Offended In Christ: Love Is Commanded, Hatred Is Promised

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as written and recorded by the apostle John. More specially, today’s passage begins with the eighteenth verse of the fifteenth chapter and continues through to the fifteenth verse of the sixteenth chapter. When you come to this particular portion of scripture you will find the fifteenth chapter continuing and ultimately drawing to a close and the transition into the sixteenth chapter. I continue to be astonished by the incredible depth and amount of time Jesus spent on the night in which He was betrayed to pour into and invest in the remaining eleven disciples. By the time we come to the fourteenth chapter of the gospel which John wrote we find a transition from biographical elements of this night to strictly Jesus speaking unto His disciples. By the time we come to the fourteenth chapter we find Jesus having already washed the feet of the disciples, which would include Judas who would betray Him, Peter who would deny Him and all who would a random and forsake Him. What’s more, is that when you come to the fourteenth chapter of this gospel you will find supper having ended—and not only supper ending, but also Judas the son of Simon departing from the table of fellowship and from the company of the disciples and the presence of Jesus. When the fourteenth chapter begins and opens up it does so with Jesus remaining in the upper room with His disciples while His betrayer would leave that he might engage himself in conspiracy with the chief priests and elders of Israel to betray Jesus into their hands. That which we find in chapters fourteen through seventeen is a tremendous investment Jesus made into the hearts and lives of His disciples as He prepares them for His departure and the arrival of the promised Holy Spirit. What’s more, is they within these chapters we find Jesus making an incredible deposit into the hearts and lives of the remaining eleven disciples, for even though all would abandon and forsake Him and one would deny Him, they would all find a place among the one hundred and twenty who were abiding in the upper room in prayer and fellowship on the day of Pentecost. In all reality, I feel absolutely and incredibly challenged by the events which took place on this particular night in this particular upper room, for it would be the events which took place in this upper room that would ultimately prepare and position them to arrive in the upper room on the day of Pentecost. Furthermore: I would dare say that there can be no experience in and of the second upper room without and apart from the investment and deposit of the first upper room. There can be no engagement in and within the second upper room without and apart from abiding with Jesus in the first upper room. It would be their abiding with Jesus in this first upper room that would position the disciples to abide with each other on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out and released upon and into the earth.

I stand here this morning and I can’t help but find myself being absolutely gripped and captivated by that which is written and recorded in this particular set of chapters, for within this chapters we find Jesus who is the Christ and the Son of the living God pouring into and investing in the disciples—not only on the night in which He would be betrayed, but also before He would be put on trial, falsely accused, persecuted and crucified by the romans. What we find within these chapters is not only Jesus preparing the disciples for His imminent departure from this earth and return unto His Father, but also for the arrival and appearance of the Holy Spirit. That which we find and read on the day of Pentecost was the literal fulfillment of the promise of the Father, as well as that which Jesus the Christ spoke unto the disciples on this particular night. It is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize and understand what is found within these verses and pages of scripture, for what we find within them is an incredible amount of teaching which was offered up and poured out by Jesus into the hearts and lives of His disciples. We cannot, we dare not and must not be too quick to glance over what is written and recorded within these passages of scripture, for what we find within them is Jesus who knows that His hour has come, and who knows that He is about to depart from this world and return unto the Father and the glory He laid aside when He became flesh and dwelt among us. The words which are found present within these chapters are absolutely remarkable and astounding when you take the time to think about and consider them, for they bring us face to face with a powerful preparation which Jesus was providing for the disciples on this night in which He was betrayed. The words which were spoken on this night were words which Jesus used to prepare His disciples for life after His departure and life after His ascension. LIFE AD! LIFE AFTER DEPARTURE. I happen to find this reality to be quite unique and quite remarkable when you take the time to think about it, for within these verses that which we find Jesus is in fact preparing the disciples for life after departure and live in the wake of His ascension and absence. It’s actually quite astonishing and astounding to think about and consider that Jesus would take the time to not only invest in the disciples on this particular night, but He would also prepare them for life after His departure and life after His ascension unto the right hand of the Father. We cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this reality, for it is absolutely necessary for understanding what we find within the words which Jesus spoke on this night.

I have to admit that I absolutely love that Jesus didn’t simply enter into glory by way of suffering, and ultimately ascend to the right hand of the Father without first preparing and making ready the disciples for His imminent departure. On the night in which He would be betrayed of all nights Jesus took the time to invest into and pour into the disciples and to prepare and make them ready for life after His departure. How absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that Jesus sought to make ready and prepare the disciples for life in His absence and life without the Son. It’s actually white unique and interesting to think that life without the Son is not a life absent person and presence, for life absent the Son is life with the Spirit. How truly wonderful it is to think that even though Jesus the Christ wasn’t physically present with the disciples He would and could still come to them and be present with them through the person of the Holy Spirit. What’s more, is that Jesus would go ok to emphatically declared that it was necessary and expedient for Him to go away and to return unto His Father who was in heaven, for if He did not go and return unto the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit would not arrive and would not come and be manifested within and upon the earth. Jesus has to depart from the earth, for He was never intended to remain and abide with men upon the earth in physical form and in the form of human flesh. One thing we must understand was that Jesus needed to depart from the earth, for through His departing from the earth He would be able to dwell with men and women at all times and in all places throughout history. While on this earth and in the form of human flesh Jesus was limited to time and space and could only be in one place at one time. When, however, He departed from this earth He could and would be present in all places and at all times with His people throughout the ages and throughout history. By departing from the earth Jesus would ascend unto the right hand of the Father and would in fact send the promise of the Father who would not only walk alongside, but would also abide and dwell within the hearts and spirits of men and women. It was true that Jesus was here upon the earth for three and a half years, however, after His departure and ultimate return unto the right hand of the Father, He would be able to dwell within the hearts and spirits of men, and would be able to dwell within and among men. How truly amazing it is to consider the fact that by departing from this earth and returning unto His Father in heaven, Jesus would be able to send the promise of the Father and would be able to dwell among and with the hearts of the disciples and people of God. While it might have been difficult for the disciples to hear that Jesus was departing from them and returning unto the Father, as well as the fact that where He was going they could not go, it was absolutely necessary for Jesus to depart, for through His departure the mystery of the arrival of the Holy Spirit would become a reality and manifestation within the earth. Jesus needed to depart from the earth and needed to return unto the right hand of His Father, for by doing so He would be in the position and place to release the Holy Spirit who would not only be the Counselor, but who would also be the Comforter. It would be the person of the Holy Spirit who would dwell and abide with and among the people of God and would essentially be God in flesh as He would dwell within the hearts and spirits of men and women throughout the ages.

The more I read and the more I consider the words which are written and recorded within these chapters found within the gospel of John the more I am confronted with the great deal of time Jesus the Christ was willing to spend pouring into, depositing into, and investing in the disciples on the night in which He was betrayed and prior to His departure. Everything we find and everything we read within these chapters are all directly linked and directly connected to the words which we find in the opening verses of the thirteenth chapter, for it is in the opening verses of that chapter we find the apostle John writing and declaring concerning Jesus the Christ that He knew that His hour had come and the time had come for Him to depart from this earth and to return unto His Father in heaven. What’s more, is the apostle John would go on to write and record how Jesus knew the Father had given all things into His hands and had indeed loved the disciples and loved them unto the end. Furthermore, the apostle John brings us face to face with the reality that not only did Jesus know where He had come from, but so also did Jesus know where He was going. Everything Jesus did on this night and everything He said was directly linked and directly connected to the absolutely incredible reality that He was departing from this earth and was returning unto His Father who was in heaven. Jesus knew that His hour had come, and He knew that He would no longer remain on the earth and abide with the disciples in physical form, but would instead return unto the right hand of the Father, thus leaving the disciples behind within and upon the earth. WHEN DISCIPLES ARE LEFT BEHIND! WHEN THE DISCIPLES ARE LEFT BEHIND! LEFT BEHIND IN THE WORLD! Perhaps one of the most intriguing realities found within this passage of Scripture is centered upon that which describes Jesus taking and choosing the disciples out of and from the world, and yet how He was departing from the world and leaving them behind in the world. It’s quite astonishing to think about and consider the fact that Jesus would Himself depart from the earth and would return unto the right hand of the Father, and yet through His departure and return unto the Father the disciples and those who were left behind would be thrust into the midst of the world—a world in which they were chosen and taken out of, and yet a world which they would remain within. Jesus knew that He must needs depart from the earth and return unto the Father, for the disciples and the church herself could not fulfill and accomplish what they were destined to do while Jesus Christ was still present in physical and bodily form within and upon the earth. It was necessary for Jesus to depart from the earth and return unto His Father who was in heaven, for if He didn’t depart from the earth, the promise of the Father—the Holy Spirit—would and could not be released into and upon the earth.

Absolutely everything we find and everything we read within these chapters is language that not only reveals the truth about the disciples remaining within and upon the earth after Jesus departed from it, but also the arrival and appearance of the Holy Spirit. As you read the words found and contained within these passages of Scripture you will come face to face with the tremendous reality that while it was true that Jesus would indeed and would in fact depart from this earth and would return unto His Father in heaven, He would pray the Father that He might send unto them a different Comforter and a different Counselor who would not only abide with the disciples and church, but would teach them and guide them into all truth. Jesus would depart from the earth and return unto the Father, however, in His departure and in His absence He would come unto the disciples in the person and presence of the Holy Spirit and would no longer be constrained by the physical elements and realities of time and space. It would be through the person and presence of the Holy Spirit Jesus could now personally dwell within the disciples and saints of God rather than simply dwelling with them. When you read the opening chapter of the New Testament gospel of John you will encounter an absolutely incredible reality—namely, that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Please don’t miss and lose track of that reality, for while it was true that the Word did in fact take on flesh and dwell among us, it would be the person of the Holy Spirit who would in a way and in a sense take on flesh Himself as He would now abide within and on the inside of the disciples of Jesus Christ and the church that was birthed on the Day of Pentecost. Through the person of Jesus Christ the Word became and took on flesh and was able to dwell among us, however, through the person of the Holy Spirit the Word could once more take on flesh as His covering in order that He might dwell in the midst of and abide among the disciples and people of God. The Word would take on human flesh that He might dwell and abide with us in physical form, however, through the person and presence of the Holy Spirit the Word would dwell and abide within the hearts and spirits of the saints of God and disciples of Christ. While the Holy Spirit would not take on the form of human flesh as did the Word which took on the form of flesh and the seed of Abraham that He might dwell with and abide with us, the Holy Spirit would indeed and would in fact take on the form of human flesh in an entirely different way—a way that would not be a single outer shell, but rather the physical bodies of the disciples of Jesus the Christ throughout the ages. When the Holy Spirit would be released upon and come to the earth He would not come as this divine breath and wind that would merely be present all around and with us, but would actually be an internal presence that would dwell within us as we would become the human flesh He would dwell and abide within.

It’s absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand this, for in light of the incredible reality that the Holy Spirit would indeed be the person and presence of Jesus the Christ abiding within us as Jesus never could, the Holy Spirit would enable and empower us to fulfill and carry out the words which Jesus the Christ spoke while He was still present within and upon the earth. What we find and what we read within these chapters is not only Jesus preparing the disciples for His departure from this earth and their remaining in the world, but we find Jesus preparing the disciples concerning how they should live while remaining within and upon the earth. Jesus would emphatically prepare the disciples for His departure, and He would bring them face to face with the fact that He would no longer be present in the earth, and it would be in light of the fact that he would no longer be present among them that they would thus be called and commissioned to follow His example and continue in His love while remaining within and walking upon the earth. Oh we must carefully consider the tremendous depth and weight of this reality, for to do so would bring us to the place where we are able to confront that which we are called to do and that which we are called to accomplish within and upon the earth. If and as you read the words which are found within these chapters you will find Jesus preparing the disciples to remain within and remain upon the earth, and providing them with instruction as to how they should live in His absence—namely, that they should keep His commandments, that they should love one another, and that they should wash one another’s feet. Upon reading the words which are found within these chapters you will be confronted with the awesome reality that there were essentially three instructions Jesus gave to the disciples, which they were to obey, fulfill and carry out in His absence. In His absence the disciples were to wash one another’s feet, and they were to keep the commandments which Jesus had commanded and instructed them. In the absence of Jesus the Christ they were to love one another, as well as bearing and bringing forth much fruit among themselves and within the earth. What’s more, is that in the absence of Jesus the Christ they were to abide in Him, for apart from and severed from Him they could do absolutely nothing. Just as a branch could not bring forth and bear fruit upon being severed from the vine, so also the disciples could not bear and bring forth fruit severed from and apart from the true vine which was Jesus the Christ. In the absence of Jesus the Christ the two greatest commandments they were given were simple—keep the commandments which He spoke unto them, and love one another. If you were to summarize the commands and instructions Jesus gave unto the disciples in His absence you would have to summarize them in these two commandments, for not only do we show that we are disciples of Jesus Christ through loving one another and keeping His commandments, but we also show and demonstrate our love for Jesus the Christ through keeping His commandments. Even more than this, is the reality that we are friends of Christ if we do that which He has commanded and instructed us, and walk in and keep the commandments He has given us. We demonstrate our love for Jesus the Christ through our keeping His commandments, and we demonstrate and manifest the reality that we are the disciples of Jesus the Christ through keeping His commandments and loving one another.

It is in the context of the call and command to love one another that I find the words which Jesus spoke unto the disciples next on this particular night that is quite astounding and remarkable. As you begin reading with and form the eighteenth verse of the fifteenth chapter you will find that directly on the heels of Jesus instructing the disciples to love another He immediately transitions to speaking about hate, being hatted, and the hatred of men. It’s actually quite astounding to think about and consider the fact that Jesus would instruct and command the disciples to continue in His love and to love one another, and yet in the context of continuing and abiding in His love and loving one another that hatred would be manifested among them within the earth. What’s more, is that I would dare say that hate and hatred are intrinsically linked and connected to each other, and it is Jesus the Christ who Himself directly links and connects the two realities to each other. In our natural and finite minds we would not think that loving one another and continuing in the love of Jesus the Christ would be linked and connected to hatred and being hated of others, and yet this is the truth which Jesus expressed and described to the disciples on this particular night. In all reality, it was if Jesus was saying and declaring unto the disciples that as they loved another another they would themselves be hated by others for His name’s sake. It was as if Jesus was emphatically declaring unto the disciples that as they continued in and abided in His love they would be hated of all men and hated of all nations because of Him. Upon reading the words which are found within this passage and section of Scripture you will not only encounter the fact that as we love one another and continue in the love of Christ we can and will be hated of all men for His name’s sake, but we also encounter the context of being persecuted by others for the sake of the name of Jesus the Christ. Pause for a moment and consider that reality, for we tend to think that we have simply been called to love one another and to even love our enemies as our neighbors as ourselves, and that that is the end of the matter. We have been taught and conditioned to think and believe that it is simply about loving one another and loving our enemies, and that all will be and all will go well with our souls in response to that. In all reality, I am convinced that this is why in the first verse of the sixteenth chapter Jesus speaks to the reality of the disciples not being offended. It would be very easy to become offended if we understood the gospel as solely being our loving one another and loving our enemies, and everything going well with our souls. It would be very easy to become offended with God and even with Jesus the Christ if we loved one another and even loved our enemies, and somehow expected that love to be reciprocated. The truth of the matter is that even though Jesus instructs and commanded us to love one another and to love our enemies, He never promised that we would be loved in return and would be loved in response. Nowhere in the gospels do we find Jesus ever declaring unto the disciples that as they love one another, and as they love their enemies, they would be loved in return. Consider if you will the words which Jesus the Christ spoke in this passage concerning their being hated of all men for His name’s sake, and even their being persecuted by others—even in response to their loving their neighbors and loving their enemies:

“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:18-19).

“He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause” (John 15:23-25).

“Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also” (John 15:20).

“These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father” (John 16:1-3).

The words which we find within these four passages are oft times incredible difficult to read, consider and even handle, for they confront the reality that although we have been called to love one another, and although we have been called to love our enemies, that does in no way guarantee that we can and will be loved in response to how we treat others. Jesus instructed us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, however, Jesus never promised that if we did unto others they would automatically do unto us as we have done unto them. We have been called and commanded to love one another, but nowhere in any of the four gospels did or does Jesus promise us that we will be loved by others. In fact, I am convinced that the exact opposite is true, for it is possible that we can love our neighbors as ourselves, and it is possible that we can even love our enemies, and yet that love is not reciprocated in our lives. Oh, how many men and women go out and love others, and even love their neighbor as Jesus instructed through the parable of the Good Samaritan, and expect that they will be received and expect that they will be loved in return? How many men and women enter into this world ready, willing and able to love others thinking and somehow expecting men and women to love them in return and love them in response, and yet they find themselves in a quandary and conundrum when that love is not reciprocated? What’s more, is how many men and women not only find that the love which they display and demonstrate to others is not only not reciprocated, but that love is met with hatred as men and women revile, speak evil of and persecute them. I am completely and utterly convinced that as surely as we speak to others about loving one another and about loving our enemies, we must also prepare them for the reality that we are not going to be received by others. Even more than this is the reality that if we are going to speak to others about loving one another and about loving our enemies, we must also make them ready and prepare them for the reality that their love might very well be met with hatred and with evil. The picture we paint to the disciples of Jesus the Christ, and the picture we paint to new converts and new disciples especially must not simply be one of loving one another and loving our enemies, and that that love will somehow be returned and reciprocated. The truth of the matter is that it is possible that we can love our neighbors as ourselves, and we can love our enemies as we would love our neighbors, and yet that love is not reciprocated and is instead met with hatred, evil and persecution. Oh, I can’t help but be reminded of the words which Jesus spoke unto the great multitude which appeared before Him as He delivered the Sermon on the Mount. Consider if you will the words which were spoken in the Sermon on the Mount and are found and recorded in the New Testament gospel of Matthew, as well as the New Testament gospel of Luke:

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his Saviour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under food of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:9-16).

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:38-48).

Building upon the reality that was spoken by Jesus in the upper room unto His disciples I find it necessary to turn and direct our attention to the words which He spoke unto them concerning the Last Days and concerning the end of time. If you turn and direct your attention back to the twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel written by the apostle Matthew you will find Jesus speaking unto the disciples concerning the Last Days, and preparing them for the struggles they will face in the midst of those days. If you read these words very carefully you will come face to face with the reality that even when speaking unto the disciples concerning the Last Days, Jesus prepared them to be hated rather than loved by those to whom they were called and those to whom they would be sent. Oh, if there is one thing I am thoroughly convinced of, it’s that this false mentality and mindset of our loving one another, and our loving our neighbours, and our loving our enemies, and it somehow being reciprocated needs to be radically altered and changed. It is true we have been commanded to love one another, and it is true we have been commanded to love our enemies, however, it is also true that we have made ready and prepared for the fact that we will be hated by all men for the sake of the name of Jesus the Christ, and we will even be persecuted by those we have been called to love and by those we have been sent unto. It is true that we have been called to love one another, yet in the midst of our being called to love one another, it is also true that we have been prepared and made ready to be hated by others, and even to be persecuted. Jesus instructed and commanded us to love our neighbors, and Jesus instructed and commanded us to love our enemies, however, in the same breath and context of our loving our neighbors and loving our enemies, Jesus also prepared and made us ready to be hated and even be persecuted by those we have been called to love. As if this weren’t enough, Jesus even instructed and commanded that in light of our being hated, in light of our being spoken evil against, in light of our being persecuted, we are not to repay evil with evil, and we are not to reciprocate the same degree of hatred we receive to and upon others. It would be very easy for us to repay evil with evil, and to meet hatred with hatred, however, that is completely contrary to that which Jesus instructed and commanded us. It would be one thing if Jesus instructed us to love one another, and to love our enemies, and promised us that that love would be reciprocated and returned unto us. The truth of the matter, however, is that Jesus did in fact command and instruct us to love one another, and to love our enemies, however, Jesus declared that instead of being loved and received in return we would be hated of and among the nations, we would be spoken evil of, and we would even be persecuted. Consider if you will the words which we find spoken by Jesus which were recorded by the apostle Matthew in the twenty-fourth chapter of the gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus:

“They shall deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:9-14).

I feel compelled to end and conclude this particular writing speaking of offense and being offended, for not only does the apostle John write and record Jesus speaking to the disciples concerning being offended, but so also does the apostle Matthew write and record Jesus speaking unto the disciples about being offended. What we must recognize and understand concerning this reality is that this matter of being offended is found in the context of being hated by all men and hated of all nations for the sake of the name of Jesus the Christ, and even being persecuted, afflicted, and even killed. Jesus spoke unto the disciples about loving one another, about loving their enemies, and yet in the context of their loving one another and loving their enemies, He also spoke unto them about the reality of their being hated, their being persecuted, their being afflicted, and even of their being killed. In light of this reality of being hated and persecuted Jesus not only spoke and declared that many shall be offended, but He also declared how He spoke these words unto them that they would not be offended. I would dare say that any preacher or any minister who instructs you to love one another, who instructs you to love your neighbor as yourself, and who instructs you to love your enemies and does not also prepare you to be hated is actually setting you up to be ensnared and entrapped in the midst of offense. We must recognize and understand that Jesus spoke these particular words unto the disciples ahead of time and in advance so that when the time came they would not grow offended with God and with Jesus Himself, and ultimately and eventually become bitter. Jesus makes it very clear that He spoke these words unto the disciples that they might not grow and become offended because their love was somehow met with hatred, persecution and affliction. I am convinced that this is what was so incredibly pertinent and powerful about the words which Jesus spoke unto John the Baptist in prison concerning that one who is blessed who is not offended in and because of Him. Jesus knows and understands that in the midst of persecution, in the midst of suffering, in the midst of hatred, and in the midst of affliction, it is very easy to become offended and even grow bitter and angry toward the living God and Jesus the Christ. Jesus declared unto John the Baptist concerning that one being blessed who is not offended in Him, and it is actually in the context of John the Baptist being in prison—and not only being in prison, but also finding that Jesus did not come to visit him in prison, and even him questioning whether or not Jesus was the One whom they had waited for and expected. It was in this context of doubt, confusion, and even persecution and affliction that Jesus would speak unto John the Baptist and declare unto him that those are blessed who are not offended in Him. The question is not necessarily whether or not we are willing to love one another and love our enemies, but the question must also be how we handle and how we respond when our love is met with hatred, and when our kindness is met with persecution. Are we those who are offended and those who become bitter when our expectations of being loved and received are not met, and we are instead hated and persecuted by all men for the sake of the name of Jesus the Christ.

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