Chapter # 7 Paragraph # 3 Study # 4
September 7, 2008
23 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
1901 ASV Translation:
23 And blessed is he, whosoever shall find no occasion of stumbling in me.
- I. The Issue: Being "Stumbled" by Jesus.
- A. The word "stumbled" has a root in the notion of a central "thing" that triggers a host of degenerating consequences. The word had its origins in the "trigger" of a trap. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament even says that it signaled "ruin" (the final end of a series of degenerating consequences).
- B. Enlightening contexts in the use of the word in the New Testament are not lacking.
- 1. In Matthew 12:21 the impetuous seed springs up, but is then destroyed because "he" is "offended" by the problems of being troubled and persecuted because of the Word.
- 2. In Matthew 13:57 the "hometowners" were "offended" by Jesus in that they were angered by His abilities and popularity in contrast to themselves.
- 3. In Matthew 15:12-13 the disciples asked Jesus if He knew that the Pharisees were "offended" by His teachings and His response was, "Every plant which my heavenly Father planted not, shall be rooted up." This means that there is more to the concept than being "offended" or "angered". It means that the "offense" keeps a person from ever being able to "see" and "believe": "...they are blind guides...and if the blind guide the blind, both shall fall into a pit." Thus, "to be offended" means that one is kept from being able to "believe".
- 4. We see the causes for this in other texts...
- a. In the famous "pluck out your eye ... cut off your hand" texts (among which is Matthew 18:8) we see that one of the major motivations for being "offended" is the lusts represented in the body.
- b. In another place (Matthew 26:31) the fear of what the politicians can do to you is a root of "offense".
- c. In John 6:61 certain "disciples" were "offended" by Jesus' doctrine (particularly His doctrine of divine election - 6:44) and walked away.
- d. In Romans 14:21 the heart of the matter is exposed: a person is "offended" when he/ she is led into a violation of true conscience. This boils down to being seduced by one's appetites into doing something that is a known "wrong".
- e. And in 1 Corinthians 1:23 we find Paul declaring that the real problem the Jews had with Jesus was His willingness to be crucified...a consequence that they feared more than anything. It was "humiliating".
- 5. Therefore, what Jesus was saying to John was to be very careful that he did not let his own distasteful circumstances lead him into anger against the "Jesus" Who would not use His "might" to deliver him.
- II. On the Other Side of the Coin is Another Issue: Blessing.
- A. With a focus upon "stumbling", it is easy to miss the alternative.
- B. Nevertheless, "blessing" is worth whatever it takes to possess it.