“Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Tit. 2:14)
At the beginning phase of His pubic ministry Jesus steps forward in the synagogue in His hometown of Nazareth, reads from the scroll containing Isaiah 61:1-2, and then clearly and without any hint of self-doubt about His identity, boldly proclaims: “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” But Jesus does not possess a divine outward aura of light to help validate His claim. The townspeople are offended by the audacity of this claim being made by an otherwise unremarkable person, interprets this statement as blasphemy, and then proceeds to attempt to throw Jesus off the precipice of a nearby cliff (Lk. 4:16-30).
In Mark 3:21, unidentified “friends” (presumably members of His family) come to “lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.”
In Mark 3:22, the scribes from Jerusalem grossly misinterpret the miracle working of Jesus as originating from Beelzebub “the prince of the devils.”
In John 6:48-65, Jesus refers to Himself as the living bread come down from heaven. When Jesus then goes on to say in a spiritual sense (Jn. 6:62) that the disciples must eat His flesh and drink His blood (a foretelling of the upcoming future “communion service” part of worship), John records at this point that some of the disciples were offended and “went back, and walked no more with him” (Jn. 6:66).
“Whom makest thou thyself” (Jn. 8:53) is the constant taunting question put forward throughout Jesus’ ministry by His detractors, yet He cannot answer this question with a show of outward supernatural glory outside of the boundaries of the ministry of the messiah as expressed through a normal human body (Isa. 9:6-7; 35:5-7).
At the time of His arrest, Jesus answers Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane: “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” (Mt. 26:53-54).
At the crucifixion, Luke records that “the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God” (Lk. 23:35). The famously classic saying by Jesus from the cross: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Lk. 23:34) is humility displayed at the divine character level in setting aside, at the critical moment of testing, any outwardly visible claim to the glory that rightfully belongs to the Isaiah 9:6 king who voluntarily walks the lonely way through the “narrow gate” of Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 for our salvation.
How could Jesus credibly give us His Sermon on the Mount if He artificially enjoyed the preferential treatment afforded to someone who displayed a divine glow of light around His person? Jesus perfectly lives every word of the Sermon on the Mount because He is the Word of God. When Jesus says to us to take no thought for what we need to eat and to wear, but rather to seek first the kingdom of God, He has absolute credibility because He dies on the cross with zero worldly possessions. Yet Jesus is able to bequeath to the early church disciples and to us today the priceless gift of eternal salvation, deliverance from the bondage of sin, and the Holy Spirit to lead us into the joy, peace, and purpose of the “all truth” of John 16:13.
This was not an easy challenge for Jesus any more than it is for us. When pressed for authenticating evidence by the religious leaders, Jesus responds by saying: “I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.” In John 12:27 Jesus says: “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.” In Luke 12:50 Jesus says: “But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I am constrained till it be accomplished.”