May 31, 2018
What stops you from receiving blessings from Jesus? He desires to fill all your needs but He won’t force anything on you. You must be willing to receive blessings. A prime example of people not receiving what Jesus desired to give them is found in the Gospel of Mark. Jesus had returned to Nazareth and went to the synagogue to teach. Those who heard what He had to say were astonished because He taught something new and exciting. They had heard of the miraculous things Jesus had done for others but their reaction was skepticism. “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.” Mark 6:3.
The word “offended” comes from the Greek word skandalizo…they were scandalized! Can you blame them? After all, they knew He was Mary’s son. You know, Mary…the one who was pregnant before she was married. Their offense to this is understandable but misplaced. They were very close to the situation and thought they knew facts, but they were blind to the truth. They only paid attention to the gossip. Their presuppositions hindered the blessings that Jesus wanted to give them.
This wasn’t the first time Jesus’ credentials had been questioned. John the Baptist had many followers and he sent two of them to ask if Jesus was the longed-for Messiah or if they should look for someone else. Instead of just saying yes, Jesus gave them evidence. “Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” Matthew 11:4-6. All of the miraculous things Jesus had done for the people was evidence that He was the Messiah. The Pharisees should have recognized Him, but they chose blind ignorance. Some of the people who received healing understood who He was, but the people in His hometown were offended by Him. Jesus wanted to bless the hometown crowd as he had blessed others but instead, they hindered those blessings by holding on to the gossip and ignoring the truth. “But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” Mark 6:4. In other words, they didn’t receive the blessings that others received because they saw Him as just a carpenter and they were familiar with His human family. Jesus was fully human, but He was also fully God in the flesh and they needed to meet that side of Him.
Jesus could have forced them to receive the blessings He wanted to give them, but He won’t force anyone to take anything they don’t want. “And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.” Mark 6:5-6.
What Jesus offered wasn’t the “name it and claim it” heresy that we hear about today. He wasn’t there to give them more wealth, more status, or more material gain. He wanted to give them healing and truth that would lead to eternal life. They thought they knew Him too well to believe He had anything to give them. Are we like them? Do we know Him too well to believe He has blessings for us? We hinder His work in us and through us if we take Him for granted.
I’ve noticed that many people who’ve been raised in Christian homes and have always done their devotional reading and have habitually listened to tired old sermons miss out on blessings because they don’t recognize what Jesus wants to give. When people who’ve lead sinful lives and have come from very secular childhoods finally meet Jesus, they’re the ones who seem more willing to accept His blessings and are more apt to boldly witness to others and enthusiastically serve Him. “There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him the most?” Luke 7:41-42. Jesus gave this example to Simon the Pharisee during a dinner gathering. A sinful woman had entered uninvited and began to worship Jesus. The “holier than thou” Pharisee was offended that she was there, but Jesus forgave her sins. “Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.” Luke 7:47. Brothers and sisters, we need to understand that Jesus has forgiven all of us a plethora of sins. We need to love Him more.
Jesus traveled a lot and everywhere He went crowds gathered. When He came to Capernaum the people were excited that He was there. As always He drew crowds of people who wanted to hear Him and ask for healing. One such man was ill with palsy and was bedridden. He had four friends who were willing to carry him and his bed to the house where Jesus was, but the crowds made it impossible for them to enter. The friends wanted this man to receive the blessing of healing and they did nothing to hinder the blessing. They hoisted him and his cot up to the roof, pulled off the tiles, and lowered their friend down to Jesus. “When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.” Mark 2:5. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful if the people from Jesus’ home town had accepted the blessings He wanted to give them? There would have been more than just a few people there who were healed. Capernaum is about 40 miles from Nazareth and the people in Nazareth should have heard about the happenings in Capernaum. Still, they hindered the blessings that Jesus desired to give them.
There were many people who were willing to accept healing from Jesus and therefore His blessings. When Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem He passed through a village and encountered ten lepers. If a person contracted leprosy they were doomed. They were outcasts who would never again be allowed to mingle with healthy people. Their skin would rot and fingers and toes would fall off. They could never hug their children, enjoy friendships, or worship in the synagogue. Leprosy was not and is not curable. They grouped together and stayed away from healthy people. When these ten met Jesus they stood far off “And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” Luke 17:13. They weren’t offended by Him but they cried out for mercy. They needed healing and knew that this Man could help them. Jesus didn’t make a big deal of healing them. He just told them to go and show themselves to the priests. “…And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.” Luke 17:14b. Can you imagine their joy? Can you imagine their gratitude? Well, that’s something else we need to remember. First, don’t be offended by Jesus, and second be grateful. “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.” Luke 17:15-16. Ten lepers, some Jewish some Samaritan, but only one said thank You and worshipped Him. Brothers and sisters, always remember to give thanks.
Don’t confuse the blessings Jesus wants to give with having no trouble in life. Too often we think that when we come to Jesus our troubles are all behind us and life is a breeze. Think about this. The lepers had been quarantined from society. They couldn’t earn money through holding a job so food and clothing were hard to come by. After receiving healing from Jesus they had to earn their own living. They could now re-enter society and be responsible for their own needs but they first had to get past the stigma of what they had been. They had to allow people to see how Jesus had changed them. The situation of every person who received healing was changed and they had to move away from taking handouts to earning their own way. It’s the same today. Jesus changes us we need to move from what we were, following the way of the world, to living out our Christian walk. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. When you receive the blessing of eternal life from Jesus, you’ve been changed. Now, allow those changes to rule your life. You were once blind to Him but now your eyes have been opened.
Jesus didn’t withhold His blessings from anyone who would accept them. Demons were cast out of people, blind men received sight, lame men walked, and people were raised from the dead. Each of us needs to examine where we are in our relationship with Jesus. He still desires to bless us today. Does He offend you? Are you ashamed of Him? If so you’re hindering the many blessings He wants to give you. What do you seek? Riches? A bigger house? A faster car? These aren’t needs but wants. Jesus will meet your needs but your wants are the things that cause you stress and unhappiness. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33. If you’ve placed your faith in Him for salvation then He’s already given you eternal life. Now, look for ways to serve Him. Look for ways to use His gifts to bless others. Don’t be offended by Him but seek Him every day.
Don’t hinder His blessings by taking them for granted. Whether you’re a new Christian or one who has been a part of the family for years, don’t be offended by Him but remember the joy of your salvation.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at this website under the “Archived Newsletter” Tab at the Home Page.
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.