The Apple Of God's Eye

November 7, 2009

Jesus Christ Did Not Convert One Single Individual During His Ministry

Filed under: Jesus Christ — melchia @ 8:44 am
Tags: , , , , Question: You made the statement in one of your posts that Jesus Christ never converted even one individual during His ministry. So then why does Luke 19:9 point out where Jesus said to Zacchaeus that today salvation had come to his house? Also, the thief on the cross was promised eternal life (Luke 23:43). What about this?

Answer: You probably have assumed that Jesus promised the thief that he would be with Him in Paradise that day. Nothing could be further from the truth. Remember the thief had asked earlier, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom” (Luke 23:42). The plain fact is that Jesus has not yet come into His Kingdom (Luke 11:2; 19:11; I Thes. 4:13-17; I Cor. 15:23, 49-52). And after all, Christ died that same day and was in the grave — not Paradise — for a total of three days and three nights (Matt. 12:39-40; I Cor. 15:3, 4).

Rather, the correct wording of Luke 23:43 proves that Christ promised the thief (on the day of His crucifixion — that day) that the thief would eventually be (“shall… be”) in His Kingdom — Paradise — when it comes to the earth.

The inspired Greek word order with proper punctuation should read: “Verily I say to thee today, ‘With me shalt thou be in paradise.’ ” Notice that Christ’s use of the word “today” was stressing the time He made His promise, not the time of the fulfillment of the promise. The verse is not correctly punctuated in most English translations. Punctuation was added centuries after the original Greek was written.

Now, what did Christ mean when He told Zacchaeus that “this day is salvation come to this house…”? (Luke 19:9.) Christ was the direct Emissary of the Kingdom of God. He is the “Captain” of our salvation (Heb. 2:10). The Author and Captain of our salvation, Jesus Christ, had come to Zacchaeus’ house.

But look further. Christ nowhere said that Zacchaeus was given God’s Spirit — or converted — that day. Unless a person has God’s Spirit he cannot be truly converted (Rom. 8:9). Zacchaeus was — by Christ’s visit — being offered an opportunity to learn about the Gospel which leads to salvation. But, being offered an opportunity to hear the announcement of God’s government is vastly different than actually being begotten and filled with God’s Spirit. Recall that Peter repeatedly heard that same announcement, but was not converted during Christ’s earthly ministry (Luke 22:32; John 7:39; 16:7).

There is, of course, little doubt that Zacchaeus was converted after the Holy Spirit was made available in general to the common people on the day of Pentecost — 31 A.D. (Acts 2).

The fruits of Jesus’ ministry — and the results of His death and resurrection — have opened the door that will eventually lead mankind to the knowledge of, and opportunity for, salvation. But Jesus during His earthly ministry did not come to convert the world.

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