Monday, April 11, 2011
Offended In Him
Mat 11:2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, 3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? 4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: 5 The blind receive their 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, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
John, the greatest man to ever draw breath, was wasting away in prison, soon to be executed for having the gall to call a spade a spade. "Laying the axe to the root of the trees" meant that an axe would be laid to his neck.
His message was all about repentance and turning to God. The price for being honest was high. Because he fulfilled the high calling of God in his life meant he would be beheaded.
The most righteous, God-loving, sold out evangelist would soon die because the adulterous Herod got his thrills watching the sensuous gyrations of the daughter of his mistress and made a foolish gesture in appreciation of her dance. Herod's live-in hated John for his straightforward honesty. She despised his popularity and was affronted by his finger pointing. She felt he was too judgmental, that he ought to just preach love and forgiveness. She must have been miffed that he wouldn't mind his own business, that he was so intolerant of alternative lifestyles.
And so, the forerunner of Jesus, that prophet plus, the Elias who piped while the religious refused to dance, now languishes in the hold of Herod.
What is he thinking? "I have only done what I was called to do. They came from everywhere by the thousands. I preached my lungs out. I baptized them until my back ached. Is this the reward?" And so he sends a couple of messengers to Jesus to ask a question, "Are you the One?"
John just wanted to know one thing for sure, all the baptisms, all the preaching, the advice to the tax collectors and the soldiers, the paths that he straightened out, the mountains that he moved, the high places that he leveled so that Messiah could make His way into people's hearts and lives, was it effective or was it all in vain? If Jesus was the Promised One, the Deliverer, the Anointed of God, then this death sentence would be worth it. But John needed a final assurance that all his work counted.
Isn't that really what you want to know, deep down? Don't you look for validation that the countless hours of work and worship, the tremendous amounts of giving, the great investment of tears and prayers are all for the right cause?
Jesus has the answer for your deep down questions, "What have you heard and seen? The spiritually blinded now see, the emotionally crippled now walk, sinners have been cleansed, those who refused to hear now give close attention to the gospel, those who were dead in trespasses and sin have been quickened and the Word is preached in more modes and venues than ever before."
There is your validation! Happy are you if you will not allow the difficulties brought on by your service to Christ to set you back.