The Scripture that has often sold a dummy to the Theologians of all time is the one extrapolated from Paul’s second letter to his protégé, Timothy: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) (NIV).
The first question to deal with is who Paul was communicating with? This was an epistle or a letter to Timothy. While such epistles were later adopted as Scripture, there is no Biblical authority directing that Paul’s letters were to be regarded as Scripture. Secondly; which Scripture was Paul referring to? Obviously, Paul could not have referred to his own written material, when instructing Timothy.
Paul was referring to the authentic Scriptures, written in Jewish Scrolls. Those comprised the Law and the prophets, which pointed at the Messiah, Jesus, the author of our salvation. His messages are recorded in the four gospel books—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Other Scriptures are additives, though necessary for edification, but not significant for our salvation. Nevertheless, this should not be interpreted as suggesting that it is unnecessary to read those Scriptures.
It is, actually, in Scripture, that God is revealed as using a gentile king, Nebuchadnezzar, to punish the errant Jews. The same king was used even for prophesying future events. His dream was later to be interpreted by Daniel, as delineating the establishment of future kingdoms (Daniel 4). This, therefore, shows that God can use anyone, whether such a person is a believer, or not.
This is just as there is nothing wrong with studying philosophy and computers. But those things have no contribution on the subject of salvation, found in Jesus, alone. Indeed, in Christianity, there are always great preachers. But those are not vicars of Christ. The apostle Paul had to contend with the Corinthian Christians who sought to idolize individual preachers, instead of acknowledging Jesus:
“I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, ‘I follow Paul’; another, ‘I follow Apollos’; another, ‘I follow Cephas’; still another, I follow Christ.’ Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:10-13) (NIV).
Apparently, those Corinthian Christians ought to have listened to the voice of Jesus, more than anyone else. Of course, those preachers had preached in the name of Jesus. Preaching in the name of Jesus means projecting what Jesus taught. The question of who preaches, is immaterial, as Christ can use anyone, regardless of background. Failure to make that distinction has made Christianity a mockery.
Great preachers are great, only as long as Christ uses them, at any given time, but they would not be the Christs. Sadly, the popularity of some preachers makes them appear as greater than Christ. This started in Paul’s time—hence the inferred division that had besieged the Corinthian Christians.
In Zimbabwe, we have a musical chorus whose significance cannot be overemphasized. That musical composition could be used to unite Christians if the significance of its lyrics were to be taken into consideration. The simplicity of the tune can easily be translated into other languages. The message in that musical chorus surpasses, by far, what the so-called great Bishops are renowned for:
“Hakuna wakaita sa Jesu. Hakuna wakaita sa ‘ye. Hakuna wakaita sa Jesu. Haku…. Haku huchina. Ndamhanya mhanya kwese kwese. Ndatenderera kwese kwese. Ndatsvaka tsvaka kwese kwese. Haku….Haku…china.” When loosely translated into English, the chorus goes like:
“There’s no-one, there’s no-one like Jesus. There’s no-one, there’s no-one like Him. There’s no-one, there’s no-one like Jesus. There’s no-one, there’s no-one like Him. I ran around everywhere, I searched and searched everywhere. There’s no-one there’s no-one like Jesus. There’s no-one there’s no-one like Him.”
The chorus can be relegated to the considered unsophisticated of society, because of its simplicity. But the words, therein, are profoundly more than our renowned Theologians can ever imagine. Perhaps this rhymes with what Paul also said to those Corinthian Christians:
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:18-21) (NIV).
All humans are lost, and come short of the glory of God, as Paul aptly puts it, (Romans 3:23). One may achieve what is considered awesome and marvelous. But the achiever would still be in the same boat with everyone else. There is not a single person who does not need Christ, in this world. Christ is needed by all. This could be the only reason why Jesus said He was the bread of life:
“Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘from now on give us this bread.’ Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away'” (John 6:32-37) (NIV).
Salvation means deliverance from the state of decadence, after Adam’s sin. The starting point is appreciating that our original status is being God’s children. The condition of denial is in assuming that Jesus is different from humanity. The God who used Jesus can still use any other person. Currently, those making Jesus the only Son of God and conferring Him with Trinity membership, are also in the state of denial. Such people think in terms of worship, rather than applying the principles that Jesus advocated.
While the four gospel books, provide technical details about Christianity, they also show how Jesus dealt with those opposed to His teachings. Jesus never sought to convert everyone into Christianity. He specifically stated that those desiring to follow Him had to be willing to forsake everything (Luke 14:25-33). He taught the unconverted multitudes in parables.
“The disciples came to him and asked, ‘Why do you speak to the people in parables?’ He replied, ‘The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in parables: ‘Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving’” (Matthew 13:10-14) (NIV).
This can be very confusing to those used to assuming that Christ’s mission had been to convert as many people into Christianity. His mission was simply to preach about God’s Kingdom, (Matthew 4:23) whose secrets are not revealed to all and sundry. This is clearly articulated in Matthew 13:10-14. It would only be those willing to forsake everything, to follow Him, who would understand.
The four gospel books, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are, therefore, not designed for the Christian religion. They contain the message of God’s Kingdom, whose message is for those to whom it is revealed. This may be too serious and complicated for those to whom the message is not intended. Others may, actually, take this to mean that God practices favoritism.
The entire Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, Chapters 5, 6 and 7, indicates that not everyone would appreciate, or go along with the teachings of Christ. That sermon shows everything not applicable in this world. It provides a matter of choice, for each individual choosing to follow Christ or decline.
In Luke 14:25-33 Jesus showed the high price of following Jesus. Certainly, it cannot be God’s Kingdom, if people were to be forced to join the crusade, against their will. It is a matter of willingness, according to a person’s choice. Actually, Scripture shows that there is no harm in choosing not to follow Christ. It may, actually, be safe to avoid following Christ, after having counted the cost, according to what Jesus said.
While appearing as attractive to be associated with a person as great as Jesus was, His kinsmen were not impressed (Mark 9:3-4). This shows that it is not automatic that people just accept the things of God, viewing it as something cute. Recently, one of the Church leaders asked me an interesting question:
To which audience were my writings intended? My response was by asking him another question: To which audience were the teachings of Jesus intended? Both questions remained unanswered, as needing to be answered by Jesus Himself. If what is projected on this website is on behalf of Jesus, then those to whom Jesus is speaking are benefitting.
Each reader holds the prerogative to conclude whether this message comes from Jesus, or not. What is considered true by that person is true to him/her without anyone’s involvement. Also, whoever, disagrees would be free to disagree, based on his/her consideration. I suppose this was the same stance projected by Jesus when He gave the parable of the sower? (Matthew 13).
The message of Jesus is understood only by those to whom it is intended. This means that the message of Jesus is not intended for every listener. The one used by Christ cannot assume being the Christ, as to know who Jesus calls. Those listening to individual preachers, as known in this world, are not necessarily, the audience of Jesus. Blessed are those who understand this reality.
I suppose the minister who raised a question, as to who my writings were intended had a point. It makes a lot of sense, to target a specific audience when writing. But that was not the stance taken by Jesus, whose message this website projects. The parable of the sower shows a sower who did not target a specific type of soil. Some of those seeds fell onto the rock, others fell along the path, yet others fell on rich soil, but got chocked by thorns. Of course, others fell on rich soil and were able to produce fruits, bountifully.
The significance of that parable shows that the sower (taking the position of a preacher) is not selective in scattering the seed. In other words, the preacher referred to, by Jesus, does not target a specific audience. While Jesus specifically chose the twelve disciples, He did not interfere with people choosing to follow or not to follow Him. Those choosing to follow were described as the poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3). This agrees with John 3:16:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to serve the world through him” (NIV).
It takes only those who are humble in spirit to understand the things of God. Such people are willing to examine everything to ascertain whether God would be speaking or not. Rather than validating or invalidating the messengers. Everything needs to be evaluated according to the teachings of Jesus, rather than the teachings of renowned Scholars, or any other.
******“There’s no-one, there’s no-one like Jesus. There’s no-one, there’s no-one like Him. There’s no-one, there’s no-one like Jesus. There’s no-one, there’s no-one like Him. I ran around everywhere, I searched and searched everywhere. There’s no-one there’s no-one like Jesus. There’s no-one there’s no-one like Him.”
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
Also available as an e-copy at Lulu.com for $6.99