blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” (Luke 7:18-23 ESV)
John the Baptist’s expectations for Christ’s ministry were out of synch
with what was actually happening. Maybe he had hoped for a quicker end to Roman occupation or for justice and righteousness to be established once and for all here on earth. Sitting in prison for obeying God’s calling on his life certainly must have eaten away at him. This is a heavy burden to shoulder. Whatever was taking place on the inside, John needed to hear from his Lord.
So how does Jesus respond to provide His forerunner with guidance and encouragement? Our Lord points John back to Scripture—specifically, Isaiah’s prophecy—to reassure him that this was the real deal. The record then goes silent on John, except for the events surrounding his death. We are not sure how he received Jesus’ response, but for one who had ears to hear—that was Jesus’ way of describing someone who has received the gift of faith and the subsequent ability to understand spiritual things—John would have gotten it, especially the part about not being offended (literally scandalized).
What about us? As we see all the chaos and confusion in the world today, we may be tempted to wonder how this fits into God’s greater plan. We may even doubt His sovereign power and goodness. Rather than obsessing with minute-by-minute news feeds, shouldn’t we turn back to the Book just as Jesus instructed John to do? Nothing coming out of Rome or Iran or North Korea will clearly indicate what our great God is doing or the exact time of Christ’s return. The only sure witness is His Word. It is the Bible that instructs us on the what, and the how, and the times and seasons. So, if necessary, take a break from 24/7 news. Ask the Lord to bring peace and clarity of thought to your heart and mind through Scripture. And remember that blessed is the one who is not scandalized by Jesus Christ.