When the Temple guards returned without having arrested Jesus, the leading priests and Pharisees demanded, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”
“We have never heard anyone speak like this!” the guards responded.
Good for the guards!
The Temple guards are open to analyzing the teachings of Jesus for themselves. If you study the teachings of Jesus and apply logic and reason, you can make a case for his teachings being accurate. No one has ever understood the human condition and reflected reality so clearly.
If you try to honestly live out his teachings in your life, any of his teachings, you will know he is right. It will make sense.
In our country, for example, people from all political persuasion, all walks of life- whatever terms you use- conservative, liberal, right, left- most people actually do claim the teachings of Jesus and his followers as their own. How can I say that?
Because from the right to the left people admire the teachings of Jesus, it’s just they don’t know or they ignore it comes from him.
- Be honest in all you say and do.
- Care for the needs of all people, not just your own clan.
- Men and women have equal worth.
- Have a special sense of compassion for the poor and children.
- Work against violence and revenge and toward what is good, even for those who are your enemy.
- Have compassion for those in prison.
- Give people another chance.
- Care for all of creation.
Well, if the teaching of Jesus are so admired, why isn’t everyone a Christian, or at least admiring of Christians?
One reason is whenever atheists or other skeptics are critical of the teachings of Jesus, they are generally misinformed or simplistic in their understanding of the Gospels, or they haven’t carefully examined them at all. They haven’t made the connection that Jesus is the source of some of their most cherished beliefs.
Another reason is we Christians are fallen, like everyone else, and we aren’t pure models for Jesus. We aren’t always good ambassadors.
But, even when we do follow the beautiful model of Jesus, those who don’t follow are fallen people, too, and they will choose not to see it. They will underemphasize the good or try to explain it away and overemphasize our fallenness.
The real sorrow of those who deny Jesus is they are influenced by the devil who is helping to hide the good.
And God wants us to freely trust in him and so God allows us to deceive ourselves.
Look for examples of people who deny Jesus but admire his teaching.