Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.– Matthew 26:31
Jesus easily offends those who do not follow Him; what is surprising is that He is also offends those that do. This offense can come when we feel that Jesus is getting in the way of something we really want; when our beliefs are challenged; or when we perceive our personal safety is at risk. Like Peter, we like to think this would never be so for us! We choose to believe that we will be faithful no matter what comes at us; no matter the fear; no matter our wants!
When offense arises, we rationalize away our decision to not share the gospel or to downplay our devotion to Christ; when our beliefs are challenged, we become tongue-tied and doubtful of ourselves as well as Jesus; and when we think our personal safety, liberty, or freedom is at risk we back down; switch gears; and/or follow along with the mislead crowd! Think you wouldn’t? Think you don’t? Think you are not offended by Jesus in some way now? I pray you are able to honestly answer those questions and I hope that you truly are not offended by Him in any way! I must warn you to not be so sure of yourself, however, as the heart IS deceitful above all things and utterly wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). I too was sure that I was secure against this travesty of being offended by the Word of God that is Christ Jesus until an incident occurred this past weekend.
There was something I really wanted! I wanted it for many good, upright, and caring reasons. I wanted it so bad that I questioned myself when I began to speak about my Lord and Savior to the ones in control of whether I would receive this much wanted item or not. I found myself second guessing almost every expression I made regarding Him or the ministry He has led me to. I praise Him that I quickly realized what I was doing and that I pressed on to share His beautiful name and the wonderous works I have seen Him perform through the ministry! These people listened intently but it was obvious that they have yet to grasp who He really is and what He is capable of. I ended up not getting that thing I so wanted but I thank God that the Gospel went forth and His name was glorified! It matters not how noble my want if it means I would downplay, discard, or not proclaim His name in order to get it! We are not to compromise the Truth; we are to be His lights. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. – Matthew 11:6
Let us avoid the pitfall of offense at the Word of God by our daily reading and meditating upon it; by humble ceaseless prayer; and by willful obedience. We that believe on and obey Him are blessed to be indwelt with the Holy Spirit who comforts, guides, strengthens, and convicts us. There is, therefore, no excuse or justification for us to scatter from the Good Shepherd when threats arise like the disciples did prior to His death and resurrection. God Almighty has gone above and beyond to equip us with all that we need to withstand temptation, threat, and affliction. Our job is to daily put on and utilize the Armor of God (Ephesians 6) that He has graciously provided.
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. – Luke 9:23