2 Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” 4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive 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. 6 And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” Matthew 11:2-6 (NASB)
Do you remember the first time that someone ridiculed you for your faith? How did it feel? The Test of Shame is one that comes upon all professing Christians. This test is designed to separate the genuine from the disingenuous….
Many may fail this test and still be genuine, but in their hearts they will bear a shame that is worse than the ridicule and persecution they sought to avoid. The beauty of God’s ways is that the path of forgiveness is there for those who repent. Peter’s denial of Christ during Jesus’ trial is a perfect example of this. There are also many during the reign of Queen Mary of England, Bloody Mary, who initially failed this test as they were persecuted or their families were threatened with persecution unless they abjured. However, as the Holy Spirit worked in their hearts they would go public with their faith and endure the fires of martyrdom in the joy of the Lord.
In the passage I placed at the top of this post we have Jesus telling John the Baptist’s disciples what to tell John that they observed in Jesus’ ministry. Curiously, He ended this dialogue with a puzzling statement, “And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” That does seem strange in this context, but it does reveal much to us. The Greek word translated “take offense” means “to throw one unawares into ruin.” It describes a behavior that leads to ruin. Some Bible versions translate this word as “Fall Away.” If we restate v6 in light of this we could render it thus, “And blessed is the one who does not fall away on account of me.” The falling away leads to destruction. Since I believe that all who are in Christ are secure in Him then I also believe that Jesus must be describing those who fall away from Him because they are offended by Him. This failure of the Test of Shame reveals their disingenuousness.