Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February 25 – Power that offends

He replied to them, “Go and report to John the things you have seen and heard: The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with skin diseases are healed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news.  And anyone who is not offended because of Me is blessed. (Luke 7:22-23 HCSB)

John the Baptist knew from the moment that he had baptized Jesus in the Jordan River, that He was the Christ, the Messiah.  He bowed before Him and said that he wasn’t even worthy to tie His sandals much less baptize Him.  He was there when the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove and God the Father announced from heaven, “This is my Son in whom I am well pleased.”  It was so clear, but then things didn’t seem to happen the way most people expected the King of Kings’ arrival on earth would unfold.  Jesus wasn’t facing down the Roman Empire, He was busy confronting a more powerful and more evil kingdom that has existed since time immemorial, and few understood how He was about to change the world.

Not long after Jesus begins his ministry, John the Baptist is arrested and about to be killed by King Herod because of his radical preaching.  From his prison cell, John sends his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the One who is to come, or should we look for someone else?”  Behind bars with no sign of Jesus amassing an army to destroy Herod’s plans, he had to hear from Jesus’ mouth directly as doubts began to creep in – are you the One?

Jesus’ response is the same one that He continues to give us 2000 years later.  Look at what I have done.  My power speaks for itself.  Jesus was in effect saying, yes I am God, because I have authority to save, forgive, heal and raise from the dead. Later in the Bible, Jesus refers to His church (all true Christians) as His body, which means we should be demonstrating this same authority and acting just as Jesus acted.  Proof that we are His, is that we have the same fruit.  When people question whether you have a genuine faith, you don’t need to go into a complicated theological argument, all you need is to show the proof of what God has done in you and with you.  The power of God through you, speaks for itself, just like it spoke for Jesus.

And then the last statement catches many off guard.  “Anyone who is not offended because of Me is blessed.”  Plenty of people avoid reading certain passages in the Bible, because they just aren’t as comforting as they’d like.  They dislike messages that don’t correspond with their way of life.  Some avoid the passages about sin and repentance, or working out their salvation with fear and trembling.  Others who enjoy being self-righteous dislike the passages about mercy or generosity towards their neighbor.  Though they say they love Jesus, His Word offends them.  They’d rather modify His Word to fit their style than mold themselves into His commands.  Many are and will be offended by Jesus, and in turn many will be offended by those who truly belong to Jesus.  But those who are blessed embrace Him as their Lord one hundred percent.  They shape their thoughts, feelings and choices based on His Word so that the power of God comes alive in and through them.

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