Blessed is he who does not take offense at Me. Luke 7:23 NASB
This is the response Jesus gave to the messengers sent by John the Baptist. John was in a prison cell because he spoke out against against Herod Antipas’ marriage to his sister in law. John heard about all the miraculous things that Jesus was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?” (Luke 7:19 NLT).
Before John’s imprisonment he said about Jesus, “The Father loves his Son, and he has given him authority over everything. And all who believe in God’s Son have eternal life” (John 3:35-36 NLT). So John knew that Jesus was the Messiah. He had said it before himself. But in the dark isolation of a prison cell, he had a crisis of faith. Why would the Messiah allow his own cousin, who prepared the way for his ministry, to be imprisoned and ultimately killed? Jesus is out healing people, casting out demons, multiplying food by the thousands. Help a cousin out. No. Jesus didn’t even give an explanation. He simply said, “your blessed if you aren’t offended by me”.
We wonder the same thing John did. If God is so powerful and loving, why are we surrounded by sickness, death and injustice? How are we not supposed to be offended? How can our faith stand in these circumstances? The Cessational view point answers these questions by simply saying Jesus was anointed to do miracles to prove he was God’s son and the disciples to witness the gospel, and then miracles ceased. They put God in a box of reason, thus avoiding any offense.
It is easier to build a foundation on a soft terrain, like sand, then on an immovable terrain such as rock. You can simply push the sand aside and lay a nice level foundation sealed to the earth. You can form the earth around the foundation. But you have to form the foundation around the shape of the earth to build on a rock. It is not going to be level, and there will be gaps for air to flow through.
We can build our faith on the belief that God never heals anymore, or that he always heals if we have enough faith. This makes sense. The reasoning is level and it has no gaps. Both of these belief systems are useless when the storms of life hit. Faith built on terrain which provides easy answers will be washed away with life’s struggles.
Jesus does not give us clear cut answers. He tells us we have authority over all the powers of the enemy, that the gates of hell cannot stand against us. He also tells us we will have many trials and tribulations (Amen to that!). There is a gap. We can’t explain why with reasoning. We only know he loves us, his ways are higher than our ways, and ultimately we win the war even though we won’t win every battle.
We just have to trust with a child-like faith. Children believe whatever you tell them. They don’t have the experience to know that people lie. We don’t have to live very long to discover that God doesn’t always heal. Yet, God expects us to believe that he does heal. All of us will have a time when reasoning and God’s word will clash. It is in a crisis of faith that we have to choose to believe God’s word over life’s circumstances. Faith fills in the gaps of unanswered questions and keeps the air from blowing in and damaging our house.
We won’t always see healing or justice. Usually we won’t get an explanation. But we can always have peace when our house is built on the rock. He is the sure foundation for our times.
And blessed (happy–with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, apart from outward conditions–and to be envied) is he who takes no offense in Me and who is not hurt or resentful or annoyed or repelled or made to stumble whatever may occur]. Luke 7:23 Amp