Any human being, is as degraded, as characterized in the story of Adam. The challenge of humanity is in lacking knowledge. An ideal person has the knowledge, as compared to the one without knowledge, typified as ignorance. Knowledge is accessible to anyone willing to acquire it, regardless of background. Another term for knowledge lies in the religiously misunderstood term, associated with faith.
A person with knowledge is different from the one without knowledge. In between knowledge and ignorance, lies the majority of people existing in this world. Having a scant knowledge leaves a person with doubt, as to be unable to speak with confidence, for what is known. But the prime factor of stupidity is assuming to know, yet without the certainty of what one claims to know.
During the time of Jesus, such people comprised the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Scribes. They were dogmatic and zealous for God, yet without full knowledge of who God was. The knowledge displayed by Jesus could not be argued against. One of their own, Nicodemus, came to Jesus by night, appreciating the extraordinary knowledge displayed by Jesus:
“Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, ‘Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.’”(John 3:1-2) (NIV).
Clearly, Nicodemus acknowledged that the knowledge of Jesus could not be compared with anyone. Yet Nicodemus could not openly assert to that reality before his counterparts. That which caused him to avoid publicly asserting to the knowledge found in Jesus, has a bearing, even today. It is characterized by three deadly enemies of faith which are, fear, doubt, and pride. These are found in between the range of knowledge and ignorance.
These three can be said to sustain everything found in Christianity, as known today. The reason why a believer follows a leader, as descriptive of a particular denomination, shows a lack of confidence in one’s own beliefs. The knowledge of God, keeping that believer in that particular denomination, is sustained in fear, doubt, and pride.
A person would be fearful of engaging in anything else that does not agree with what he would have all along assumed to know. Doubt is manifested in that person’s inability to defend and confront those believing differently. The comparison between what is believed and what others believe gives him a sense of pride, assuming being better than those believing differently.
Nothing else describes the current behaviour in Christianity. Even education, as sustaining the general public, is portrayed in these three dominant attributes. The titles that people prefer, against their names, are descriptive of scanty knowledge carried by those concerned. A truly educated person is not fascinated by being called a “Doctor,” for instance.
Another sign of ignorance is manifested in desiring to be respected for the knowledge held. That person feels threatened by those revealing to be more informed than him. Instead of adding novel information onto one’s knowledge, the person seeks to discredit those coming up with some novel information. Currently, Information Technology presents what is regarded as miraculous.
The things that, only a century ago could not be assumed as possible, are now as common as facilitating human relations. A dictatorship, sustained by muzzling the press, has since learned that it is no longer possible to suppress information. The exposure of our current president E D Mnangagwa, stealing funds meant to fight Covid-19, is classic. It is shameful, though, that his zealous supporters continue to defend him, even with that blatant exposure.
President Mnangagwa appears as ignorant of the fact that falsehood, having sustained ZANU PF since independence, is no longer workable. ED and his ZANU PF supporters, preside in assuming that being President makes one different from other humans. This conduct is, simply, characteristic of authoritarianism, as applicable in, virtually, all organizations in this world.
People worship leaders, due to ignorance and lack of confidence in their own abilities. This is why they get exploited. They submit to being controlled, instead of controlling the environment. The same applies to Christian organizations, though expected to know better when following the example of Jesus. A person who knows, cannot be pushed around like a cog.
That person is confident that he knows what he knows. Having been brought up under the Jewish community, Jesus could not be controlled by the environment. His behaviour was typical of anyone bearing confidence in what he knows. The so-called miracles that He performed were a result of His knowledge. Jesus kept castigating His followers for lacking faith.
Indeed, if they had faith as little as a mustard seed, they could move mountains. In this universe, knowledge is acquired through some educational institutions, like University colleges. But, why did Jesus not advise His disciples to engage in studies, in order to acquire knowledge that would enable them to perform miracles?
He simply advised them to look to Him as the way, the truth, and the life, as also the bread of life. According to Theologians, what Jesus said is too complicated for ordinary humans. To be approved, one is advised to spend time attending seminaries, before graduation with a doctorate, for instance. But that is an affront to what Jesus said of using Himself as a model.
Instead of telling their followers to use Jesus as a model, Theologians declare that it is impossible to be like Jesus. Their appetite for idolatry confers Jesus with membership in Trinity so that He is not accessible to ordinary humans. Anyone not subscribing to that viewpoint is labelled a heretic. Nevertheless, to His disciples, including those of us today, Jesus said:
“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you”(John 14:12-20) (NIV).
What Jesus said, here, is different from the view of Theologians, making Jesus unreachable. Although not seen by those of this world, Jesus is known and appreciated by those who believe in Him. Those people have confidence, as holding to knowledge unavailable in this world. It is a question of how to obtain that knowledge. Jesus never suggested attending Theological seminaries, in order to obtain that knowledge.
That knowledge is not accessible to common men, including those awarded with degrees in Seminaries. That knowledge is as was revealed to Peter: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven”(Matthew 16:17) (NIV). Let us now grapple with what makes a person ideal, as compared to a fallen man.
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them”(Genesis 1:26-27) (NIV).
This Scripture is key. If Theologians understood it, they would not waste resources in theological training. A technician, seeking to fix a broken television first looks at the original design of the television set. That technician cannot be good when trying to add components that do not identify with the original design. He may come up with something workable, but as long as not identifying with the original design, that TV would be fake.
The above Scripture provides the original design of a man, resembling God. Out of ignorance, some people are proud of being born white or black, male or female. They miss the point that God is none of those physical things. Currently, miracles are associated with the transmission of images through electronic waves.
Such miracles, although fascinating to the fallen man, are too inferior, to an ideal man created in God’s image. Christ said nothing would be impossible to those with faith as little as a mustard seed. Faith is synonymous with knowledge. A person with knowledge is unshakable but is a stranger to ignorant people. Jesus was estranged to those of His time, who assumed having knowledge when the opposite was true.
“When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. ‘Where did this man get these things?’ the asked. ‘What’s this wisdom that has been given him that he even does miracles! Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ And they took offence at him”(Mark 6:2-3) (NIV).
Take note of the last part of that Scripture: “And they took offence at him.” That aspect, alone, blocks access to knowledge. It takes God’s grace, to avoid offence where knowledge comes from despised people. But it is only ignorance that makes people assume that other people are inferior. With knowledge, it is impossible to despise what was created in God’s image.
Those holding knowledge cannot be intimidated by anything. They hold no fear and doubt, just as they are not proud. The only peculiar thing with a knowledgeable person is rejection by his peers. Imagine those questioning the validity of Jesus, instead of appreciating Him?
It ought to have been a blessing to have Jesus in their midst. Yet they, actually, took offence, on discovering that He had superior knowledge, although Jesus understood them. Their behaviour was as normal as could be found among all humans, regardless of background. A fallen man feels challenged when a despised person exhibits superior knowledge.
“Jesus said to them, ‘Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honour.’ He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them”(Mark 6:4-5) (NIV).
Jesus did not, necessarily, suggest that strangers are better when honouring prophets coming from elsewhere. I remember receiving similar treatment from my own daughter, way back. I had been elected as School Development Association Chairman. The Headmaster introduced me to the School children. Afterwards, my daughter asked me: “Why is it that they elected you, daddy? Is it that they could not find anyone better, to be Chairman?”
My own daughter could not imagine me being honoured with such a glamorous designation, at that School. This caption shows that there is nothing unusual about being unacceptable from those of one’s own family. As far as the fallen humans are concerned, anything extraordinary has to come from Mars and not associated with this world.
But every human, regardless of background, was created in God’s image. It is only the fallen men who take offence at what was created in God’s image. To the unbelievers, God’s knowledge remains hidden, although abundant to those not dictated to, by pride. Such people are willing to search for all things, appreciating what is good (Thessalonians 5:21).
“And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God”(2 Corinthians 4:3-4) (NIV).
The model of an ideal man is Jesus Christ. His purpose was not for igniting the appetite for idolatry. He came to show the way leading to knowledge that surpasses all understanding. Obviously, it doesn’t make sense to ignore what Jesus said. Yet assuming being accepted by him, when associating Him with the Trinitarian confusion.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99