“Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory.” (1 Cor. 6:8)
If Jesus a few days after the resurrection walked down the middle of Main Street and right into the Temple in Jerusalem…then like doubting Thomas…all of the common people along with the Pharisees, Sadducees, lawyers, and scribes could examine His wounds and observe His resurrected new body…and accept as proof that Jesus is the promised Messiah and the Son of God.
But accepting the visual evidence…producing absolute knowledge like two plus two equals four…or the existence of the noonday sun…in accepting the empirical evidence that Jesus is the divine Son of God…this is not the same thing as being willing to follow Him.
This is like people saying to the recognized king of the realm: “We know that you are the rightful king, but we will not follow you into battle.”
The Pharisees and scribes would have looked at the resurrected Jesus…talked with Him…examined His healed wounds…and then said: “Great…good for you…nothing has changed in our minds as a result of this newest miracle of yours…we still choose not to follow you…we will continue to do religion the way we have set it up…to mix tradition with going our own way to suit ourselves” (Isa. 53:6).
For some unscrupulous and dishonest merchants selling their wares in the town marketplace…two-plus-two does not equal four…but equals either three or five depending upon the benefit to the merchant…a practice of “deceitful weights” denounced in the Old Testament in Proverbs and by the prophet Micah (Prov. 20:23; Mic. 6:11).
Having a system of standard, empirical weights does not prevent the willful and determined abandonment of integrity through the misuse of deceitful weights…a successful yet dishonest practice designed to work around…to circumvent…to ignore the real facts (standard weights) in business transactions.
Absolute knowledge by visual, empirical observation does not address the basic problem…does not displace, remove, or shift the mindset of self-sovereignty…of autonomous individualism…over into God-sovereignty.
Jesus walking into the Temple in Jerusalem after His resurrection…offering absolute proof of His divinity in physically rising from the dead…surprisingly does not change…by force of reason alone…the inner man…and does not equate to everyone freely choosing to make Him Lord and Master of their lives.
After the resurrection…revealing Himself to the Pharisees and scribes would not have produced biblical faith…defined as willingly allowing God to displace our ways with His higher ways…as ancient in Jewish history as the calling of Abraham to leave Haran and go to Canaan…as basic to Judaism as it gets…and fundamental to the Christian concept of picking up our cross to follow Jesus.
Like our free-will choice to love someone…choosing to follow God…by purposeful, intentional, divinely creative design…will always be a free-will, take-it-or-leave-it open option…in first-century Jerusalem, in the present-day, and for all eternity in heaven.
This is the remarkably sublime beauty of the free-will, free-thinking, moral reasoning, non-robots that God created humans to be…with or without absolute, visual, empirically foolproof evidence of God’s existence (Jn. 20:29).
The spiritual mystery of self-autonomous rebellion…of pushing God aside and out of our lives…is therefore one of the key moral issues under examination in this life and this broken world.
From A Popular Defense of the Bible and Christianity