By Larry Ray Hafley
What image do you have of Jesus? Did Jesus affect the society in which he lived? Were people aware of His presence? The New Testament presents Jesus as a man of action. His words and works were earthquakes. He sent waves and ripples roaring and rumbling through cities and communities. Perhaps a sense of His personal presence has been lost. Observe the record of His life. You will not see a feminine featured fellow walking around or sitting down with a little lamb in His arms or lap.
None Took Him Lightly
Jesus was not received or believed by everyone. But even His enemies felt the force of His life. “And it came to pass when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matt. 7:28, 29). They knew this was no ordinary teacher! His doctrine fomented debate and raised questions which the religious leaders could not answer. This is shown in that they placed a quarantine on Him and His teaching. “Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews” (Jn. 7:13; 9:22; 12:42). The word came down from the highest echelons of the Jewish hierarchy: “This man is not to be considered under threat of excommunication.” See what that tells you about Jesus’ influence.
Excerpts from “the beloved physician,” Dr. Luke, are also revealing. “And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him into the power and authority of the governor” (Lk. 20:20). “And after that -they durst not ask him any question at all” (Lk. 20:40). Why resort to underhanded tactics? Why were the wisest men shamed into silence? They were selected for their guile. They were sly and clever, but they were stifled. Their speechlessness is an eloquent-oration on Jesus’ divine authority. Do you hear it?
The general public hummed and buzzed with imagination in consideration of Him. Some said He was John the Baptist; some said He was Elijah, Jeremiah, — or one of the other Old Testament prophets. Some suspected that He might be the Christ. Others said He was “mad,” but none took Him lightly (Jn. 6:15; 7:12, 31, 32; 10:19-42-; Matt. 16:17). When they stooped beneath the weight of His impeccable life and doctrine, conniving councils sent “front men” to investigate and castigate him (Matt. 22:15). Whether for good or ill, all men sought Him. The attention which Jesus generated frustrated the Pharisees. In desperation they said among themselves, “Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? Behold, the world is gone after him” (Jn. 12:19).
“Mark’s idea is to set before us the Wonder-worker, tie individual personality of the Son of God, and to show how continuously active he was . . . . . . Mark’s gospel is the gospel of activity . . . . . The Gospel according to Mark is crowded with action.
“. . . For example, you have in Mark a spirit of restless activity; he recognized in Christ just that which satisfies the demand of his particular nature. There is no word in the whole Gospel according to Mark that is more characteristic and significant than the word `immediately,’ or `straightway.’ You find that word two or three times in Matthew; two or three times in Luke; but in Mark it is perpetually recurring. In Mark it occurs forty-one times. In Mark, whatever is done is done ‘straightway,’ `immediately,’ and there is rapid passage from one event to another. As soon as Christ works a miracle, straightway something else happens. Mark seems to be bent upon passing rapidly from one thing to another, and recognizing the continual activity of the Savior’s life. It is Mark that tells us that the room where they were was so full -they could not stand. It is Mark that tells us that our Savior was so busy with the, disciples that they had no time to eat. It is Mark that tells us that Jesus was so restlessly active that the people thought he was beside himself” (A. H. Strong, Popular Lectures On The Books of the New Testament, pp. 75-77).
Jesus’ Works Undeniable
The Lord’s words could not be successfully resisted. As we have seen, He squelched captious conspirators who were sent to “entangle him in his talk.” His works were no less powerful. They show us the power,of His life and influence. As witness thereto, Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, whom He raised from the dead, led many to believe on Him (Jn. 12:11, 18). So, they plotted to kill Lazarus. They could not discredit the miracle of Lazarus’ resurrection, thus, “The chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death” (Jn. 12:10). Everyone was talking about Lazarus being raised; the people were clamoring to meet the young Nazarene. Can you sense the furor Jesus’ raising of Lazarus created (Jn. 12:10, 11, 17-19)?
In Matthew 12:22-24, Jesus healed a blind, speechless man who was possessed with a demon. “All the people were amazed!” The area was all “a-flutter” about it! They said, “Is not this the Son of David?” They asked their religious overseers about it. The Pharisees said, “Well, he casts out devils, but he does it by the power of the devil.” This shows the miracle was genuine. Their charge proves the man was healed. All they could do was to try to cast aspersion against Jesus and prejudice the minds of the people. Again, Jesus is in the very center of action; His works sent tremors rattling through the hearts of men.
Zacchaeus and the woman with a bloody malady could not get to see Jesus, nor could the paralytic man-why? Because of the masses thronging to see and hear Him! On and on we could go with incidents of this nature. How -many more can you recall? Does this give you a little more insight into the might, manhood, and majesty of our Lord?
Jesus was a man of action. He was the focal point of thought because of His deeds. How does this compare with certain of His followers who hide and reside in quietness and obscurity within four air conditioned walls?
Truth Magazine XXII: 3, pp. 56-57
January 19, 1978