Jesus is the ultimate standard of humanity

The essence of Christianity was intended to assist humanity in understanding the true nature of being human. To what extent can one be human? The answer lies in the belief that one can be as human as Jesus was. When Jesus proclaimed Himself as the way, the truth, and the life, it was not a suggestion to consider various opinions but to embody the right path. He represented the ultimate expression of what it means to be human.

The current measurement of time for historical events is in years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, and seconds. These units may be described in various languages, yet the terminology of timing is universally agreed upon. There is a consensus among humans that this year is 2024, which will be followed by the year 2025. This agreement has been embraced by all religions worldwide. The question remains: how did this method of counting years originate? https://www.livescience.com/ (Keeping time: The origin of B.C. and A.D)  Robert CoolmanOwen Jarus published the following, on January 15, 2022:

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“During the early Middle Ages, the paramount calculation, and thus a key motivation for studying mathematics in Europe, was determining the date to celebrate Easter. The First Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325 decreed that Easter should be observed on the Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox. The method for calculating this crucial date was known as Computus, Latin for computation, and the detailed calculations were recorded in documents called Easter tables. It was in one such document that, in A.D. 525, a monk from Scythia Minor named Dionysius Exiguus, also referred to as Dennis the Small, introduced the A.D. system, marking the years since the birth of Christ, as noted by Georges Declercq, a history instructor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, in his 2002 article in the journal Sacris Erudiri.

“The terms “A.D.” and “B.C.” originate from Christianity. “A.D.” is the abbreviation for “anno domini,” a Latin phrase meaning “in the year of the lord,” referring to the birth of Jesus Christ. Conversely, “B.C.” means “before Christ.” This system categorizes years based on the estimated time of Jesus’s birth, with “A.D.” indicating the years following his birth and “B.C.” the years before. Typically, in English, “A.D.” precedes the year number, translating “A.D. 2022” as “in the year of our lord 2022.” Recently, the terms “C.E.,” meaning “common era,” and “B.C.E.,” standing for “before the common era,” have become popular. These terms are used by many publications to provide a more inclusive time-labelling system. Now, let’s delve into the historical background before discussing the system’s inception.

“Dionysius did not disclose his method for determining the date of Jesus’ birth. However, he might have relied on the writings of early Christians like Clement of Alexandria or Eusebius of Caesarea, as suggested by Alden Mosshammer, an emeritus professor of history at the University of California, San Diego, in “The Easter Computus and the Origins of the Christian Era” (Oxford, 2008). Dionysius aimed to mark A.D. 1 as the year of Jesus Christ’s birth but missed by a few years; modern estimates suggest Christ was born around 4 B.C., as previously reported by Live Science. From Anno Diocletiani to Anno Domini

“Dionysius created his system to supersede the Diocletian system, named after the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who reigned from A.D. 284 to A.D. 305. The Diocletian system counted the years since Diocletian’s ascension. Dionysius’ Easter table began with “Anno Domini 532,” succeeding “Anno Diocletiani 247,” as noted by Johns Hopkins University’s Project Muse.

“The shift was made by Dionysius to erase the memory of Diocletian, a fierce persecutor of Christians, as detailed by the World History Encyclopedia. Diocletian’s edicts led to the execution or imprisonment of many Christians and the destruction of their places of worship and scriptures, as chronicled by E. Glenn Hinson, a retired professor of church history at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, in his work “The Early Church: Origins to the Dawn of the Middle Ages” (Abingdon Press, 2010).”

The B.C. designation was added two centuries after Dionysius by the Venerable Bede of Northumbria, who published “Ecclesiastical History of the English People” in 731, according to Antonia Gransden, a reader in history at the University of Nottingham, in her book “Historical Writing in England: c. 500 to c. 1307” (Routledge, 1997). This work popularized the A.D. system and extended it to include the years preceding A.D. 1. Earlier years were numbered in reverse to denote the number of years an event occurred “before Christ,” or “B.C.”

There was no “year zero” in Bede’s system, as the concept of zero had not yet been introduced to Western Europe. “To Bede, who was also unaware of the number zero, the year preceding 1 A.D. was 1 B.C. There was no year zero. For Bede, zero did not exist,” Charles Seife explains in “Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea” (Penguin Books, 2000).

However, zero did exist; the modern concept of zero was first documented in A.D. 628 by Indian scholar Brahmagupta. The concept did not reach medieval Christian Europe until the 11th to 13th centuries.

The B.C./A.D. system gained popularity in the ninth century when Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne adopted it for dating governmental acts across Europe.

By the 15th century, the B.C./A.D. system was adopted throughout Western Europe. Its inclusion was implicit with the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in the 16th century and later became an international standard in 1988 with the release of ISO 8601 by the International Organization for Standardization, which outlines an internationally accepted method to represent dates and times.

The terms “Before the Common Era” and “Common Era” date back to 1715, appearing in an astronomy book alongside “Vulgar Era.” At that time, “vulgar” simply meant “ordinary.” before A.D. 1

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As noted in the aforementioned publication, the Roman Catholic Church has had a significant impact on the current method of year reckoning. Even avowed atheists are subject to the timing established through Christian influence, for which Catholicism claims credit. This timing factor alone acknowledges the birth and death of Jesus. Atheists and adherents of other religions who accept this timing may argue that it holds no significance. However, the indisputable fact remains that Jesus’ name influences their system of timekeeping.

Despite many rejecting Jesus’ name, it continues to exert a considerable influence on the lives of people worldwide. The universal drive among humans is the pursuit of survival. Regardless of one’s race or religious beliefs, the motivation to survive is paramount. This raises the question of how to achieve survival. Countless religions follow their own patterns and methodologies aimed at enhancing survival. While there are numerous debates over the best methods to achieve this, none compare to what was established by Jesus.

The rejection of this truth can only be maintained through ignorance, rather than scientific evidence. History is replete with instances of fierce opposition to Christianity, yet its influence remains undeniable. For example, the annual celebration of Christmas is traditionally embraced, even by individuals of different faiths. The same is true for Easter. These traditions may not have a foundation in the direct teachings of Jesus, yet they, directly or indirectly, recognize the existence of a man named Jesus.

“Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defence of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice (Philippians 1:15-18 NKJV).

In Zimbabwe, Nelson Chamisa has garnered more publicity than any other politician, a phenomenon even his adversaries struggle to comprehend. Since 2018, state media has portrayed Chamisa as a figure not to be taken seriously, with millions spent to undermine his political standing. Determining whether Nelson Chamisa is a competent politician or not, can be challenging without closely following political events. Nonetheless, the state media has inadvertently contributed to his fame.

The endurance of Christianity, despite considerable resistance, particularly in the initial apostolic missions, continues to be a mystery. This is true not only for atheists but also for self-proclaimed believers. Paul’s epistle to the Philippians acknowledges this phenomenon; frequently, those who resist Christianity unintentionally aid its proliferation. Indeed, while many advocate for Christianity, as Jesus mentioned, not everyone will enter the Kingdom of God.

“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 in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV).

Jesus acknowledged that, despite some individuals’ significant contributions to promoting Christianity, their efforts might go unrecognized. This possibility of outright rejection underscores the importance of reflecting soberly on one’s position within Christianity. It is unreasonable to expect that anyone would accept such dismissal lightly, especially from the founder of the faith they have supported. Following his renowned lecture on the Mount of Olives, Jesus shared a crucial yet often overlooked parable.

 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, and it fell. And great was its fall” (Matthew 7:24-27 NKJV).

It may require fully qualified engineers to grasp the teachings of Jesus regarding a shaky foundation, which is extremely hazardous for any building project. The collapse of such a structure not only results in the waste of materials but also poses a significant danger to the people it was meant to shelter. Who in their right mind would disregard the warning of a potential collapse due to a faulty foundation? In Jesus, we find the ultimate standard for human survival. It is essential to understand the true meaning of survival.

The Oxford English Dictionary offers a brief definition of survival as “The state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically despite an accident, ordeal, or difficult circumstances.” To continue living suggests continuity. Thus, survival does not imply a temporary extension of life, such as living beyond a century, for instance. The concept of survival does not account for the physical body, whose lifespan can be scientifically estimated.

Created in God’s image, humans were intended to exist eternally. Yet, witnessing the demise of loved ones makes this concept unfathomable. This disbelief arises from a lack of spiritual awareness, as humans often perceive themselves in physical terms rather than spiritual ones. Consequently, they place their trust in the tangible due to a restricted grasp of the spiritual realm. Nonetheless, a believer is someone who accepts the words of Jesus as truth. In his conversation with Martha, mourning her brother Lazarus, Jesus strongly reiterated the concept of enduring life.

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:23-26 NKJV).

Those who live and believe in Jesus shall never die. These were the precise words conveyed to the disciples before Jesus’ ascension to Heaven. Those who believed and adhered to Jesus’ teachings would achieve life, such that they would never be associated with death. While some find this hard to believe and deem it heretical, it is precisely this belief that distinguishes nonbelievers from believers.

 “And I will pray for the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. On that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him” (John 14:16-21 NKJV).

The passage in question highlights the disagreement with Trinitarian proponents. They maintain their disbelief in Jesus’ words by discrediting believers, calling them “heretics.” Yet, true believers find solace in Jesus’ words: “He who has My commandments and keeps them, that is the person who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.” How, then, can Jesus reveal Himself to someone who doubts His words?

A true believer should not be disheartened by such rejection. If one truly believes in Jesus, why would it be hard to trust His declaration: “Whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die?” While some individuals may be deemed more trustworthy, Jesus taught that those who embrace and act on His teachings are like a person who builds their house upon a solid rock foundation. This implies that belief should not rest on the credibility of worldly figures. Thus, the discomfort of worldly rejection is inconsequential.

Defining death, as separate from life, is a task no one could describe more precisely than Jesus, who declared Himself as the way, the truth, and the life. He existed in this world as a tangible entity. His preachings were directed at the deeply religious people who struggled to accept His words, as they deviated from worldly norms. Yet, the veracity of His teachings was affirmed by His resurrection, an event that stands as an incontrovertible truth.

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. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.

The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99

Also available as an e-copy at Lulu.com  for $6.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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