There has been much speculation on what Jesus would do if He were ministering in the flesh today. I think the greater question is: Would The Church receive Him if He were ministering and preaching today? Jesus was unique in that He did not fall for the “big three” sins found in 1 John 2:15-17 (the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life). John 1:10 says, “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.”
The following seven points show why the world did not receive Jesus in His day:
- He was not received because His physical appearance was not impressive (Isaiah 53:2, Matthew 23:27).
Human beings have always put style over substance. Many companies are rich because of savvy marketing rather than superior products. For example, McDonald’s hamburgers are no better than the local diners, yet they outsell all other hamburger establishments because of marketing.
Although we should endeavor to look nice and exhibit a spirit of excellence in our appearance, we must ensure that we put content and character before appearance. How would His ministry be received amid today’s church’s big media marketing schemes?
2. He was not received because He was a sober-minded man (Isaiah 53:3).
Although He walked in joy, the knowledge He had of human nature, sin, and the cross caused Him to be acquainted with grief for the world. Consequently, instead of denying reality by medicating Himself with pleasure, He faced it head-on and did something about the world’s problems. Thus, He was not the superficial party animal or irreligionist with whom people would want to hang out.
The Bible teaches us that funerals are better than parties because they cause the living to face mortality (Ecclesiastes 7:2-5). In light of this, how would He be received by you today?
3. He was not received because He spoke the truth and exposed religious hypocrisy (Mark 7:5-8; Matthew 23:3, 33; Luke 11:37-46).
The Bible teaches that we should speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Many people only love and do not confront, while others confront without doing so in love. Jesus had the perfect balance. He dealt gently with hungry people but strongly with those who were religiously deceived and self-righteous. Essentially, scripture teaches us that we are hypocrites when we denounce a person we are unwilling to help. Before we speak against a person who has fallen into temptation, we need to ask ourselves what we would have done if we were faced with the same temptation. This alone will cause us to be careful about what we say and who and what we judge.
4. He was not received because He would not allow men to make Him king and exalt Him (John 6:11-15).
Jesus was not a power grabber who was lustful for titles or positions (Luke 14:7-11). He knew that a position of power that the Father did not give Him would not last long (Psalm 75:5-7). Jesus was exalted because He was obedient and humble (Philippians 2:4-11). That which He walked away from, the Father was able to give Him anyway (Matthew 4:8-10). People who desire instant power would have rejected Christ. He also refused to use His power to win favor with non-believing leaders (Matthew 12:38-39).
5. He was not received because He spent His time with those hungry for God instead of power-hungry leaders (Luke 15:1-7).
He commended Mary and corrected Martha (Luke 10:38-42). He spent an afternoon with a woman at a well in the middle of nowhere (John 4). This demonstrated with whom He prioritized His time.
6. He was not received because His bottom line was not money (Luke 16:13-15; Luke 12:13-21).
Mammon is money personified as an object of worship. Jesus taught that the bottom line must be seeking first His kingdom before the Father can release wealth into our hands. This is the opposite of the pattern of the world of humanity.
7. He was not received because His standards were too high.
Jesus called on everyone to be more devoted to His kingdom than their physical families (Luke 14:26). He called on everyone to love Him more than their own lives (Luke 14:27). He called on everyone to surrender all their earthly possessions for His pleasure (Luke 14:33). He told everyone to live by Him and to be consumed with Him (John 6:51-58). He said the commitment below that mentioned above is only good for the manure pile. Paul said that He counted all things dung so that he could win Christ (Luke 14:34-35; Philippians 3:8). Today, some religious sociologists say that, despite the large size of the congregations, Western Christians are indistinguishable from the world regarding their lifestyle and values.
In conclusion, we all need to ask ourselves the question: If Jesus were to be born in our day instead of two thousand years ago, given our present priorities and lifestyle, would we have been one of His followers or one who would have rejected Him?
Please check out the latest book from Joseph Mattera here!