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“When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing his head, he gave up his spirit.” (John 19:30).
It is finished with what? What exactly did Jesus achieve in three years of ministry? How many people were saved? How many were healed? Jesus’ entire ministry did not go beyond a 200-mile radius. Jesus never came to Africa or to the Americas or to Australia. At the end of his ministry, many remained sick. Many remained untouched. Most rejected his gospel. The Jews remained Jewish. The Romans crucified him.
John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus as: “the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29). However, at the end of his ministry, the world remained mired in sin. Murderers continued to kill; liars continued to tell lies; armed robbers continued to pillage; “pen robbers” continued to defraud. Clearly, Jesus’ ministry can be labelled a failure simplistically because his right-hand man betrayed him, all his disciples deserted him, and the Jews, the very people he came for, asked for him to be crucified.
So what did Jesus mean by saying: “it is finished?”Add a comment
Jide Akintunde told me a story about an exemplary Christian in his former church who was unemployed. Everyone in the church was impressed with his piety and devotion to God. Therefore, the prayer squad took it upon themselves to fast and pray for him to get a job.
Soon enough, he obtained a good high-paying job at a local branch of an international organisation. Sooner still, he was given a loan with which he purchased a posh car. But just as well-wishers were blessing God for his testimonies, he had an accident in the new car and died.
Why does this kind of adversity befall the righteous? Can his new job and car still be considered blessings; or were they really curses? Would he not have been better off in his old station without the intervention of the prayer squad?
I have coordinated an interactive session on “Practical Christianity” every Monday for the past 17 years with no holds barred. However, the set-up in most churches precludes the raising of “controversial” issues. The gospel is whatever the pastor or proverbial “man-of-God” dishes out; no questions asked. This ensures that many Christians are indoctrinated on principles that are merely self-serving to their churches and pastors.Add a comment
Marriage is not man-made; neither is it subject to human design. God is the author of marriage, meaning marriage was made in heaven. The greatest marriage of all is that between God the Father and Jesus the Son. Theirs is the supreme love story; one that is eternal and everlasting. God loved Jesus before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24).
The relationship between God and Jesus is the Christian model for the ideal marriage relationship. It gives us the exemplary insight of how husbands and wives should relate to one another. Jesus’ prayer for the Church is also applicable to the husband and wife in the Christian marriage. He says:
“I pray that they all may be one, as you, Father, are in me, and I in you; that they also may be one in us. That they may be one just as we are one: I in them, and you in me; that they may be made perfect in one, that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and I in them.” Add a comment
How many times have you heard these kinds of testimonies? “Praise the Lord! Hallelujah! God has blessed me with a brand new car.” “My wife just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.” “Glory be to God, I have just been promoted at work.”
These testimonies are invaluable, but you must admit they are run-of-the-mill. In the first place, they are not limited to believers. Unbelievers also buy new cars, have children, and get promoted. But there are testimonies that separate the sons of God from the sons of men. Those testimonies are usually preceded by a death, after which they reveal the power of resurrection.
Imagine you are in church when Lazarus gives this testimony: “Praise the Lord! I fell sick and died. After four days, the Lord Jesus raised me from the dead.” I bet you would sit up and really pay attention.Add a comment
Have you just bought a new cell-phone and are wondering how to operate it? It is written. Simply check the manual. Have you just set up a new business and want to know how to get it registered? It is written. Are you a new creation in Christ but don’t know what being a new creation means? It is written. Where is it written? It is written in the scriptures.
How would you introduce yourself? What is your self-identity? Many people don’t know who they are. Some men see themselves as women. Some women see themselves as men. Some thieves call themselves Robin Hood and believe they are honest. Some murderers call themselves Boko Haram and maintain they are righteous. Some identify themselves by their jobs and say they are carpenters, bricklayers and doctors.
The Lord says: “The children I raised have turned against me. Oxen and donkeys know who owns and feeds them, but my people won't ever learn.” (Isaiah 1:3). For this cause, Jesus was made manifest in the flesh; so that we may know exactly who we are. Add a comment
If you cook a prophet his favourite meal and he prays for you, what kind of prayer is he likely to pray? He might pray that God should give you the desires of your heart. He might pray that God should prosper your business. He might pray that God should heal you of your infirmities. He might pray that God should give you your own husband; your own wife; or your own children.
But what if you were to ask Jesus to pray for you? That might be a little dicey. Jesus just might ask God to kill you. He might say: “Father, please let Lazarus die of his sickness.” He might say: “Father, let Peter be crucified.” He might say: “Father, let the rich young ruler lose all his wealth.” Would you say “amen” to any of this if it applied to you?
Are Jesus’ words shameful? If they were not, today’s preachers would not avoid them like the plague. Jesus told one man if he followed him he would have to live under the bridge. He told another man to sell all he has and give the proceeds to the poor. He told others to hate their husbands, wives and parents. These unpleasant requirements don’t recommend Jesus’ discipleship. Add a comment
When I was a new believer, the Lord told me a parable. He said a father came home from work one day to discover that his little daughter ran away and hid from him instead of running towards him and embracing him as she used to do. What was the matter with the girl? Someone had convinced her that her Father was a murderer. As a result, she was afraid for her life. Maybe her Father might want to kill her too.
This situation is quite unusual. If you abuse a little girl’s father in her presence, she will fight you no matter how big you are. If she cannot hit you, she will bite you. But when the devil disparaged God to Eve, she believed. He told her God is a liar. He told her God was not interested in her progress, and she believed the lie. Thereby, Eve failed the first exam set for her. She also tutored her husband, Adam, to be a failure just like her. Add a comment