Matthew 11:6 “Blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”

Observation: The evil king Herod, who was in an illegitimate relationship with his wife, Herodias, had imprisoned John the Baptist. John had called them on it.  Even though Herod was intrigued by John and enjoyed his preaching, Herodias hated John and demanded his beheading. Just before his execution, John sent some of his followers to ask Jesus if He was the Messiah they had been waiting for. John already knew the answer; his faith was unshakable. He had baptized Jesus in the desert and saw God’s spirit descending from heaven.  He was the forerunner, the one Scripture called a burning lamp (see John 5:35). But some of his followers had not yet fully embraced Jesus; they were too attached to John, so John sent them to get a personal word from Jesus. What Jesus said struck to the innermost places of intimacy in their hearts. After reminding them of the astonishing array of miracles He had performed, He said, “Blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”

Application: Jesus was saying in effect: Guys, I know why you have come. You want Me to set John free from prison; you want Me to prevent his beheading. I love John, but it is his time to decrease, and My time to increase. Though I have the power to free him, I’m not going to do it. This will be a profound test of your hearts as to whether you stumble over Me.  Every offendable heart will be offended.

Who among us has not watched with bemusement as a small boy works intently to press a star-shaped peg into a round hole? Pushing, concentrating mightily, every thwarted attempt produces greater frustration, greater determination to create an impossible result. Such toddler ways are alive within me, as within John’s disciples. Determined to have my way, I keep pushing, trying to manipulate things to produce an outcome that is not to be. I may grow frustrated to the point of petulance, even anger; I may throw the hammer in frustration or even kick the toy, but at the end of the day I will still not have my way; stars do not fit into circles. 

Jesus urges me instead to be at peace, to rest in Him. The door to peace and contentment in Him will never come through successful manipulation. In Him alone there is rest and fullness of joy. I am called to lay down my poor toys…hopes, dreams, and expectations apart from Him.  “Blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You wait patiently for me to stop striving, to be at peace in You and You alone. Forgive me for thinking I must have something more than You to be content. Forgive me all those times I have tried to determine the outcome of a thing, to manipulate You to my supposed advantage. You are enough, Lord, more than enough.