“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though I be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 1:7).
From The Christian Church in the Last Days
If absolutely everyone in-the-moment is not comprehending the upcoming resurrection of Jesus Christ prior to and shortly after His crucifixion, and all of the details surrounding their actions and reactions are embarrassing to the apostles of the early church, are we to plausibly believe that these same apostles or someone else subsequently invented this brilliantly imaginative scenario as literary fiction from a detached, mezzanine viewpoint? What would be the origin or frame of reference to explain the unique originality of this creative inspiration if the gospels themselves admit that no one at the time anticipated God the Father raising Jesus from the dead? Why would the gospel writers admit and accurately record this fundamental shortcoming of not grasping the upcoming resurrection, then describe it all with such detail? And who amongst the followers of Jesus would possess this world-class literary creativity if it were all pure fiction?
Encapsulated within the account itself is the important revelation that the ordinary, naturalistic capacity of our human intellect is not up to the task of comprehending the higher ways and works of God. God had to arrange the cross and the resurrection in such a heart-breaking and disappointing fashion in order to bring everyone to the endpoint of their own self-reliant thinking, plans, and vision. The cross and the resurrection of Jesus forced everyone to squarely face the limited reach of their own horizontal thinking. The cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ is God’s most powerful, drastic, and love-filled means to get people to raise our vision higher. The unsurpassed quality and singular originality of the story validates the divinity of its authorship.
This is a reality common to all of the positive journeys of faith recorded in the Bible, and a foreglimpse of the upcoming issues for individual Christians and the Christian church on a colossal scale in the end-times. In a biblical journey of faith, God takes people through tightly crafted and divinely guided circumstances beyond the point where they can depend upon their own self-reliance. This is the surest way…maybe the only way…that God can demonstrate His faithfulness and love for us.
Why did the world reject Jesus during His first advent as Messiah? One basic answer is that the religious leadership in Jerusalem and a large portion of the populace had their vision focused horizontally. Some portion of the populace followed Jesus because they wanted a free meal (John 6:26) and to witness the novelty of miracles (Luke 23:8). The Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes thought that the removal of Jesus of Nazareth, who showed no signs of leading a successful Jewish military revolt against the Roman occupation of their country according to their expectations, was best achieved through the ignominious death by crucifixion at the hands of the Romans. They had no concept of the mission of the messiah as outlined in Isaiah 61:1-2 and no desire for a new covenant gospel message of hope and peace that would offer genuine freedom to the entire world. This was above their temporal and worldly comprehension.
The disciples, on the other hand, are on the opposite end of the horizontally flat vision- spectrum. Their individual hopes and plans are crushed by the trial, death, and burial of the one they believed to be the long-promised Messiah for Israel. They wondered if they had somehow made a mistake in following Jesus. It is probably not fair to say that the disciples should have known better. God arranged events with such precision that the hopes and dreams of the disciples were dependent upon the miracle of a resurrection of Jesus that was not even within their contemplation.