One of the avenues out of confusion, on matters of Christianity, is to analyze the Pharisaic behaviour, at the time of Jesus. The Pharisees were considered highly religious and respected law-keepers, among the Jewish people. How could the renowned scripturally diligent searchers fail to appreciate the services of Jesus? The idea of assuming to know has always been the first obstacle to learning.
The formidable question remains stuck on whether such people can ever be helped out of such a conundrum. How can grace reach out to those fixated on the assumption of knowing God, but without truth? This is one of the questions that even Jesus seemed unable to forthrightly answer. However, in the midst of this, we have exposed the figurative darkness as opposed to the light of God.
Jesus is the light, where human efforts to access the light, deepen their confusion. The problem of the Pharisees should not be viewed as exclusive to their generation. Our current educational structures bear a similar conundrum, if not tilted to be worse, just as modern Christianity is overburdened by this reality. Will the light of God ever shine, when considering that for approximately two thousand years Christ remains unknown?
“You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. There you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. I do not accept praise from men, but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his name, you will accept him. How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?”(John 5:39-44 NIV).
The subject of Jesus is self revelatory, but obscure only to the ardent researchers. It is unnecessary to even consider taking a technical approach to pursue the knowledge of Jesus’ services. The person of Jesus is assumed to be no longer viewable, but as viewable as Jesus was observable in the first century. We are here dealing with a subject that exposes the foolishness of using candlelight during the daytime. Jesus is the light of God, whose presence is deliberately rejected by those assumed to be the light-bearers.
Unknown to ordinary people is that Jesus is not found in highly defined scholastic terms. It is not even necessary to know how to write one’s name to know Jesus, except to hear about Him through His servants. The idea of livingness can be found among those said to be uneducated. The least educated, and ignored people, could be the ones carrying the light of God. This truism was confirmed by Jesus when talking to those Pharisaic Jews of His time.
The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” To this, they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out. Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
“Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshipped him. Jesus said, “For judgment, I have come into this world so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you can see, your guilt remains”(John 9:30-41 NIV).
The man, being harassed by the Jews had been created in God’s image, just as the Jews were similarly created. Godliness requires treating such a person with dignity, similarly to how his critics desired to be treated. One cannot claim to be on the Lord’s side while at the same time invalidating another fellow human, also created in God’s image. This is common sense, but certainly uncommon to those claiming to be the custodians of the canonically sacred doctrines.
The condition of light is that it has no relationship with darkness. But it is always the darkness that axiomatically disappears in the presence of light. The simplest way of finding comfort in this world is to avoid the light. Darkness is welcome among other dark structures. Out of a desire to be acceptable, the well-meaning and truthful servants of God have been known to succumb.
That has granted such ardent preachers the comfort of receiving honour after having been welcomed within human debauchery. They would have been lavishly accorded the honour, similar to that of a prodigal son, implying that orthodox Christianity is right, after all. However, true Christianity implies relegation to the fringes, rather than being on the mainstream.
One cannot be lavishly accepted by those of this world and be on the Lord’s side, at the same time. Treachery can make anyone look good, even when on a trajectory towards God’s rejection. Jesus is the light of God which cannot be accepted by those of this world. The stark reality of being the light was projected on Jesus whose bad treatment was confirmed by the Jewish religious community.
Jesus singularly stood out steadfastly on the Lord’s side. The entire world had, hitherto, been subjected to complete darkness. The Pharisees demanded that for Jesus to be right, He ought to have had, at least, one of them subscribing to His viewpoints. However, Jesus had been the only one who had come from God, as not to be supported by anyone in this world.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” The Pharisees challenged him. “Here you are, appearing as your witness; your testimony is not valid.” Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human stands; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father who sent me. In your Law, it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. I testify for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.”(John 8:12-15 IV).
Those of the entire world need support from one another. However, God does not need support from those alienated from Godly principles. The entire world needs God’s light, more than God needs humanity that subscribes to darkness. The Jews expected Jesus to agree with them, rather than the Jews agreeing with Jesus, on principles of Godliness.
This world suggests that blindness implies being conferred with the disrespectful “heretic” term. This world makes heresy a condition deserving of consideration for avoidance by all “respectable” people. But the true followers of Jesus maintain that there cannot be honor, without the acerbic treatment of Jesus. He was labelled an imposter, yet he had come from God. Jesus was the Light of God, unmatched by anything in this world. If honoured ahead of Christ, where does one stand?
Humanly speaking, the most dangerous consideration is standing on the side of truth. Yet at the same time, the safest thing is to stand on the side of truth. On matters of religion or politics, there has always been one way of identifying truthfulness, among protagonists. The emotionally charged would always be liars, as truthful people can never be emotional. Truthful people are, actually, always willing to review their positions, if convinced of being wrong.
The opposite applies to untruthful people, predisposed to committing murder, in their endeavour to sustain falsified information. Unfortunately, the worldly justice systems seem to favour the emotional ones, granting them the consideration of being right. Many people are sent to jail, simply for failing to emotionally defend their positions in court. The behaviour of Jesus was typical of such truthful people, being incarcerated for sins that they never committed.
Jesus declared: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12 NIV). That declaration can never appeal to cowardly believers. The plausible challenge against Jesus was that there was no one to testify in His favour. Unfortunately, those accusers could not see God, the Father, on Jesus’ side. They stood by their consideration that Jesus could not be adjudged as truthful when talking about the unknown God.
A fair question ought to have been: If indeed they did not know the God that Jesus was talking about, who, did they expect to reveal that unknow God? They had the Law at their disposal, but how did that law require the execution of Godly Justice? Jesus claimed to have come from God, of which they required tangible evidence. But what tangible proof did they have to confirm that Jesus did not come from God? Fairness and justice on matters of the Law are paramount.
God’s servants stand accused of claiming to be God’s children. But the accusers ought to prove that such servants are not God’s children. Nevertheless, the author of Christianity stated that the only sign that labels one to be His follower was persecution. When treated badly, one ought to recognize oneself as being God’s child. There is no other indicative demarcation unveiled by Jesus.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you”(Matthew 5:10-12 NIV).
The significance of Jesus as the light of the world is predicated on the rejection of light by the dark shadows. Darkness is a condition of the absence of light. The more light is made available the more darkness disappears. When light is out, darkness reigns supreme. This is why even criminals prefer night-time, rather than day-time.
Jesus is no longer physically available to continue with the work that He initiated in the first century. Nevertheless, those committing to serve Jesus were entrusted to continue with the mission. This started with the apostles, who were murdered for the same reason that Jesus was murdered. However, that type of murder is not regrettable, as it carries the only price of eternity.
“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).
A person, who is accorded the same derision as accorded to Christ, is assured of the honour accorded to Jesus Christ. If Jesus was derided acerbically, why would a sane person expect to be treated better than Christ, if truly a Jesus’ follower? If Jesus was regarded as the light, in consideration of the acerbic treatment, how could His followers expect to be treated differently?
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven”(Matthew 5:14-16 NIV).
Anyone can be equipped with the spiritual power to represent Jesus, as long as not focused on physical protection. Life is spiritual, more than it should be regarded as physical. All things physical are destined to perish at some point. However, human life, itself, is guaranteed in Jesus’ services. The safest condition is holding on to the idea of walking in the light of God, focusing on Jesus more than on any other object.
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 who have 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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