The entire Old Testament Bible is comprised of the Law and the Prophets. Some of the prophetic stories are recorded as having been fulfilled. Others can significantly be fulfilled at our time, or are yet to be fulfilled. The experts, analyzing prophetic Scriptures could, actually, be doing well, exposing the fulfillments of mostly recorded Old Testament Prophecies.
The birth of Jesus was a fulfilment of an event, long held prophetically. However, the Jews could not connect Jesus’ birth, teachings and His death, before His resurrection. They invalidated exactly what the Prophecies had projected would transpire. Therefore, even today, most of the observed dramatic world events, project fulfilment of some Biblical prophecies.
There cannot be anything wrong with engaging in the business of analyzing the unveiling of the prophetic fulfillments. However, that business cannot necessarily be the gospel. Whether fulfilled or yet to be fulfilled, both Major and Minor Prophets, accomplished their mission. Otherwise, whether anyone believes it or not, everything is fulfilled in Jesus.
“The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law” (Luke 16:16-17 NIV).
Except for possible typographic errors, what is recorded in the Books of Prophecy is as true as the existence of creation. The majority of God’s prophets were callously murdered. They were treated as abnormal people, culminating in the murder of Jesus on the cross.
Those denouncing the Prophets adopted the responsibility of guarding against fallacy. They committed themselves as God’s servants, but without understanding the God they professed to serve. Their behaviour identified with those of this world, thereby exposing themselves as charlatans.
Fascinating as prophecies can be, to many, their purpose is not of any significance to true Christianity. Prophecy is intended as proof of inspiration and God’s authority on particular events. Those prophecies carry some value, intended to bring none believers to Christianity.
Others, in the past and currently, have focused on prophecy, more than preaching the gospel. Such expositors can be useful to nonbelievers, delving into the significance of Christianity. The most essential point to be noted by those addicted to prophecy is that prophecy is not an end in itself.
“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, and when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child; I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now, we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:8-12 NIV).
Paul uttered a reality that appears insignificant, yet emboldening the significance of Christianity. “Love never fails.” Since His resurrection and ascension, preachers have cast speculations of Jesus’ Second-coming. At one point, Paul even speculated that Jesus would come when he and some of his audience would still be alive.
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-19 NIV).
It would be hallucinating, to suggest that Paul should be regarded as having been a false prophet. This is notwithstanding that he uttered what did not materialize before his death. But the timing has got no relevance to the event yet to unfold. Jesus said the timing of the end is God’s prerogative. Paul’s prophetic statements included those of future generations.
“But where there are prophecies, they will cease”(1 Corinthians 13:8).
The significance of Christianity lies in the application of the Love that never fails. The prophecy was relevant before Jesus. The supreme knowledge, revealed by Jesus, contains everything necessary for salvation. That knowledge requires understanding and application. The rest of the world is poised to marvel at the second coming of Jesus.
However, to those in whom Jesus dwells, the condition of marvelling would be out of the question. For those in whom Jesus does not dwell, understanding love, as described by Jesus, is impossible: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”(John 15:13 NIV).
As far as most people are concerned, love is interpreted as generating physical comfort. Such people feel justified when injuring those they strangely declare to love. This manifests commonly, through domestic violence, as abounding in this country. This is also projected through the publicized politically motivated violence, having maimed several people, in our country.
When you hear the state President declaring “We want peace and unity!” he would be referring to enforced peace and unity. Those projecting themselves as representing God’s authority, assume that those in disagreement with the establishment would deserve to die.
Only recently, the President declared that anyone criticizing the government would have his life shortened. But those uttering disapproval in private, but publicly pretending to respect the establishment, would preserve their lives. This is disgusting to some but quite acceptable and justifiable to others.
Others consider the state President to be representing God. This includes believers, who quote Romans 13. Such Christians are complicit in condemning innocent people. They use such Scriptures, to justify hatred, rather than call the President to order, for violating Godly principles.
Love never fails, because love is not self-seeking. Where there is consideration of one’s interests, love would be absent. It is impossible for those who understand God’s principles to fail to understand prophecies. Knowledge in general, including prophesies, leads to Jesus.
However, Scriptures and prophecy are not a precondition for becoming Christian. One needs to apply the principle of love to be a Christian. The most essential component is to understand the meaning of love. Due to confusion, love has been wrongly defined, by ordinary people.
For instance, faithfully giving tithes at Church services, is not applying the kind of love taught by Jesus. Such givers are commonly appreciated and are assumed to be projecting love. However, such love is misplaced, as long as giving in order to be appreciated.
The love that is not self-seeking cannot boast about giving. True love enjoys graciously benefiting others, as not self-seeking, as without, necessarily, craving for admiration. Physically, one’s feet are dirtiest.
In His teaching, Jesus demonstrated another example of love by washing His disciples’ feet. The purpose was to project the significance of Love. Jesus knew that, ordinarily, people could not understand the significance of love, which they assumed to be how a person looks after Himself.
A person feels good as long as properly groomed and presentable before other people. Nothing appears amiss in that behaviour. But what would be one’s view of those not as presentable as one would be presentable?
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you”(John 13:12-15).
Jesus had extensively taught about the principle of love. However, that evening Jesus took time to demonstrate the significance of His teachings. Foot-washing; currently ceremoniously practised by some Christian groupings, demonstrates Christian love; whereas, a religious ceremony denotes very little to do with what Jesus taught.
Jesus practically demonstrated a principle of service. There is no comparison of personalities, among Jesus’ followers. One does not feel good when presentable before others. But one feels good because others are more presentable than one; highlighting the principle of servitude.
One fully understands why Jesus took the time to demonstrate the significance of love, through foot washing. His demonstrated conduct was not intended for ordinary people, out in the world. It was strictly for those having left everything to follow Him.
There is no other record of foot washing, demonstrated by those disciples, after Jesus’ ascension. The lesson was that the disciples were supposed to serve one another, similar to how servants served their masters. Their relational conduct was expected to be of service to one another.
The inward-looking behaviour leaves no time for other people. Ordinary humans have time, only for themselves; which disqualifies them from being Christians. A person with dirty feet, having walked long distances, can look very awkward before others.
There were no tarred roads during Jesus’ time. People commonly travelled on foot, in dusty deserts. The foot-washing service was commonly performed by slaves, to their masters. That kind of service was done by slaves because it was considered demeaning.
Undignified as this exercise was considered to be, Jesus instructed His disciples to practically apply it to one another. Bear in mind, that Jesus had stated: “The greatest among you will be your servant”(Matthew 23:11NIV). Generally, the greatest would not be one assumed to be spiritually more adept or prophetically discerning, than others, but a servant.
Foot-washing, demonstrated the significance of servitude, all along taught by Jesus. It portrayed a Spiritual application of love. A person practising the love, taught by Jesus would be willing to be as undignified as washing other people’s feet. Foot-washing is intended to express an attitudinal daily conduct.
Jesus knew how the foot washing aspect was commonly viewed, in terms of personal dignity and decorum. Who doesn’t want to be given respect, in this world? Who wouldn’t feel ashamed of being viewed as cleaning other people’s soiled feet? The consideration of foot-washing is different from a ceremonial practice at some religious Church services.
The things said to be embarrassing can be the very things that describe acceptable Christian conduct. If this assertion does not discourage many people from Christianity, then this article would have not been influential. There were times, during Jesus’ teachings when some people stopped following Him, rather than they ought to have remained committed.
On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before? The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.
“Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.” From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him(John 6:60-66 NIV).
Humanly speaking, one assumes that Jesus must have felt disturbed by the massive walkout from His audience. His mission had not necessarily been to please people. His mission had been to project the truth, without variation. The fallout, actually, pleased Him, rather than causing a disturbance to Him. He even encouraged His disciples to follow suit, if similarly affected.
“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)(John 6:67-71 NIV).
The challenge of the disciples was not expected to be a failure to understand prophetic fulfillments, but the application of everything Jesus taught. The principle of degrading oneself, to the point of washing other people’s feet, cannot be easy to assimilate. Understanding prophecy and the in-depth knowledge of the Scriptures might be exciting. But the idea of washing other people’s feet cannot be acceptable to ordinary people.
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