Friday, May 25, 2012

offended

"And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’”  In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” - Luke 7:20-23
 
I love this passage. At this point in Christ's ministry, people are still not sure what to think about Jesus. They see Him doing miracles, but they don't know if He is really the Messiah they've been waiting for or not. When John the Baptist sends his disciples to find out, Jesus responds with testimony to what He's done and what He's preached.

And the last line convicts me. "Blessed is the one who is not offended by me." In a society where it is culturally acceptable for the rich to be corrupt, the religious to be self-righteous and separate from people of poor economic means or physical illnesses (does this society sound familiar to anyone?), Jesus comes and preaches a message of hope and safety, or of radical change and uncomfortable accusations, depending on where you stand on the social ladder.

Let's not mistake socioeconomic status or physical health for indicators of our hearts. But it's such a convicting reminder that how we respond to messages in church or from the Word indicates our attitudes in our relationships with God. If I'm feeling offended, it's because the Holy Spirit has called me out on my apathy, or my foolishness, or my pride. If I am humbled and in desperate thirst for my Jesus, His message comes like thunder in the desert, tasting sweeter than honey.

Even though Christ's identity was at the center of this passage, I think it has way more to do with our identity in Christ than anything else.