While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.Luke 24:15-16
But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.
Some things never change.
When Jesus of Nazareth walked the dusty streets of the Middle East as a Man, His ministry evoked a wide range of emotions from God’s chosen people. He had His detractors, of course; people who hated His inconvenient tendency to tear down self-righteous facades and expose the unseemly rot within the human heart.
But even among His supporters were an astonishing number who loved Him for what they expected Him to do. They watched His ministry with excitement, anticipating the the moment He would declare Himself Judah’s King and lead them in revolt against the oppressive Roman government. They missed out on the greater freedom He actually came to provide.
Fast forward a couple thousand years, and we find a similar mix of emotions.
It’s not surprising many people continue to hate the uncomfortable teachings of Jesus concerning sin and sacrifice. What surprises me is this: Despite Jesus’s clear statements – recorded in the Word – that His Kingdom is not of this world, there are still SO MANY who are looking for the King of kings to bring political and socioeconomic peace.
I suppose it was naïve of me to believe His followers today would listen to His words more than those who saw Him in the flesh. Both then and now, however, the truth of Jesus hasn’t changed. He didn’t give His life to reform our governments, cultures, or social systems.
He gave it to reform us.
This fact is worth repeating. The Lamb of God was not sacrificed to make the world a better place to live but to save each one of us from the penalty of our own crimes against our Creator.
Jesus came because we are the reason the world is in its present state.
The effects of sin are so pervasive, every element of our lives is twisted by them – including our understanding of right and wrong, of truth and justice. Sin’s putrefaction is so complete as to taint even our most noble deeds with the foul reek of death.
Until the glorious Day when the Lord comes again, this world will not be a nice place to live. In fact, it’s even predicted in the Scriptures that it will get worse.
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.2 Timothy 3:12-13
For those of us who are truly in Christ Jesus, this is not bad news. The worst other men can do is to kill us, and as Paul wrote, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.”
While we remain here, our mission is to tell others of our great Hope – that although we are born into separation from our Maker with hearts filled with evil in a world corrupted into chaos, our God loves us so much that He gave His Divine Son to bridge the impossible gap so we could once more be reunited with Him, both in the midst of this crooked generation and forever long after this age is ancient history.
This is the Good News. This is the Gospel.
But don’t take my word for it. Search the Scriptures for yourself with a humble and prayerful heart.