18 And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am? 19 They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again. 20 He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God. 21 And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing; 22 saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.
23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.
28 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. 29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. 30 And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: 31 who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. 33 And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said. 34 While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. 35 And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. 36 And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.
With all twelve of the disciples performing miracles and exorcisms, why didn’t the whole world accept Jesus as the Messiah right then? Partly because He told His disciples not to tell people who He was. Verse 21: “Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone.”
Why not?!!? The Messiah has come, and they weren’t supposed to tell anyone? An incognito Messiah? Why?
Because, verse 22, “The Son of Man must – [must]- suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must – [must] – be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
Because He had not come only to heal the sick and raise the dead. He had not even come to bring honor and praise and glory to God the Father. That was a result, not the goal.
He came to die for the sins of the whole world.
If He had been accepted as Messiah before paying the penalty for sins, hell would still have been our final destination. We still would have been cut off from God forever. The Restoration would not have been made possible.
Jesus might have bypassed the cross. He could have accepted the devil’s offer of instant Kingdom, or He could just have said, “People don’t deserve My sacrifice” and gone back to Heaven. At the moment of His arrest, He could have called on God, and the Father would have sent the toughest extraction team in the history of the world and airlifted Him out of there. No cross, no pain, no humiliation. But King Jesus chose the cross instead of the easy way, and because He did, we who accept His sacrifice for our sins have an Eternity of joy and exuberant health waiting for us.
Ever since King Jesus ascended back up to Heaven, every believer is a witness to the First First Responder. You and I. Witnesses to the people around us. We are not all called to be evangelists, but every single believer in Jesus is, not should be, might be, or can be – is a witness to every person we come in contact with. It’s easy to become discouraged when we don’t see lives around us changing because of our faith in Jesus. When we see our stupidities, our inadequacies. It’s easy to feel like we’ve failed. But Paul wrote this for us who are discouraged:
“He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2nd Corinthians 12:9-10)
Don’t let “the accuser of the brethren” (the devil, Revelation 12:10) or his lesser servants discourage you with your apparent failures or incompetence. God designed you and your circumstances specifically to meet the purpose He has for your life.
(Of course this doesn’t mean we can indulge our sinful impulses and blame it on God. I’m talking about our human inadequacies.)
“For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”
You are what you are because that’s the way God designed you, brothers and sisters. You are not a mistake. You are not some mutant freak, some defective worker bee, that somehow got past God’s Quality Control Inspector. You are what He intended you to be. Just do your best, asking Him to guide you daily, trying your best to do His will walk in the Holy Spirit. That’s all He requires of us That’s all it takes to hear King Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” How the rest of the world reacts is up to them. It’s not on you.