The specific instructions of Jesus

Christians come from different backgrounds and different denominations.  That is immaterial, as Jesus’ name serves to unify them. The apostle Paul preached tolerance, rather than being divided by insignificant doctrinal differences. However, even Paul’s admonition can be subjected to different interpretations.  This can be complicated by the fact that Satan has also planted his own, among believers, to cause division. It therefore becomes necessary to start with what Jesus said, using a parable, concerning divisive elements.

Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” (Matthew 13:24-30 NKJV).

Jesus’ commanding voice encourages all Christians to be under His protection. If we agree on the principle of Jesus being the only one whose voice ought to be obeyed, Christian problems are 99% resolved. Christianity is not complicated, as it is principally guided by love. The starting point is to agree that no one should be regarded as better than others. We are all like sheep gone astray. This calls for reconciliation before coming to Jesus who declared being the only shepherd:

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My sheep and am known by My own (John 10:11-14 NKJV)

Jesus’ first instruction was given to His disciples, who witnessed His resurrection. But that instruction included those later to accept Him as their personal Saviour. (John 10:16). How should Christians, other than the twelve disciples, conduct themselves? If we agree on the exclusivity of Jesus’ voice, we must search the Scriptures to find out what Jesus said.

Jesus instructed His disciples to: “go out into the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV).

The officially appointed disciples were instructed to make disciples across the nations. Those disciples would be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. That instruction is fundamental. The eleven disciples would baptize the newly converted in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Not in the name of any of the apostles.

Before conjecturing the Trinity, let us first appreciate the roles played by each of the components of the Godhead. Throughout His ministry, Jesus was not ambiguous about calling God His Father. He also instructed His disciples to address God as their Father (Matthew 23:9). This is not, necessarily, theology, but simply taking the context, according to the instructions by Jesus.

In His communication, Jesus did not imply that addressing God as Father would mean addressing Jesus as Father. Moreover, Jesus never insinuated that those disciples would be His children, but brothers: “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me’” (Matthew 25:40 NIV).

The term Son refers to the firstborn, among God’s Children, sent to die on the cross, as projected in John 3:16. Currently, Scriptures reveal that Jesus is no longer the only begotten Son. We may not know how many begotten children they are, but certainly, they are as many as Paul highlighted.

“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together” (Romans 8:15-17 NKJV)

The term Son, in the triune equation, refers to the pioneer and facilitator of our salvation. Without Jesus, God’s Kingdom is inaccessible. We reach out to our Father through the services of Jesus. This does not suggest that Christians should view Jesus as equal to the Father. Jesus was not ambiguous in stating that He was subservient to the Father.

The factor of the Holy Spirit seals our identity as God’s children. The Garden of Eden Tree of Life symbolises The Holy Spirit. The banishment of that Tree of Life was effected after Adam had taken the wrong tree. The blood of Jesus serves to facilitate accessing the parabolic Tree of Life, implying the Holy Spirit.

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So, He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the Garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:22-24 NKJV)

The Holy Spirit seals humanity into becoming God’s children. Before Adam’s sin, humanity could have chosen to be at one with God. However, humanity, through Adam, chose detachment from God. The idea of the Trinity serves only to confuse, rather than clarify the significance of Christianity. God, whom Jesus introduced as our Father, is one.

This reality is not difficult, as long as teaching only what Jesus taught, without additives and subtractions. The Great Commission does not include the Trinitarian inference. It merely says “Teaching them all what I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19). There cannot be any room for error, as long as obeying that instruction.

Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My authority, but the Father who dwells in Me does the works” (John 14:8-10 NKJV).

There is no need to assume that the above Scripture should be regarded as ambiguous. After having obtained the Holy Spirit, anyone can declare the same statement, as was declared by Jesus. The statement that Jesus is in His Father, as His Father is in Him, applies to any Christian, with the Holy Spirit:

“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 14:18-21 NKJV).

Jesus rarely referred to God as God but as His Father. If obeying Jesus’ instructions, Christians would not shy away from calling God their Father. The most pronounced instruction by Jesus revealed how Christian leadership structures apply. Looking to Jesus does not leave room to factor in, traditionally adopted structures.

But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:8-12 NKJV).

This is not difficult to understand, when aware that those having become God’s Children are at one with God. The Trinitarian advocates cannot fathom differences between one Father and one Teacher. There is no mention of the Holy Spirit comprising another of the Godhead. Jesus is the teacher, helping us to understand principles that codify Godliness.

Jesus’ specific instructions are not difficult to extrapolate. Some English versions have, actually highlighted Jesus’ words in Red. This ensures clarity on the actual words spoken by Jesus. There is no need to assume, or take instructions from some other leader, declaring to have been promoted by Jesus. No one is qualified to superintend over others, in Christianity.

There is one Teacher in Christianity and that Teacher is Jesus, who dwells in each Christian. However, that does not spell confusion, as some people might assume. The fact that Jesus dwells in Christians, does not make every Christian a teacher, for instance. Due to humility, each Christian appreciates Christ’s voice, through any among the group, as aptly put by Paul:

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:3-8 NKJV).

Paul further amplified this principle, likening it to a human body (1 Corinthians 12). Could any normal person categorize his/her limbs, according to hierarchical rankings? That projects insanity, where an ear becomes jealous of the eye’s activities, for instance. The leadership fallacy must have come through the idea of ordination, as introduced by the early apostles.

In the four gospel books, where Jesus’ words are highlighted in red, there is no ordination mentioned. The idea of ordination looks good, but how does it conform to Jesus’ teachings? Jesus specifically stated that the disciples should baptize in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Why would such baptized people be assumed to need further ordination?

Jesus is the Teacher and the facilitator of our salvation. There is no other name deserving idolization, except appreciating Christ’s teachings, by the baptizing person. There is nothing wrong with listening to any charismatic preacher. But prudence lies in behaving like the Bereans:

“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11 NIV).

In Christianity, everything is as true as validated by Christ’s teachings. Anything said by others ought to be evaluated according to Christ’s teachings. There cannot be any safer route than that. The idea of idolizing humans should be banished, as to enable listening without prejudice. The channels through which Christ speaks cannot be limited.

The mistaken translation of Christ preparing rooms for Christians in John 14:1 needs clarification. Christ was talking about Spiritual gifts that equip individual Christians in His Church. In Christianity, none is despised or adored above others. This could be the most significant datum, suppressed since the beginning of Christianity.

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

 

  

 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.