Are you offended?
Published 11:00 am Sunday, January 23, 2022
“And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” — Matthew 11:6 (NKJV)
When John the Baptist’s disciples came to Jesus to inquire whether or not He was indeed the “Coming One,” Jesus gave them a testimony of the miracles that He had performed and closed with the verse above. His answer to John’s disciples presents a conundrum that troubles mankind still today.
“Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” At first glance we might think that we only need to not be offended by Jesus in order to be blessed by Him. In this passage Jesus is speaking to John’s concerns, reassuring John that He (Jesus) is indeed the “Coming One” of the prophecy of Scripture.
For us, there remains the conundrum; we must be “offended” by the conviction of the message that Jesus taught (and that His word affirms), yet we are only blessed when we accept this conviction (and the accompanying realization of guilt according to our sins). Therein lies the problem; we must not be offended by Jesus, whose Gospel is the most offensive doctrine known to mankind. It requires that we confess that we are sinners deserving death and separation from God (regardless of what we or others might think), and that we are powerless to change our condition, other than to make it worse. We must further depend upon the unmerited favor of God (Whom we do not yet know) in order to receive the offer to confess our sins.
One who has never received this invitation (in the form of conviction) from the Holy Spirit will think all of this a foolish idea. Be that as it may, the Holy Spirit is the author of conviction and conviction is necessary before we can confess our sins and repent.
Then there is the act of repentance; again, an impossible task unless the Holy Spirit is involved. We are expected to turn away from our sinful life and begin living in accordance to His will, not our own. In fact, our will is to be replaced by His will. As we respond to conviction by confessing and repenting, and accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, we will find that we are no longer offended by Jesus’ message — we now experience freedom and are only offended by our own sin, we have been “born again” and blessed beyond measure.
Bobby Thornhill is a retired Methodist preacher.