Do not be offended

iMonk has axed a question over at BHT:
So what’s going on here? With John. (And, yes, the rest of the chapter is applicable.)
    11:1 When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities.

    2 Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers [1] are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. 6 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
This is of course Matthew 11:1-6, for those who prefer the ESV popup. In the interest of promoting better Bible reading, here’s my answer:

[1] John’s in prison.

[2] John is dispatching his own disciples to Christ.

[3] John is a little put off by having to serve prison time while Christ is free to walk around all of Judea.

And why not? Which prophet didn’t give God a little sassy-mouth with a side of angry-eyebrow for having to suffer for the sake of being the divine messenger? Elijah sure did – and that was after seeing the prophets of Baal burned while their god was not listening in the potty. (1 Kings 18:27; 1 Kings 19:14) And let’s not bring up Jonah again, yes? So John here wants to know if the Christ is come – and, of course, that the captives will be delivered, starting with the one who was a voice crying out in the wilderness – or what.

And I think iMonk’s point in asking is this: if John is allowed a little doubt, isn’t everyone allowed a little doubt? That would make sense in the personal context of the barkeep. If he has a broader question, I’d be willing to field that, but here’s where I think that original thought goes.

The question has to be, “was John allowed a little doubt, or was John rebuked for having a little doubt?” Because Jesus doesn’t say to John, “Cousin, I’m sorry you are having a hard day and I’ll try to make it up to you.” What Jesus says – and I’d compare this to what Jesus says over and over to the Pharisees who keep demanding a sign, or that Jesus spell it out about this Messiah thing – is, “John, these are the signs of the times [with the implication that you know what they mean], and if you have to suffer a little for my sake, count it as a blessing and not as an offense.”

Jesus tells John that doubt is not warranted, and that his concerns – like the concerns of the Prophets before him – ought to be weighed against what he knows for certain to be true. And because John is John – who saw the spirit descend like a dove, and who called Jesus “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” – Jesus doesn’t pronounce the 7 woes upon him for being a malcontent and an unbeliever. But at the same time, Jesus also tells him flatly that he shouldn’t be doubting what God is about to do.

And I think that’s a great way to set up a Good Friday post, so I’ll leave it at that for the day.