Contrary to the Trinitarian viewpoint, Jesus is a brother who came to show humanity the way to the Father. An ideal man, created in God’s image—of which we are—can be observed in Jesus. Of course, this is strange, as befuddling the fallen men, assuming being lesser than Jesus, in terms of principle and quality. One of the reasons for murdering Jesus concerns the aspect of revealing this truth to the Jews.
“’You are not yet fifty years old,” the Jews said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “Before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds’(John 8:57-59) (NIV).
Nothing is strange about what Jesus said. He did not belong to the degraded humanity, codified in Adam. The difference between Jesus and the fanciful Jews—having been trapped in Abraham’s genealogy—lay in Adam’s sin. There is no other way of identifying with the origin of humanity, except through Jesus. This is why Jesus declared Himself as the way, the truth, and the Life (John 14:6).
The Jews ought to be understood in the context that they were speaking from the viewpoint of degraded humanity. Having lost their identity, ordinary humans cannot appreciate being God’s children, except by looking at Jesus. It takes only the courageous ones, to stand up for this truth.
Otherwise, degraded humans are comfortable being described according to the viewpoints of devastation. As humans are trapped in sinfulness, only the redeemed can salvage those still trapped. The responsibility of Jesus is unimaginable. But it fulfils the ideal condition of Godly nature—possessed by all humans—aware or unaware. The light-bearers are those having become aware of the current degraded reality.
The majority of humans live lives that are not theirs. It might be difficult to explain how a person decides to live another person’s life, but there is truth in that assertion. Children grow up desiring to please their parents, rather than God, one way or the other. The idea of education, itself, is tailored according to models in the academic world. Those breaking away from the educational system, face stiff resistance.
This idea of assuming the lives of other people can be observed even in all life social strata. Some naturally cool and decent individuals may behave like clowns when seeking to imitate successful comedians. Instead of being themselves, they seek to adjust to what would be considered acceptable in the environment. Although created in God’s image, each person is as different as all created species are different.
The only reason for the Steve Job characters to appear peculiar—considering the miraculous advancements in information technology—is being themselves. Such geniuses choose to be themselves, rather than succumb to the patterns of educational systems of this world. They appreciated have been credited with developmental inventions, currently sustaining our civilization. The electronic digital innovations are as miraculous as Jesus’ performances were considered miraculous, to ordinary humans.
It is only the superstitious ones who assume that no human can similarly perform miracles. Jesus insisted that, with faith as little as a mustard seed, nothing would be impossible (Matthew 17:20). Actually, humans could even do greater miracles (John 14:12). There is nothing fantabulous about miracles, for those appreciating the truth in having been created in God’s image.
Satan knew that God’s children were capable of turning stones to bread (Matthew 4:3). Indeed Jesus was the Son of God. But Jesus did not succumb to the temptation, designed to invoke Satan’s character of stroking self-importance. Any degraded human would have egotistically sought to miraculously display such abilities to the tempter. But the true Son of God does everything according to God’s will. Had Jesus succumbed to Satan’s scheme, He would have automatically become Satan’s Child.
The only reason why ordinary humans cannot perform miracles is on account of ignorance of their intrinsically innate abilities. When identifying themselves as God’s children nothing is impossible with humans, created in God’s image. They could turn stones to bread, as long as maintaining the idea of fulfilling God’s will. Ordinary humans seek to identify with those regarded as heroes.
This is why celebrities are deified, without even considering what would be negative about such idolized heroes. The only reason why God’s will is unachievable to most people is lacking knowledge, combined with cowardice. God’s children should not be dictated to, by pain and suffering. They fear nothing, as not intimidated by physical things of this world.
What invokes fear in humans is ignorance of their true identity. When true of being God’s child, one welcomes death without murmur. Degraded humans cannot be themselves. That is why they spend time celebrating the lifestyles of their heroes. They cannot identify with audacity and tenacious determination to maintain their own capabilities, based on self-determinism.
Jesus said those losing physical lives for Jesus’s sake, would redeem it. Yet those preserving physical lives would lose everything (Matthew 10:39). The most important datum to appreciate is that individuals are different. Though looking alike, human fathers and sons are as different as known by God. Twin brothers or twin sisters are as different as God intended their differences, in terms of their respective original purpose of existence.
However, it is true that people attempt to live other people’s lives. They religiously seek to duplicate the virtuous activities accomplished by their admired heroes. But the idea of elongating another person’s dreams is fictitious. The most amusing question is “Why live another person’s life, instead of your own?”
The answer is two-fold: 1) to seek glory. 2) To avoid pain. The temptation of Jesus by Satan sought to conveniently appease these two outlandish schemes. The glory of Jesus could have certainly convinced the Jews. Having become hungry, the idea of turning stones to bread would have addressed Jesus’ hunger problem, after the forty-day fasting. But that would have broken the relationship with His Father.
This is how humans broke their relationship with God—for purposes of glory, coupled with avoiding pain. Humans seek glory, more than fulfilling the mission of their existence on earth. They cannot live to be themselves. They live the lives of other people, for purposes of receiving glory and avoiding pain. Right there, lies all problems of humanity.
Those initially resolving to follow Christ can be observed as tripping on these two stumbling blocks: 1) seeking glory. 2) Taking comfort in avoiding pain. The degraded humans do not know that this life, actually, symbolizes death—though scared of death. In the process of saving this damnably futile life, they lose it, as figuratively cautioned by Jesus (Matthew 10:39).
The idea of worship, itself, is designed to avoid pain. Similarly, the purpose of submission to authority rather than to God is avoiding pain. The purpose of college graduation aims at attaining glory. Similarly, the purpose of aspiring for promotion is seeking the desired glory. These patterns serve to fulfil the wishes of degraded humans. Jesus manifested himself as being the way, the truth, and the life.
Declaring being Jesus’ follower is one thing. But resembling Jesus, in 1) avoiding glory. 2) Willingness to go through pain is another. Any human being is God’s child, as long as willing to follow Jesus, and unconditionally avoiding the alluded two obstacles. God’s will is paramount. Each individual is as different as Jesus was different from all of us.
All humans are God’s children, but all humans are different in terms of the purpose for which they exist in this world. Having been created in God’s image does not imply bearing God’s role. Similarly, while Jesus shows us the way to God, we cannot carry Christ’s role, as clarified in the parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30).
The greatest miracle to marvel with is one’s own existence. Each created individual cannot be compared to anything or anyone who ever lived. Each person is a jewel incomparable to anything ever created, regardless of background. This is an unbelievable miracle, awaiting those who love God.
The greatest question of all time is: How can it be possible to help degraded humans to become aware of their incredible potential? But how could the degraded humans, as trapped in sin, appreciate this reality—rather than adopting other people’s identities? Of course, Jesus—without seeking to be worshipped —as responsible for our salvation—is Lord.
When advising His followers, baptized in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, Jesus did not imply being worshipped. His followers were to trust Him, more than trusting other humans, in terms of accessing Godly principles. This, specifically, refers to those desiring to avoid the two stumbling blocks: 1) Seeking Glory 2) Taking comfort in avoiding pain.
Jesus never hesitated to tell His disciples to worship God. This includes teaching prayer, without indicating that Jesus or the Holy Spirit should be glorified (Matthew 6:9-13). He also instructed His disciples to call no Man ‘father,’ except their only Father in Heaven (Matthew 23:9).
Humans are not anything else, except that in whose image they were created. The physical nature, as observed in humans, is the opposite of what was created in God’s image. If different from Jesus, the appalling condition of degraded humans remains irreparable. The racial outlook is out of the question, as God is not represented in mud, or anything physical.
While celebrities appear as stealing the limelight, there is no need to envy them. All of us are created in God’s image. But all of us are different, in terms of respective purposes in this life. True pastors facilitate the attainment of such incredible potential, by such degraded humans. This has got nothing to do with glory or astringent pain to be endured.
Jesus never sought to please anyone in this world, except doing God’s will, in His life. Those claiming to be His followers should do likewise. Children—born to earthly parents—are not of their parents. Although of earthly offspring, they are also God’s children, deserving to be directed towards awareness of their great potential. But that potential serves fellow humans, more than one’s own interests.
The principle of service should not be viewed in terms of acquiring self-gratification. This should be viewed according to the purpose for which one was created. Listening to that divine calling might require one to die young. Jesus died at the tender age of thirty-three and a half years. But Jesus accomplished His mission, just as the apostle Paul accomplished his, as well:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing”(2 Timothy 4:7-8) (NIV).
The sobering reality for all Christians lies in avoiding the grudge against persecutors. Jesus commanded Christians to love enemies and bless those persecuting them. Jesus never commanded Christians to pray for their loved ones. It feels good to pray for those that one loves. But Jesus specifically instructed His disciples to pray for persecutors.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?” (Matthew 5:43-46) (NIV).
A Christian is not different from Jesus. Paul learnt that lesson in a hard way. “He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied’(Acts 9:4-5) (NIV).
Realistically, a Christian is like Jesus, as long as avoiding the stumbling block twin: 1) avoiding seeking Glory 2) Willingness to endure pain, in this life, as long as doing God’s will. Every human being can adopt God’s will, having the potential to be God’s child. Jesus remains as the only model, in ensuring that one remains on track.
The encouragement is to avoid losing sight of the fact that degraded humans still represent that which was created in God’s image. The fact that degraded humans carry nothing of honour, should not take away the fact that they were, actually, created in God’s image. Only those bearing the light, carry the responsibility to guide the lost. A blind man cannot lead the blind man.
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