“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.” (1 Cor. 2:7)
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…because we do not think you are a qualified military leader.”
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 refuse to enter in at the ‘narrow gate’ (Mt. 7:13-14) you mentioned in your Sermon on the Mount…we will continue to do religion the way we have set it up…to mix old traditions with going our own way…to suit ourselves” (Isa. 53:6).
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 the God-sovereignty of a biblical-quality walk of faith.
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.
Visual, empirical observation of the resurrected Jesus by the religious elites and the general populace in Jerusalem…a few days after Easter morning…does not translate into Hebrews 11:1 faith to surrender all…to abandon self-sovereignty…and to follow Jesus Christ into an adventure of faith through life…to match the examples of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Ruth, David, Elijah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah…to name a few from the Hebrew Bible…the Christian Old Testament…which sets forth the examples of the lives of faith which should have been commonplace…the norm for Jewish living at the time of the ministry of Jesus in first-century Israel.
Like our free-will choice to love someone…our choosing to follow God…by purposeful, intentional, divinely creative design…will always be a free-will, take-it-or-leave-it, open option of the heart and mind…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, risky from God’s standpoint, 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.
A person does not have to be a scholar to see in the Bible and to experience first-hand…that God initially takes people having hidden potential…yet at the start of their calling are broken, lost, and aimless in life (Mt. 9:10-13)…and through the divinely supportive respect and acceptance over time of salvation, redemption, and the life-altering insertion of a God-composed adventure of faith…aided and energized by the Holy Spirit…turns them into something vastly better than they could have previously imagined.
This is one of the main themes of the Bible. Some people will accept God’s lead and follow Him into their destinies…others will push God away and follow their own course.
This in itself should be a telling argument against the random-chance naturalism of self-sovereign worldly conventional thinking…by virtue of the sheer inexplicability…of the origin of the concept of biblical faith…of God displacing our ways with His higher ways and thoughts…and its persistent longevity over thousands of years.
Naturalistic materialism…if true…should produce one homogeneous human mindset…either self-sovereignty or God-sovereignty…one lifestyle habit per creature type…like the rest of the living world.
This should tell us…that as human beings…we are different (Gen. 1:26-27).
The complexity of the information content, the innovative originality of the main concepts, and the utter crash and collision with worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…makes a compelling commonsense apologetic case for the divine origin of the journeys of faith recorded in the Bible…above, beyond, and outside of humanistic literary invention.
This is the easier half in answering the question of why Jesus did not walk down Main Street and into the Temple a few days after His resurrection…which would have changed the dynamics of a journey of faith following Jesus Christ…instead into the type of absolute, visual, foolproof evidence that atheists and skeptics demand…but which fall short in establishing a personal relationship.
The hard part in analyzing the wisdom behind the delicate balance between belief and unbelief in this current world environment…is as follows.
After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead…John 11:45-48 reads:
45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.
46 But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.
47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.
48 If we let him alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.
The religious elites in Jerusalem decided to continue worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…self-autonomous self-rulership…by sacrificing Jesus Christ…by removing Him out of the way.
This is expressed in John 11:49-50:
49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all.
50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.
Caiaphas said this in order to perpetuate the status quo…to continue worldly conventional normalcy and thinking as it existed at that time and place…and not at all for the initiating or the maintaining of biblical-quality journeys of faith…which the early church would soon step into and demonstrate to the world shortly (Acts 8:4)…”turning the world upside down” (Acts 17:6).