No-one wants discord. Harmony is what makes it possible for humans to co-exist. But even other species dislike being disturbed, concerning their habitat. While sin is harmful, humans are used to dwelling under sinful conditions. This is why Jesus was found to be alien—leading to His murder.
The reason why the religious people conspired to kill Jesus is assuming being representatives of truth, when the opposite was true. The conflict is always between good and evil, as transpiring between truth and falsehood. See [Genuine Conflict is between good and evil]
Jesus brought a gospel that turns the current civilization, upside down. But, people are uncomfortable with what is new, as not practiced since Adam. In reality, the gospel of God’s Kingdom is discordant in this world.
Christianity appears as popular, as projected in a manner that identifies with humanity, still in total confusion. The true gospel cannot be popular. In Jesus’ time, those who thronged Jesus Christ wherever He went were not driven by a desire to receive the gospel.
Jesus practiced the principle of the gospel to ordinary people. But He did not directly preach the gospel to them. The least Jesus could do was to preach in parables, so that those people could not appreciate gospel principles before repentance.
This method of preaching was not meant, for people’s understanding. Through the parables, people would have a vague idea of the gospel, but without fully understanding its significance. Jesus must have been moved with compassion, when seeing the multitudes following Him.
But Jesus could not directly give them the gospel, necessary to take them out of their conundrums, before they were ready. He could only preach to them in parables. When asked the question why He spoke in parables to the multitudes, His answer was very clear:
“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 4:10-12) (ESV).
To ordinary people, this appears strange. But what Jesus was talking about confirms the fact that the gospel of the Kingdom of God is discordant. The hazard, is associated with need for repentance before appreciating the gospel principles. This is in the narrative of the wedding feast parable:
“But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness.’ In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:11-14) (ESV).
Jesus loves humanity. Preaching in parables helped them not to fall into the trap of accepting the gospel, when unprepared for the responsibility that goes with it. To those sincerely desiring the gospel, Jesus privately explained the gospel’s denotation, as projected in parables (Matthew 13:18-23)
What particularly invites trepidation is Jesus’ explanation of the parable of the sower: “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path” (Matthew 13:18-19). (ESV).
Why is the evil one so quick to snatch away what has been sown in a person’s heart? When the seed has been snatched away, it cannot be possible for that ground to ever produce anything and is, therefore, a lost cause.
I suppose farmers easily understand the foolishness of wasting precious seed along the highway. That seed gets devoured by the birds of the air. However, Jesus shows the prudence of not wasting the precious seed, planting in such conditions, hence preaching in parables.
Jesus would like everyone to accept the gospel. But He particularly desires that the gospels be received only by those with potential to produce fruits a hundredfold, for instance. When preaching in parables, Jesus minimizes the wasting of the precious seed.
Where people insisted desiring to follow Him—because of the physical benefits that they were receiving from Him—Jesus, however, discouraged most of those aspiring to following Him.
“Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:25-27) (ESV).
Obviously, all this portrays the opposite of the common practice among the popular evangelists of today. They, actually, encourage people to accept Jesus as their personal savior.
But those preachers never explain the significance of that invitation. Instead, they promise blessings that come, when accepting Jesus as their personal savior. The question is: To whose interest would those evangelists be saying such things?
It takes an analytical person to distinguish between truth and falsehood. Jesus’ advice is that whoever wants to come to Him should count the costs: “…..So therefore, anyone of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:28-33) (ESV).
Against those preaching the opposite of what Jesus taught, Paul warns:
“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15) (ESV).
In His co-existence with ordinary people, Jesus sought to avoid being discordant. He understood people, although people did not understand Him. At one stage at a banquet, Jesus turned water into wine. The drunkards found the miraculously produced wine more enjoyable than the one before (John 2:1-11).
This does not mean Jesus was a wine-bibber. This also does not mean that Jesus sought to encourage His followers to be involved in drunkenness. Jesus simply understood the needs of those merrymakers who had nothing to do with His gospel, at that time.
Remember, love is not self-seeking (1 Corinthians 13: 5.) Jesus understood people and sought to satisfy their needs, according to their understanding, not necessarily according to His own will. Jesus did not impose His will on people.
In other words, Jesus practiced the principle of the gospel, without preaching those principles to those not in need of the gospel at that time. He projected the truth, according to the dictates of those displaying desire to receive the truth.
To the agents of confusion, the gospel is discordant. Yet, the meaning of ‘gospel’ is simply, good news. In a world characterized in chaos, the gospel cannot be good news. While the chaotic conditions are so bad, as causing God to institute the program of salvation, unbelievably, most people prefer the status quo.
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:34-39) (ESV).
Who wants to create animosity against his/her own relatives? This passage of Scripture is probably ignored by most Christians. Their views are that Jesus brought ideas that improve family relationships. Nevertheless, Jesus was not commanding His followers to be trouble makers. But He was simply showing the effects of the gospel—as discordant to humanity.
The good advice to today’s Christians, is to seek peace with relatives by avoiding projecting unsolicited information, including the gospel. Naturally, a Christian desires that his relatives get included in God’s Kingdom.
Unfortunately, sharing the unsolicited message of the gospel produces the opposite. The best way is to avoid being discordant. This is the method recommended by Peter—to wives with unbelieving husbands:
“Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct” (1 Peter 3:1-2) (ESV).
Peaceful co-existence with other people does not necessarily imply conformity with their evil conducts. It means making a difference in aiming for peace with them. The agents of peace cannot cause discord.
For instance, being an agent of peace, means pursuing ideas that translate to peacefulness, instead of conflict. Or, rather, like Jesus, one lives a life that projects gospel principles, without enforcing such principles on other people. See [Influence is the method, not witnessing].
Confusion comes before order. Where there is confusion, there is need to move things—placing them in their rightful positions. However, such re-organization can disturb, even the inanimate objects. Consider a person staying in a temporary dwelling for all his/her life.
Though uncomfortable, that tabernacle identifies with the person. The tabernacle dweller would be used to staying in that kind of condition, as to conjure comfort in its discomfiture.
While moving into a more comfortable dwelling—with modern furnishing could be viewed as admirable—the tabernacle dweller resists being moved to the new dwelling. Likewise, the gospel is resisted, even though bringing freedom.
Logically, the gospel should be acceptable to all humans, because it is the only principle that is pro-survival. But it cannot be acceptable to ordinary humanity, used to staying in chaotic conditions. The Spirit of truth cannot be easily acceptable to ordinary people.
Just as projected in the parable of the sower, some readers behave like the ground on the path, whose seed cannot last. Others behave like the rocky soil. While others find themselves having to contend with the thorny environment.
Hopefully, a few fall on good soil, having to produce fruits, fifty-fold, or even hundredfold (Matthew 13:18-23). The most important datum is that the gospel was never meant to be popular with most people.
The gospel is discordant and therefore, unacceptable, though being the only way that leads to survival. All Gospel preachers ought to first understand people, rather than seeking to be understood by people. This is similar to the behavior of Jesus, when He was here.
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.
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