Belgian Christadelphians

Mission Son of God perceived as failure

 By Beverley Russell


13. Was the mission of the son of God perceived as a failure?

Jesus failed to measure up to the expectations of the Jews and so pride, hypocrisy and legalism continued to thrive amongst the Pharisees. Jesus told his captors that his “kingdom was not of this world” when they chided him for being a powerless king. He said, “My kingdom is from another place”. That hardly inspired confidence in any of the doubters, and so in their futility of understanding, they placed a thorn crown upon his head and his purple robe was covered in blood and dust. They were scornful and laughed and derided him and crucified him.

God had wanted a response of love and wonder to His son, not a response to miracles and power displays. Jesus resisted such responses by limiting the displays and he downplayed the miracles. “Tell no one”, he said. We know the miracles and power did not work in the OT, when there were many opportunities and abundant displays for his children to observe His care and love. God knew those manifestations would not work again in the long term, but the people still craved them again. God also knew that His miracles and His power did not foster faith in the faithless. So He used the miracles only to intensify the faith in the already faithful.

The Transfiguration with Jesus’ dazzling appearance, with his robe shining white as snow, in the presence of Elijah and Moses, did not compel long lasting faith in even his disciples, Peter James and John. He said, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death”. Matthew 26:38, and it was, as he agonized with his Father, that they slept and “could not watch with him one hour”. So a big display did not even now inspire lasting faith in his disciples. God already knew that what He wanted from the people cannot be won over using power displays.

Jesus prayed, “Thy will be done”, and went to his death and was taken to his grave, without calling down any legions of angels. And God did what He said He would do, without summoning His power to save His son. The life and death of His son became history and then evil took over once more from righteousness. The son of God died in a terrible crucifixion and the very creation of God in nature seemed to reply. The ground shook, and the tombs cracked open, former dead people wandered around, the sun hid, the sky went black, and as well the Temple curtain ripped from top to bottom, and the Most Holy Place was opened to every man to walk with God.

When there was no answer from God to the forsaken cry of His son with no rescue effort to save His son, this seemingly silent Father disappointed those around the cross who misunderstood Christ’s mission. God’s non intervention at the cross brought a terrible grief to his disciples and mockery and derision upon the disciples. That death still causes mockery even today.

God did not intervene, but in that non intervention He made an access to Himself for all of us who would also take up our cross. He showed that it was the greater love that the son laid down his life for those he loved. The end where happiness is, the eternal kingdom, required this apparent silence of God. “He saved others, himself he cannot save”, they mocked. How could this man hanging on the cross have ever cried, ”I have overcome the world” ?

If some did perceive the cross as a failure, God did not. He meant it to pave the way for us so to suffer also, even unto death, and so have our path laid out to His door.

I am the Way”, he said.

But others might say in their misunderstanding -

* Why do wicked people flourish and evil generations prosper?

* Why is there poverty and depravity, where people make riches and evil the gods of their lives?

* Why is there no answer when we plead for God to come down, to send His son, and still justice does not prevail?

Because that is the Way of God for now.


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