"And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” (Matthew 11:17)
Have you ever thought about this? Someone being offended by our faith. It happens, people feel defensive or feel they have been hurt by a Christian and that because of the actions of a person they are justified in being offended by Jesus. Perhaps they are offended by a Bible they never read.
What is there to be offended by in Jesus? Plenty! He did exactly what a good Jewish boy and a potential King should never do. He got down, and into the mud, with people who could do nothing for Him! What could a leper, a bleeding woman, a tax collector, soldier, sailor or spy do for the Son of God? Nothing. That, for people who measure success on an earthly scale are offended by this. They were so offended that they crucified Him! They were so offended they entrapped Him, lied about Him and stole from Him.
Offending people in power can be dangerous. It can be deadly. Offend an old lady, a homeless person or a child you don't lose much. At least not in human terms. But to Jesus, who counts each hair and sparrow, you can lose it all. You've lost it all when you don't treat the "least of them" as you would Him.
Who was offended by Jesus? Many were. Many in positions of power and many who were not. They were offended that He didn't come as the King they wanted. They were offended that He healed on the Sabbath. They were offended when He chose the poor, unclean, crooked and young.
If it was a school yard, and we were picking teams for a game, Jesus would have picked all of us last choices first! That gives me shivers! Athlete or leper? You know who He choose! King or poor widow? She got called first! Spinster sisters, a dead guy risen again, a former prostitute and more! The little kids and their Mama's. The orphans and the sick. What a dream team!
Who could be offended? Anyone who thought that Jesus should be what they wanted instead of what they needed!
Think of the people who are not offended by Jesus. Those who know the peace of grace, the relief of redemption and the safety of love. Are you offended by Jesus? Were you ever trapped in the mindset that Jesus was offensive because of imperfect people? I so often hear people speaking of our faith, of our Lord, in ways that are cruel and filled with hurt. These souls have not known grace and love and are offended. Not by something they know, and are justified in being offended by, but in something they do not know. That they have not had a chance to be shown. They haven't seen our faith in action.
Blessed are those who are not offended by me. Not ashamed. Not afraid. Not confused. No Jesus said Not offended! When you read about what Jesus taught and what Jesus did are you proud or offended? Is there something in the gospel that you are uncomfortable sharing because it offends you? Have you thought about it...what stops you from sharing the love and grace that showers us from His hand?