The entire New Testament Bible is mystified in one single chapter of the Book of John, whose content clarifies everything about Christianity. In the hands of unbelievers, Christianity is a religion, whose worshippers find value in the death, rather than the resurrection of Jesus. Christianity is popular, because of falsehoods, resonating with people’s appetite for idolatry.
Jesus promised that He would prepare appropriate places for believers. This indicates being the occupant of what is prepared for one, without own input. It is, therefore, unnecessary to dream for any other position, other than the one prepared for one. This denotes admission into a Kingdom of peace and harmony. The goal of every Christian is to acquire what is possible, even in this life.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going” (John 14-1-4 NIV).
Jesus was about to leave the earth, when promising the gift of the Holy Spirit, advising the disciples not to be anxious. This cancels any reason for anxiety in Christianity. It is the aspect of certainty that needs consideration. Figuratively, Jesus talks about the Father’s house with many rooms.
It is necessary therefore to explore the meaning and significance of God’s house. I particularly like the inquisitive attitude of Thomas, serving to represent many, with similar misunderstandings.
This was a confidential communication, directed at the disciples, before the physical departure of Jesus. Thomas’ question, as premised on the world’s common viewpoint, helps in consulting understanding. The physical Jesus was about to be trans-located to Heaven.
The condition of life in Heaven is not determined by mass, energy, space and time. There is no disappointment, or anything causing stress, in Heaven. In short, the heavenly tranquillity cannot be disturbed by anything. The answer to Thomas’ question should be found to be of interest.
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:5-7 NIV).
If Thomas really knew Jesus, he would have known the Father, as well. This sounds confusing, but not when aware of the identity of Jesus. Peter had accurately identified Jesus, in Matthew 16:16. Apparently, Thomas was among those having not yet identified Jesus.
The identity of Jesus was Christ, Son of the living God. This identity was and is unknown by most people in this world. It projects what was created in God’s image. As long as stuck in the physical universe, it is impossible to appreciate what was created in God’s image.
Currently, humanity, in general, is composed of people, not reflecting God’s image. At the point of conversing with Thomas, Jesus had been the only one representing God’s image. Hence, stating that He was the way, the truth and the life, leading humanity towards the state of God’s image.
When Jesus said; “From now on, you do know him and have seen him” He was not referring to physical appearance. This was a Spiritual viewpoint, connecting with Peter’s identity of Jesus as Christ, Son of the living God: “Flesh and blood have not revealed this to you.”(Matthew 16:17).
Peter saw what those of this world could not see. At that point, Thomas and possibly other disciples had still not got it. They were stuck on physical matter, although privileged to be with Christ, who had been the only image of God. Hence, declaring; “anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”
The disciples had not yet received the Spiritual gift—necessary for clearer understanding. After receiving the Holy Spirit, the disciples would become God’s children, just as Jesus was God’s Son. The apostle Paul expressively put it, to the Ephesians Church.
“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him, the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:19-21 NIV).
Like Jesus, true Christians have a right to declare: “anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” Unbelievable as this might be, with most people, this is true. Humans were created in God’s image, so their Spiritual condition is not different from that of God.
Having all along been with Jesus, the disciples ought to have had no problem with this truism. Jesus expresses His disappointment when Philip failed to understand this reality. But Jesus went ahead, explaining that they had the potential of being like Jesus:
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they 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 Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:12-14 NIV).
When on earth, Jesus remained in unity with His heavenly Father. But, after the resurrection, He would renounce His physical condition, reverting to His Spiritual condition. The disciples would potentially receive the same gift, to be also with Christ.
The Spirit is the seed of righteousness as manifesting God’s righteousness. Thomas was one of those struggling to understand the aspect of being in heaven, while still on earth. This needed awareness that Jesus was the only way, the truth and the life. It required believing every detail of Jesus’ teachings, without alteration.
In conversing with those disciples, Jesus touched on the aspect of certainty. Did they really love Jesus? This kind of love was not just by word of mouth. It had to be manifested in applying everything taught by Jesus. Aware that some were still not getting it, Jesus continued:
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and 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” (John 14:15-18 NIV).
The key line is: “I will not leave you as orphans.” This is where those claiming to be waiting for Jesus, miss it. Loving Jesus refers to abiding by His commandments. Everything spoken by Jesus is true. Anyone doubting cannot be in sync with His love. Such a person could not see what flesh and blood could not reveal.
“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. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” (John 14:19-21 NIV).
The most interesting declaration, unobserved by ordinary Christians is: “Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me” When would that be? The entire world of Christians believes that Jesus cannot be seen. The majority are sold to the idea of His second coming, based on John’s chapter 14.
God exists in the lives of true Christians. The aspect of His second coming is not applicable to God’s children. Otherwise, true Christians have all along been with God and Jesus, in their lives. They are in paradise, even though living in this world.
This refers to those who rejoice when persecuted, rather than rejoicing when adulated. Heaven is a state of being represented in the Spirit, rather than the consideration of what happens to the flesh.
Mourning the dead is of this world. Otherwise, mourning the death of a true Christian is a manifestation of ignorance of the significance of Christianity. A true Christian yearns to separate with this body, earlier than delayed. For a true Christian, no value remains, except doing God’s work.
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labour for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith” (Philippians 1:20-25 NIV).
Paul had been at peace, even though in prison, his life hanging in the balance, for Jesus’ sake. None of this world admired Paul’s adventure. But the apparent misery of Paul had been borne by Jesus on the cross. Murdering him was the easiest way of trans-locating him to paradise.
True Christians are the happiest, known to have lived on this planet. To them, death is a translocation into paradise. But, they would have long been in paradise, even in this life. They do not yearn to be in heaven, because they are with Christ already.
Nothing is more peaceable than being able to experience anything, in this world. The battle is won at the point of casting away doubt, on every statement given by Jesus Christ. Truth cannot be mixed with falsehood.
Information requires verification with the words of Jesus, who remains the stable datum. It is advisable for one to be extremely opposed, rather than pretend to be the follower of Jesus, but compromising.
“So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
“I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:16-20 NIV).
The starting point is appreciating being God’s child, rather than the product of the physical universe. That requires total rejection of the appetite and pleasures therein. God’s child rejoices in persecution for doing the right things; rather than avoiding doing the right things, fearing persecution.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for, in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12 NIV).
Here are the candid questions: What keeps a converted Christian from attaining paradise? Is it the value of the physical body, before being interred into the grave? Is it the physical properties? Is it prestige and honour, or the fear of death? Anyone of these applies to individual respective considerations.
There is no truth, beyond knowing that nothing compares with the value of being in paradise with Christ. The key lies in appreciating what was created in God’s image, as not associated with the physical universe. Humanity is of the God-kind, with unmitigated power to do anything. All failures of humanity are simply a result of duplicity. This is commonly referred to as lacking faith.
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.
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