Are You Offended?
John the Baptist had spent his adult life announcing the coming of the Messiah. John was Jesus’ cousin, which means they knew of the miracles surrounding each other’s birth. Now, launched fully into their ministries, both John and Jesus have been announcing confidently that the Kingdom is at hand. They seem to be on the same page.
Unexpectedly, however, John sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He was the Messiah or if they should look for another. Did John not know? It sure seemed as though he knew. Now he seems confused.
John was expecting a revolutionary who would overthrow the political, religious and cultural systems of his day. He believed that the Messiah would lead a righteous rebellion that was backed by God. Yet where was John presently? He was shackled in prison suffering violence at the hands of the unrighteous and idolatrous Herod. What was Jesus doing about it? Not a thing.
If Jesus was the One who was coming, would He not be setting up His Kingdom, taking action to overthrow the sociopolitical oppressors, calling for a reformation among the religious elite and establishing Himself as the righteous, divinely appointed King? Would He not be intervening in John’s prison situation, since He would be bringing His fiery judgment to bear on all iniquity? According to John’s expectations, the answer would have been yes.
Jesus warned John not to be offended. John would have to resist temptation and choose to believe even in the face of insult, injustice and injury. For John, there would be no deliverance. The scandalizing of his expectations left him confused, skeptical and tempted toward unbelief. In that experience and those circumstances, Jesus called him to faith.
How often do we, when we have unmet expectations or when we begin to feel the sharp edge of opposition and injustice, become offended with God? We begin to doubt His love, His goodness, His faithfulness, His presence and even His reality. How many have turned back and no longer follow Jesus because of this very thing? This is how the enemy kills a move of the Spirit.
We are on the precipice of another great move of God. If we want to walk in the way of the Kingdom and join God in a move of the Spirit in our generation, we need to be unoffendable.