"Behold, I come as a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake." Rev. 16:15.
How odd. Jesus is the last person I'd equate with a thief.
Because He's God, He has complete artistic license to do as He pleases. In what ways are Jesus and thieves comparable? Both employ the element of surprise. They can come at any time or place and certainly in ways one would never imagine. That email that showed up in your inbox unexpectedly from the Nigerian lotto winner who is more than willing to share the big payout with you for just a little bit of your hard earned cash...he's a thief. Like I said, they come in all kinds of disguises.
Jesus stressed our need to be watchful, to be vigilant. What is very important are the filters we use to observe things around us. Jesus has the propensity to show up in a manner we'll find offensive. Not a milquetoast, Jesus is a lightning rod of controversy.
"Do not suppose I have come to bring peace to the earth, I did not come to bring peace but a sword" Matt. .
Jesus is the Prince of Peace who reconciled God and man. He does operate many times outside our boundaries of propriety. If not careful, we'll get tripped up just like John the Baptist.
Imprisoned by Herod, John's already self imposed declining ministry came to an abrupt halt. His whole life centered around being the Messiah's forerunner. Initially positive that Jesus was The Man, John now harbored serious doubts and some potentially very hurt feelings. He probably anticipated that Jesus would follow in his footsteps, but on steroids. Jesus had other plans.
John lived a lonely life in the wilderness. Jesus had a house in town surrounded by people. John's wardrobe was coarse and rough, Jesus' was expertly woven and tailored. John and his disciples fasted regularly. Jesus and his disciples didn't. John's personal diet was austere and bland. Jesus was accused of being, "a glutton, a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners" Matt. , some of the very people John avoided. To hear John one had to travel out into the desert. Jesus took his message directly to the people wherever they were.
In addition, despite all His kingdom rhetoric, Jesus wasn't busy building a grass roots support base (He was an equal opportunity offender), or raising up and training an army to overthrow Rome. Even worse...Jesus was doing nothing to get His cousin out of jail.
John's whole life revolved around watching for the promised Messiah and upon his arrival, pointing others to Him. The Anointed One came, but things weren't working out, at least not according to John's expectations.
"And blessed is he who is not offended because of me" Luke .
Jesus' response to John's questions concerning His behavior got right to the point. John felt duped. Jesus wasn't acting very messianic and John's faith in Him was wavering. We've all been there. If you haven't experience this sort of conflict with Jesus at least once in your life, take heart. You have a sacred cow or two He'll get around to tipping over.
Jesus' plan isn't to destroy our lives, just our ideas and expectations that prevent us from knowing Him as He really is. In those times we must decide if we'll release the offense we feel toward Him. The path we choose will dramatically impact our lives.
How about you? Has Jesus shown up like a thief and taken you by surprise? Has His appearance resulted in feelings of disappointment, anger, sorrow or betrayal? Do you have filters that obscure your vision and prevent you from seeing Him clearly?
Jesus understands your feelings just like He understood John's. Determine to avoid becoming offended. Be honest with Him about your doubts, frustrations and anger (He already knows). Make a concerted effort to be still and listen to what He says. Let Him sort things out for you. You'll be pleasantly surprised when you do.