What does Luke 7:23 mean?
ESV: And blessed is the one who is not offended by me."
NIV: Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me."
NASB: And blessed is anyone who does not take offense at Me.'
CSB: and blessed is the one who isn’t offended by me."
NLT: And he added, 'God blesses those who do not fall away because of me. '
KJV: And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
NKJV: And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
Verse Commentary:
For three years, the Messiah declares and brings the kingdom of God to people who frequently misunderstand His role; they doubt He is enough. His disciples want Him to be an earthly king so they can rule with Him (Mark 10:35–37). The Pharisees want a religious example who follows and affirms their traditional Oral Law (Mark 7:1–5; Matthew 23:23). The Zealots want a conquering hero who will drive out the Roman occupiers and bring freedom to the Jews. The Nazarenes want someone they haven't watched grow up (Luke 4:22–30; Matthew 13:55–57).

Even John the Baptist is unsettled. He knows Jesus has performed the miracles of a prophet: healing the lame and lepers and raising the dead. He knows Jesus has performed miracles which specifically identify the Messiah, such as bringing sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf (Isaiah 35:5). But Jesus evidently still falls short of John's expectations, because He has not—yet—completed all the prophecies associated with the Messiah. He hasn't freed the imprisoned, including John (Mark 6:17; Luke 7:18–22). And, although He preaches that judgment is coming, He hasn't brought God's wrath on the wicked. In fact, judgment doesn't even seem to be part of His plan (John 3:17).

This incident is a powerful reminder to those who think the world would believe in Jesus if only He'd show Himself. All Jesus can provide is the evidence His Father has instructed Him to give (John 5:19), and it will not convince or satisfy everyone (Luke 16:19–31). Despite His presence right in front of them, Jesus still asks His followers for faith. Hebrews 11:6 says, "without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." The evidence for God is plentiful and sufficient (Romans 1:18–32), and yet faith is still necessary to become His child (John 1:12; 3:16–18).

"Blessed" can refer to happiness or privilege, as resulting from God's favor. The tense of "blessed" in the Greek indicates a singular subject; Jesus is specifically speaking of John. "Anyone," as translated in the NIV, emerges from Jesus' Greek phrasing, also rendered as "the one who" or "whoever;" Jesus' comment applies to any person.

"Offended" can mean "led into sin;" here, however, the sin in question is unbelief. In the case of a formerly professing person who turns away from faith, this is called "apostasy." The blessing here is on anyone who can look beyond their own understanding—their limited, self-defined, preference-driven view—of what the Messiah should be, choosing to have faith in Jesus. As Jesus will later teach, some cannot accept that He is who the Messiah is supposed to be. To them, He is like a stone that will cause them to stumble away from God's truth and be crushed (Matthew 21:44).

John's disciples leave with the message, but Jesus doesn't leave the topic of John there. He goes on to tell the people that John is the greatest man to live up until that point. He is the pinnacle of God's prophets—before the coming of the Holy Spirit (Luke 7:28).
Verse Context:
Luke 7:18–23 speaks about John the Baptist's expectations regarding Jesus. He understands how Jesus has fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah in His healing and good news. Yet Jesus hasn't completed every aspect of prophecy yet. He has not freed the prisoners—like John—nor judged the wicked. Jesus doesn't criticize John. He simply asks him to be patient. Next, Jesus describes the different reactions to His and John's contrasting lifestyles, though both come with the same message. John's doubt is also recorded in Matthew 11:2–6. Later verses tie Old Testament prophecy to John with references to Malachi 3:1 and to Jesus via several passages in Isaiah.
Chapter Summary:
Luke 7 presents a chiasm: a set of themes mirrored around a reflection point. The humble centurion (Luke 7:1–10) contrasts the legalistic Pharisee (Luke 7:39–50). The widow of Nain (Luke 7:11–17) and the sinful women (Luke 7:36–38) have nothing to offer but gratitude for Jesus' blessings. In the center are John the Baptist and his disciples who struggle to trust that Jesus is worth following (Luke 7:18–23), then the sinners who do choose to follow Jesus and the religious leaders who refuse (Luke 7:24–35).
Chapter Context:
Luke 7 continues Jesus' mission primarily to the people of Galilee expressed as a series of pointed events and teachings punctuated by calls to follow Him. He has finished teaching the rigors of discipleship (Luke 6:17–45) and invited the crowd to place their faith in Him (Luke 6:46–49). Here, Luke describes different reactions to Jesus' miracles and message. Next, Jesus will reveal the mechanics of and reactions to His call (Luke 8:4–21) before showing His great authority over nature, demons, sickness, and worldly powers (Luke 8:22—9:17). After a final call to the disciples to deepen their faith (Luke 9:18–50), Jesus will turn toward Jerusalem (Luke 9:51—19:27).
Book Summary:
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10) and a physician (Colossians 4:14). Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke writes his gospel as an historian, rather than as a first-hand eyewitness. His extensive writings also include the book of Acts (Acts 1:1–3). These are deliberately organized, carefully researched accounts of those events. The gospel of Luke focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke's Gentile perspective presents Christ as a Savior for all people, offering both forgiveness and direction to those who follow Him.
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