Jesus’ reality is in controversy

The conditions of this world are characterized by treating aliens with scorn. This behaviour is even noticeable in animal kingdoms. A foreigner cannot be easily accommodated in a group, regardless of the benefits obtainable from the foreigner. However, humans are equipped with the reasoning capacity, designed to make good judgments on all matters of survival. The complications of aberration or sheer ignorance always cause human failures. The reasoning capacity requires the ability to observe and evaluate information according to the available simple analytical viewpoints, rather than according to appearance, or emotion.

The raw truth, as long as not having been experienced before, can never be acceptable to ordinary humanity; hence Jesus was crucified. Currently, the idolization of Jesus could be the only phenomenon separating the condemned humanity from the redemptive truth. People desperately desire salvation, but unbeknown to them is that salvation is possible only when willing to sacrifice their physical bodies. The trap of the entire physical humanity is in the genetic physical body. This world considers pursuing truthful information as the most dangerous. Survival is assumed to come from a lack of pain, yet it is pain that grants survival. Hence, hard workers are rewarded materially. This was, actually, confirmed by Jesus, Himself, for those willing to take His words, seriously.

“If the world hates you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. (John 15:18-21 KJV).

These are the words of the author and finisher of our salvation. But, such words are as uncommon as truth is uncommon to humanity. This is what throws a curve to pretenders so that only the truthful ones remain unscathed. It is impossible to find lies agreeing with Jesus. However, it is always liars who talk loudly, when expressing their admiration for Jesus. This happens to be one of the ironies, glaringly manifesting among ordinary people.

Rather than use good judgment, those of this world are, either sheepishly driven by a group mentality or are instinctively driven by emotion. What is accepted by the majority is commonly easy and saleable. What is truthful is always difficult to sell; regardless of how logically valuable and applicable to survival. For instance, in Africa, where misgovernance is common, the idea of electing a white leader, with a good and proven track record, can never be saleable. Logic dictates that there would be no reason, to maintain a black leader, when clearly abusing the populace, as to endanger people’s welfare.

But one can be killed, for suggesting that a white man, even with a proven track record, should be allowed to ever bring his expertise, to improve the livelihood of the impoverished people. Ignorant people are happier, being abused by their own ignorant leaders than succumbing to good judgment, by inviting better leaders from outside. In fact, the locally available and potentially noble leaders are always easily branded as stooges of the developed nations. Such brutish reasoning is unscientific, but carries approval, even from those considered highly educated. It is fear and scepticism that are always granted priority, rather than good judgment.

There cannot be any reason to reject a good white administrator, except the considerations of historical colonialism, which carry no relevance in our time. The psychologically informed, know that it can only be those in a condition of psychosis, who remain stuck in the past. Such people are not in the present time but are stuck in historical conditions carrying no relevance in the current dynamics of existence. This is how emotion directs the behaviour of the uniformed, rather than ought to be reasoning. As long as the influential people are stuck in the past, the rest of the uninformed people sheepishly adopt without evaluating the clearly poor reasoning.

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing but are ravening wolves inwardly” (Matthew 7:13-15 KJV).

The present-time conditions are commonly sustained by the significance of the past. When Jesus brought novel ideas about God’s Kingdom, the influential Pharisees, were stuck in the past. Hence, Jesus’ teachings could not be acceptable. No one could put a finger on what was wrong with Jesus’ teachings. But, the common motive was to have Him crucified. The reason for crucifying Jesus was embellished in lies. The conductors of that emotional propaganda drive were the Pharisees, considered as the most religious, during that time. However, even among such emotional characters, could be found reasonable ones.

The story of Nicodemus constituted a possible few who could validate Jesus’ teachings. However, the Pharisaic Nicodemus had to visit Jesus by night. He could not be forthright in supporting Jesus, as afraid of being victimized by the majority. Nicodemus sought to protect his physical comfort, but at the same time convinced of Jesus’ truthful information. The dilemma that he faced is also faced by most Christians, today. Would Nicodemus be willing to die with Jesus and redeem his life, or avoid associating with Jesus, and save his physical life? This happens to be the common paradox for ordinary Christians, in need of salvation.

Nicodemus could not have been an isolated individual, stuck with the dichotomous reality of that viewpoint. Such people are rampant in the Christian world. It could also be a matter of pride, more than the fear of death. There are many people with clear convictions of what constitutes logical truth, but find it impossible to sacrifice their status. How can a respectable individual forsake his honourable status and associate with what is rejected by the majority?  The honour of one’s group can be considered more valuable than truthful information. The nagging instinct remains in desiring to be honoured by the uninformed majority.

However, true followers of Jesus are called to come out of such confusion. Without dragging oneself out of such a civilization, one remains on a collision course with it. What is popular does not grant salvation. Standing with Jesus exposes one to forfeiting his privileges, but attaching oneself to salvation. Of course, this is a very unpopular invitation, but it is as truthful as the certainty of the rising sun tomorrow. Pride carries no contribution to God’s Kingdom, whatsoever, but only humility carries contribution, as clearly stated Biblically.

“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up (James 4:4-10 KJV).

The above Scripture confirms that Jesus cannot be found among those admirably in harmonious agreement with one another. If Jesus was a controversial character when He was here on earth, what has changed? Has Jesus suddenly become so popular with the religious people and in conjunction with the governing authorities of this world? The Bible reveals that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8). If Jesus was despised in the first century, those, sincere in desiring to follow Him should know that Jesus is still despised, today. Nothing suggests changes in that condition.

In this world, nothing can be as important as examining truthful information, according to Jesus’ teachings. All other ground is sinking sand; according to the psalmist. Deception is rampant across the world. But it takes objective thinkers to be able to analyze and come up with truthful information. The most terrible mistake is to assume that worldly acceptance is commendable; when Jesus clearly stated the opposite. If Jesus was controversial in His teachings, it follows that His true servants would also be labelled as controversial, even in our time.

The controversy advanced by Jesus is different from the controversy that is driven by delinquency. Jesus’ controversy stems from the principles of truthfulness, as compared to falsehoods. This world embraces falsehoods more than it ought to embrace truthful information, which is alien to this world. Indeed, it cannot be possible for this world to consider foreigners as friends. It cannot be possible for anyone to be well accepted in this world when attached to Jesus, who was found to be controversial and unacceptable. Jesus was a foreigner. But He probably has more enemies in our present time, than He probably had, in the first century. This makes the idea of following Jesus more dangerous than it could have been, at that time.

The number of people claiming to be Jesus’ followers has risen by leaps and bounds. But among those in charismatic leadership are people who Jesus warned of being wolves in sheep’s clothing. Such wolves in sheep’s clothing disguise should be viewed as more dangerous than those clearly identified as wolves. The irony of it is that the actual wolves are idolized, rather than shunned; similar to how actual wolves ought to be shunned. This is confirmed in that the gate leading to life is narrow and difficult to walk through.

Only rational thinkers could be willing to examine information proffered by controversial preachers. The irrational ones take comfort in group mentality, projected as granting safety. This is in clear contradiction with Jesus’ utterances. But to God, that does not matter, as their idolized Jesus is different from the Jesus of the Bible. Their idolized Jesus, characterised in their imaginations, is not as controversial as the Jesus who had to be hanged, because of His controversial nature. This portrays a world characterized by ironies.

The invitation is to come out of that confusion. Jesus was not ambiguous about this reality. His popularity during his physical existence on earth was due to His ability to heal the sick. But He never took advantage of that popularity. He never entertained the idea of attracting blind followers. Those seriously intending to follow Him had to forfeit all advantages, obtainable in this world. This is why Jesus even preached in parables, making it impossible for pretenders to access the truth.

“And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man comes to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him. Saying, This man began to build and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an emissary, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh, not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:25-33 KJV).

Foolishness can be found among those ignoring the above Scripture, who continue in their borrowed comfort. But Jesus meant what he said, requiring avoiding the idea of taking comfort in being lukewarm. Generally, there cannot be comfort in following the Jesus of the Bible. But there is extraordinary comfort in following the imaginary Jesus, characterized in the prosperity gospel. No one in this world should be regarded as responsible for bringing people to Christ, except those used by Jesus. The quantity of those called is determined by God; through Jesus:

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day” (John 6:44 NIV). Jesus, in His glorified nature, speaks through human beings, who are found to be unattractive to ordinary humanity. Satan, in his deceptive nature, also speaks through human beings who are highly acceptable to ordinary humanity. The key lies in the unassuming datum, found in the following Scripture:

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing but are ravening wolves inwardly” (Matthew 7:13-15 KJV).

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.

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