January 17: Matthew 11:4-6

“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.”

As I was reading through Matthew the other day, this section jumped out at me. John the Baptist sends someone to inquire about Jesus and this is the message that  Jesus sends back to him. Now of course the content is no surprise as we are accustomed to the works of Jesus during his earthly ministry. It was that last line that I don’t remember having really noticed before. Blessed is he who is not offended by me.  Looking back over this list, and we see something interesting. The lame. The blind. The lepers. The dead. The deaf. The poor. And finally – the unoffended.
These were not society’s finest. We might look at the list and think in pretty picture Bible, felt- board approved images. But that wasn’t  the reality. A leper would have been obviously unclean and an outcast, the dead also would have been plainly unclean. The blind and deaf and poor were probably all beggars – the sort of people you step past, look past, and certainly don’t fellowship with.
This is far more like Jesus hitting the alleys in a really depressed area of a really depressed city. Healing the people who have been cast aside as a lost cause. The meth addicts and prostitutes. The drifters. Jesus went so far as to heal a few people who were already physically dead.
So these people have obviously all been blessed by Jesus. But there is one more category of person whois mentioned. All the people who didn’t have this kind of problem. The people who didn’t survive by begging. The people who had possessions, had homes, had standing in the world. The people like us. The people who watched what he did. Blessed are they who are not offended by me.
Blessed are the people who are not offended by the people that God has touched. Not offended by who Jesus sees promise in. Not offended. Not offended that our work isn’t what Jesus spends time admiring. Not offended that he sought the lowest. Not offended by the people that He brings to our table. Not offended by the reality of forgiveness and grace. Not offended by the people that radical grace will bring into our lives. Not offended by the work of Christ.
Obviously as Christian parents. we are working to bring up our children to honor God in their hard work, in their faithfulness. We do not want to bring up our children to be society’s lowest – the outcasts. So there is one category in this list that we want to be in, and that we should want our children to be in. Those who are not offended by the work of Jesus. Those who have a heart for the lost. Those who look on the work of Christ, and are blessed.
My Grandfather, a faithful evangelist, told us that many years ago he learned that there were more people who wanted into heaven than Christians who wanted them there. As parents we need to be sure that we are not offended by the work of Christ. That we are not trying to keep our children from seeing his radical grace because it offends us. We want our children to be equipped to labor in the harvest. Equipped by the blessing of not being offended by Christ, by those He chooses to keep company with.
Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38
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6 thoughts on “January 17: Matthew 11:4-6

  1. I am really enjoying these devotionals! They have been so encouraging! Thank you for taking the time and effort to do them for us!

  2. I am, of course, needing the reminder to not be offended; however, I also come at this from the other side – the one doing the offending (unavoidably). We adopted a 4-1/2 year old deaf boy four years ago. Who-ee, it has not been neat and tidy. Totally embarrassing at times. I’ve taken offense at my own son and his outrageous behavior, so I sympathize when others do the same even though it is not God’s plan for his people.

    We have been blessed with a covenant community who loves us and loves him, in spite of our mess. Of course, some keep their distance because it is too much or too ugly or too uncomfortable, but God has been so faithful to us and this precious soul who is slowly, oh so slowly but surely, growing in grace in our family.

    Thanks for the reminder to embrace even the very unlovely in Christ’s name and for His sake.

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