Matins Devotion: October 10, 2023
“Blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” When Jesus makes this statement to John the Baptist’s disciples, it’s a bit of a mystery as to who exactly is offended by Christ. Is it John himself as he’s languishing in prison, struggling to understand why Jesus isn’t using him to fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy that the Messiah will set the captives free? Or is it John’s disciples who are offended? Are they ones offended and confused and hurt by the fact that Jesus isn’t using His divine power to spring John from Herod’s prison?
Well, it could be one or the other, it could be both. But there’s a sense in which it doesn’t particularly matter. The point is, here you have a weak and trembling someone looking sorrow and suffering in the face and crying out in confusion. “Jesus, what are you doing? If you’re the one who has come to conquer evil, why aren’t you conquering it? Prove yourself to be who John said you were by removing the thorn of suffering.”
This is a cry of agony we often share in our lives, a cry of sorrow we utter from the depths of our souls when we can’t bear the weight that Jesus doesn’t seem to be taking off of us. “Jesus, if you really are who you say you are, then why aren’t you acting like it? Jesus, if you really love me, why aren’t you coming to my rescue.”
But remember that when John identified Jesus as the Christ, He didn’t call him the breaker of chains or the crusher of sorrows. Yes, the Messiah is those things, but John called Jesus “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” which means that the primary sign of Christ’s messianic nature is found in His death and resurrection. Is Jesus the one who is to come? Is He the Son of God who loves you? Is He the one who has conquered all your sorrows and sufferings? Yes, He is. And you can know this by looking to the cross. There He shed His perfect blood for you. There He laid down His life and freed you from the prison of sin, destroying the offense you had caused to your God, and covering you in the righteousness that made you worthy of God’s eternal love. And from the empty tomb, as He rose triumphant over the grave, He proclaimed that the sacrifice had been accepted, that He was indeed the one John identified.
So don’t be offended when your prayers seem to go unanswered. Don’t be grieved when you cry out for God to come to your aid and it seems that He keeps His distance. Jesus hears you. He loves you. And while you may not ever understand the will of His Father as He refines you with suffering, you can be certain that the day is coming when your Lord will answer your every prayer, dry your every tear, and keep His every promise. Jesus Christ is the one who was to come. He’s the one who came and went to Calvary for you, the one who rose from the grave and ascended to the right hand of God for you. And He’s the one who will come again, the one who will lift you up into glory with Him on the day of His return. Don’t be offended. Don’t doubt. Don’t give up hope. He is coming soon.