We Ought Not to be Surprised By Offense

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the apostle Matthew. More specifically today’s passage is found in verses thirty-one through fifty-six of this New Testament gospel. “Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night; for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into galilee. Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, Thou I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples” (Matthew 26:31-35).

 

            “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye hear, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou will. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again he second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then cometh he to his disciples and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me” (Matthew 26:36-46).

 

            “And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his hear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? In that same hour said Jesus to the multitude, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords, and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled” (Matthew 26:47-56).

 

            When you come to this particular passage of Scripture you will encounter something incredibly unique and challenging concerning the Lord Jesus and the words which He would speak unto His disciples on the night in which His suffering would begin. There in the upper room at the table the Lord Jesus would declare that one of them would betray Him and now what we find here in this particular passage is the powerful declaration that all of them would be offended because of Him that night. Pause for a moment and consider how absolutely incredible these words truly are for with these words the Lord Jesus would speak unto those who had walked with and followed Him for three and a half years and would declare unto them that all of them would be offended because of Him that night. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the words the Lord Jesus would indeed speak unto the disciples on the night in which He would be betrayed and on the night in which His suffering would begin. As we read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture we can and will be brought face to face with the truth that Jesus revealed certain things about the disciples. Some of the words Jesus spoke would indeed be concerning individual disciples while others would touch and be for all of the disciples. Oh this is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture for there would indeed be individual words which were spoken unto the disciples for certain of the disciples while there would also be corporate words that would be spoken concerning all of them.

 

            As you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you can and will be brought face to face with the powerful truth surrounding those words which the Lord Jesus spoke unto the disciples. On this particular night Jesus would begin these series of revelations by declaring unto them how one from among them would betray Him. There sitting around the table during the Passover meal the Lord Jesus would indeed declare unto the disciples that one from among their own number would betray Him. It would be these words that would cause all the disciples to be sorrowful and to begin asking him whether or not it was they who both would and could betray Him. Of course we know and understand when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture that the Lord Jesus would not only declare how one of them would betray Him but He would also go on to reveal who it was among them who would betray Him. If you consider the words found in these passages of Scripture you can and will be brought face to face with the truth that the Lord Jesus would reveal unto them how one from among their own number would betray Him and how the one who would betray Him would be the one who puts their hand in the dish when He dipped the sup. Please don’t miss and lose sight of the words the Lord Jesus spoke for here in the place of fellowship and communion He would speak unto them concerning betrayal—and not merely betrayal but how one of them would indeed be that one who would betray Him into the hands of His enemies and adversaries.

 

            I sit here thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the incredibly awesome and powerful truth surrounding the Passover meal. It would be here during the Passover meal the Lord Jesus would not only partake of a meal with the disciples and would not only drink of the fruit of the vine and partake of the bread together with them but He would also speak words that would reveal the nature and condition of their hearts. On this particular night the Lord Jesus would indeed partake of a meal together with the disciples, however, in addition to that meal He would also reveal powerful truths unto and concerning the disciples. It would be unto the disciples on this particular night He would reveal that it would be one of them who would betray Him. Up until this night Jesus had taught them that He would be betrayed into the hands of the chief priests, the scribes, the elders of the people and the Pharisees. Here seated around the table in the upper room, however, the Lord Jesus would take the subject of betrayal even further and declare that it would be one from among their own number who would betray Him. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to something truly astonishing and unique about the words the Lord Jesus would speak unto the disciples—not only concerning Himself but also concerning themselves as well.

 

            It would be here in the upper room as Jesus sat at the table together with His disciples that He would first reveal unto them that one of them would indeed betray Him. There at the table in the place of fellowship and communion the Lord Jesus would speak concerning betrayal—something which He had previously spoken about when teaching the disciples. Now what we have on this particular occasion is the Lord Jesus taking this point and driving it home even further and declaring how it would be one from among their own number who would betray Him. Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of these words and how absolutely incredible they truly are in light of Jesus’ relationship together with the disciples. Here on the night in which He would be betrayed the Lord Jesus would speak unto His disciples concerning the fact that it would be one of them who would betray Him. These words would be incredibly telling and revealing—particularly when you consider the fact that Judas had already covenanted with the chief priests for thirty pieces of silver to betray Jesus into their hands. Even before the Passover meal would take place Judas would conspire together with the chief priests concerning betraying the Lord Jesus into their hands and the apostle Matthew would go on to describe how He would covenant together with them for thirty pieces of silver to betray Him. Oh there is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if while Judas sat at the table together with the Lord Jesus and His disciples—and not only while He sat at the table together with the Lord Jesus and the disciples but also while Jesus washed His feet—if he did not have the silver on his person. Imagine the Lord Jesus being present at the table in the place of communion and fellowship and one of His own would be sitting at the table holding on his person the price of betrayal which he would covenant together with the chief priests.

 

            The more you think about and consider the words found in this passage of Scripture the more you can and will be brought face to face with the fact the Lord Jesus would teach and speak unto them concerning themselves and how one from among them would betray Him. If you continue reading the words found in this passage of Scripture you will find the Lord Jesus going on to speak unto and concerning all the disciples. When Jesus would previously declare unto them how ONE of them would betray Him He would now go on to declare unto them how ALL of them would be offended because of Him. How absolutely incredible the words found in this passage of Scripture truly are for while it was indeed true only one of them would betray Him we must needs realize that all of them would be offended because of Him. There at the table in the upper room at the time of the Passover the Lord Jesus would declare unto His disciples that all of them would be offended because of Him. ONE BETRAYING AND ALL OFFENDED! Oh how absolutely incredible it truly is when you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the absolutely incredible truth surrounding the words which the Lord Jesus spoke unto His disciples concerning the nature and condition of their own hearts and souls.

 

            As I sit here writing these words I can’t help but think about what it would have taken for one of Jesus’ own disciples to betray Him unto the hands of His enemies and adversaries. We know from the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John that Satan had put it into the heart of Judas to betray the Lord Jesus Christ—and not only how Satan had put it into the heart of Judas to betray the Lord Jesus but had also entered him to enable him to carry out such a heinous and grievous act against the Son of the living God. We must needs recognize and pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for there is something to be said about that which would and could bring Judas to betray the Son of man into the hands of His enemies and adversaries. There is something to be said about Judas’ betrayal—and not only Judas’ betrayal but also the reaction of the disciples when the Lord Jesus spoke and revealed unto them that one from among them would betray Him into the hands of the chief priests who were His enemies and adversaries. When the Lord Jesus declared unto them that one from among them would indeed betray Him they would all become exceeding sorrowful and would begin to ask Him whether or not it was they who would betray Him. What makes this truly unique and intriguing when you take the time to think about it is when you consider the fact that Jesus would never address the questions asked by the disciples after He had told them one from among their own number would betray Him. The Lord Jesus would indeed declare unto them that the one who put their hand in the dish when He dipped the sup would be the one who would betray Him, however, He would never go on to address their individual questions.

 

            When you continue reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will find that in addition to the Lord Jesus declaring unto the disciples that one of them would betray Him you will also find Him declaring that all would be offended because of Him on that particular night. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to an incredible truth surrounding the words which the Lord Jesus would speak unto those who would walk with and follow Him. The Lord Jesus would declare that all of them would be offended because of Him on that particular night for it was written of old that “I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.” The Lord Jesus would declare unto the disciples that all of them would be offended on that particular night because of Him although He would not declare why or how they would be offended. Stop and consider the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and how the Lord Jesus would declare unto them how they would all be offended because of Him. How absolutely incredible this truly is when you take the time to think about and consider it for it calls and draws our attention to the powerful truth surrounding the words the Lord Jesus spoke unto the disciples concerning the condition of their own hearts and souls. On this particular night the Lord Jesus would teach and reveal unto them how all of them would be offended because of Him. These words are absolutely incredible when you take the time to think about it for it calls and draws our attention to how absolutely sobering and somber these words truly are.

 

            There at the table as the Lord Jesus would celebrate the Passover together with His disciples and would partake of the meal together with them He would declare unto them how one from among them would betray Him. In addition to these words the Lord Jesus would declare unto the disciples how all would be offended because of Him that night for it was written concerning the smiting of the shepherd and the scattering of the sheep. What a truly wonderful and powerful truth this truly is when you take the time to think about it for it calls and draws our attention to the amazing reality of the disciples of the Lord Jesus and how all of them would be offended because of Him. While it was indeed true that one of them would betray Him it was also true that all of them would be offended because of Him. This is something we must needs think about and consider for it calls and draws our attention to words the Lord Jesus would speak earlier on concerning the last days. The Lord Jesus would declare and speak concerning the last days that many would be offended, and would betray one another and would hate one another and here we find Him on the night in which He was betrayed declaring unto the disciples that all of them would be offended. Oh it was one thing for the Lord Jesus to declare unto the disciples that many would be offended in the last days, however, it was something else entirely and altogether different for the Lord Jesus to declare unto His disciples and followers that all of them would be offended because of Him on that particular night.

 

            If there is one thing I find so absolutely incredible about the words presented in this passage of Scripture it’s that the Lord Jesus declared unto the disciples how all of them would be offended because of Him and yet He would offer no additional details as to how or why they would be offended. The only thing the Lord Jesus gave unto the disciples was that they would all be offended because of Him, however, He would not reveal anything else unto them concerning their offense. Jesus had already declared unto His disciples that one of them would betray Him and now here we find the Lord Jesus declaring unto the disciples that all of them would be offended. Scripture reveals how when the Lord Jesus declared unto them that one of them would betray Him they would all become sorrowful and would proceed to ask Him, saying, Lord, is it I? Now the Lord Jesus shifts gears and transitions during the supper as they celebrated the Passover and would declare how they would all be offended because of Him. Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of the words found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to what would indeed and would in fact cause us to become offended because of the Lord Jesus within our own hearts and lives. With this in mind I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the apostle Matthew wrote in the eleventh chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative concerning John the Baptist when he was in prison after Herod had him imprisoned for speaking out against his relationship together with Herodias who was his brother Philip’s wife. Not only this but I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Luke concerning this same experience of John the Baptist while he was in prison:

            “And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, and said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? 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 11:1-6).

 

            Consider also how the beloved physician Luke presents this same scenario in the gospel narrative he wrote concerning the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. The beloved physician Luke would himself write concerning this particular time within the life of John the Baptist while he was in prison and the words which the Lord Jesus would speak unto him concerning the condition of his own heart and soul:

 

            “And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things. And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? Or look we for another? When the men were come unto him, they said, John the Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? Or look we for another? And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits, and unto many that were blind he gave sight. Then Jesus answered said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken in the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled and live delicately are in king’s courts. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him” (Luke 7:18-30).

 

            It’s quite interesting when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture how the Lord Jesus would sit at the table together with His disciples and would declare unto them how all of them would be offended. What makes this even more intriguing is when you consider just how pervasive offense can truly be—and not only offense but offense with the Lord Jesus. There at the table in the upper room together with the disciples in the upper room we find the Lord Jesus declaring unto them how they would all be offended. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding Jesus’ words concerning offense—not only in relation to His disciples but also in relation to those in the last days. The Lord Jesus would indeed declare unto his disciples concerning the last days that many would be offended—and not only that many would be offended but also that many would betray one another. I have to admit this is truly astonishing and unique when you think about and consider it in light of the words which are found in the twenty-sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew. It is in this particular chapter where two of the same elements the Lord Jesus spoke of concerning the Last Days would be present among and with His own disciples.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words found in this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with t he tremendous truth that in the last days there would be many who would be offended and many who would betray one another while at the table during the Last Supper at the time of the Passover Jesus would declare unto His disciples that one of them would betray Him while all would be offended with Him. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for it calls and draws our attention to the powerful reality concerning the disciples which the Lord Jesus called and invited to walk with and follow Him. Upon reading the words found in this passage of Scripture you will find the Lord Jesus emphatically declare unto His disciples how one of them would betray Him and yet how all would be offended with Him. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for there is something to be said about those who had spent three and a half years walking with and following the Lord Jesus. There is something to be said about the Lord Jesus’ words unto His disciples on this particular occasion and how He would declare unto His disciples that they would all be offended because of Him. I continue to be absolutely and completely captivated with and by the words found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth to the fact that although the Lord Jesus would declare unto His disciples that they would all be offended because of Him He would not declare how and why they would be offended.

 

            Perhaps one of the greatest truths found in this passage of Scripture is when you think about the Lord Jesus and declaring how one of them would betray Him, all would be offended because of Him and one of them would deny Him. The Lord Jesus would declare that one of them would betray Him although He would not come right out and declare who it was who would betray Him. What’s more is the Lord Jesus would declare how all would be offended because of Him and yet He would not say how and/or why they were offended. The only thing the disciples knew was that Jesus had told them they would be offended and that they would be offended because of Him. Pause for a moment and consider the tremendous significance and importance of the words which are found here in this passage of Scripture for it brings us face to face—not only with the offense the disciples would themselves face and experience but also with the fact that their offense would be because of the Lord Jesus. Jesus didn’t tell the disciples how and why they would be offended because of Him and would leave that as something which they themselves would experience as the night progressed. What a truly incredible thing it is to think about the words the Lord Jesus spoke on this particular occasion and how He would declare how all of them would be offended because of Him. Even more than this we dare not miss and lose sight of the word “all” which was used on this particular occasion for the word “all” suggested that each of the disciples would be offended because of Him without any exception. One from among them would betray Him and yet all would be offended because of Him.

            I am absolutely convinced we must needs pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the unbelievable truth the Lord Jesus called and invited His disciples to understand recognize that they would all be offended because of Him. What makes this all the more intriguing when you take the time to think about it is when you consider that this would not be the first time the Lord Jesus would speak of offense and being offended. In the eleventh chapter of this New Testament gospel we find the Lord Jesus declaring unto John how those who were not offended in Him were indeed blessed. With this being said we must needs come to the eighteenth chapter of this same New Testament gospel for it is within this chapter we are brought face to face with additional words and language concerning offense and being offended. It is in the eighteenth chapter where we encounter the incredible truth that it is impossible but that offenses come. The Lord Jesus Christ would indeed declare unto the disciples that offense were inevitable and that there was absolutely no way of avoiding them in the earth. When speaking unto the disciples the Lord would emphatically declare unto them that offenses would indeed come and should be anticipated and expected—much like suffering, persecution and affliction. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this for just as I believe we ought not be surprised and shocked by suffering and persecution so also we should not be surprised and caught off guard by offense. We as the saints of God and the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ must needs recognize and understand that we have indeed and have in fact been called to anticipate and expect offenses—perhaps even as much as suffering and persecution itself.

 

            Having said all of this I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the eighteenth chapter of this New Testament gospel. There is not a doubt in my mind when reading the words presented in the eighteenth chapter that we must needs anticipate and expect offenses to occur within this life. What’s more is that I would dare say that we must needs anticipate and prepare ourselves for those times when we will need to guard our hearts and souls with all diligence to ensure that we are not offended with and by the actions and words of others—regardless of whether they are actual and legitimate or narratives we have told ourselves and made up within our hearts and minds. The words which the Lord Jesus spoke on this particular occasion call and draw our attention to the incredible truth that it was indeed impossible but that offenses come but that woe would be upon those to whom through the offenses would come. Oh how absolutely incredible this truly is when you take the time to think about and consider it for it brings us face to face with the truth surrounding offense and how offenses can and will take place in the midst of the earth. Perhaps one of the greatest truths we must needs recognize is when the temptation will arise within our hearts to be offended with others because of their words and/or actions. Consider now if you will the following words which are found in the eighteenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew beginning with the first verse:

 

            “At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that may by whom the offence cometh! Wherefore if thy hand or thy food offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire” (Matthew 18:1-9).

 

            “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. How think ye? If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish” (Matthew 18:10-14).

 

            “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing, that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:15-20).

 

            We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words found in this passage of Scripture for the words presented here call and draw our attention to the unbelievable and remarkable truth surrounding offense. It is within this passage of Scripture the Lord Jesus would declare unto His disciples that it was impossible but that offenses come while at the same time saying woe unto that man through whom the offenses would come. How absolutely incredible it is to read and consider these words and how they bring us face to face with the truth surrounding additional language regarding offense. The Lord Jesus would declare unto John the Baptist that the man who was not offended in Him was blessed while on this particular occasion the Lord Jesus would declare that it was impossible but that offenses come, thus suggesting and implying that offenses can and will come and be present within the earth. This is something which we must needs recognize—particularly when considering the words which we find in the twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew. The words which we find in this chapter call and draw our attention to an even greater truth concerning offense—and not only offense but also offense in the Last Days. Oh how absolutely incredible this truly is for there is something to be said about anticipating and expecting offense and offenses to be manifested within the earth. Just as we ought not and should be not surprised by suffering and affliction so also we should be not be surprised by offense. Oh there would be many among us who would like to think that offenses cannot and will not come and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply is not the case.

 

            It is at this juncture I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew. Within this passage we are brought face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the last Days and that which we should anticipate and expect concerning those days. There is something truly unique and powerful about the words present in this chapter for they would be the third time Jesus would speak of offense and being offended during these three and a half. Years He walked with and talked among us as the Word made flesh. There is not a doubt in my mind we must needs recognize and understand these words as well for they can and will help us when we read the words found in the twenty-sixth chapter of this New Testament gospel. In the twenty-sixth chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative we are brought face to face with the absolutely incredible truth surrounding the last days and how during the last days there will not only be deception that can and will run rampant but there will also be widespread offense within the hearts and souls of men. There is something truly unique and powerful about the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the powerful reality of offense and being offended and how truly pervasive it can and will be during the last days. There is something we must needs recognize and understand when thinking about the last days for during the last days there can and there will be countless men and women who will not only be offended but will also betray and hate one another. Moreover when speaking of the last days Jesus didn’t merely state that some would be offended but that “many” would be offended.

 

            Consider now if you will the following words which are found in the twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew beginning to read with and from the fourth verse of the chapter. The words which we find here bring us face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding the last days and how during the last days there can and will be men and women who will be offended. What’s more is not only will they be offended but they will also betray and hate one another. It wouldn’t be enough for men to be offended but they would also hate and betray one another—betrayal which would be found among Jesus’ own disciples. It is at this particular point in invite you to read the following words which are found in the twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew beginning to read with and from the fourth verse:

 

            “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:4-8).

 

            “Then shall they 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).

 

            “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not” (Matthew 24:15-26).

 

            The words and language we find in this passage of Scripture call and draw our attention to the incredible truth concerning the Last Days—the truth that during the Last Days there are going to be many who are going to be offended. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible and powerful truth surrounding what we can expect during the Last Days—and not only what we can expect during the Last Days but also what we are witnessing and will continue to witness in the coming days which are ahead of us in the coming days. If there is one thing we must acknowledge when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture it’s that we have indeed been living during days when many among us are and have been offended. All you need to do is open up whatever social media platform you use and you will encounter a vast array of individuals who are offended. What’s more is that not only will you encounter a variety of people who are offended but more often than not they will lay out the reason for their offense before others to see. There is perhaps no greater outlet and platform to express offense and the reason for offense than social media. What’s more is that social media is and has been a tremendous vehicle and instrument for individuals to offend, anger and upset others. We cannot be on any social media for very long without encountering and coming face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding men and women and how many are indeed offended and offending. OFFENDED AND OFFENDING! You cannot log in to social media for a single day and not encounter countless men and women who are not only offended themselves but also who are deliberately and intentionally seeking to offend others.

 

            In recent months there has been a popular phrase that has taken the nation by storm concerning the current president. The phrase which has taken over the internet as well as the hearts and lives of countless men and women is simply “Let’s Go Brandon.” I have to admit that I myself have taken this particular phrase and even the meaning behind it—so much so that I bought a T-shirt with the phrase on it and even bumper stickers to display on both of my cars. With this being said I have to admit that from the time I started driving around with these bumper stickers I have received more than a handful of comments, compliments and support for the stickers. What makes this all the more intriguing when you take the time to think about is when I consider the fact that ever since I have been driving around with them I have not been approached by a single individual who has expressed frustration with these bumper stickers. Now while on the surface that might seem like something which bodes well and ensures there is nothing to worry about concerning both the stickers and their message it does not take into account that which it might make others feel. While most will not drive alongside me and roll down their window to express their frustration and offense over it that does not mean that they aren’t and haven’t been offended by it.

 

            I am sitting here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth that from the time the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew began until this particular occasion when Jesus was sitting at the table together with His disciples the words and language of offense at least four times. Beginning with the narrative of the apostle John in the eleventh chapter we find this language of offense—not necessarily being a pervasive thought within the gospel but something Jesus would deliberately and intentionally speak about. You cannot read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture without encountering and coming face to face with Jesus’ understanding of offense and how pervasive it can and will be. What’s more is when you think about the fact that if Jesus’ own disciples and John the Baptist could keep themselves from being offended—and not only couldn’t keep themselves from being offended but being offended with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself—what makes us think that we ourselves can keep from being offended. We would like to think that we can keep ourselves from being offended—and even from being offended with the Lord Jesus Christ—and yet the truth of the matter is that this simply isn’t the case. The Lord Jesus would declare concerning the last days that many would be offended and that it was impossible but that offense would come. This is something we have a great need of recognizing and paying attention to for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth surrounding offense and how it plays a crucial part within our hearts and lives if we aren’t careful.

 

            The more I think about this particular truth the more I am brought face to face with the incredible reality that both John the Baptist as well as Jesus’ disciples would indeed be offended. What makes the offense of the disciples all the more astonishing when you take the time to think about it is when you consider that Jesus spoke unto them before the offense would actually come and before they would actually be offended. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words presented in this passage and consider how incredible it truly is for it brings us face to face with the tremendous truth concerning the disciples and how Jesus would emphatically declare unto them that they would all be offended because of Him that night. I am absolutely convinced this is something we have a great need of paying close attention to for it brings us face to face with the truth of offense and the dangers it presents within our own hearts. I continue to be absolutely astonished with and by the words which the Lord Jesus presented unto His disciples for within these words He would emphatically declare unto them that on that night they would ALL be offended because of Him. What an incredible thought it is to think about how the Lord Jesus had already declared how one from among their own number would betray Him and now he drops the gauntlet on them and declares that all of them would be offended because of Him. It was one thing for the Lord Jesus to declare that one from among them would betray Him, however, it was something else entirely and altogether different when He would declare that all of them would be offended. It was true that only one of them would betray Him, however, we must needs recognize that His words would declare that all of them would be offended because of Him.

 

            ONE OF YOU SHALL BETRAY ME! ALL OF YOU SHALL BE OFFENDED BECAUSE OF ME! BEFORE THE COCK CROWS YOU WILL DENY ME THREE TIMES! ONE WOULD BETRAY, ONE WOULD DENY, ALL WOULD BE OFFENDED! If there is one thing I find absolutely astonishing when reading the words presented by the apostle Matthew in the twenty-sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew it’s how during the same meal and in that upper room the Lord Jesus revealed three different realities concerning His disciples. What would initially begin with His words concerning one of them betraying Him would continue to Jesus going on to make a statement concerning all of them as a collective group of disciples. There was an individual and personal statement that was made concerning and unto them as one from among their numbers would betray Him, however, there would be a powerful transition that would occur as the Lord Jesus would shift His attention and focus on to the disciples as a whole. It would indeed be true that one of them would betray Him, however it is also true that while one would betray Him all would be offended because of Him. Pause for a moment and consider how incredibly strong and unique this truly is for when you read the words which are found in the twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will find Jesus speaking of the Last Days and what they should expect concerning those days. Within this passage of Scripture you will find the Lord Jesus declaring how many would be offended—and not only how many would be offended but I also have to logically conclude that many would betray one another and many would hate one another.

 

            The words and language which we find in the twenty-sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew are incredibly unique for within Jesus’ own core group of disciples there would not only be offense but there would also be betrayal. Among the twelve disciples there would be one from among them who would betray the Lord Jesus while all would be offended because of Him. I continue to be absolutely astonished by the words presented in this passage for they call and draw our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth concerning ourselves—namely that if betrayal and offense could be found among the disciples while Jesus was walking among us as the Word made flesh then it is most certainly possible for offense and betrayal to be found among us. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it brings us face to face with something truly unique and telling about us as the disciples of Christ in this generation—those who profess to walk with and follow Him. The more I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth that when Jesus declared that one from among them would betray Him they would become exceeding sorrowful and would each begin asking Him if it was them who would betray Him. When, however, it comes to the Lord Jesus declaring that all of them would be offended because of Him the apostle Peter—being the outspoken disciples as he was—would profess that though all would be offended because of thee yet he would never be offended. The apostle Peter might have placed an exorbitant amount of trust and confidence in himself and his flesh, however, the Lord Jesus would declare concerning him that on that night before the cock would crow he would deny him three times.

 

            We know from this passage of Scripture that Judas would indeed betray the Lord Jesus and that He would declare concerning Judas that it were better for him not to have been born. We know that redemption was out of the question for Judas Iscariot who did indeed and did in fact betray the Lord Jesus on this night in the garden for thirty pieces of silver. With this being said, however, we must needs recognize something concerning the words which the Lord Jesus spoke unto the disciples—and not only unto the disciples but also concerning the apostle Peter. The Lord Jesus Christ would declare unto all the disciples that they would all be offended because of Him that night according to what was written by the ancient prophet. The apostle Peter would hear these words and would make the profession unto the Lord Jesus that even though all would be offended because of Him he would not be offended. The apostle Peter thought and believed that he was strong enough to withstand the temptation of offense and yet as we would later see within this chapter he would not be strong enough in the hour of temptation. The Lord Jesus would declare unto the apostle Peter that before the cock would crow that night he would deny Him three times. This would elicit the response from the apostle Peter and how he would double down on what he had previously said and further declare that thou he would die with him yet he would not deny Him. Please don’t miss this for within this particular encounter we not only find the apostle Peter making the declaration that although all would be offended because of Him yet he would never be offended but we also find the apostle Peter declaring that though he would die with him yet he would not deny him.

 

            If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand concerning this denial of the Lord Jesus which took place within the heart and life of the apostle Peter it’s that it would all be rooted and grounded in temptation. What’s more is that not only would it be rooted and grounded in temptation but it would also be rooted and grounded in flesh that was weak and a lack of prayer and watching. It’s important to note that when Jesus led His disciples into the garden of Gethsemane He would instruct the eight to sit in a certain place while He went and prayed yonder. The Lord Jesus would take with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee and would begin to be sorrowful and very heavy. As a direct result of this the Lord Jesus would declare unto them how His soul was exceedingly heavy even unto death. After speaking these words the Lord Jesus would instruct them to tarry in that place and watch with Him as He went a little further and fell on His face praying before and unto His Father who was in heaven. Jesus would pray and ask the Father if it were possible to let this cup pass from Him, however, even if it wasn’t and would be He would do and perform the will of the Father. After Jesus had prayed these words He would return unto Peter and the two sons of Zebedee and would find them asleep. Pay attention to the words which He spoke unto them for He would ask them whether or not they could watch with Him one hour. Not only this but the Lord Jesus would also instruct them to watch and pray that they enter not into temptation before declaring that the spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak.

 

            There is not a doubt in my mind that we must needs recognize and pay close attention to the words which the Lord Jesus spoke unto these three disciples there in that place within the garden of Gethsemane for not only did he instruct them to watch and pray lest they enter into temptation but He would also declare unto them how the spirit was indeed willing but the flesh was weak. These words are truly something we must needs pay close attention to for they reveal three very important truths concerning our own hearts and lives. The first is the tremendous need within our lives and within our days to be those who are willing to watch and pray—and not only watch and pray but even watch and pray for an hour. The Lord Jesus would ask these disciples if they could not watch and pray with Him for one hour—something that serves as an indictment concerning much of our prayer lives within this generation. There are many who instead of watching and praying for one hour are instead sleeping and slumbering. These men and have been instructed of the Lord to watch and pray with the Lord Jesus and yet when it comes to prayer they find themselves sleeping and slumbering. What we must also recognize and understand concerning this passage of Scripture is how just as the Lord returned unto the disciples and finding them asleep asked them if they could not watch and pray with Him one hour so also the Lord Jesus comes unto us and asks us the very same question whether or not we could watch and pray with Him one hour. Perhaps one of the greatest questions we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not we are those who can truly watch and pray with the Lord Jesus or if we will be those who give ourselves to sleep and to slumber instead.

 

            While the first principle and reality found in this passage of Scripture deals exclusively and specifically with the need to watch and pray the second is even greater. As you continue reading the words found in this passage of Scripture you will find Jesus instructing them to watch and pray that they might not enter into temptation. We know that earlier the Lord Jesus would declare that there were certain unclean spirits which would and could not come out but by prayer and fasting and now we find the Lord Jesus directly linking prayer and watching with temptation. In all reality I would dare say we must needs pay close attention to these words for there is something about praying—and not only praying but also watching. There is not a doubt in my mind that we as the saints of God must not only give ourselves to prayer but we must also give ourselves to watching. There are those who might very well be good and praying and praying prayers, however, when it comes to watching they are absolutely limited in their capacity to do so. This is incredibly important for as you read these words you will find the Lord Jesus instructing them to watch and pray that they might not enter into temptation Oh this is something we have a great need to recognize and pay close attention to for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth concerning the need for watching and prayer within our hearts and lives. There is a powerful need within and among us to be those who not only pray but also who watch—not only that we might not enter into temptation but also watch and pray that we might be aware of temptation when it does indeed arise within our lives and present itself.

 

The words found in this passage of Scripture find the Lord Jesus instructing the disciples to watch and pray lest they enter into temptation and in addition to this we find the Lord Jesus declaring unto them how the spirit was indeed willing but the flesh was weak. I am absolutely and completely convinced that these words bring us face to face with the tremendous truth that we cannot trust nor should we place any trust and/or confidence in the flesh. Jesus Himself declared that the flesh was indeed weak and thus as a direct result we are entirely and altogether unable to place any trust and confidence in it. On this particular night the flesh of the apostle Peter would fail him—not only because he could not watch and pray for one hour but also because on top of that Satan had asked to have him that he might sift him as wheat. Combine that which the devil asked of the Lord Jesus concerning Peter with confidence in the flesh and temptation and you find the perfect storm within the heart of the apostle Peter to deny the Lord Jesus. Although the apostle Peter would declare that He would never be offended and even though he would die with Him yet He would not deny Him he would make these comments as a direct result of confidence in his own flesh. Jesus Himself would put this rest there in the garden for He would declare that while the spirit was indeed willing the flesh was weak, thus indicating that we could not, cannot and must not place any confidence in the flesh. Oh there is something to be said about us as the disciples of the Lord Jesus and the need to watch and pray that we might not enter into temptation and that we recognize that the spirit indeed is willing while the flesh is incredibly weak in and of ourselves. Oh there is a great need for us to be those who refuse to place any confidence in our flesh and are those who give ourselves to watching and praying that we might not enter into temptation but might stand firm in the hour of temptation when it presents itself within, unto, against and upon us.

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