“Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’ He replied, ‘You of little faith why are you so afraid? Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and waves obey him!’” (Matthew 8:24-27) (NIV).
It was in the name of Jesus, that Peter and John also healed a crippled man at the temple gate called Beautiful. Later, Peter used the opportunity to tell the Jews that it was through the name of Jesus, whom the Jews killed, that the apostles performed miracles (Acts 3:2-26). Though no longer seen physically, Jesus could still perform miracles as before, using His disciples. Instead of upholding the name of Jesus, as a result of the miracle that they had seen, they seized the two apostles and put them in jail (Acts 4:1-3).
What is most fascinating is that it is not, necessarily, the miracles that cause repentance and belief in Jesus. The Jews knew that Jesus had been resurrected, after His burial. But, they chose to believe their own lie that Jesus had been stolen from the grave, while the guards were sleeping (Matt. 28:12-15). They maintained the idea of not believing in Jesus, even with such evidence.
Jesus was the Son of God, whether they chose to believe or not. But whose sons were they? We first have to look at the mechanism that causes people to close eyes and ears, in the face of clear evidence. The Jews had the Law and Prophets at their disposal. These could have helped them to understand, as such Scriptures pointed at the coming Messiah, whose fulfillment was Jesus.
But, did they believe in those Scriptures? Apparently, they thought they did—hence they were prepared to apply those laws against the perceived law-breakers. But were they willing to apply the same Laws against themselves? Evidently, the answer is a resounding no! While Scriptures were clearly against testifying falsely, paying the guards to conceal lies, justified them to feel comfortable in falsehood (Matt. 28:12-15). Such lies have served to be the foundation of the Jewish religion, ever since.
Had they not paid those security guards, large sums of money, apparently, the Jewish religion would have had no reason to survive any longer. But, here we see that the chief cornerstone, causing a person to, seemingly, close the eyes and ears, in face of clear evidence, is justification. But what is it that causes a person to seek justification, against the manifestation of what is truthful? Adam and Eve symbolized the origin of the human race. On being asked what had happened, after their sin, this is how they both responded:
“And the Lord said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?’ The man said, ‘The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.’ Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ The woman said ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate’ (Genesis 3:11-13) (NIV).
This leaves us convinced that justification causes failure to see clear evidence at hand. It is the cause of justification that we have to address. Why does a person seek to blame others, instead of taking responsibility? The term ‘responsibility,’ implies the ability to confront what needs correction. A good driver takes full responsibility, so as to avoid an accident when driving.
In other words, before setting a vehicle in motion, a responsible driver ensures that the brakes are in good condition. He also makes sure that the tires are not worn out. A responsible driver, cannot blame anyone, in the event of an accident, due to malfunctioning brakes. That responsibility enables him to take precautions, before setting the vehicle in motion.
When carefully following the justification mechanism in the conversation between God and that couple, the buck appears as stopping at God. Apparently, God erred by providing a woman to Adam. God also erred by putting that treacherous serpent in the garden. True, indeed, the serpent is a symbol of deception. Why then did God allow such a deceiver to deceive His own children?
But before accusing God, one has to first understand the nature of those human species. Truth is that they were created in God’s image. The question is whether it is possible that the serpent can deceive God. Yet, here was a man created in God’s image, succumbing to the deception of the devil. Was Adam the image of God? The answer is affirmative when implying what is mentioned in Genesis 1:26-27. But negative, when implying that which was formed of the dust:
“The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). After the man had sinned, God said, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust, you will return.” (Genesis 3:19) (NIV).
So Adam was vehemently told that his physical beingness was not God’s image. He was dust and to dust, he would return. But we do not have to lose sight of that which was created in God’s image, which cannot be dust. That which is not dust is spirit, which does not succumb to death. Out of His unfailing love, God then pronounces a Prophesy about the redemption of humanity, having fallen victim to the deception of the serpent:
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15) (NIV).
Apparently, the seed of a woman who would crush the head of the serpent is Jesus. Now, we have to find out what makes Jesus different from other humans—yet, perfectly, appearing as not different from other humans. Scriptures reveal that Jesus was the Son of Mary, but not the son of Joseph, who then became his step-father.
“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit’” (Matthew 1:18-20) (NIV).
To the first man, Adam, God had said “…For dust you are and to dust, you will return.” We have to deal with the divergent issues needing to be comprehended fully. That which returns to dust is not from God. Compare this with Ecclesiastes 12:7: “And the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it” (NIV). Through Jesus, God could, as well, start a new human race, without the influence of Adam’s sin.
But, that which returns to dust is from the ground, as perfectly in agreement with what God said to Adam (Genesis 3:19). The spirit returns to God who gave it. Therefore, Jesus was right when stating that He was not of this world. He came directly from God. Even though born of a woman, Jesus was God’s son. Does that make Jesus different from all of us? It appears so, yet, strictly, not different from us. Because we were also created in God’s image.
Jesus declared that He was the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Ordinary humans are covered in the veil of deception, through Adam, who is our ancestor. Someone had to come and show us the way out of that deception. But who could that be, and where else could He come from, except directly from the Father? This is the mystery of Jesus that the Jews failed to perceive.
They were born under the veil of deception, irremovable through any other way, except through the messenger, sent directly from God. Scriptures reveal Jesus as the Messiah, designed to free humanity from slavery—characterized in justification—rather than confronting sin.
The problem with justification is that it makes one feel good, even though completely off the line. Having bribed the guards, concerning the resurrection of Jesus, the Chief Priests felt quite comfortable in their fabricated version. But such comfort kept them in that state of sinfulness, regardless of Jesus being the only way out of it. This is illustrated further, in my other publication: [The origin of hypocrisy in human nature]
The clear testimony, that Jesus came from Heaven, does not appeal to those assuming and concluding that dust is humanity’s origin. The only way to understand these mysteries is by renouncing everything to follow Jesus. Embroiled in this idea of justification, Christians would rather make Jesus different, making Him a member of Trinity. The testimony of Jesus that humans are God’s children is not convincing, enough.
Jesus is the Son of God, but so are we the children of God, if willing to drop the idea of justification and believe in Him only. Jesus told His disciples to call no man on earth ‘father,’ because their only Father is in Heaven (Matthew 23:9). But why did He say this to His disciples and not to the rest of humanity? The idea of salvation does not come through any other way, but through Christ alone.
Failure to see is caused by the idea of justification, which seeks to make a person right and others wrong. That idea makes a person feel good, but anchoring him steadfastly into sinfulness. It is by God’s grace that a person begins to see the stupidity in that behavior. One of the confessions of Paul is recorded in the Book of Philippians:
“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith” (Philippians 3:7-9) (NIV).
If what applied to Paul does not apply to those calling themselves Christians, those people would not be Christians. They may feel good, as justified in the comfort of what sustains their condition. But, like the Chief Priests who had to use bribery to sustain their comfort in falsehood, those people would be deceiving themselves. Unfortunately, they possibly influence others who, also, will have to account for their duplicity.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:21-23) (NIV).
The difference between Jesus and us today is that Jesus did not utter lies or seek to justify himself, for any reason. For instance, He did not justify Himself, even when confronted by Governor Pilate. His own life was at stake (John 18:37). His accusers testified lies about Him, but Jesus did not defend Himself, except to remain resolute in standing by what He knew to be true. The purpose of Jesus was to merely show us the way to behave when using Him as standard. Then we become His followers, indeed.
His common phrase was, “You of little faith,” to those seeking help from Him. The faith that Jesus talked about, revealed the difference between knowing and not knowing about being God’s child. That knowledge alone empowers anyone to also handle any challenge faced. Like Jesus, that person could silence the furious storm that almost sunk the boat with people aboard (Matthew 8:24-27). Jesus represented that which was created in God’s image, implying the entire humanity (Genesis 1:26-27).
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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