If there has ever been anything of utmost importance in Christianity; it is the ability to appreciate differences between falsehood and truth. Jesus Christ is the central point. The name of Jesus is, therefore, a great name that Satan peddles with, in these last days. This is as simple as bringing forth a counterfeit product that, for purposes of deceiving, looks more attractive than the genuine one.
“For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:5) (KJV).
The deceivers know exactly how to point people to Jesus Christ, but not for anything else, other than deceiving. The only way to help those desiring to be guided by truth, is to separate between the two; ‘the Christ used for deception and the true Christ who delivers humanity’. Christ Himself made it clear that there would be false prophets in Christianity:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15) (ESV).
The sheep’s clothing looks good and harmless. But, according to Jesus, while outwardly the deceiver wears sheep’s clothing, inwardly, he/she would be a ravenous wolf.
Today there are innumerable Christians around the world, all professing to be the agents of Jesus. The intention of this presentation is to lay out features of the Christ being projected by deceivers, as compared with the genuine Christ of the Bible. Be prepared for the surprises.
Jesus was born of Marry, in Bethlehem of Judea, representing the poorest of humanity. Jesus’ appearance was as ordinary as any other ordinary poor person in His surrounding. But His being was not ordinary, as He was God. Because His appearance could not be distinguished from ordinary people, Judas Iscariot had to use a kiss to help those intending to apprehend Jesus (Matthew 26:47-50).
Joseph and Mary, had not been the religious zealots, or those serving in the Temple, like the faithfully religious ones of that time. The profession of Joseph had been carpentry, which probably kept him so busy, as to be unable to attend to daily devotional requirements.
There is nothing in scriptures that projects Jesus’ appearance as having been different from ordinary poor people of that time. However, we have people who would like to even project the manger that Jesus was born in, to have been different from the known mangers of that time. They also project Mary in religious light, so that Mary is viewed as having been different from other ordinary women of that time.
There are churches that, even today, use the picture of Mary as artistically framed, for purposes of constant reminder that she was a topmost important Saint. But the Bible shows nothing to prove that Mary was a committed religious person, in Jesus’ time.
Jesus’ parents may have obviously participated in religious festivals, keeping the weekly Sabbath and attending to the synagogue every week, like any other ordinary Jew of that time. But there was nothing extraordinarily religious about the couple.
With His parents, Jesus also participated in religious festivals. But, unlike His parents, Jesus actively got involved in discussing controversial religious topics with the High Priests. Even at age twelve Jesus had started to argue with the topmost religious people in Jerusalem (Luke 2:41-52).
There is no reason to doubt that Jesus could have been viewed as one who was disrespectful to the elderly and those regarded as religiously more informed.
Also, the traditional picture of Jesus, today, does not match the one revealed in Isaiah 53:2-3:
“For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form of majesty that we should look at him and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (ESV).
Obviously, the man being projected by Isaiah does not identify with most lovers of Jesus, today. They would be embarrassed to be associated with such a man. But, the prophet Isaiah is referring to none other than Jesus, who most people say they love.
I suppose this could have been the very reason why, one of the religious leaders, Nicodemus, had to attend to Jesus by night. Obviously, Nicodemus did not want to risk his integrity, being seen hobnobbing with such a man.
Even today, if Jesus were to reappear in the form of what is projected in Isaiah 53:2-3, I suppose most known Christians would label Him a Satanist, desiring not to associate with such a man? They would be in agreement with those who associated Jesus with Beelzebub, the prince of the demons (Matthew 12:24).
Most Christians have got their own description of how Jesus should look like. This is where Satan projects to them, the prophets in sheep’s clothing. They readily accept such prophets as holy men of God, yet being ravenous Wolves.
The cause of failure to see the truth lies in inability to know that Christ is associated with desire to add value to other people, rather than desiring to receive value from other people. [See here]
The deceived think in terms of receiving value. While the informed think in terms of adding value. The one, who thinks in terms of receiving value, can be viewed as very good at critiquing other people and therefore selective of what he/she considers as acceptable. However, the one who thinks in terms of adding value can be mistaken for those to whom he/she seeks to add value.
Remember, Jesus was also mistaken for a sinner who was a friend of the wine-bibbers and Tax collectors? (Matthew 11:19). As someone who thought in terms of adding value, Jesus spent most of His time with the people who needed deliverance from sinful conditions. This is dichotomously different from those seeking to protect their integrity, desiring to be seen as good people in the eyes of ordinary people.
A person who thinks in terms of receiving value, associates with people of value, first and foremost. He/she enjoys being labeled as a good person. Those considered as of good value, with whom the person associates, readily provide that person with all the dignity and acceptance into their ranks and class. The ravenousness of those people is a result of pride that emanates from the devil.
The only enemy of Christianity is the devil, whose wickedness is not so clumsy to look at. Pride is something that identifies with most people, because it feels good to be proud. Who doesn’t want to be associated with people of integrity? Who doesn’t want to be highly spoken of? Yet that is where the ravenousness of the devil is found, for those who want to take heed.
A person who thinks in terms of giving value would rather risk being labeled as a sinner, by associating with sinful people, who need deliverance. Though not viewed as good as the other person, he/she identifies with the man of sorrows, described in Isaiah 53, who was rejected by all, yet being the Christ.
A person who adds value on those needing value is, first and foremost, not worried about what other people conceive of his/her character. He/she is not bothered much about losing friends, in pursuit of doing what he/she considers as adding value to the needy. Readers may also benefit by checking with another of the recent posts [here]
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from 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 reliefs to those having witnessed 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.
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Also available as an e-copy at Lulu.com for $6.99