?If you love me, you will obey what I command?(John 14:15)
?A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another? (John 13:34-35)
?THE NEW ADVENTURE BIBLE
Two thousand years ago, the Jewish people, their leadership and High Priests out of disappointment and fear worked up an uncontrollable hatred against Jesus Christ and conspired to put him to death.
Today out of greed and avarice, mankind has increased its hatred for Jesus Christ. Today?s man and woman continue to raise their right hands in salutation of Jesus Christ while their left hands are used to chastise Him. Why do we hate Jesus Christ so much by refusing to obey His command and yet we always pretend to love Him?
Why do Christians go to war against their fellow Christians while Muslims pick arms against fellow Muslims causing so much innocent deaths, destruction and suffering?
Why do political leaders indulge in political corruption and yet seize every opportunity to be present at any gathering where the name of Jesus Christ is proclaimed? Why is it that public and civil servants are always prepared to sell this improvised country for peanuts to foreign crooks any time they get the opportunity to sign contracts on behalf of their organizations and the country and yet they portray their active faith in the risen Christ? Why do businessmen and businesswomen collude with their foreign counterparts to dupe this country but always occupy the front pews to listen to the gospel of Jesus Christ? Why should some Muslims burn down Christian churches and mosques belonging to rival sects at the least provocation in some parts of the world in complete violation of the command of Jesus Christ?
I believe the answer is very simple. In our unbridled quest for personal material wealth and comfort, all our efforts violate the command Jesus Christ gave us. Most of the people, who have ironically volunteered themselves to serve the Lord, are ill prepared to shoulder that heavy responsibility. Thus instead of bringing people to Jesus Christ, they rather hide behind selected passages in the Holy Bible to put up mighty church buildings, mission houses, offices and then create dictatorial organizations, which they solely control to generate massive financial benefits which they use for their personal comfort.
Evangelism has given way to prosperity gospel and miracle healing and soothsaying accompanied by frenzy dancing and high sonic jazz music. All of a sudden, it appears a new Holy Bible has been discovered or new philosophers have been born with better understanding of the gospel and divine gift to interpret the Word effectively.
It has resulted in the creation of gullible congregation, which has more faith in the pastor standing in the pulpit than the person the pastor is supposed to represent.
Why do modern-day Christian organizations place importance on the form of the faith such as the giving of communion, the payment of church dues, the celebration of Christian festivals and strict adherence of man-made church rules, which have no place in the Holy Bible rather than the substance of the faith such as spiritual upbringing.
The offering of communion has been made into an art form and embedded in church rules to the extent that men with two wives are refused communion. Church members, who do not meet their financial obligations or have more than one wife, are refused burial service in the church.
However such last rights are reinstated and the service performed either in the church or the deceased?s compound, depending on whether full payment is made to the church or a ?bribe? is paid to an appropriate influential church member to convince the elders of the church.
The Holy Bible is clear on what to do. The most often quoted verse in the Holy Bible by most Christians is John 3:16: ?For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.?
And if you believe and love somebody, you will obey that person?s command. Jesus Christ himself said it in John 14:15 and went on to issue one of his greatest commandments in John 13:34-35, all quoted at the beginning of this article.
Mathew 22:38-40, which consolidate this point states: ?One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: ?Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?? Jesus replied. ?Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is ?Love your neighbour as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.?
How many times do our reverend ministers make reference to Mathew Chapters 5-7, the Sermon on the Mount, which for all intents and purpose, Jesus Christ meant to be the practical standards to measure the lifestyle of any person who claims to love and obey Him? What did Jesus Christ tell the rich young man who came to Him to ask what he should do to get eternal life? The answer was simple as captured in Mathew 19:21: ?If you want to be perfect, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me.? We are told when the young rich man heard this, he went away sadly because he had great wealth.
As we read the story of the crucifixion and watched the latest film on the passion, we like to condemn the Jewish High Priests and the helplessness of Pontius Pilate and the loophole in the entire Roman legal system at that time.
Hardly do we believe that we are behaving like the rich young man, who went to Jesus Christ to seek salvation.
Although we all hope to enter the Kingdom of God when we die, we are too busy using ungodly acts to pile up useless treasures on this earth while we are alive.
We hate Jesus Christ with venom more poisonous than that possessed by the Jewish High Priests because unlike the priests who felt they had genuine reason for hating Him, we, on the other hand, put up behaviour similar to the reference Jesus Christ made in Mark 7:6-7.
?Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ?These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.?
BY Kwasi Gyasi