Don’t Stumble over Jesus

Not stumbling over Jesus is easier said than done, particularly when we let Jesus be Jesus on his own terms.

John the Baptizer had come with a message of judgment and fire.  An axe would be laid to the root of those who thought they were special.  The Messiah would separate the grain from the chaff and burn it with an unquenchable fire.  It doesn’t do any good to claim you are children of Abraham and therefore have a claim to special treatment from the Messiah.  God can raise up descendants of Abraham from the stones, of which there were many.

But John ended up in prison.  He heard what Jesus was doing in his ministry.  However, there wasn’t any fire, or end time judgment.  Nothing spectacular was going on.  So John sent two of his disciples, to ask, “Are you the One or do we look for someone else.”  John had looked for one stronger than he, and Jesus wasn’t displaying a lot of strength.

Jesus seems to have invited John’s disciples to spend a little time with him.  Then he sent them back to report what they had heard and seen.  Jesus was bestowing sight on the blind, straightened out the limbs of the lame, those separated from society because of skin diseases were healed so they were no longer outcasts.  The deaf could now hear.  And the poor were finally hearing some good news, the good news of God’s kingdom.  All of these people would have been on the edges of society, but they were at the center of the kingdom of God.

So Jesus final word to be delivered to John the Baptizer, was “blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”  Or “Happy is the person who does not find me an obstacle to faith.”

We romanticize Mary, but God getting her pregnant before a proper marriage put her reputation in danger.  What of those shepherds abiding in the fields?  They too were outcasts.  Taking care of sheep was a 24/7 job.  They didn’t get to the temple or the synagogue regularly.  They didn’t follow the dietary laws or rules on cleanliness.  Yet they were the first visitors at the manger.  And what kind of king was this son of Mary with the besmirched reputation?

Yes, blessed is one who does not stumble over Jesus.

 

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