In trying to recall what is of most importance to our minds and hearts, Paul wrote by grace,
“And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one according to the flesh. Although we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away. Behold, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:15-17)
People had rejected Christ because they were too familiar with where he was raised and who raised him as a child. Their conclusion was simply that things do not add up. They kept to themselves the Jesus of the neighborhood rather than the Jesus who was preaching the word of eternal life.
In today’s terms, to such group of individuals the Jesus of eternal life was mentally challenged and out of control. All the words of this Jesus simply didn’t make any sense. If he was to say anything, it was mostly in parables.
Even if Christ was to heal them, they would doubt that they were ever sick. Even if Christ was to raise them up from the dead to this world, they would complain about who woke them up from their sleep all because they knew Jesus to only be the son of the carpenter. They would have to die and wait for their resurrection to a different world to be convicted of the power of Christ.
When we preach the gospel and that others dismiss us before they could even hear the gospel, it’s not the gospel that they hate but the notion that we’re preaching something that they cannot by their own means find the source of. If we were preaching theology, they would have to credit our years at seminary. If we were preaching political ideas, they would have to credit our years of exposure to ideologies of politics. But when it comes to the gospel, the root cannot be found by human means. And such enigma serves the limit of understanding, the limit of comprehension of mankind in general. And it comes to the conclusion that many will not accept the truth unless they themselves can prove it.
The truth, all in all, can only be both given and received by grace through faith in Christ, and not by academia, not by what man thinks about God, but by what God reveals of Himself to those he had so chosen with time through the gospel.
When Paul had said to no longer regard anyone according to the flesh, he was attempting to direct our attention from what most folks would know of us to what only a few including God would know of us. Our attention from the Jesus of the neighborhood to the Jesus the eternal life.
People will reject you before they even hear what you’re saying simply because they predispose themselves to dismiss you for you have no credit before them to be heard. But for those who hear the message, despite the fact that they do not know you according to the flesh, the message alone is a blessing to them.
In light of this note, Paul found it well to say,
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)
We will always resemble a fool until Christ returns, for our hope is not in things of this world but in things of our new creation.
There’s not a messenger who never takes offense when he is said to be lying. Yet, the offense belongs to the one who gave him the message and sent him on his way.
Our way is love. The message is the gospel. The author is Christ to the glory of God. Eternal life is lived according to the Spirit, and not the flesh.
As Christ once said to his early followers, those who bore the shame of foolishness with him,
“Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” (John 15:20)
By grace, endure and rest in Christ.