Jesus was a man with great following. It was because He proved Himself to be the person God wanted Him to be. He always spoke with wisdom that had justice and righteousness. God knew that this was exactly what men needed to grow up and be ready for His glory. Jesus came with a purpose and He made sure He did the right things to fulfill it. He was with the perfect resources and that too in plenty to satisfy people. He had the power to forgive sins, heal, help and teach and so on. People quickly gathered this and flocked to Him. Men and women are always in want. They keep looking for anything that fills, directs and sustains them. This became their inherent nature that came by the reason of falling away. God knew that by revealing His message through the man Jesus He could satisfy the want of many. And so, “When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him” (Matt. 8:1).
People began perceiving Him as the prophet. Some even believed Him to be the Son of God; others called Him the son of David. Some followed Him out of curiosity and kept wondering what He is. Though there were those who expressed doubt regarding His identity as the Son of God, they also did not dare to deny it. As more and more evidence came from Him, people kept denying the fear that stopped them from accepting Him. They waited for the sun to dawn that they could witness Him more. If it was not for the jealousy of the Jews in handing Him over to the Romans to be crucified, He would have gone beyond the nation of Israel with God’s message. But, His death was meant to be. It was known to God long ago that they would not let Him live. Yet, He chose to utilize the limited time He would be allowed by them that He accomplish a marvelous and immeasurable work. Jesus, the God in flesh, humbled Himself. To allow Himself to be at the mercy of man’s judgment so that God’s judgment upon man can be erased is an act of goodness that cannot be put in words. Only a righteous heart can express its greatness through its feelings.
It is for a righteous heart that God has chosen us in Christ Jesus so that we are able to define His goodness. Unless one is able to do it, he or she cannot have a perfect relationship with Him. You see, when Christ was attracting huge crowds to Him, He was doing it by turning the hearts of men and women emotional for righteousness. As many as believed they received the gift of righteousness; for by God’s will belief is eventually credited as righteousness. And it is for this purpose the gospel of Christ is made available to us. God through His gospel attracted us to Him and continues to do so with wisdom and righteousness. We who follow Him are certainly filled, directed and sustained. God has never twisted, tweaked or changed this plan He executed in Christ. He used the limited time man has given Him for a lasting effect. This was strongly confirmed when John the Baptist clarified that he is not the Christ. “And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, ‘I am not the Christ’” (John 1:20).
John the Baptist was acutely aware that once God appears in the flesh and manifests Himself all things will change for the better. When he said he is not the Christ, he paved the way for the greatness of the coming One. He was sent by God to explain the God that is to come and His ways. While people were wondering if he was the Christ, he expressed his delight in another. When he saw Jesus, he knew and called Him the Lamb of God that removes the sin of the world. He revealed that whatever Christ accomplishes it will not be just for the nation of Israel. It meant that as long as the world exists, Christ’s work, His manifestations and teachings will have a lasting effect on who He is. They keep producing the same effect as they once did on the crowd that followed Him. Incidentally, there are numerous faithful Christians today. That God had made this possible is seen from this man’s conviction. Paul said, “Having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked” (Acts 24:15).
Paul was absolutely convinced that Christ rose from the dead to live on. It is first from the fact that He appeared to him on the road to Damascus. Second, it is by the gospel that He gave him. What keeps Christ’s brief ministry on earth effective to the last day is His resurrection. It is a strange thing to believe that He resurrected, but only for the unbelievers. For the perception of the one who believed is entirely different. It is not just the words concerning His resurrection that made him or her believe, but it is their heart that has been emotionally attached to God. It is because of this that they were saved in the first place. So, having hope in God they are sure they will continue to live. And, Paul’s gospel of Christ produced exceptional results. His life for Christ and his work concerning Him is proof that Christ’s short ministry on earth is effective till the last day. His message hinged on God’s desire as well as His judgment, i.e. life for the righteous and death for the wicked. To those of us, the saved, the value of Christ is irrevocable. Of Him it is said, “Who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father” (Gal. 1:4).
John the Baptist’s prophecy concerning Christ applied to the days of Paul and continued to apply in our days. Jesus took away our sin by His brief ministry on earth that has been made effective through the power of His resurrection. He has rescued us from the present evil age, a space of time that leads to eternal death. He has annulled it and substituted it with His so that the will of the Father concerning us comes to the fore. Therefore, He fills, directs and sustains us just as He chose to do for them on earth. When He substituted the time that leads to death with His time, we no longer live by the methods and works of the world. Whatever the Father chose for us, even before the foundation of the earth, He applies to us. We simply walk by them to perform our part as the members of the body while glorifying Him independently of one another. This is the pattern God set, for He began it with Christ. We who are of Christ are His offspring. Of Christ it was said, “Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, ‘SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED FOR ME’” (Heb. 10:5).
God did not desire the methods and works of the Law from Christ to accomplish His marvelous and immeasurable work. He gave a specific purpose to Christ and by it alone He is able to remove the sin of the world. Even so, to each one of us He prepared a purpose so that we do not fail to compliment the purpose Christ accomplished. The works and methods of the world contain the wisdom of the flesh which regards the wisdom of God as foolishness. And when God destroys it, its works and methods will be destroyed; those who are with it will also be destroyed. It is through the purpose He prepared for us that Jesus still remains the man with great following. Many considered the ministry of Jesus as foolishness. Yet, their wisdom could not nullify the effective work of God in Him. So also will the purpose God prepared for us cannot be nullified. It is His effective work in us that produces substantial result for it. We escape the great judgment at Christ’s return. Concerning it He says, “For this reason in one day her plagues will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for the Lord God who judges her is strong” (Rev. 18:8).
The works and methods which are without God’s purpose will have to face a destructive end. There is no reprieve in them. They are an attractive way of denying the lasting effect caused by the brief ministry of Christ concerning Him. They amount to sin and will further lead those who embrace them into sin. It is for this reason that many cannot clearly differentiate between the works performed by God and by the devil. But the children of God are known by the works of God toward them which lead in righteousness. We are they, if we receive His works by denying the fear that stops from acknowledging Christ. We not only escape the great judgment, but also receive blessings for our continued efforts in fulfilling God’s purpose to us. Our perception of Jesus is unique. “And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God” (1 Pet. 2:4).