Offended by Jesus – A Case Study

In John 11, we see that Martha was offended by Jesus.

But why? There were three reasons.

First, Jesus did not arrive in time to heal Lazarus. Second, Jesus’ words to the messenger could easily have been interpreted to mean that Lazarus would not die. Third, Jesus did not show up for Lazarus’ funeral. In the first century, those who died were buried immediately. Six days of mourning followed. If close friends were not in attendance during the burial, it brought shame upon the family and the deceased.

Martha may have also felt slighted when Jesus asked for Mary after He arrived in Bethany. Perhaps she thought to herself, It doesn’t matter what I do or say, it’s always about Mary!

Regardless, being offended by the Lord is something that touches us all.

The Scripture tells us that Jesus is a rock of offense to the disobedient. In His earthly days, Christ was constantly offending the outwardly religious.

But when Jesus spoke these words in Matthew 11:6—“Blessed is the one who is not offended by me”—He had someone else in mind. He was speaking to His followers: “Blessed are you, My followers, when you are not offended by Me.”

John the Baptist was utterly loyal to Jesus. He walked a life of total self-denial, giving up everything for his God. And then he found himself in a cold prison.

We have no record that the Lord ever visited John in prison. So John questioned and doubted. He was probably thinking, Was it really worth it? I lived my whole life to pave the way for the Messiah, and now I’m in prison. The kingdom hasn’t yet come. Did I miss it?

John wondered and wavered; he was tempted to be offended by his Lord. So he sent word to Jesus, asking, “Are you really the One who was to come? Or should we expect another?”

Jesus didn’t visit John. He instead sent an answer through John’s disciples:

Go back and report to John what you’re seeing. The deaf hear; the blind see; the lepers are cleansed; the dead are raised; the good news is being preached to the poor … and happy is the person who is not offended in Me. Peaceful is the man who doesn’t stumble over Me. Blessed is the person who doesn’t fall away on account of what I do or not do.

Over the years, I’ve watched Christians take offense with the Lord. Some of them passionately followed Jesus in their youth, only to renounce Him later. Why? They took offense, because they chose to be offended.

“Blessed is the one who is not offended by Me.” This is the forgotten beatitude.