Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

How Did I Miss Matthew 11:6?

While bopping around in the bible this morning I was in the opening verses of Matthew 11 and read this:
2 Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” 4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” (Matthew 11:2-6)
I've read Matthew in its entirety four times this year and always loved Jesus' words of encouragement to his cousin, how better to say "Yes, I am He whom you have prepared the way for, thank you faithful servant." than offering the proof that John was so eager to hear. But verse 6 stopped me this morning for some reason - "And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me" I do not remember ever seeing this before, ever. 

I'm not a voracious reader, but this year I've been following a pretty aggressive reading plan, so I know for a fact how many times I've read Matthew in the past 12 months, so how did I miss Matthew 11:6? And why does this particular beatitude appear here, why not in the sermon on the mount with the rest of them? 

As for the last question, my supposition is that Jesus was sending John a message, in effect saying "Have faith, it's going to get worse before it gets better". He was telling John to remain faithful, that He truly was the Son of God, the Anointed One, and that John's faith in him would soon be rewarded. Why didn't Jesus say this in his sermons to the people? I personally believe it would have been wasted, that most of those people were there for the free lunch and a cure to their rash, and they never would have understood.

I also asked myself who would he offended by Jesus? and a little research came up with quite a few people. Not Muslims, because Muslims are happy with their false image of Christ, and not Jews especially, even though many reject Him wholesale, most don't even know why they do as they spout expletives about a 'zombie carpenter' before losing steam and changing the subject. Way up high on the list are the ever tolerant, loving, toad worshiping Wiccans. This is a group of hate filled, angry women who have convinced themselves that while they don't believe in Satan, Jesus will do as an object of their misplaced, misguided, soul robbing hate. So confused is this group that they call us Xians because they don't have the courage to spell out Christians. And when you point out to them that a Xian is a spiritually enlightened being (at least to a taoist) you will learn a litany of unladylike language usually reserved for hungover sailors. I do admit that I take a certain amount of unchristian joy in their blind anger that us Xians stole their holiday, regardless of the fact that their religion started in 1950 and Christmas goes back a bit further than that, but that's an entry for another time.

A large group of people that are offended by Jesus are, surprisingly, Christians. Or at least people calling themselves Christians. For one thing, Jesus demands much and His rewards here on earth are few. John 15:18 sums it up quite well, and when goats followers of the prosperity teachings of false teachers like Joel Osteen realize that their prosperity gospel is a false gospel they blame Jesus. When things are not going our way it's hard to thank Jesus for the challenge He presented, sometimes we blame Him for our woes. Jesus' message is not for the weak, and he lost many a follower in his own time as we read in John 6:53-66

God's ways are not our own ways, many people have turned their backs on God just because their expectations did not match His reality. 
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:9)
God does all things for good (Romans 8:28) but we want to be able to define what good is, and when it will be best suited for our purposes. Sometimes we need to stop and ask ourselves, are we worshiping Jesus, creator of Heaven and Earth, our lord and master, or are we worshiping Santa Claus? Jesus ran into this with his followers and mentioned it in John 6:26.

Being impatient beings we also get upset when God's timetable never matches our own. I've lost count of how many times I've heard someone exclaim "Lord please rapture me now" when the evening news reminds them of the fallen world we live in. When the world reaches a point of being offensive and the supplicant can no longer wait on God's rapture, they become offended that God is not hearing them, or lied about the rapture. Unfortunately for the lost soul, God's timing is perfect, there is nothing perfect about us. As I've mentioned before I've had conversation with an atheist that turned his back on God because God didn't answer his prayers exactly as he demanded they be answered. God answers all prayers, and he always answers them the best way. It's not His fault we might refute His wisdom or despair at His timing. 

I pray that I never get so arrogant or so proud that I become offended by Jesus, and to prevent that from happening I need to keep three things in mind:
  • I must remember that Jesus demands everything from us, loyalty, faith, and love. In return He promised suffering, tribulation, and pain here on earth, but when we go to join Him we are promised His blessing and eternal life with Him.
  • I must remember that God's ways are divine, and so much higher than ours I cannot begin to fathom them. He doesn't show us what He’s doing or why, nor does he have to, so I need to remain faithful to see His glory.
  • I must remember that God is always on time, His conception of time is different from ours and His is right not mine, because after all He's the one that invented time.

There's one more thing I learned about Matthew 11:6, should we become offended by Jesus through our own weakness and lack of faith, we're on our own, and another verse I don't remember reading came to light, one that I pray I will never forget:
There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. (Proverbs 14:12)

No comments:

Post a Comment