Q. Once again I come to you for help understanding the scriptures. This time it is to help me understand what Jesus is talking about in this passage “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” (Matt. 11:6) I don’t understand why Jesus would say that anyone could “fall away”. Other translation say “who does not stumble”, “who do not turn away”, who is not offended”, “who will not be suspicious”, “who doesn’t loose his faith”, “who shall not be scandalized”,…Because of me. What does he mean here?
A. In Matt. 11:2-6 John had been imprisoned and sent his own disciples to ask Jesus if He was the one who was to come, or should they expect someone else. Some commentators say John was having a crisis of faith and wanted Jesus to reassure him. I don’t believe this for one second. John had the Holy Spirit and had known before he was even born who Jesus was (Luke 1:39-45). I believe John, who knew his death was near, wanted his disciples to be sure Jesus was the one, so they would transfer their allegiance to Him.
Also, John had spent time among the Essenes who believed in two Messiahs; a suffering servant and a conquering king. In the Greek language Matt. 11:2 can read, “Are you the only one who was to come, or should we also expect another, different from you?” He could have been reassuring his own disciples that the Essenes were wrong and that there would only be one Messiah.
In response Jesus listed miracles the Essenes attributed to both Messiahs and reminded John’s disciples He had done all of them. His final statement in Matt. 11:6 was a benediction upon those who would believe that He was the one and only Messiah spoken of in their Scriptures.