“Now it came to pass, when Jesus finished commanding His twelve disciples, that He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities. And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the coming One, or do we look for another?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: the blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” (NKJV)
John the Baptist was at the height of his ministry when King Herod imprisoned him for speaking out against Herod’s lifestyle of sin. (Luke 3:20). John had been born with a calling, and was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb. (Luke 1:15) He was a mighty man of God and a “voice crying out in the wilderness” who called many people to repentance. He was a prophet of power and might, but he found himself behind bars in a dark and dusty cell, in the hands of an evil king. His mind was probably filled with questions, as he asked himself “why”? He knew there was a calling on his life to draw a people group to repentance and salvation, but he was locked away in jail, and it must have made no sense!
John had heard the voice of God telling him who Jesus was, and he had revealed Jesus to others, as the One who would baptize with fire (John 1:33) and the Lamb of God (John 1:29). However, here he was wondering if he had heard right, and whether Jesus really was the Messiah they had expected. This was why he sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus “Are You the coming One, or do we look for another?” A part of the Messiah’s mandate was “To proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (Isaiah 61:1). It is possible that John wondered if Jesus could be “the One” if he (John) was stuck in prison simply for proclaiming the truth and standing for what is right.
Jesus told John’s disciples to go back to John with news of the mighty miracles taking place. The Messianic prophecies were being fulfilled when the blind saw and the lame walked. People were experiencing salvation, healing and deliverance, and being brought out of prisons they had lived in for generations. Friend, Jesus is calling us today to stop focusing on what has not happened in our lives, and on promises that we have not as yet seen fulfilled. He is asking us to look afresh on all the good things that He has done and is bringing to pass for us today. Jesus wanted John’s focus to come back on the great things that were happening. When we focus on the goodness of the Lord and His mighty power, faith is stirred to believe for the impossible and to see it brought to pass in our lives. On the contrary, focusing on our disappointments simply kills faith and stops us believing for the impossible things God wants to make possible for us. It also makes us feel grieved with the Lord.
Jesus is saying to us:“Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me”. The spirit of offence destroys faith, grieves the Holy Spirit, and limits what He is doing in us. In Mark 6:3-5 we are told how the people in Jesus’ home town said “Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” and they were “offended” at him. As a result “He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.” In today’s portion of Scripture, there are a few things the Lord is asking us to do:
1) Stop focusing on what has not happened in your life. Refocus on what the Lord has been doing and the miracles you have seen in the past. Anticipate the blessing that is coming and thank Him for the completion of all those miracles “in progress”. All things are possible to those who believe, and as we focus on the goodness of God and the wonderful things He has done, faith will grow strong, and you will be able to believe!
2) Repent of any offence there is your heart. This could be any offence or grievance you may be (unwittingly) harboring against anyone in your live, including a sense of disappointment which has brought a wedge between you and Father God. As we forgive whoever we are offended with (including the Lord) and lay down our right to be hurt, we remove this hindrance to the miraculous moving of God, and we free our faith to soar again. I know of a young man who forgave his mother and let go of a spirit of
offence that he had carried for many years. It brought an instant breakthrough in his spiritual life and opened the way for God to heal him, and to step in and begin to work in his life again. Friend, this is a powerful revelation from the Holy Spirit and if you search your heart today, you may find a variety of offences hiding there (from incidents past and present), against pastors, bosses, teachers, friends, co-workers, people you have ministered to, etc. Forgive each one and lay each offence at the feet of Jesus. He wants an open door for His Spirit to flow into and through your life. You will be amazed at how this clears the air for you, and brings an open heaven as angels begin to move on your behalf.
3) “Now it came to pass, when Jesus finished commanding His twelve disciples, that He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities”. I believe that Jesus wants us fully healed and free to flow in the power of His Spirit so that we can walk in the living reality of His Word and obey His command to teach and preach in our cities. Time is short and there is much to be done. There is a harvest waiting to be brought in and the Lord is counting on us, His hands and His feet!
4) Finally, you may be someone who is suffering for doing the right thing, or experiencing persecution because of your love and stand for Jesus. The Lord knows where you are, and He is calling you to stop talking and thinking about the challenges you have been facing. Stop praying for your situation to change. The Holy Spirit would have you praise your way out of your problem, and to worship Jesus despite the difficulties surrounding you. God is positioning angels and Heaven is moving on your behalf. He is opening those prison doors to set you free, Hallelujah!
Friend, if you have had recent losses and disappointments in your life, know that they are not from the Lord. Our Daddy loves to bless His kids and has good plans for us. He is asking you today to remember His goodness to you, and to praise and worship Him, and let His name be magnified in your life. As you focus on the awesome love of Jesus and how He gave His very life for you, you will begin to see how much He has done for you and how truly great and mighty He is. Recall and meditate upon all the good things you have seen happen in your life. Psalm 77:10 talks about looking to the “years of the right hand of the Most High” which refers to remembering the powerful acts of God through the years. He loves you, He has great things in store for you, and you will see all His promises fulfilled, as you get rid of all offence, and trust Him and believe! You are a very precious child of the King, and Jesus says to you today “Blessed is he/she who is not offended because of me”!
May the mighty power of Jesus be manifest in your life today, and may you walk in strength and victory each day, Amen.
Minoli Haththotuwa, 20 August 2012