Sunday, May 18, 2014

Taking offense and being an offense (Luke 7:23)

Blessed is he who does not take offense at Me." (Luke 7:23 NASB)

The Greek word translated here as "take offense" is skandaliz┼Ź and is used in Scripture in several ways. The way we generally view this passage is described by Blue Letter Bible as "to see in another what I disapprove of and what hinders me from acknowledging his authority".  That may well be exactly what Jesus meant. It was what the Pharisees did. They saw Jesus eating and drinking with sinners, bringing them to God, and they did not like it one bit. The offense they took at the befriending of all hindered them from accepting Him as Messiah. He did not want John, in prison with nothing to do but think, to end up rejecting Him because he found something in Him he didn't like. 

The BLB lists another usage for this word that may also be pertinent. 

"To put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip and fall". 

John was asking questions and trying to be sure about Jesus. He was a wise man, and realized that, if you want to get an answer about someone, you should ask them rather than asking the opinion of the crowd around them. John wanted to go to the source for his answers but, because he was imprisoned, the only way he could approach Jesus was by sending a friend. He sent several disciples to get the information he needed. 

John was a type of trained scholar, having spent years in the wilderness studying. He had spent his life seeking answers to questions. Jesus may have been warning John that our questions only become a problem when those questions endanger the faith of others. He was telling John not to allow his uncertainty to become a source of stumbling for the disciples God had entrusted to him. 

As a leader in the faith with a large following, he could easily lead people astray if they heard his doubts but did not know that he had found answers to his questions. Jesus may have been warning John to be careful with his questions, and with the faith of those who followed him. 

We, too, have people who look to us for leadership and encouragement. In our culture, social media allows us the luxury of instant access to large numbers of people. We can voice any doubt, say anything. If we do that unwisely, we can be a source of offense, a stumbling block, to others. We must we wise in what we do and say. 

As important, our homes are the place where we are most relaxed and at ease. We are safe to say anything. Just because we can say anything we think does not mean we should say anything we think or voice every doubt. Be wise. Be wise. Once spoken, words cannot be recalled. 

Pray today that we will not take offense in our doubts and that we will not be a source of offense for those we love the most. 
Here's the link to last night's post: