The Sri Lankan Bible scholar Anjith Fernando once said: “We are living in an age when many are disillusioned with their leaders and have come to believe that it is impossible for good people, people of integrity, to succeed in life. Most good people appear to them as unsuccessful in life and they wonder whether goodness and success can be combined. To this generation, groping to find a model of success that does not contradict the voice of conscience, we present Jesus: the good person, the perfect person, who started a movement so effective that in three centuries the mighty Roman empire had bowed its knee to him.”
Rome did not bow the knee to Jesus during his earthly ministry. Addressing the crowds on the day of Pentecost, the Apostle Peter said: “This man [Jesus] was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” (Acts 2:23-24)
It seemed social Darwinism won the day. Jesus came healing, casting out demons, calming storms, reaching out to outcasts, feeding, putting the interests of others above his own, and ultimately laying down his life for the salvation of many. In his character he represented a perfect image of humanity, and in his power he showed he was the divine Son of God. Yet, the world rejected him. Jews and gentiles joined forces to put him to death. It seemed goodness and success failed, and the perfect person put to death.
This perfect God-man would indeed, however, prove himself victorious over the forces of evil and darkness in this world. God raised him from the dead, for it was impossible for death to take him. His followers spread his message like wildfire, until three hundred years later the empire that killed him bowed down to him. Even today, Jesus sits victorious at the right hand of God, awaiting the day all his enemies are put under his feet. Then he will send the wicked to eternal damnation and those who receive his righteousness by faith into his consummated kingdom on earth.
In an age when bad guys seem to win, let me present to you Jesus. He was the perfect person and holy Son of God who lives forever victorious.