The Book of Luke, Jesusí Response to John the Baptistís Question From Prison, Part I Ė Lesson 88
The miracles and the healings of Jesus Christ which were reported to John in prison prompted his all important and revealing question.
Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?
From our study of this passage in Luke 7 we have learned that John emphasized one aspect of prophecy of the Old Testament to the neglect of the other.
So when Jesusí first coming was known by acts of mercy and grace, John leaned to his own understanding that he had perhaps designated the wrong Messiah, rather than to question his own thinking and understanding of the prophets.
Every man or woman including John the Baptist has a choice whether he or she will trust or lean to his own understanding.
Many of us chose to lean in spite of Godís clear word that we should always trust.
John, while in prison leaned or favored his own understanding.
Did John forget or discount his witness of the dove that represented the Holy Spirit that had abode upon this man Jesus.
Did he forget that he was also told that this man would baptize with the Holy Ghost.
It was not very far in time from that event where John said in:
John 1:34-36, And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. 35Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; 36And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!
Here is where the saying, ďNo doubt the trouble is with you,Ē comes to the fore.
Never think the trouble is with God, the trouble is never with God.
Jesusí words to John as is the usual case, take John back to the Book, which is the only standard for our thinking and our conclusions.
Jesusí ministry was a fulfillment of biblical prophecy, and therefore it is John who must change and not Jesus.
This is what trust is all about.
Trust does not require that God meet your expectations.
Trust requires that you believe that Godís word will be kept.
God said it, that settles it.
God is not to be created in your image for we are clearly taught that we are created in Godís image!
Trust means that Godís will is everything.
If Godís will is everything then your obligation, my obligation is simply to follow where he leads.
The bottom line is that John the Baptist had unrealistic, inaccurate expectations of Jesus Christ.
His expectations with regard to the Messiah and His ministry were wrong, and thus they came into conflict with the ministry and message of Jesus Christ.
John tried to change Christ to conform to his expectations, rather than to change his own expectations in line with the Word of God.
John was impatient for deliverance, personal and national and in his mind Jesus was not delivering so therefore his question, in his mind was in order.
Jesus had become, as it were, a stumbling block to John for he did not match up to what John had in mind.
And so our Lordís final message to John is one which encourages him not to stumble over our Lord:
tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.
And Jesus follows this telling with this beatitude:
Luke 7:23, And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
He does not scold him or reprimand him but gives this beatitude as an encouragement.
He wants John to be blessed and he has told him to get into the word for that blessing.
For without getting into the word in order to know this Jesus and who he is John will continue to be tripped up for that is what this word offended means.
This verse could be read in this manner: Blessed is he, whoever is not trapped or tripped up in regard to me.
Offended means in the Greek, skandalizoŰ skan-dal-id'-zo which means to entrap, or trip up.
So he reminds John that blessing belongs to anyone who does not fall into this trap but continues by Godís grace to trust regardless of the circumstances.
You will not be blessed by leaning to your own understanding; you will only be blessed by trusting.
I saw in the parking lot at the ball fields last week the bumper sticker ďTry JesusĒ.
I have been told to try Bayer aspirin, Tylenol, and Excedrin, but I have never been told to try Jesus.
Now if you simply try Jesus you will be offended by the Jesus of the Bible for he will not meet your expectations and you will soon go try another.
The word of the scriptures is not ďTry JesusĒ but ďTrust Jesus.Ē
Follow him wherever he goes.
God allows you to know Jesus Christ through his word and his word alone.
If you add or subtract from his word you will be offended for he will not adjust to your addition or your subtraction.
If you expect God to do for you something that is not in accord with his word you will be offended for he will not meet your expectations.
The trap is set for those who do not rightly divide the word of God.
The trap is thinking that God is going in a certain direction when in fact he is going in another direction.
The trap is in thinking that your thinking is right and that Godís thinking is wrong.
This kind of trap is fatal for it will destroy faith and spiritual life.
The danger to which Jesus points, is fatal - blessed is he who escapes it.
John is not to let the absence of certain works like judgment blind him to the wonderful works that are now being done by the Lord Jesus Christ.
I have seen people leave this ministry because there was some ministry they thought the church should do that it was not doing but blind to the wonderful works that were being done.
John should have been satisfied with the works of Jesus Christ because they were being done by the one that had been pointed out by the Spirit of God as the Son of God.
He is to trust that in due time the other works of judgment that John wishes to see will follow just as these are now being done.
The words and works of Jesus Christ bear witness that he is the Messiah who meets all the qualifications foretold and required from the Old Testament scriptures.
John is to rest in that and to trust that all the works that he expects will come about in Godís good order and Gods good timing.
This message to John is also to be the message to us.
Luke 7:23, And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
The Amplified Bible writes it this way: Luke 7:23, And blessed (happy-with life-joy and satisfaction in Godís favor and salvation, apart from outward conditions Ė 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.)
This is what perfect faith produces, a steady unwavering reliance on God regardless of whatever circumstances may come in life.
It is an absolute belief in Godís word as written to the Romans in:
Romans 8:28, And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.