Have a spiritual eye to understand Christ's divinityGod so loved this world that He came in the flesh, but the world did not recognize and receive Him for no other reason than that He be-came flesh. The religious leaders who claimed to have a full knowledge of God devalued the gospel, calling its followers the 'Nazarene sect.' They rejected and crucified their own God. They spit in His face and struck Him with their fists. They slapped Him and said, "Prophesy to us, Christ. Who hit you? (Mt 26:67-68)"
Even the Gentiles would not profane the gods in whom they be-lieved. However, the people, who claimed to believe in God, treated Him with contempt; His family tried to take charge of Him, saying, "He's gone mad"; the chief priests and the teachers of law condemned His teachings as heresy, and yelled to God who testified of Himself, "You, a mere man, claim to be God."
They had no spiritual eye with which they could distinguish right from wrong, truth from falsehood. They judged only according to the flesh and would not open their spiritual ear to His gracious teachings. Even after Christ rose from the dead, they bribed the soldiers not to bear witness to His resurrection. They did not believe though they saw such undeniable proof. They thought they absolutely believed in God, but none of them received Him when He Himself came to this earth.
This is the actuality of the so-called religious fundamentalisms. The present situation is exactly the same in the days of Jesus. Through the things that happened at Jesus" first coming, we need to consider what occurs at His second coming. The history of the Early Church repeats in these last days; people do not receive Christ just because He has come in the flesh, even though He has brought believable and credible proof.
1 Ti 2:4-5 " ... For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,"
To those who repeatedly ask how God can be a man, the Bible gives a definite answer through the word-'the man Christ Jesus.' The Bible says every spirit that does not acknowledge that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is the spirit of the antichrist (1Jh 4:1-3). This shows that those who are taught by the spirit of the antichrist deny that Jesus has come as a human being.
Actually, today's Christian doctrines are totally different from the Biblical teachings. The doctrines and fixed ideas of the religious leaders drove God, whom they believed, to the cross in those days. It is the same now.
The apostles already recognized Christ; they were depressed be-cause the people did not understand that Christ came in the flesh, and taught them, "Every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is the spirit of the antichrist," emphasizing, "the man Christ Jesus."
When God appeared on Mount Sinai in a spiritual form, people fled with fear. So He became flesh and drew near to men. Then they rejected Him and His teachings, calling Him the Nazarene. They reported to the governor their charges against the apostles who preached the truth. They were accused of telling the truth.
Seeing the truth being rejected, we come to understand that it is hard for ordinary people to perceive the truth. Then, who can recognize and receive Christ who has come in the flesh? Some will receive Him and accept His teaching graciously, and some will persecute Him and reject it, calling it heresy. Those who receive Him are the ones born of the heavenly blessing.
Heb 2:13-15 "... Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil-and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death."
When the traveler approached the birds, they fled away. Then he wanted to be a bird to draw near to them. Likewise, people fled away in fear when God approached them, so He chose to come into the world, having the same flesh and blood as His children. He didn't care whether the world believed Him or not, whether the people called His teachings heresy or not; for He came to earth for the sole purpose of saving souls with true faith.
The place Christ first visited in this earth was not the magnificent temple built for 46 years. He visited the Sea of Galilee where Peter was fishing to earn his livelihood. "Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." On hearing this word, Peter left his net and followed Jesus.
Mt 4:18-20 "As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him."
Why do you think Jesus did not go to the temple, where many people gathered together, but to a small sea village? Jesus did not visit them but called Peter and Andrew and told them to follow Him. Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. When Jesus went a little farther, He saw James and John. Then He called them and they too followed Him right away.
There was a great difference between these fishermen and the chief priests. The chief priests, who were worshiping God in a magnificent temple with numerous people, were not pleasing in God's sight; they were not the people who would receive His word. When Jesus preach-ed the gospel to them, they rejected it, calling it heresy. However, when He delivered it to Peter, he received it with joy and followed Him wherever He went.
Jesus already knew their spiritual state. Did He ever say to Peter, "Repent"? No. However, to the chief priests and the teachers of law, He repeatedly cried out and said, "Repent!" They called upon God only with their lips and their heart was far from Him; without repentance, none of them could enter heaven.