Meeting the Master
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; and no one comes to the Father except through me...If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free...Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death."(John 14:6, 8:31-32, 8:51)
God decides to transport 100 christians back in time to a mountainside where his Son is teaching. These christians come from different times and places over the past 2000 years, and they all say they believe in the person they call "the christ". They all claim to know the bible very well, and have been studying it for at least 20 years.
They have now seen and heard the Son of God teach what he taught in Matt. 5 through 7. They are struck by his demeanor and the power and authority which shows through when he teaches. His Words seem almost completely different now that they are actually there and listening to him - there is something about the Spirit in which he teaches that makes the things he says very clear. In fact, his Words seem troubling to almost all of the 100 christians. When he speaks what he speaks, everything in him seems to say that his Words mean what they say and there is very little confusion about what he is saying. The christians are so used to believing things like, 'well, he could not have meant that' and then running to other bible writers or their shepherds/pastors and teachers to explain why he didn't mean what he said. This leads the christians to have many questions about what he teaches. God gives them the opportunity to ask their questions of his Son, as his Son finishes speaking to the multitudes and starts to walk down the mountain towards them.
Among all 100 christians, the ones which come from the latter part of the 21st century have the most questions and are the most troubled by what they saw and heard.
The first one said, 'Lord, you speak with such power...I was really impressed. I just have one question. You said that we are to love our enemies and do good to those who seek to harm us. But I come from a christian nation, and our christian president rightfully ordered us to war to defend our nations interests and our christian nation's way of life. Surely you didn't mean that we ought to love THOSE enemies, Lord. They are muslims and they reject you, Lord. So, aren't we justified in killing them? Our president is a christian after all and we are a christian nation. And if we don't kill them, they might kill us and then we could not maintain your church".
Jesus said, 'There are multitudes who claim to have me as their Master and Lord, but I am not their Master for they do not do what I say. You are free to do the same. The way of life you seek to protect is against my Life. I say love your enemies. You are free to reject my Words and thus me and to disobey me if you wish'.
Another christian jumps in with a question along the same lines. "Lord, but Paul says that we ought to obey our government, and our government says we have to serve in our armed forces. Paul says that the governments are ministers set up by your Father. So aren't we then obeying God when we obey our christian government and go and kill our enemies who are also your enemies..."
Jesus says, 'You are free to listen to Paul or 'the bible' if you'd like. But I say love your enemies and do good to those who harm you and seek to harm you. Those who choose to make themselves my enemies are those who know what I say and don't do it. If you loved my Father, you would want to be with Him and thus you would not kill to keep your life in the world. Perhaps you don't really love my Father and thus you don't really want to be with Him?'
One particularly upset looking christian speaks to Jesus. "Lord, I didn't hear you say anything about church or christians meeting...how could you not address the most important thing...church...and I even heard you say something to the effect of denigrating Paul, the greatest apostle."
Jesus responds, 'What you call "the church" is not part of my kingdom or Family. I have called individuals out of the world and into my kingdom and my Father's Family. If you listen to all of my teachings, I don't say that you need to meet with others in a certain way in order to please my Father. In fact, what you need to do is to love one another, and that happens in daily life, not at some meeting.
But this you are unwilling to do.
Your meeting-anity actually nullifies my Words. My Father is seeking those who worship Him in Spirit and in truth, not in meetings or song. In terms of Paul, you are free to base your faith and build your life on his teachings if you like. But I am the Good Shepherd who will lead you into eternal life. No other person can do that and all others you rely on to do so will fail. Many come in my name and deceive, but only those who DO WHAT I SAY are truly my sheep.'
The angry christian continues, "So, you are saying that our christian leaders and pastors and our churches are not part of your kingdom? You are saying that if we build our faith on the bible and Paul's teachings - which is the Word of God - we are wrong?"
Jesus replies, 'Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear my Word. I am the living Word that came down from the Father. The book you call the bible is not my Father's Word. Yes it contains some of his Words, but I am the Word of God. You search and study and memorize and revere the scripture/bible and in that you think you have eternal life.
Yet you refuse to come to ME who is Life.
I am the light of the world not some book. I am the door through whom people must enter to find my Father, not a chapter, verse or doctrine therein. I am the Rock and if you build your lives on my Words, then you are building on the Rock. If you build on any other man's words, then you are building on sand, and great will the fall be when all things are judged.'
The angry christian blurts out one more response, "You are not the Jesus that I know and that my faithful christian leaders teach me about". He then turns to the other christians, "Can you imagine denigrating God's Holy Word the bible, and denigrating the man who established the church - the great apostle Paul".
Jesus says no more to this christian, he just looks at him sadly and turns to the next christian who asks him a question.
"Lord, you seem to be saying that we should live by your words alone. But there are so many good christian authors who have such good insight into so many things. Paul was the first, and now christian psychologists, philosophers and teachers follow in his steps and are so wonderful in their ability to help us understand ourselves and help us through our problems. Don't you agree?"
Jesus says, 'I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. Come to me and I will solve your problems. My Words are the only Words which can truly help you, and thus the only words which will endure forever. My Father will see to it that my Words and teachings will be preserved and all the Words which I speak and which will be written down are sufficient for you to follow me and thus please my Father IF you do so by abiding in my Father's Spirit. There are no truths with an eternal bearing which I don't address, for I am the truth that matters. All other voices who claim to have insights to my Father and my kingdom and who say that you need their words or help, are deceivers. If you would but trust in me and listen to me and do what I say, you would not have the emptiness you are trying to fill with the words of others.'
"But Lord", he continues, "we support our christian leaders and they serve you. Isn't that what you taught?" Jesus says, 'No. I say you have only one leader, myself, and everyone who follows me will obey all my teachings, not others. No one can follow me for you - in this you are badly deceived. Unless YOU forsake all YOU hold dear in this world, you too cannot be my disciple. Those you call your leaders are hirelings...they only do what they do for what they get out of it. They cannot and do not care for your soul the way only My Father and I can'.
"Lord", another christian speaks, "I have been studying the bible for over 20 years to show myself approved, and I must say your words do seem at variance to what I have come to understand through my diligent study. For instance, your words about not being able to serve God and material things. Surely you don't mean that we can't have careers and thus provide well for our families".
Jesus answers, 'You cannot hear my voice and my Father's Words because you try to approach him primarily with your mind instead of with a heart of child-like faith. If one is to be my disciple, he or she must forsake all the world has to offer. You cannot serve God and material things. Your career is your service to material things and your "provision" is just covetousness. How much time do you spend working for money versus doing what I say? My Father has given you only so many years to be a faithful child to Him. Trust in Him, trust also in me. Don't work for the food which spoils, but for the food which endures to eternal life. If you don't give your life away in this world, you will lose it. But if you give your life away by loving and serving me and others, then you will abide in my Life and eternal life. Do this, and some of your family might become part of my Father's Family, and this is all that eternally matters.'
Another christian asks the Lord, "Lord, I understand you to teach how very important the family is, and thus I am a bit confused by your words to this other brother. In our time, the family has been under such pressure to break up, and we have many broken families. I didn't hear you say how we ought to work to preserve the family. Could you please explain".
Jesus says, 'I did address the Family, but you don't have ears to hear and it is not the family you are talking about. You speak of the natural family, not my Father's Family. I say be part of my Father's Family first, before your natural family, and then you will be in God's will. Do not focus on the natural family, for then you are missing the kingdom of God.'
"But Lord", the upset christian responds, "how can you say that we should neglect our family. How can we serve you and be a good example if our family is not in order." Jesus replies, 'I didn't say neglect your family, but you are not willing to receive my Words. I say your love for your natural family should look like hatred compared to your love for my Father and myself. Follow me and let the dead bury their dead. Then you will know the true Family.'
Another christian speaks up. "Lord, I have found my christian education extremely useful in serving you. How come I didn't hear you say that we ought to give our children a good education".
Jesus replies, 'The education you refer to is actually training against following me. The children simply need to know my Father and myself, and to love and serve us by following me. You will seldom hear the truth from people who take from you in order to give, and those who do so are certainly not obeying me in that respect. Build your life on my Words, and be faithful, for that it all that will matter eternally. Don't be afraid to trust in my Father to give you what you really need. Seek first the kingdom of God and food, shelter and clothing will be provided to you. Again I say, you must hate your life in this world in order to find Life eternal'.
"Lord", another christain speaks, "we home school our children, and so we protect them from all the evil in the school system. This is good and right, correct?" Jesus replies, 'Your motivation for home schooling misses the mark. You don't home school out of love for my Father. You home school out of self-righteousness and fear. In your home schooling you still teach your children to love the world and respect the kingdoms of this world, including the educational system. Thus, your home schooling is just another way to train your children to reject me and my Way and to instead love the world.'
"Lord", another christians asks, "studying your Word is the first work of love to know you, isn't it?" 'No' Jesus says, 'because you call 'the bible' my Word, and it is not...you listen to Paul instead of me in this respect. I am the Word of God. You think that by studying the Scripture you have eternal life, but you refuse to come to me in order to have Life. You can never approach, understand or please my Father by the knowledge you have in your head about my Father, myself or the bible. I have plainly said you must have faith as a child in order to see and come into the kingdom of God. But you chose the way of the intellect and call that faith. Instead of receiving my Words as a child and living as I teach, you continue to hold onto the world and substitute christian bible religion and facts in your head in place of truly knowing ME.'
Another christian speaks, "Lord, I hear what you are saying and I agree. I see many of the problems in christianity. I am definitely a sold out christian. In fact, we are building a christian community that is separate from the wasteful world and ecologically sound and thus not harmful to your Father's creation. Isn't this what you would like us to do with our lives?"
Jesus says, 'Actually, you are doing what environmentalists say, not what I say. I don't want you building christian eco-communities for that is not my kingdom either. I want you to follow me, to love each other, and to spend your time and effort on turning other people's hearts to my Father and myself. You cannot do this as you are so busy building a lifestyle and focusing on being green. I want you to be my Father's Family and love each other.'
This christian continues, "...but Lord, we have to live somewhere and the world is so wicked. Surely some isolation from the world is good. And once we build our community, then we will invite the people who want to follow you to come live in our community. And again, our eco-community is not wasteful of natural resources".
Jesus says, 'My Father so loved the world that he sent me into it, and I do not live in the wilderness isolated from the wayward children I am trying to save. You are worth so much more that the rest of my Father's creation. Please forsake your environmental beliefs and follow only me. Don't build anything except relationships with my Father, myself and others who want try and love us back. If you do this, all the other food, shelter and clothing stuff will take care of itself.'
An older man speaks to the Lord. "Lord", he says, "If what I am hearing is correct, then I spent my life deceiving people as a christian pastor. But this can't be true. I gave up a profitable life in private industry or high level government position to serve you. The people I shepherded commented many times how gifted I was. I read your words daily, and prayed for 4 hours each day. I spent my whole life teaching people to revere your Father and know your Word, the bible. I supervised many Sunday school teachers who brought the children to you. I even worked a few miracles in your name. Surely you won't condemn me for my sincere efforts to serve you?"
Jesus replies with a very sad countenance, 'Sir, I plainly say - and you read many times - that those who obey me are the ones who love me, and who will be loved by my Father. You did not do that. You listened to other voices and built your own little kingdom in the world. Of those given much, much will be required. If you didn't regularly proclaim that you knew my Father and myself, then you would have no sin. But since you claim to know my Father and myself and to understand my kingdom, your sin remains.'
An exasperated christian says, "well, Lord, if you don't want us starting and building churches and christian communities, then what were we supposed to do with our lives?"
Jesus replies, 'Just what I have said. Love my Father and me, love your neighbor, love each other, and love your enemies, and while you are doing this, speak my Words. By this life, you were to go and bring other people to my Father, myself, and thus Life - but this you didn't do. Instead, you built your christian religious social groups you called my church, and continued to love the world - power, recognition and popularity among men, living for material things, achievements and pleasures of the world. You listened to your scholars, leaders and other voices and thus you rejected my voice. You lead people in worthless and dead outward rituals leading them to believe that these things please my Father.
I plainly gave you a new command, that you love one another as I loved you, and THIS is how the world will know that you are my disciples, by this love for one another. But this you did not do. You did not share your life or even your material possessions freely. Instead you clung to the love of this world and did not lose your life in the world. Thus, you were not my disciples. I tried to warn you against this error when I said that there will be many who say to me 'Lord, did we not work miracles in your name and prophesy in your name and build your church'. And I will reply, 'Leave me you who don't do what I say and yet claim to know me'.'
"But Lord", the christians say almost as one voice, "we did love each other. We were polite to each other, and kind to each other. We visited each other's fellowships, and even visited each other in our houses. We gave lots of money to help the needy, and we had a great apartment rental program for those who visited our church and needed a place to stay. We saw each other at least six hours a week and were friendly to each other during and after our meetings. How can you say we did not love one another?"
Jesus replied, 'you gave only out of your abundance, and only as it was convenient for you. You not only did not truly serve one another, but you made a mockery of my words to lay down your lives for a friend and to love and care for one another as I did for my disciples. You did not sell your possessions in order to help those with less...you did not receive into your houses those who were following me and needed a place to stay...and you hated and treated contemptuously those who spoke my words to you...don't you remember your words of condemnation upon my disciples...'heretics', 'cultists', 'bible haters', 'ignorant fools', 'deceived idiots'? Since you loved the world and thus hated my Father and myself, you were received and accepted by the world and thus did not experience the rejection and persecution that happens to all those who truly follow me. I say to you, in as much as you did it to the least of these my brethren, you did it to me. And likewise, in as much as you did not love my followers, you did not love me.'
Out of the 100 christians, there was one towards the back who didn't say a word while the others spoke. Towards the end of his studying the bible for 20 years, he finally saw through christian religion and bowed his heart before the Light. He just listened and had an expression of relief, reverence and love on his face as he looked at - and listened to Jesus. Finally, when all the others had asked their questions and made their comments, Jesus pointed to this fellow at the back and said, 'See this man, he is a disciple of mine. He was humble enough to receive my Words and he did his best to live by my Words even though it happened late in his life. And thus, he will be received as a good and faithful servant, for he sought to be the lowest servant and to forsake his life in the world.' Jesus gave him a warm smile as joy washed across the man's face. The nameless man said nothing, but bowed his head and wept.
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