Can they see God for who He really is In what they see in you and me? For who He really is, is all they really need to see
- Steven Curtis Chapman, For Who He Really Is, from the 1988 album “Real Life Conversations”
The Pharisees are now plotting to kill Jesus, and He knows this – so rather than continue to confront the religious leaders, Jesus and His disciples withdraw from that area. Why? Primarily because it wasn’t His time to die yet. He had much more to teach and many other people to heal. And as He healed them, He told them not to tell anyone else what He had done for them.
Why? If it were me, I wouldn’t mind a little bit of attention and thanks for the work I had done. But not Jesus. Remember, He is humble and gentle of heart. So why didn’t He want the word to get out? Was He afraid of the growing crowds? Not at all. There are three reasons why He didn’t want people telling others about who had healed them – 1) He wanted people to come to Him for the right reasons; 2) He didn’t want to “arouse false hope about an earthly kingdom” (Study Bible, p. 1566); and 3) to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah 42:1-4 about the Messiah. Let’s take a closer look at that:
Isaiah basically offers a unique description of the Messiah. He writes things like “he will proclaim justice to the nations” (v. 18b) and “He will not fight or shout or raise His voice in public” (v. 19). He goes on to say that “He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. Finally he will cause justice to be victorious” (v. 20).
What a human being. That is someone I definitely want to know. Isaiah is supporting Jesus’ claims about Himself (ie: that He is humble and gentle) and offering additional information such as He will enable justice. Who wouldn’t want a savior like that? I think in many ways, we still do.
Which is why so many evangelicals are trying to push their agenda on a political stage. It goes against everything Jesus did and how He did it, but they prod along anyway. It’s almost as if they think they can usher in an earthly, theocratical kingdom if enough of our laws reflect their interpretation of scripture. What I find ironic, is that they’ve chosen a leader who is the antithesis of the Christ (an anti-Christ, if you will) to carry out this agenda from the White House. Brene Brown, in her new book “Dare to Lead”, says vulnerability is essential to courage in leadership. Too often, we think it means to be weak, which in actuality is the opposite of what it really is. Jesus was vulnerable (and strong) and yet a majority of evangelicals support a man-child who is weak in his personal ethics and a bully.
Let’s be clear: the people of Jesus’ day wanted an earthly kingdom too. But that is not what Jesus came to establish. “[W]e may want Christ to rule as a king and bring great and visible victories in our life. But often Christ’s work is quiet” (Study Bible, p. 1566). Hear that? It’s QUIET. And the important thing is that it happens in HIS TIME, not ours.
So let’s stop pushing a theocratical agenda on others in our nation, and focus instead on how we can implement the teachings of the Christ in our own personal lives. Maybe then, others would see the Christ for who He really is. I can almost guarantee if we do that on a regular and consistent basis, the kingdom of Christ will advance across our nation and across the world faster than we could ever imagine.