‘Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life (John 8:12).’
‘“I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in the synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing (John 18:20).”’
By ‘the transparency of Jesus’, I mean the openness of His dealings with people, both Jews and Gentiles. After His baptism (Matthew 3:13-17) and His retreat to the wilderness for forty days (4:1-11), He entered the public arena. Straight away He preached His gospel of repentance (v. 17). During His three year mission of mercy He preached the way (John 14:6) of salvation to people in Judea, Samaria, Galilee, Decapolis and Perea. He spoke in their synagogues, cities, villages and the countryside, and before visiting these places He sometimes sent His disciples ahead of Him to herald His coming (Luke 10:1).
Only on certain occasions did He meet with His closest disciples to speak to them alone, perhaps to explain the parables (Matthew 13:36) or to tell of things that must take place (Matthew 24). Several times He told them He would be going to Jerusalem, where He would be crucified, die, and be resurrected from the dead on the third day (20:17-19).
His journey from relative obscurity, as the Son of the carpenter Joseph, to His ignominious and very public death on a cross, as King of the Jews (John 19:21, 22), testifies of His great love of the world. He sacrificed Himself to save those who are called (3:16; 1 Corinthians 1:2).
Weakened by His flogging (Matthew 27:26), and tortuous ordeal at His mock trials for blasphemy and sedition, He was unable to carry His cross the whole way from the judgement seat (John 19:13) on His trek to Golgotha. Simon of Cyrene was forced to carry it for Him (Matthew 27:32).
At Golgotha they stripped Him of His clothing (cf. 35) and nailed Him to a cross for all to see. There they looked and saw His blood-stained, scarred body, and they blasphemed Him (27:39). It was an unimaginably arduous and painful mission of salvation, and of submissive obedience to His Father (26:42; John 10:25).
At first He was rejected by His own brothers (John 7:5). Undeterred, He gathered around Him a motley crew of twelve disciples (Matthew 10:1-4), eleven of whom He would transform by His teaching and by His example. They would come to realise He was unlike any other man, and one by one, as they followed Him, they came to believe He truly was the Son of God (cf. John 20:26-29). Even His own brothers and mother eventually believed (cf. Acts 1:14). Indeed His brother James (cf. Matthew 13:55) became the leading elder of the Jerusalem church (Acts 15:13). After the church fled on account of Herod’s persecutions and imprisonments, James circulated his Epistle which exhorted them to live holy lives and to do good works (James 2:17, 18).
Matthew in his Gospel chronicles the comings and goings of Jesus. He records His teachings for both those who would follow Him and for those who would reject Him.
From the time He was in Capernaum He ‘began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 4:17),”’ and He ‘went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people (v. 23).’
On ’… seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him (5:1).’ At that time He set forth His law for all to follow, and the dire consequences for those who foolishly disobey them (cf. 7:26, 27).
As He continued His journey of compassion He healed the sick and cast out demons (8:1-17), and the multitudes followed Him (v. 18). He told them many parables (chap. 13), but afterwards, when He returned to Nazareth, they were offended by His teachings (v.57), and because of their unbelief ‘He did not do many mighty works there (v.58).’
After the beheading of John the Baptist, He got into a boat and went to a deserted place. ‘But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities (14:13).’ He healed them and miraculously fed them by dividing five loaves and two fish (vv. 17-21). On another occasion He fed four thousand in a similar way (15:32-39).
Jesus was Transparent
He openly taught many people (John 18:20).
However, if I continue telling of all the things I know He did, I would have to write a very long book (cf. John 21:25). Instead I’ll bring this short Easter meditation to a close and suggest you search the Bible for pearls of wisdom and the words of life (John 6:68) that are found in it. Then go and preach the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19, 20) to those who are in need of Him and of His salvation.
“Lord, let us imitate You (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:1) and be transparent with our lives, so that Your light will be seen in all that we do and say.”
‘Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).’
May the Lord bless you.