The autumn wind blew the yellow withered leaves of the trees off. They drifted in the air with the wind; then, some fell into the flower beds on the roadsides and others fell on the road. The scattered leaves could be seen everywhere, which naturally gave a feeling of desolation. After walking out of the church with her brothers and sisters, Xinying walked alone on her way home with a heavy heart. The leaves under her feet rustled continually, but she had no desire to care about this. With her head drooping and a frown crossing her brow, she thought of what the elder said while she was walking. These words “Let Him be crucified” echoed in her ears. She could not help sighing and said to herself: “Lord, You came to the world to preach and do Your work to save mankind, giving man all Your compassion, bestowing upon man plentiful and abundant grace, healing man’s illness and driving out the devils within them and raising the dead. You displayed so many miracles and all these showed God’s authority and power. But the Jewish leaders and people did not welcome Your coming; instead, they condemned and resisted You, which caused many barriers to Your work, and nailed You to the cross. Why is it so?”
Xinying got home confused. As soon as she walked into the yard, her cousin Qiushi, whom she had not seen for ages, saw her and walked out of the room to first greet her warmly, saying: “Xinying, you’re back from meeting.” When Xinying saw that her cousin came, she became excited immediately. She went up to her cousin and pulled her into a hug and said with delight: “Cousin, I have longed for your arrival and you finally came.” Qiushi was a pious Christian and had unique insights into the Bible. Although she worked in another place, during her free time at work, she always helped and supported brothers and sisters who were in weak state or sick. Sometimes she took the time to come to Xinying’s house to make a visit. Xinying liked fellowshiping with her especially. Xinying said: “Cousin, stay for a few more days. I have some questions for you.” At this point, Xinying’s mother came out of the kitchen with dishes and said with a smile: “You’re already over twenty, yet still like a child. Let’s go back to the room for dinner, and then continue your conversation.” Then all three of them entered the room, talking and laughing.
After the meal, Qiushi asked eagerly: “Xinying, you said that there were some questions you didn’t understand for me. Just tell me that.” Xinying said in bewilderment: “At today’s meeting, the elder told us how thewas crucified. The thing I cannot comprehend is that the Lord Jesus was incarnated to preach and do His work in Judea to save mankind, bringing man the of the kingdom of heaven, giving man all His mercy and love and displaying so many miracles. But why was He still met with so much hindrance? Especially those Jewish leaders and people, who looked forward to the Lord’s arrival, didn’t welcome His coming; instead, they condemned His work. Why is this so?”
1. Do Not Know God’s Work
After hearing the question, Qiushi was silent for a moment and then said: “Xinying, about this question, firstly, let’s read some verses in the Bible.
‘At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, Behold, your disciples do that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath day’ (Matthew 12:1-2).
‘And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to his disciples, Why eats your Master with publicans and sinners?’ (Matthew 9:10-11).
‘And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said to them, He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and do see. Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keeps not the sabbath day’ (John 9:14-16).
From these verses we can see the reason why the Lord Jesus’ work was met with the hindrance is that the people at that time didn’t know God’s work which is always new and never old. They defined God’s work of saving mankind forever by the law. They were of the opinion that God was only the God under the law, that God wouldn’t do any new work outside the law, and that God would always ask them to keep the Sabbath, to worship Him in the temple, to follow the rules of the law, and so on. However, the Lord Jesus said: ‘Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill’ (Matthew 5:17). When the Lord came, He didn’t repeat the work of law but opened up the Age of Grace based on the Age of Law. He preached the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, asked people to confess and repent, fulfilled the law and walked out of the bondage of the law. The Lord Jesus didn’t preach or do His work in the temple, but did that on the mountain, at the seaside, or in the wild. Besides, with Him there are no prohibitions: He still healed man’s illness and drove out the devils within them and took His disciples to pick and eat the heads of grain in the grain fields in the Sabbath, and also feasted with tax collectors and sinners, etc. Those works that the Lord Jesus did at that time made those who kept the law feel incomprehensible and generate all kinds of notions, so they condemned Him according to the law of the Old Testament, tried to find all kinds of accusations against Him, resisted and condemned Him.”
Only then did Xinying suddenly understand, “Cousin, from what you said, I understand: The reason why the Lord Jesus was met with so much hindrance when He did His work is that the Pharisees and Jewish people slavishly abided by the law and didn’t know the work of God! It seems that if people hold to the old things and don’t keep up with God’s present work, they will resist God easily. It is too important for us to understand God is always new and never old!”
2. Treatas an Ordinary Person
Qiushi said: “Yes, the wisdom of God is above the heavens. When God does His work, He never clings to the old ways because He is the God Himself who is always new and never old. Regardless of whether God’s work matches our notions, we can’t define it by our own notions. Otherwise, it will be very easy for us to resist God. In fact, it’s not the only reason why the work of the Lord Jesus was met with such great hindrance; there are also some other reasons.
Let’s read some verses in the Bible: ‘And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed there. And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, From where has this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brothers, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? From where then has this man all these things? And they were offended in him. But Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief’ (Matthew 13:53-58). ‘The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he said, I came down from heaven?’ (John 6:41-42).
As is known to us, the Lord Jesus is the incarnate God Himself. He not only possesses normal humanity but also possesses complete divinity. He made the blind see, the lame walk, fed five thousand people with five loaves and two fishes, raised the dead and so on. All these miracles show God’s unique authority and power. But many people under the law, especially those from the Lord Jesus’ hometown, who knew the family He was born into and the background of His life, saw that He had parents, brothers and sisters, and that He possessed the pleasure, anger, sorrow and happiness of normal humanity. They only saw His normal humanity; they ignored His essence of divinity. So no matter how authoritative and powerful His work and preaching was, they still treated Him as an ordinary person and condemned and resisted His work. This is the second reason that the Lord Jesus’ work was met with the hindrance.”
Xinying nodded, saying, “Yes, the incarnate Lord Jesus is, and He is ordinary and normal outwardly. So we cannot recognize Him as the coming Messiah from His external appearance and can only see the Lord Jesus’ essence of divinity through His work and word. At that time, a lot of people followed the Lord Jesus; it was just because they saw that the Lord Jesus’ work and word were full of authority and power and could not be achieved by anyone that they recognized the Lord Jesus was the coming Messiah and kept up with God’s footsteps. On the contrary, those who only measured the Lord by His appearance and treated as an ordinary person all became blind people who resisted God!”
Qiushi said: “Yes, we cannot define Him by the normal humanity of the Son of man in appearance. We should pay attention to hearing God’s voice, and then distinguish whether it is the voice of God’s Spirit and the need of our life from the word expressed by Him. Otherwise, we’ll also easily become the blind persons who resist God!”
3. The Satanic Truth-hating Nature Is the Source of Mankind’s Resistance to God
Xinying continued asking: “Cousin, except for these two reasons, are there any other reasons that the Lord Jesus’ work to be met with hindrance?”
Qiushi was silent for a moment, and then said: “The third reason is that the stubborn, arrogant and truth-hating nature of the Pharisees led them to extremely hate the Lord’s coming, wildly persecute and condemn the Lord Jesus and His disciples, causing a serious barrier to His work. As is known to us, when the Lord Jesus preached and did His work, He expressed many truths, displayed many miracles and gave mankind abundant grace, which revealed the authority and power of God. The Lord Jesus’ work shook the foundations of Judaism and shocked the Jewish state. Many people followed the Lord Jesus. The Pharisees knew that if the Lord Jesus continued to do His work, all of the faithful in Judaism would follow Him; Judaism would fall, and their positions and meal-tickets would disappear. Therefore, they decided to kill the Lord Jesus. These facts were clearly recorded in the Bible. For example, it’s written in John 11, ‘Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man does many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. … Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death’ (John 11:47, 48, 53).
To protect their status and meal-tickets, the Pharisees used any possible means. They fabricated rumors against the Lord Jesus and even colluded with the Roman government to crucify the Lord Jesus. As we can see, the Pharisees hated the truth and hated Christ. They reached the point where they no longer wished to co-exist with Christ long ago! They would rather forsake their sin offering, commit monstrous sins, resist God and offend God and have their sons and grandsons cursed than not nail the Lord Jesus to the cross, He who expressed the truth and redeemed mankind. That is the genuine, satanic, truth-hating nature and substance of the Pharisees. Not only that, even the Jewish people of that time also followed them in shouting, ‘Let Him be crucified. Let Him be crucified.’ In the end, they committed a terrible sin and offended God’s disposition, so Israel was subjected to destruction. This lesson written in blood is worthy of our consideration.”
Hearing Qiushi’s word, Xinying was deeply touched and said: “Thank God. Today’s fellowship has deeply benefited me. I understand that God’s work is always new and never old and is always moving forward. In each age, God’s work, the disposition which He expresses and His demands of man are all different, so we cannot define God’s new work according to the work that He has done, nor can we repudiate His essence of divinity according to Christ’s normal humanity. Only by possessing a heart that fears God, modestly seeking the truth, carefully hearing the voice of God and recognizing God from His work and the truth that He expresses can we keep up with His footsteps.”
Qiushi nodded and said happily: “Thanks be to God. Such an understanding is also of the utmost importance to us in welcoming the Lord’s return. Regardless of whether God’s work matches our notions, only by letting go of our conceptions and imaginations, paying attention to seeking the truth, hearing the voice of God can we avoid following in the Pharisees’ footsteps of resisting God! The Lord Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 5:3). ‘Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God’ (Matthew 5:8). I believe that as long as we humbly seek, we will welcome the Lord’s return!”
Xinying said with delight: “Yes, thank God!”