May we humble ourselves
"And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me."
We are so easily offended on so many levels in this life. When people say things about us, when they mock us or say things about our children, or when people despise us or reject us. In fact, we often become so consumed with the offences in our lives and our own self righteousness that we can even come to place of saying, ‘now I know how Jesus must of felt’.
But this is a dangerous place to be in when we start seeing ourselves as God Himself - elevating ourselves to be as gods in our own eyes as we look down on those supposedly causing the offence; often with indignation, great judgement and unbelief of how we are being treated - 'especially because we are such good people and such good Christians and respected members of our community'.
Well, this is exactly what was unfolding in Luke 7. The publicans and sinners that heard Jesus believed Him. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God.
We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places - so the offence being spoken of here is not about a frivolous shallow earthly type offence seemingly in the flesh. It is a spiritual offence and one that dates back to Genesis 3 - the Pharisees had become gods unto themselves in their own self righteousness, just as Paul considered himself a Pharisee regarding his self righteousness.
You see, they were offended by the true nature of Christ and what he actually represented spiritually, but in the flesh. He was not as they wanted to see their expected Messiah. They were looking for someone of great reputation and who looked the part of being a high priest and king - someone who dressed the part, played the part and with many servants and everyone wanting to praise and elevate him.
But Christ was rejected and despised. And He actually made Himself of no reputation and took on the form of a servant. This was someone who had no earthly status and no earthly reputation and or persuasion over men and women from a fleshly perspective. But they were looking for recognition for their own wonderful works and for the great burdens they had to bear in order to put up with all the sinners and publicans and people of low estate around them - people who just didn't understand what it was to be like them, so holy and so righteous. They deserved to be the close disciples of the Messiah and the king, not sinners, publicans and common ordinary people.
But Jesus says, ‘Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. You blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.”
So today, may we count all things, our reputations, our earthly status and whatever else, but loss that we may gain Christ and not be offended in Him, that is, in the Body if Christ, the church. Let us deny our own vanity and our own pride and humble ourselves as we press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Additional scriptures for reading:
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.