

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary: Some think that John sent this question for his own satisfaction. It is true he had borne a noble testimony to Christ; he had declared him to be the Son of God, the Lamb of God, and he that should baptize with the Holy Ghost, and sent of God, which were great things. But he desired to be further and more fully assured, that he was the Messiah that had been so long promised and expected. Note, In matters relating to Christ and our salvation by him, it is good to be sure. Christ appeared not in that external pomp and power in which it was expected he should appear; his own disciples stumbled at this, and perhaps John did so;…. Note, It is hard, even for good men, to bear up against vulgar errors. **

(John’s doubt might arise from his own present circumstances. He was a prisoner, and might be tempted to think, if Jesus be indeed the Messiah, whence is it that I, his friend and forerunner, am brought into this trouble, and am left to be so long in it, …. **

(Others think that John sent his disciples to Christ with this question, not so much for his own satisfaction as for theirs. Observe, though he was a prisoner they adhered to him, attended on him, and were ready to receive instructions from him; they loved him, and would not leave him. Now, they were weak in knowledge, and wavering in their faith, and needed instruction and confirmation;….)  **

Are worldly influences persuading us that Jesus is not who we are expecting? Is there someone greater or different? I think that the world around us does draw us away from the One Who has, indeed, come to save us because the world wants Him to be someone/something else.

“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Mark 6:3

Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of Me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ Matthew 26:31

And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” And He did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. Matthew 13:57-58

And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.  And He said this plainly. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. Mark 8:31-32

It seems easier for us if Jesus would look like the world, to do things as the world does. We squeeze our description, our “Jesus-likeness” from our minds, into a box filled with expectations.

The Pharisees came and began to argue with Him, seeking from Him a sign from heaven to test Him. Mark 8:11

Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to Him?” John 10:20

The Israelites wanted a king, a king who would conquer and save.

But we had hoped that He was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Luke 24:13

Maybe our eyes are shut and we miss Him altogether.

While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing Him. Luke 24:15-16

We want to know Who He is and to know this with clarity, intelligibility, and purity.

So the Jews gathered around Him and said to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” John 10:24

This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the Cornerstone. Acts 4:11 (Psalm 118:22)

We want to know Him, yet we do not trust because we do not know Who He is.

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name bear witness about Me, but you do not believe because you are not among My sheep. John 10:25-26

I see Jesus caring for the poor, the afflicted, the sick, the demon-possessed. These acts should draw me to Him, not send me away for He cares and loves the lowly and meek.

“If I am not doing the works of My Father, then do not believe Me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me and I am in the Father.” John 10:37-38

The Cross offends. The Cross scares people because of the depth of it’s meaning. Jesus the Christ went to the Cross. He bled for each and all of us for we are sinners. We are disobedient to the Father. He sent His One and Only Son to draw us unto Him, to teach us the Truth. Jesus went to the Cross for the sins we committed. He was sinless. Jesus died for us, nailing our sins to the very Cross from which He hung.

Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection is a Truth that many run fast and hard away from. I did…for many years. I carried the heavy burden of my sin too and did not know what all that weight was on my back.

Rather than acknowledge Jesus as their Savior, the Jews dealt with Jesus in ways of their own:

The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. John 10:31

So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. John 18:12

And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” Mark 15:13

I reached a place in my life, at age 45, when I could no longer run, nor hide, nor carry the weight of my sinful burden. I turned to Jesus. I repented of my sin. I could no longer face myself in a mirror because I saw no good in me through anything I was or did. I gave myself to Jesus. He cleansed me and made me brand new. The weight was lifted from my shoulders. Jesus has given me a new heart, a heart that loves Him and only Him. Through Him, I can live anew and love anew. Oh my! Freshened. Refreshed.

We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Romans 6:6

These words made no sense to me at one time in my life. Now, I can clearly see that my sin was cleansed by the blood of Jesus.

This is so OFFENSIVE to so many in this world.

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:18-19

Yet, through the Word of God, prayer, quiet times, the Lord calls me to be near Him. He knows me and will not let me fall back into the world. I stay close to Him in obedience. I do not want to be a stray sheep.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, Who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are One.” John 10:27-30

Father, I pray I am able to be true to You, to the Truth of the Gospel, to all that is of You. I want to be a reflection of You. I desire to transmit Your love to those I come in contact with, while opening my heart to others about Jesus. I do not want to be offensive yet the Cross, the Gospel, Jesus, You can be offensive to many. It is through me where some may meet up with these, thus possibly making me offensive, like body odor. They may stand back, run away, protest, deny. Reactions can be many. Lord, please guide me and show me Your ways in which to walk as I share my faith in You. I love You so. I pray in the Saving Name of Jesus. Amen.

** Matthew Henry: Commentary on Matthew 11

Cornerstone drawing: https://www.ulpanor.com/2017/11/23/hebrew-vs-aramaic/

Cross: Adam Zdebel @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/zdebel/. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Stumble … Stumbling … A Stumbling Block @ Beloved Prodigal

 

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Monday’s Breaking Bread

I am blessed to share God’s Word Over at Beloved Prodigal. May the Holy Spirit open the eyes of our hearts to delight in and be strengthened by the Word He has brought us today.

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I have stumbled many times in the physical sense…as a child, I ran faster than my legs could go, tripping over things; as a teen, I would be busy talking, a curb attacked me which I never saw coming; as an adult, I might trip over a leg on a piece of furniture; as a senior adult with my spinal cord having bone spurs, disk problems, and a cyst, I began stumbling over things and even over nothing…I just fell.  Stumbling happens to many, if not most, of us.

I have also stumbled spiritually.  Oh, my!  Yes, I lost my way…wandered in deserts, in places where wild things lived.

God talks about stumbling in His Word, both the Old Testament and the New.  We stumble spiritually when we disobey God, when we don’t listen to know His way for us.  We can easily be led astray, causing us to stumble spiritually.

….  Please join me for the rest of this post @ Beloved Prodigal.

beblacksig

 

Stumble…Stumbling…A Stumbling Block

stumble-clipart-l_078I have stumbled many times in the physical sense…as a child, I ran faster than my legs could go, tripping over things; as a teen, I would be busy talking, a curb attacked me which I never saw coming; as an adult, I might trip over a leg on a piece of furniture; as a senior adult with my spinal cord having bone spurs, disk problems, and a cyst, I began stumbling over things and even over nothing…I just fell.  Stumbling happens to many, if not most, of us.

I have also stumbled spiritually.  Oh, my!  Yes, I lost my way…wandered in deserts, in places where wild things lived.

God talks about stumbling in His Word, both the Old Testament and the New.  We stumble spiritually when we disobey God, when we don’t listen to know His way for us. We can easily be led astray, causing us to stumble spiritually.

כָּשַׁל

kashal

to stumble, stagger, totter, waver

to be made to stumble

to make feeble, make weak

Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;
Whoever is discerning, let him know them.
For the ways of the LORD are right,
And the righteous will walk in them,
But transgressors will stumble in them.  Hosea 14:9

Staying close to God and His Ways is what keeps our spirits strong.  We wait upon the Lord…to hear His still, small voice, to know the wind of the Holy Spirit as He guides us, and to remain steadfast to our Creator.

“True instruction was in his mouth and unrighteousness was not found on his lips; he walked with Me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many back from iniquity.

“For the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.

“But as for you, you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by the instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi,” says the LORD of hosts.  Malachi 2:6-8

 

Finding the path of wisdom through God’s instruction and through godly counsel keeps us near.  Stumbling can occur when we turn from God’s Ways, listen to the ways of men who are not of God, wander from the path of righteousness, are disobedient.  We can also cause others to stumble.

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Jesus speaks of stumbling and a stumbling block in the New Testament.

σκανδαλίζω

skandalizō

verb

stumble

to entice to sin

to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey

since one who stumbles or whose foot gets entangled feels annoyed

σκάνδαλον

skandalon

noun

a stumbling block, a trap, a snare

any impediment placed in the way and causing one to stumble or fall

fig. applied to Jesus Christ, whose person and career were so contrary to the expectations of the Jews concerning the Messiah, that they rejected him and by their obstinacy made shipwreck of their salvation

any person or thing by which one is (entrapped) drawn into error or sin

  “And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.  Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!”  Matthew 18:5-7

 

For it stands in Scripture:

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,

a cornerstone chosen and precious,

and whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame.”

So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,

“The stone that the builders rejected

has become the cornerstone,”

and

A stone of stumbling,

and a rock of offense.”

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.  1 Peter 2:6-8

Many trip over Jesus.  The Name of Jesus causes some, many, to lay up a defense and they will not open their eyes nor their ears to the Truth that is Jesus the Christ. 

msg_StumblingStepping
Yet many find Jesus to be the stepping stones to eternal life, the Living Water, the Bread of Life.  Praising God for His mercy and grace upon us.

Jesus calls us to walk in His Light.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12

So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going.  John 12:35

Oh, that darkness makes the stumbling even worse.  Peter reminds us who we are and the image we are to portray to those of this world.

As you come to Him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.    1 Peter 2:4-5

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Father God, I pray that I will stand upright and close to You with each and every step.  May I sense Your very Presence that I would not turn from Your ways and that we would be obedient children to You, our Father.  I have stumbled physically so much, especially in these latter years, but am so much better now.  I have also stumbled spiritually yet You never left me.  You were right at the door and ready for me to enter Your Kingdom.  I pray that I would not lead one astray, ever.  I pray I have not done that in my past Sunday school teaching or any other time as I spoke with others about Jesus.  Hold me strong as I grow older.  Keep me from stumbling both physically and spiritually.  I want to be holy as You are Holy.  I thank You, LORD, for loving me through all my history and calling me to You.  Oh, I am so grateful and I give You all of the glory.  I did nothing to deserve Your mercy and Your grace.  I pray in the Name of Your Precious Son.  Amen. 

beblacksig

photo/graphic of Jesus:Stumbling Block…from http://www.campusbiblechurch.com/message/jesus-christ-stumbling-block-or-stepping-stone