Do you ever wonder how the people of Jesus’ day could not recognize Him as God? Everything about His life from birth to death was miraculous. No wonder He declared a harsh judgment on that generation. (Luke 11:51) But what would you or I do if we had been these firsthand witnesses?
Surely if I had seen the sky filled with a host of angels singing praises, directing me by a never-before-seen star to the Christ child, I would never cease to tell His story. I think I would have become the first stalking paparazzi.
I am baffled as to why the shepherds who saw the angels, the star and the babe lost the thrill of their testimony. Maybe they, like Zachariah and Elizabeth had already passed away by time He started His ministry 30 years later. But still, I would think someone would remember the miracles surrounding Jesus’ and John’s births…and still be seeking Him.
Assuming they are dead either physically or spiritually, God announced once again from Heaven at the baptism, “This is My Son.” His booming voice should’ve revived a few dead hearts.
The proclamations continue with John proclaiming he was NOT the Messiah while he pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Jesus declared Himself the Messiah to His hometown, His people, and to the outcasts. (He later tells us to do the same in Acts 1:8)
Jesus revealed Himself as the Messiah of Isaiah 61 to His hometown. (Luke 4) He offered them good news, healing, and freedom. He asked only that they accept Him. They not only did NOT believe Him, they became enraged and tried to kill Him.
He then went to Jerusalem for Passover. After clearing the temple (John 2), a representative of the Pharisees came calling at night. (John 3) Jesus revealed Himself as the Son of Man who was sent to save the world. He offered eternal life. We don’t see here how Nicodemus responded but it is obvious from reading the Gospels how the Pharisees felt about Jesus. His own people received Him not.
Then on His return trip to Galilee, Jesus has a divine appointment with the woman at the well. (John 4) Here He reveals Himself as the Messiah. The outcast woman believed Him and ran to tell the Samaritan community. Interesting how two days with Jesus and they recognized Him as the Savior of the world when those most familiar with Him were blind. Maybe familiarity really does cause blindness.
Jesus had a faultless witness but poor reception.
Why isn’t a prophet accepted in His hometown and among His own people?
Could it be the same reason why we don’t witness to those around us?
- Fear that they will reject us and never speak to us again.
- Embarrassment that they will laugh in our faces.
- Terrified that they will not see the Christlikeness in us that gives credence to our testimony.
- Ashamed of the gospel.
Jesus had none of these emotional hang-ups. So we’ll have to go to the scriptures to find the answer to the question. I propose we study John 5.
The problem is not in the messenger BUT in the listeners.
I’ll prove that in the coming weeks. But until then let me pose another question. Could we dare believe that with the baptism of the Spirit, a willing heart, and open mouth we too could be faultless in our witness?
With Jesus, it was not Him, it was them.
If we are filled with the Spirit, speaking the truth: then it’s not us, it’s them.