IF JESUS HAD COME TODAY

Femi Aribisala, Ph.D

Femi Aribisala

If Jesus had come today instead of 2,000 years ago, Christian pastors and bishops would also have killed him. 

A man travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho was attacked by armed-robbers, stripped of his belongings and left lying on the road half-dead.  God’s providence ensured that first a priest, and then a Levite, passed by.  But instead of helping the dying man; both of them quickly moved to the other side and went away.  Finally, a Samaritan came along.  Unlike the priest and the Levite, he had compassion on the injured man, bound up his wounds, took him to the hospital and paid for his medical expenses.

The Good Samaritan

Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan is very deliberate.  It is incredible how, as Christians, we still fail to understand its full implications.  The first mistake we make is in the identity of the Good Samaritan.  When we situate the story in the contemporary setting (as we should with all scripture), we assume that the Good Samaritan is a Christian.  However, Jesus deliberately excludes that possibility by providing two characters clearly representative of the Christians of today.  The priest is easily identifiable as today’s pastor, while the Levite is easily today’s Christian layman.

Who then is the Good Samaritan?  Let me repeat this for emphasis: the Good Samaritan cannot be a Christian.  The Christian is already adequately represented.  The Good Samaritan is Jesus himself.  Jesus’ story eloquently sets forth the goodness and kindness of Christ our Saviour towards sinful, miserable and defenceless humanity.  The thief came to steal, kill and destroy, but Christ came to give life and to give it abundantly. (John 10:10).

But there is the rub.  If Jesus is the Good Samaritan then Jesus is not a Jew; for Samaritans were not accepted as Jews.  If Jesus is the Good Samaritan, then Jesus is a Samaritan.  If Jesus is not a Jew but a Samaritan, then Jesus cannot be a Christian, for it is the Jew who represents the Christian of today. 

Jesus killers

By the time some Jews observed Jesus, they assumed he was not a Jew.  In the first place, he refused to be a disciple of Moses but claimed instead to have come to fulfil the law.  He did not obey the letter of Jewish laws but claimed to comply with its spirit.  He insisted pharisaic religious tradition was old wine which could not be put into the new bottles he provided for the new wine of the New Testament. (Matthew9:17).  He prefaced a lot of his sermons with the statement: “You have heard that it was said to those of old… but I say.” (Matthew 5:27-28).

Therefore, some Jews insisted Jesus was not Jewish.  As a matter of fact, their position was that he was a closet Samaritan: “Then the Jews answered and said to him, “Do we not say rightly that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?”  Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honour my Father, and you dishonour me.” (John 8:48-49).  Note that Jesus did not contest the charge that he was a Samaritan.  But he took great exception to the allegation that he had a demon.  

 

But if Jesus identified with the Samaritans and not with the Jews, then it becomes clear he would not identify with most of the Christians of today.  In fact, let me be so bold as to say that if Jesus were in the flesh today he would not be a Christian.  If Jesus had come today instead of 2,000 years ago, Christian pastors and bishops would also have killed him.  Like he did our forefathers, Jesus would also have exposed our ungodliness to public ridicule.

Religious irrelevancies

So if Jesus would not have been a Christian, what would he have been?  He would have simply been Jesus without any specific religious affiliation.  Today, Jesus has been replaced by theology, but the real Jesus was not religious.  Jesus established no religious institution when he was on earth.

Indeed, if Jesus were to show up physically on earth today, most Christians would not recognise him even as the Jews did not.  If he came as a woman, we would not recognise him.  If he smoked cigarettes, we would not recognise him.  If he drank whisky, we would not recognise him.  If he wore earrings and a nose ring, we would not recognise him.  If he spoke Pidgin English, we would not recognise him.  Since he did not wear trousers, we would be contemptuous of him.  We would disqualify him by religious irrelevancies instead of identifying him by his fruits.

When Jesus asked the lawyer to identify the neighbour of the man who fell among thieves, the man wisely did not say it was the Samaritan.  If he had said that, he would have been wrong.  Instead, he correctly defined him by his fruit.  He said: “He who showed mercy on him.”  He who showed mercy on him could be anybody, Christian or non-Christian, as long as he believed in Jesus and produced the fruits of his righteousness.

Merciless Christians

What then does the story of the Good Samaritan mean if, indeed, the priest and the Levite represent today’s Christians?  It means that, prophetically, it is the Christians of today who have no mercy.  We despise unbelievers, certain they are going to hell.  We speak disparagingly of them.  We condemn sinners on grounds they are ungodly.  We stone them because they are caught in adultery.  We fail to appreciate that they are hapless travellers on the road of life who have been attacked by spiritual armed-robbers and left for dead.  We conveniently forget that we used to be in the same position until we were rescued by the grace of God.

Therefore, “God is not a Christian,” declared Reverend Desmond Tutu.  “We are supposed to proclaim the God of love, but we have been guilty as Christians of sowing hatred and suspicion; we commend the one whom we call the Prince of Peace, and yet as Christians we have fought more wars than we care to remember.  We have claimed to be a fellowship of compassion and caring and sharing, but as Christians we often sanctify sociopolitical systems that belie this, where the rich grow ever richer and the poor grow ever poorer.”

One thing is certain.  Both the offending priest and the Levite must have had “compelling” reasons for not attending to the man dying on the roadside.  They probably could not stop because they were in a hurry to attend a bible study.   The priest decided that the best thing to do was to pray for the man when he got to church.  The Levite was hurrying to get to a meeting of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria and could not afford to be late.

Jesus’ parable “kills” the self-righteous believer who thinks he is justified by calling himself a Christian and by going regularly to church.  He alerts us to the danger of assuming we are heaven-bound because of our observance of certain religious rites.  True Christianity is not legalistic.  The love of our neighbour is the emblem of our being Christ’s disciples.

“Dear friends, let us practice loving each other, for love comes from God and those who are loving and kind show that they are the children of God.” (1 John 4:7).

Femi Aribisala is the fellowship coordinator of Healing Wings. Healing Wings is a pentecostal Christian fellowship which meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He blogs at Femi Aribisala .

Freely give!

TRUE CHRISTMAS

TRUE CHRISTMAS

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Luke 2:13-14 NKJV

The origin of Christmas amongst Christians is the “Christ mass” or the yearly church gathering in which the birth of Jesus was celebrated. The Bible offers many reasons for why believers celebrate the birth of Jesus as the true meaning of Christmas. I am not saying Jesus Christ was born on the 25th of December but I am focusing on the reason(s) His birth must be celebrates. Personally, the celebration of His birth is in my heart daily. Everyday I see a new day, the thoughts of Him fills my heart and I thank God for this specially.

First, the birth of Jesus fulfilled many Old Testament prophecie, taken from the Book of Isaiah 7:14, which notes:
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His Name.
Also another portion in the Book of Isaiah 9:6 adds,
“For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Second, the birth of Jesus marked God coming to live among His people. John 1:14 shares, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His Glory, Glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of Grace and Truth.” The One who made all things came and walked among humanity: “For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16).

Third, the birth of Jesus served as part of God’s redemption. Jesus came to earth, lived, died, and rose again to offer eternal life to all who believe (John 3:16). After His resurrection He ascended to heaven (Acts 1:6-11), waiting to return once again for His people (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

But why did Jesus come to our world? First John 4:8-9 shares, “… God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.” Love was what brought Jesus into this world through a virgin birth in a manger in Bethlehem.

This love also offers us eternal life through faith in Him (Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 4:12). Though we are sinners, Christ has died for us (Romans 5:8), offering the greatest gift of all—eternal life. The true meaning of Christmas is found in the gift of Jesus coming to earth to offer salvation to all people.
Love was born
Forgiveness was offered
Family Reunion
This is the True Christmas! It is about Love, Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Family, Return, Repentance, and Peace.
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Merry Christmas!

Freely give!

WHEN FAITH FALTERS, WHAT NEXT?

James 1:5 tells us that “God offers wisdom to anyone who asks. However, he goes on to warn that if we doubt, our prayers will not be answered. But at times, don’t all of us struggle with some degree of doubt?”

Let’s explore some reasons for our disbelief. First, faith usually defies human reasoning. For example, when we are in financial difficulty, logic says to save every penny, whereas God says He will bless the generous giver. Second, feelings of fear, inadequacy, or guilt can interfere with trusting biblical truth. Third, we often focus on the circumstance rather than our heavenly Father. He is at work, yet we fail to notice His hand. And finally, uncertainty about God’s will can lead us to doubt Him.

Wavering faith has severe consequences: missed blessings, lack of peace and joy, and a heart that is easily thrown off course when difficulty arises. How, then, can we avoid faltering in our faith?

In MARK 9, a man pleaded with Jesus to rebuke the spirit possessing his son. When Christ replied that “all things are possible to him who believes,” the father said, “I do believe; help my unbelief” (vv. 23-24). And Jesus granted his request. Like that man, we can ask the Lord to increase our faith. But we should also spend time reading God’s Word and meditating on His promises.

We know that doubt is common—and that God is patient and understanding. Faith comes from Him. So when you are at a crossroads and the right response requires faith, or when you pray and notice doubt, ask Him to help you believe; He is the Loving Father who holds your hands steady to keep you from falling HEBREW 12:2. The giver of vision is the enabler of fulfilment. As the last Month of the year reveals itself today, do not panic, do not worry yourself sick over unfulfilled dreams or how your needs will be met. Trust me, you will not be disgraced, you will not be embarrassed. The unreached goals and targets will be met. The good Master said,  “Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and body more than clothing. Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? MATTHEW 6:25-27. HAPPY NEW GLORIOUS MONTH!

Freely give!

Thank you for stopping by, we hope you are richly blessed by His Infallible Word. May your Joy be full in Jesus’ Name

Translate »
UA-121227427-1

 Subscribe in a reader

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Subscribe to Comments for Know What The Bible Says by Email