“Blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” — Matthew 11:6
From time Jesus Christ came into the world over 2000 years ago He has caused much controversy and division among people. It started with the His birth, being born to a young woman who was a virgin, fulfilling the scripture as foretold by the prophet Isaiah. At that time some recognized Him and worshiped Him, while others had schemed to bring about His premature death even if it meant killing all the babies in the land of Israel who were age two and under.
During His public ministry which began when at the age of 30, He again brought controversy to the community by healing the sick, raising the dead, and freeing those who were being harassed and controlled by demonic spirits. He even publicly declared people’s sins forgiven, and then healed them demonstrating that He had the authority to do both. Though He never sinned, He wasn’t afraid or ashamed to associate with sinners. The controversy was that He didn’t fit the kind of Messiah expected by the religious establishment, one full of truth, grace and mercy. Here again, some recognized His Lordship, repented of their sins, then obeyed Him and submitted to becoming His disciples. Others plotted to kill Him with the help of the Roman government. Still others were indifferent or followed Him only for miraculously providing food, their own entertainment, or other selfish reasons.
This division and controversy continued during the course of His three year ministry which culminated with crowds cheering and praising Him as He rode a donkey colt into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. But by Passover Friday they were yelling crucify Him!, which they did, fulfilling the very purpose for which Christ came, to reconcile the world to back to God. As foretold by Scripture, Jesus rose from the dead three days later, again creating even more controversy and division, especially when His disciples, despite persecution, continued doing miraculous works and good deeds in Jesus’ name! Then they too began to share in His suffering for doing only good and having good reputations among all people.
Yet, none of this was ever a surprise to Jesus. He even warned His disciples (and us) about it (Matthew 10:28-40). So we too should not be surprised that Christ, true Christianity and the meaning of Christmas are still deemed controversial, offensive and under attack today. It should however make all who name the name of Christ in truth, draw nearer to God than ever before in order that we may follow Jesus’ example, overcoming evil by doing good, healing the sick, casting out demons, and being the friend of sinners.
On this Christmas I am grateful to the Lord that at the risk of offending me and others, He didn’t withhold sending His Son, He didn’t withhold revealing Him to me, and He didn’t withhold the healings, deliverances and refreshing’s I have experienced at His hand over the course of my life.
May the Lord richly bless you this Christmas season!