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He Didn't Fit the Picture

by Aaron Beard
via Gospel Power, Vol. 14, No. 12, Mar. 25, 2007

The first century Jew was one who was completely aware of the prophesies concerning the coming Messiah. The "Law and the Prophets" were constantly being read in the public places. He would have undoubtedly been longing for the coming of the Messiah, the Savior of the world. With this in mind, it seems paradoxical that when Jesus came fulfilling all prophesies concerning the Messiah, that many Jewish people missed it or refused to accept Him. Why is that?

One of the reasons that stands out is that Jesus did not fit the "mental picture" they had of the Messiah. They had certain ideas and wishes of the Messiah that were not scriptural. For instance, the apostles were constantly looking for an earthly kingdom. This is evident at times such as when they had scruples over who would be the greatest in His kingdom (Mark 8:35-45). Some may have been looking for the Messiah to make some "spectacular entrance," be more concerned with worldly things, or to overthrow their current rulers. Whatever the case was, He did not fit their preconceived mental images to they would not accept Him.

Many have the same problem today with His church that the Jews had with Jesus 2000 years ago. In spite of the Bible's descriptions of and instruction for the church, they have other preconceived desires for its organization, worship practices, and work. They seem to want its organization to be more complicated, fulfilling man's desire for offices within it. They want worship services to come across more spectacular, entertaining man's desires. They also want the church's work to go beyond the bounds that the Lord established so that it would appear that they are doing much more "good." Men go against the Lord's Will when through their pride they insist on these "improvements."

Paul writes to Timothy and says, "...for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away form the truth, and be turned aside to fables..." (II Timothy 4:3,4). It does not matter how efficient it seems to make the church run, how entertaining it makes the services, or how much work seems to get done, if it is not done according to the Word of God, it is not scriptural and must be stopped. One cannot perform certain "religious" practices because they sound good or satisfy any desire one might have.

There has been a great flow of people into the "Modern Mega Church Movement" as some have deemed it. These are churches that teach only what people want to hear. They build great structures that focus on entertaining man and feeding their stomachs. Their organization is complex with many offices and names not found in the Bible. People flock to these churches because they find them to be "fun and exciting." One does not have to ponder the situations very long to figure out why they are so large.

This is the picture that many people paint in their minds of the church, even though the one the Bible paints is nothing like it. The church that Jesus built was not designed to entertain or feed, in fact it was condemned at one point for this (I Corinthians 11:17-22). The church that Jesus built preached Jesus and drew in people with His gospel. Those who obeyed His Will were added by the Lord to the church, not to some complex organization. Those people in turn went out and preached Jesus (Acts 11:19-26). The "power of God unto salvation" has never been such things that much of the modern religious practices endorse, but it is rather the "gospel of Christ" (Romans 1:16). What a blessing it is when people put their pride and desires aside and are satisfied with enjoying serving God the way He has established.