It takes a highly courageous person to stand up to pronounce what he/she knows to be true. There is a difference between a theory and what a person knows to be true. A theory is sustained by the general agreement with commonly accepted viewpoints. However, truth is sustained by what remains to be, as can be verified only by those willing to experience anything. A person who knows the truth knows that he knows, regardless of threats from ignorant people. The experiences of Jesus can testify to this reality.
“I and the Father are one.” Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’? If he called them ‘gods’ to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken—what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp(John 10:30-39 NIV).
Would any Christian be treated well, if standing up to pronounce the words: “I and the Father are one”? Indeed, it is most likely that such a person would have attracted being considered for a psychiatric asylum. Many Christians depict the liberty to criticize the Jews for having ill-treated Jesus in the manner described in the above Scripture. The Jews portrayed ignorance of Jesus’ identity. Similarly, modern-day Christians, portray ignorance of Jesus, who works with those courageous enough to pronounce the words that almost got Jesus stoned: “I and the Father are one.”
“If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him” (John 14:15-21 NIV).
The above statement came directly from the mouth of Jesus, regarded as the author of Christianity. It goes without saying that this statement cannot be applicable to those sold to the theory of a triune God. This Scripture can be described as one of the most difficult, among Christian communities. The fainthearted ones would merely state, “God will reveal this mystery at His second coming.” The majority of Christians hide behind the assumption that it is impossible for the Bishop to be wrong. They remain with the assumption that God expects everyone to be submissive to authorities in the Church.
In other words, most Christians are cowards, unable to take up responsibility on matters of Christianity. They ride on the assumption that the Bishop would always be right. Verifying things said by the Bishop is considered rebellious. The few who behave like the Bereans, described as of more noble character than the Thessalonians (Acts 17:11), can be very unpopular. Such Christians are relegated to the fringe, labeled as heretical. It takes only strong characters to maintain the stance of being rejected, like Jesus, rather than take comfort in mainstream Christianity.
To His disciples, Jesus said: On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you (verse 20). On which day would those disciples realize Jesus would be in His Father, and being in Him and He in them? Nothing can be clearer than the statement: He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” Immediately after Jesus showed Himself to Paul, regarded as archenemy of Jesus, everything changed, for Paul. The same applies to any other Christian.
Those perceiving Jesus, unseen by those of this world, cannot be hoodwinked into accepting Trinitarian theories, for instance. Such people would rather take comfort in being labeled as heretical, than succumb to common beliefs. In short, they are willing to lose everything to follow Jesus. There is no doubt that there is comfort in harmonious coherence with those of this world. But there is also no doubt in that there is an unquestionable risk in standing up to obey what Jesus said.
Christianity is a deadly business. Jesus said: Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me”(Matthew 10:39-40 NIV). Those being rejected and labeled “heretical” by orthodox Christianity should take comfort in knowing that they would be on the Lord’s side. It is better to be wrong, when violating Christian orthodoxy, rather than violate Jesus’ word, for the sake of acceptance.
In this world, there is nothing that can be stranger than truth. Galileo’s novel telescopic discovery caused him to be treated badly by the Roman Catholic Church. It had to be years later, after his death, that his discoveries got adopted to shape the current civilization in the scientific world. Many people die with the truth, because of not wanting to upset friends and acquaintances. Peace is found in the condition of agreement with one’s friends and acquaintances. However, Jesus insisted that His words were not intended for attaining peace, in a degraded world.
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10: 34-39 NIV).
One of the tests of Christianity is in willingness to experience uncommon things. The religious Jews failed, dismally, on this test. They were comfortable with canonical Scriptures, premised on the anticipated Messiah. Nevertheless, they rejected the Messiah who later revealed Himself in physical form. Their predicament can be traced between assuming to know what they did not know, and assuming not to know what they knew. They were not willing to adopt either of the two extremes.
In between the two opposites, something had to give, as guided by the laws of nature. The dichotomous universe makes it extremely impossible for a negative trajectory to ever produce anything positive. One cannot expect to reach the eastern location, when on a trajectory vector towards the west. The more the person excels towards the western side, the further he detaches himself from the intended destiny on the eastern side. It takes only those able to examine the axioms of this universe to accept truthful information.
Nothing is as unpopular as the truth. A wise person would rather pause before adopting popular trends. Popular preachers are those good at saying things that ordinary people prefer to hear. They avoid everything unpopular to the audience. This reveals an extremely acceptable marketing strategy. A person who does not consider the tastes of his audience cannot go far in marketing his product. This brings us to the predicament that led to the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.
His message carried everything required by ordinary people, being truth designed to free humanity. However, humanity was on the trajectory vector towards demise. What was trendy, to ordinary people was on the trajectory towards demise. Jesus’ purpose advocated the opposite of what was trendy. The miracles alone could not cut it, as observed in Jesus’ experience with the Jews:
“…Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp(John 10:36-39 NIV).
Jesus’ message was the message of truth, unacceptable to common people on the trajectory towards death. They preferred what agreed with their common beliefs, rather than the unpalatable truths. Jesus’ message demands physical death, as the only way towards spiritual freedom. How could that be popular to humanity, unwilling to renounce physical life, for spiritual freedom?
Everyone wants life, which is viewed as associated with eating food and eradicating poverty, among other common things. How can one advertise the idea of renouncing everything to follow Christ, and be accepted? This is like marketing the principle of death and expecting to be listened to, by fallible humans. The reality of Christianity was never meant to be popular. Nevertheless, Jesus said the gospel needed to be preached, and not necessarily for expecting people’s acceptance.
Jesus said His disciples would see Him, where ordinary people would not see Him. He also preached in parables, so that ordinary people could not understand. This does not appeal to those marketing the idea of Christianity, for purposes of getting approval. No one knows how many people are intended to be salvaged from the current Christian dispensation, except God.
The mystery was pronounced by Jesus after Simon Peter, had mentioned that Jesus was the Christ, Son of the living God. Jesus said flesh and blood had not revealed that mystery. If that is the case, advertising or any other gimmick cannot bring people to Christianity. Those of this world, who prefer accepting the common orthodox teachings, as agreeing with their deluded minds, cannot accept Christianity. The early apostles were killed, specifically, for revealing the reasons for Jesus’ crucifixion.
The message of Jesus is a communication that was intended for just a few people, unknown by those of this world. Those are the people who would be regarded as peculiar and possibly regarded as insane. They would be willing to leave everything to follow Christ. The aspect of leaving everything to follow Christ, cannot appeal to those who are comfortable with what identifies with their physical living conditions. True Christians are those who are willing to allow God to do what He pleases to do in their lives, but comforted by Paul’s statement:
“And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:27-31 NIV).
Otherwise, without God impelling that individual to do anything, the safest thing, in this life, is to cause only those things that others can experience easily. The gospel is Jesus’ business, more than it can be attributed to anyone of this world, without the involvement of the Spirit. In our humanity, it is quite distressing to observe friends and relatives, expressing discomfort towards the message of Jesus. Living in this world becomes physically unexciting, after accepting and experiencing the effects of Jesus’ works in one’s life.
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