Are you offended? This may sound strange, but the person who offends people the most is God. Why? Many times God just doesn’t do what we want Him to do. His plan doesn’t line up with our plans. So we become offended. It can happen to anyone—even faithful Christians. Consider what happened to John the Baptist.
John the Baptist was a believer. We might even say he was one of the first “believers”. After all, John announced to the world that Jesus was the Messiah and baptized him. John the Baptist had faith. But, even the faithful can be offended when trials come. Jesus thought very highly of John. In fact Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist:” (Matthew 11:11).
But there’s a problem. John the Baptist was put in prison for preaching the truth. Now John is perplexed. Jesus is the Messiah–not just the Messiah, but he is also John’s cousin (Luke 1:10-50). John probably wondered, “Why did Jesus let me go to prison? Why doesn’t he rescue me?” So John sends his disciples to ask Jesus…
Matthew 11:2-6, King James Version
“Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: 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. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.”
John knew Jesus was the Messiah–he prophesied it. He heard God’s voice from heaven say, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17). Why did John doubt Jesus? He was offended.
Jesus didn’t save John the Baptist from persecution, and eventually murder through beheading, although he had the power to do so. Think about it. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-46). He brought the widow woman’s son back to life (Luke 7:11-16). Jesus brought Jairus’ daughter back to life (Mark 5:22-42). Why didn’t he save his own cousin, John, from a brutal murder or at least raise him from the dead? Truth is: we don’t know why. This is one of those occasions when we just have to trust Jesus and believe that even our trials have purpose.
Having faith doesn’t mean we always get the outcome we want. Faith is trusting God regardless of the outcome. God commends people with this type of enduring faith and promises to reward them.
Hebrews 11:33 & 35-40, The Living Bible.
“These people all trusted God and as a result won battles, overthrew kingdoms, ruled their people well, and received what God had promised them….But others trusted God and were beaten to death, preferring to die rather than turn from God and be free—trusting that they would rise to a better life afterwards. Some were laughed at and their backs cut open with whips, and others were chained in dungeons. Some died by stoning and some by being sawed in two; others were promised freedom if they would renounce their faith, then were killed with the sword. Some went about in skins of sheep and goats, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in dens and caves. They were hungry and sick and ill-treated—too good for this world. And these men of faith, though they trusted God and won his approval, none of them received all that God had promised them; for God wanted them to wait and share the even better rewards that were prepared for us.”
There are two kinds of faith:
1. Overcoming faith (you win and receive the outcome you wanted).
2. Enduring faith (you win and lay down your desires for God’s purpose).
Are you overcoming or enduring right now? Be steadfast in faith in spite of your trials. Remember, God promises to bless those who don’t become offended.