March 30, 2020 – Monday
Matthew 11:6 NIV
6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of Me.
Matthew 11:6 NKJV
6 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.
The verse above is the last sentence from Jesus to two disciples of John the Baptist who wanted to know if He was the One to come or should they be expecting someone else? A truly odd question as John was the one who baptized Jesus and he was there and witnessed the following in Matthew 3: 16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.”
So why was John now asking if Jesus is the One? Why? Well, it turns our John had been imprisoned (4:12) and we know from other Gospels he was imprisoned for speaking of King Herod’s sin in taking his brother’s wife as his own. Still why the question for Jesus? Turns out over a year had passed since John had been imprisoned. Thus day after day, week after week, month after month he had waited on Jesus to do something, anything to set him free and Jesus had not done so.
John clearly had an expectation Jesus would make sure he was set free, but Jesus did not do that. Sunday, I gave a message on Unmet Expectations and John surely had an unmet expectation. John expected Jesus to see he was set free. It did not happen. Still Jesus gave an answer to John’s disciples to show He was the One when He said, 4 Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Clear enough, Jesus is the One, so why did Jesus then add the next sentence which is our verse of the day? Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of Me.
Perhaps we need to look at the Greek word that is translated as stumble or offend to understand this seemingly odd sentence. The word is skandalizō Strong’s G4624 and is defined by Strong’s as to entrap, i.e. trip up (figuratively, stumble or entice to sin, apostasy or displeasure): to offend. Maybe it could have been translated as Blessed is anyone who is not entrapped or tripped up on account of Me. With this it feels like we are getting closer, but what is Jesus telling John (and us) with such a thought?
Turns out He is simply saying trust Me, keep the faith, even when you have unmet expectations. It does not matter what you are expecting or what you know Jesus could do. Trust Him and His great and infinite wisdom that He knows what is best, not you (me) in your (my) limited human wisdom. Don’t get trapped in thinking you know better than God what should or should not be done. Trust Him and keep the faith. Not so easy for John who had lived outdoors, sleeping under the stars, most of his life and now has spent over a year in a dirty dark dank prison cell.
Jesus’ message to John, Don’t be scandalized by thinking you know better than Me. Don’t get tripped up when you know God’s wisdom is greater than yours. When everything goes wrong, as it has for John, continue to trust and keep the faith. Do not stumble or be offended because God has not met your expectations. The New Century Version (NCV) of this verse, although still a bit awkward, most clearly captures this thought Those who do not stumble in their faith because of Me are blessed.
It is my prayer for you and for me that when a crisis of faith comes and we have unmet expectations, we will continue to trust in the Lord and keep the faith, not stumbling nor being offended because our expectations were not met.
Riley D. Driver-Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton