"take no offense at me"

In a conversation on responding to the injustice and violence perpetuated by governments, someone asked, "What do you think the best methods are to confront that fundamental problem? And how do those methods look like what Jesus did?"

I think these are really the same question, since the best way to respond is the way Jesus responded. Jesus lived under the occupation of the Roman empire, which pursued war and perpetrated atrocities much like we see today. Jesus certainly was against such things. But he seems not to have protested much against them. Rather he pursued a radically different kind of life, showing people that they could find provision and security from God rather than from the violent powers of empire.

I think one of Jesus' most direct responses to the injustices of empire came when John the baptist was (unjustly) imprisoned for speaking a hard truth to the king. Jesus certainly cared about this. But he seemed not to protest or call for a public uprising against this injustice.

In Matthew 11, we hear of John sending a message to Jesus from prison:

When John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, "Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?"
Supposedly John knew who Jesus was. He seemed to know when he baptized Jesus, anyway. But now he asks again. I suspect that John might have been wondering, if Jesus was the promised messiah, why he wasn't leading the people to freedom. Or why he wasn't getting John out of prison; after all, Isaiah said of the messiah would "proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound" (Is 61.1). Interestingly, Jesus responds to John by referring to that very passage (as he also did in Lk 4.18):
Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.

"And blessed is he who takes no offense at me."

Why does Jesus add that line about not being offended at him? Maybe because, in the face of such deadly injustice, Jesus' response could be offensive to people. People who wanted to see more. I could certainly understand if John was disappointed to get that message.

Jesus' response to war and slaughters and the imprisonment (and execution) of prophets was not protest or organizing a public outcry. Instead, as he told John, he healed people and preached good news to the poor. Pathetic, huh? I can see why people might get upset about that response, especially from a so-called "messiah."

So Jesus adds, "Blessed is he who takes no offense at me."

If we can follow Jesus example in this, if we're not offended by it ourselves and if we're willing to face other people's indignation if we respond like Jesus did, then we will offer the best response to the problem. And then there's the "blessedness" Jesus promised, too...