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What does Jesus mean by, "Blessed are those who don't stumble on account of me"?



      

Matthew 11:6

ESV - 6 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.

Clarify Share Report Asked March 13 2018 Open uri20140203 16647 1ofbks8 Rosemary Nord

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
John the Baptist, whose preaching had preceded and prepared the way for the beginning of Jesus' public ministry, and who had baptized Jesus in the Jordan River (Matthew 3, Mark 1:1-15; Luke 3:1-22; John 1:19-35), was later arrested and put in prison by Herod, the Roman-appointed ruler of Galilee in northern Israel, because of John's denunciation of Herod for having taken the wife of Philip (Herod's brother), and for other abuses that Herod had committed (Luke 3:19-20).

While in prison, John heard about the miraculous actions that Jesus was performing (including raising people from the dead (Luke 7:11-17)). Perhaps because of a combination of his circumstances (that is, the fact that he was in prison) and because Jesus' ministry may not have conformed to his expectations of what the Messiah would do, John sent two of those who had been his followers while he had been preaching to ask Jesus whether He was in fact the promised Messiah, or whether Israel should keep looking for someone else (Matthew 11:2-6; Luke 7:18-23).

While the messengers were in Jesus' presence, Jesus preached the gospel of God's coming kingdom (Matthew 4:17), and performed multiple healings. He then told the messengers whom John had sent to go back to him and tell him what they had seen, and also said (as indicated in the verse cited in the question) that they should tell John, "Blessed is he who is not offended by Me".

The website http://www.biblehub.com offers multiple possible translations or paraphrases of the words in this verse. To me, the one that best captures the sense of what Jesus was saying puts it as, "Whoever doesn't lose faith in Me is indeed blessed!" He meant this as an encouragement to John (despite his seemingly bleak circumstances and his possible uncertainty regarding Jesus' ministry and mission) to continue to believe in Jesus as the Messiah, and not to lose or falter ("stumble") in his faith. Jesus also used the miraculous acts that He was performing, as well as His preaching, as visible evidence supporting His words.

These words still have relevance for Christians today, when the length of time (thousands of years) that has elapsed since Jesus' ascension may cause some to have similar doubts concerning His identity as the Messiah, or about His promised return at the end of the present age. (Such uncertainty was even present in New Testament times (2 Peter 3:3-10).)

Just as John's disciples had the things they saw and heard as evidence to take back to John, Christians today have the gospel accounts and the rest of the New Testament, as well as the ongoing work performed in Christ's name by members of His church, as support for their faith in Jesus' continuing presence among His followers, and in His future return in glory.

March 14 2018 0 responses Vote Up Share Report


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