“How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.” John 10:24
Several years ago, I asked my high school Sunday School class why Jesus didn’t just tell everyone he was the Messiah. They came up with a pretty good answer. And I’ll come back to that in just a minute.
But first, let’s pretend we’re back in Bible times and you hear this guy Jesus preaching a very different story from what you’ve heard from all those Pharisees. You’ve seen some of the healings he has done and you were actually one of the five thousand he fed in the wilderness.
There’s a lot of speculation in the air about who Jesus is. The rumors are flying that he just might be the Messiah. Personally you think he is but how can you be sure? There are so many opinions.
So one day Jesus is walking in the Temple and some people came up to him and one of your friends finally gets up the nerve to ask, “How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.” KJV
Here is Jesus’ big opportunity to clear up all the misunderstandings and set the record straight. You’re in the crowd and waiting with baited breath to hear him say that yes he is the long awaited Messiah or Christ, the Anointed One. You are secretly hoping he will admit it publicly and there will be no doubt left in your mind.
Who is Jesus?
But instead Jesus says that what he is doing in his Father’s name bears witness of who he is. What on earth is that supposed to mean?
You start to think: “Let’s see, what has Jesus done? He’s healed the sick, he just healed a man born blind, he walked on the water and calmed a storm at sea–or so I’ve heard. But more importantly he has taught with an authority and love that I’ve never felt from the rulers in the synagogues or the Temple in Jerusalem. What he has really done is set people free from bondage to sin and disease and all the burdens of daily life.
“Hey, isn’t there a Scripture in Isaiah about the Servant of God who is sent ‘to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison…’? (Isa. 42:7) You know, it just hit me that Jesus is the Christ.”
At that moment Jesus looks over a sea of heads and catches your eye. There’s a knowing look in his face–a look of love and acknowledgment. You don’t need him to tell you he is Christ, God has revealed it directly to you through the Scriptures.
Okay, now let’s jump back into the 21st Century.
When we read the Gospel accounts today, one clear focus is that Jesus is the Christ. We are told how Jesus’ life fulfilled the Messianic prophecies down to every little detail.
But the first century Jews didn’t have it all laid out so clearly. And Jesus was fulfilling prophecies in Scripture they didn’t even know existed as prophecies.
Jesus wanted people to know and accept him as Christ. So have you ever wondered why Jesus didn’t come right out and tell everyone he was the Christ? Well, as I mentioned earlier, that’s exactly what I asked my Sunday School class. We had studied the places where Jesus had not answered the question, the times when he did tell someone privately, and when he asked his disciples who people thought he was.
“Why didn’t Jesus just tell everyone who he was?” I asked. Kevin popped right out with, “He wanted everyone to discover it for themselves.”
There’s the simple truth.
When Peter said to Jesus, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” Jesus explained that flesh and blood had not revealed it to him (or coerced him into believing it) but that God had. In other words, no human being or man-made doctrine or persuasive conversion tactics can reveal to us who Christ is. Only God can reveal His Son to us.
If you believe Jesus is Christ just because someone said you had to in order to be a Christian, this is just blind belief. A man can believe all sorts of things. Just because someone told you something is not reason enough to believe. Even if it is a church leader, don’t believe something just because someone says you have to.
Go to the Bible and see what Jesus says you have to do to be his follower. Let God speak to your heart and listen to His direction.