Christianity is characterized with fragmented denominations across the world. This is, basically, unrepresentative of Jesus, who came with workable solutions, as a unifier of humanity. The cause of Jesus cannot be projected in what currently prevails, even in Christian world.
But the reality of what true Christianity stands for, ought to be made manifest, for the benefit of objective thinkers. The only way to solve problems of humanity is to address causes, instead of addressing effects.
Jesus did not come for a particular group of people, or religion, but He came to save the entire humanity. His focus was on cause, rather than the effects, as projected in sinful people then. The cause of all problems is self-centredness.
Because of self-centredness, each denomination denounces others, when projecting itself as representing whatever is considered truthful. But, Jesus, who came to serve, rather than being served, did not discriminate against anyone.
He projected the will of His Father in every facet of His life. The Jews had all along been alienated to the Samaritans, due to the latter’s departure from core-doctrines of the Israelites’ Covenant with God.
But, even as projected in the parable of the Good Samaritan—Jesus did not entertain self-centredness. Jesus was regarded as a friend of sinners and Tax Collectors (Luke 7:34). He healed whoever came to Him for such services.
The multitudes that thronged Jesus during His time, were not necessarily only from the law-abiding Jewish community, nor those of His close relatives. The services of Jesus included those considered to be Gentiles.
Which of the divergent thousands of denominations practices what Jesus taught? There is no doubt in that all claim to truly represent Jesus. Such people base their conclusions on sections of whatever each of them practice—as projecting them to be better than the rest of the other denominations.
But only a few people among those denominations practice what was portrayed by Jesus’ behaviour. In other words, no denomination holds the truth. Any human being can know the truth, which is within each of those individuals, created in God’s image. See [Truth is outside religion and philosophy].
Jesus was not associated with any of the groupings, existing at His time. He was the only one who represented God’s Kingdom and could, therefore, not take sides. Jesus declared being the way, the truth and the life. In other words, Jesus was a model of Christianity.
In Jesus we have what it takes to practice what God expects of Christians. That principle cannot be compared with any religious activities as practiced by Christians in their diverse denominational activities. There is no need to study Theology to understand the principle that was introduced by Jesus. That principle can be reduced to one word as—altruism.
The meaning of altruism implies committing oneself to serving others more than being concerned about benefits accruing to self. This way of life is scripturally described as the Golden rule: “So in everything do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12) (NIV).
This principle cannot be applicable to those committed to denominational segmentations, as known today. Apparently, the established Christian organizations are among the drivers—in what describes the known chaotic world.
Each Christian organization practices what it considers to be pleasing to God. The motive being—aspiration to be rewarded accordingly. However, that is the opposite of altruism. Even within the denomination in which one is found to be loyal, altruism is foreign. See [Personal Salvation vs God’s Kingdom].
The motivating factor of human activities is not altruism, but what benefits the self. The most illustrative Scripture that can be used is the one applied by Jesus during a wedding feast at Cana in Galilee:
“When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, ‘Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.’ So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now’” (John 2:3-10) (ESV).
Below are three points of note in the above passage:
A) Jesus was not personally interested in merrymaking at that festival—hence the question: “What does this have to do with me?” (Verse 4) Nevertheless, He had to perform the miracle, for the benefit of those who desperately needed wine at that festival.
Jesus had no time to engage in activities that sought to gratify self. Apparently, though not necessarily interested in merrymaking—Jesus became involved in enhancing the value of the wedding feast.
Lack of wine could have spoilt the wedding party, thereby attracting criticism towards the bridegroom. Merrymaking could only have been possible with alcoholic beverages—although Jesus appears as having personally not found value in such merrymaking activities.
B) The observation of the miracle was limited to those who were asked to fill the jars with water. The rest of the people gave credit to those who had invited them to the feast. This shows that the performance of the miracle by Jesus, had no ulterior motive, except serving the guests at the time of need.
The purpose of having this incident recorded in Scriptures, is not necessarily to show that alcohol is acceptable in Christianity. The only purpose was to apply the principle of service—looking at the interests of others more than self.
C) After realizing the reversal of the norm, the master of the feast expresses appreciation: “…….the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now” (Verse 10).
Apparently, the bridegroom was given credit when not due to him. While Jesus could have been aware of the credit being attributed to the wrong person, He did not seek to get that corrected. The principle of altruism is generally not concerned with accolades coming to self, except doing what uplifts others than self (Matthew 6:2).
The master of the feast had been poised to lead the chorus in deriding the bridegroom, for failing to provide adequate wine at the feast. But Jesus intervened at the right time. Jesus, as the agent of order, sought to make a difference.
The trepidation that could have gripped the bridegroom, having had inadequate wine, at the time of need was assuaged by Jesus. The guests held the bridegroom with high esteem, instead of with scorn—though credit was due to Jesus.
Had the miracle been noticed by everyone, that could have had no effect in uplifting the sponsors of the wedding. The credit would have gone to Jesus, of course—but without impact on uplifting those people.
Let us not forget the fact that miracle performers today seek acknowledgment—in order to raise their profile. Everyone wants to be awarded with the accolades, considered as necessary to raise one’s profile in Christian endeavours.
However, that happens to be opposed to Jesus’ behaviour—though the same Christians acknowledge Jesus as being the way, the truth and the life. Humanly speaking, advising people to avoid alcohol appears noble.
However, such advice flies against the principle of doing unto others as you would like them do unto you. Telling someone that drinking alcohol is bad, implies that you are more informed than that person. While projecting good intentions, such advice serves to elevate self, which is clearly unchristian.
Jesus only provided information to those who needed it. This is why He even preached in parables. I am aware that most people assume that Jesus preached in parables, so that people could understand and accept the gospel. But a careful analysis of Scriptures shows the opposite:
“Then the disciples came and said to him, ‘Why do you speak to them in parables?’ and he answered them, ‘To you it has been given to know the secrets of the Kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand” (Matthew 13:10-13) (ESV).
I suppose Mark puts it even clearer:
“And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, ‘To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that ‘they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven” (Mark 4:10-11) (ESV).
Notice that the term ‘secret’ implies what is not intended for public consumption. Could that mean Jesus was selective, choosing only the few for salvation? There is nothing confusing here. Just as nothing was confusing when God blocked the tree of life against Adam and Eve at the beginning:
“Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil, Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life” (Genesis 3:22-24) (ESV).
The choice of Adam had gone contrary to the way of God. But God’s love considers the interests of another person more than self. This aligns with doing unto others as one would like them do unto one. God could not enforce the principle of altruism to Adam.
Before taking the wrong tree, Adam had the opportunity to partake of the tree of life. But, the tree of life had not appealed to Adam and his wife. Having partaken of the wrong tree, Adam and Eve had voluntarily gone along with what appealed to them—yet leading to their demise.
Their proclivity had been to follow the way of self-centredness, rather than the way of altruism. God is rich with better methods for humanity. But He cannot enforce such methods to people not interested in them. Doing so would be violating the principle of doing unto others as one likes them do unto him/her.
The general behaviour of Christians is to expect others to do what the proclaimer desires—thereby projecting the opposite of the golden rule. Those who enjoyed good wine at the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee, could not access the opportunity to hear Christ proclaiming the gospel.
But those people certainly experienced the value of the gospel. Those who saw Jesus performing the miracle, may have been the only ones attracted to Jesus’ miracle. To the rest, everything went as usual, except the reversal of the norm, in that good wine came last, instead of the other way round.
I am aware that detractors may go about telling others that this blog teaches permissiveness or licentiousness. Indeed, this blog teaches permissiveness. But one would be misrepresenting the truth when suggesting that the blog teaches licentiousness—except that it allows people to be themselves.
People are free to either adopt the principles of altruism or the principles of self-centredness without being compelled by this blog. This is just as God, through Jesus, did not force anyone to follow Him. God allows people to choose the way of hell—just as He allows them to choose the way of eternity.
God, in his power could force people to obey Him and no-one could oppose Him. But doing so would be a clear violation of God’s principle of altruism. God cannot violate His own Laws. The way of salvation is by choice. No-one can be coerced to be part of God’s Kingdom against one’s will.
Unity is about allowing people to be themselves and not forcing them to be like the one advocating for unity. In a country where dictatorship is practiced, people are expected to follow everything commanded by the establishment. Leaders of such establishments assume that being what enforces unity. But such countries are known for being the reality of what hell represents.
If all Christians followed every detail of how Jesus practiced His way of life, there would be unity among Christians. And the gospel of God’s Kingdom would be effectively heralded across the world. We would have few crimes, because the principle of altruism is naturally attractive to normal human beings.
Normally, ordinary people enjoy giving—more than they enjoy receiving. But ordinary people are never allowed to give anything, in our oppressive environment. Instead ordinary people are taught the principle of adulating leaders and invalidating themselves. [The greatest person the world has ever known].
The dos and don’ts, even as applied in young children, are the order of the day in this world of sin. Such kind of dictatorial behaviours by adults encourage rebellion by juveniles, who also assume that rebellion is a reflection of heroism. See [False data stripping towards true leadership].
This is just as most African states, obtaining independence through rebellion, find it impossible to obtain what would have originally been intended. The key lies in appreciating value in each person, than despising value in each person.
Both the oppressor and the oppressed become losers—where self-centredness is practiced. Ever since God allowed humanity freedom to follow the way of self-centredness, suffering appears unstoppable. Blessed are those, now able to take advantage of Jesus’ principles and changing, accordingly.
Approximately two thousand years ago, Jesus brought the principle of altruism—as an alternative to the current system. The unpopularity of altruistic way of life, caused Jesus’ death and that of the early apostles. But that principle is the only way that leads to life—as also capable of unifying humanity across the world.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from 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 reliefs to those having witnessed 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
Also available as an e-copy at Lulu.com for $6.99