On the third Sunday of Advent, in 1544 Martin Luther preached on the Gospel lesson, Matthew 11:2-11. John had sent disciples to ask Jesus is he was the one who was to come or should they look elsewhere. Jesus answered, “Go and tell John what you hear and see.” And “Blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
Yes, truly blessed! For this King and His Word, in which people should find great joy, are a stumbling-block for all the world. The world takes offence and is provoked by the Gospel of Christ, because it will not trust in the grace of God, but rather in its own works and merits. And again, the world takes offence at Christ because His is so utterly poor and wretched. And again, that, as He carries His cross and lets himself be hanged upon it, He admonishes His followers to take their cross and to follow Him through all manner of temptation and afflictions. To this the world is especially hostile.
Thus, is our dear Lord Christ everywhere in the world an annoying preacher. The gospel will never fare otherwise. It is and it will be a message at which offence is taken, not by the lowly, but by the most saintly and most pious, the wisest and the mightiest on earth, as experience teaches us. Blessed are those who know and trust that it is truly the Word of God, for they are healed, and they are comforted and fortified against all such offence.