By Alan Bailey
In today's world, only success will do. Recently, in our football competition, coaches have been sacked because their teams have failed to produce the goods. Too many defeats, so the coaches are sent on their way.
In sport, losing is not an option. The same in business. If the bottom line is bad, heads roll. We believe that success, as we understand it, is the thing worth living and dying for.
So how do we rate the mission of Jesus? Was He a success or a failure? At Christmas we often hear the words repeated "peace on earth and goodwill to man." Did He bring this kind of blessing to the people of His day?
Has there been much of it visible since then? Also, being nailed to a cross as a criminal after a public life of rejection is hardly the description of success.
Ah, but you must note the following. Jesus never said that He had come to overthrow rule and authority and set up a physical kingdom (instead He said, "My Kingdom is not of this world"). He never set out to be a popular cult figure. He had bigger things in mind. Through His life He revealed the nature of God the Father and He taught timeless truth to a group of men who were to take that message to the whole world. He showed the heart of God in the works of mercy he performed. Lives were transformed. He healed the sick, gave divine, everlasting forgiveness and hope to broken people, and left an example of goodness obviously unequalled in history. He has been changing lives ever since.
His death was not a defeat. As you read the Gospels, you will note that again and again Jesus pointed out that His coming crucifixion was the reason why He came to earth. He died as a substitute for sinners to bring peace between man and God. He said "The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep." His resurrection was a triumph over sin and death, the twin enemies of mankind. And death is God's "last enemy" (1 Corinthians 15:26). Jesus' accomplishments are incomparable.
So, was His mission a failure? Never! His next coming will also be a success story. He will come in power, the Bible says, and He will both judge and rule. His name will be above every name and every knee shall bow to it and every tongue confess that He is Lord. We must make Him Lord over our lives before that day comes.