Christmas: The King, His Message And Us – By Albert Afeso Akanbi

December 22, 2016 – Christmas: The King, His Message And Us – Opinion Article By Albert Afeso Akanbi

In the prequel to this write up I explained why, even though I do not necessarily believe that Jesus was born on December 25, I would not disagree with those who choose to celebrate him on this date. I made the point that Jesus was more a physical heir that did not ascend King David’s throne despite the unawareness of some of today’s Christians of this fact, and also promised to conclude the subject in this article. Finally, I made a point that there is what I choose to refer to as two ‘Jesuses’; The Jesus of Faith and Jesus of History that is.

I believe the later gave birth to the former. The reason why this is so can be glimpsed from the pattern of early man’s thinking process right from the dawn of history. Throughout olden times, from the Sumerians to the Babylonians, Egyptians to Romans, we have seen how mortal men, kings, pharaohs, emperors and so on have worked so hard to cultivate a divine image of themselves. Because of this, there was a time when gods and angels roamed the earth.

So much so that even the Jewish world in which Jesus was born was not spared such ideas. In fact, there was an account in the Biblical book of Acts, of how some men tried to deify Saints Paul and Barnabas when they ‘healed’ a crippled man in Asia Minor, if the two men had not stopped them. If ordinary men can be so easily turned into gods and worshiped, how about Jesus who was of royal blood, who did and said many great things?

But the question is, is it possible that from all that we now know about the man Jesus from history, the bible and even from his own very words himself, did he regard himself as God? I think to guide against reaching this conclusion, there is one among the plethora of sentences that abounds in the Holy Bible that answers this question. ‘…the father is GREATER than I…’. But starting from the council of Nicea till date.

Christians have refused to pay attention to these very profound words of their ‘King of Glory’ who we are all celebrating this season as they have to almost every other of his most important admonitions.

All around the world, throughout the years, there have been no shortage of testimonies of encounters with the Jesus of Faith, chief amongst which was that of Saint Paul. To non-Christians I can imagine how incomprehensible it would be for them how the certainty of an encounter would move certain people to a conviction that such encounters was with the real historical Jesus himself.

How do we so easily decide that this spiritual Jesus was the same Jewish rabbi of 2000 plus years ago? I can not pretend to have an answer.

Jesus was a Jew and he made this clear a thousand times. We must all accept this and understand the fact that he lived at a time and among such a people that are quite different from us, at least in the way they think. Those to whom he belonged -the Jewish people- that ‘saw’ and recorded those stories and passed it down to those who belong to him -the Christians- had certain beliefs about God, the universe and man which they took for granted.

For example, in Jesus’ day as is still the case in some places today, it was axiomatic that an epileptic was possessed of the devil and illnesses were caused by demons, and so the demon must be chased out for the individual to regain health.
I am sure if we look at these things with logical eyes and not through the eyes of faith, we would see things differently.

Jesus wrote no books. His words and deed have been reported over ages, across great geographic and cultural chasms by people holding varying degree of moral beliefs. If he were to appear today, will he endorse all- the misdeeds inclusive- that has been done in his name?

Despite these misunderstanding and our over emphasizing the spirituality of Jesus, I believe there are some things which cannot be taken away from Jesus’ person which we must all strive to imbibe as we celebrate him today. His love, preparedness to accept everyone, both sinners and saints alike, compassion for the sick and the poor, his insight, knowledge and ability to lay deep spiritual truth bare for even the most lowly of people to grasp and so on. These characteristics I believe, have managed to dispel every doubt about him and his mission, and even calls from certain absurd scholastic quarters for a reappraisal of the historical plausibility of his existence.

This is what I think should form the bedrock of our attitude in our celebrations.
Dr Robinson was right when he described Jesus in the following words; ‘…it is in Jesus, and Jesus alone, that there is nothing of self to be seen, but solely the ultimate, unconditional love of God. It is as he emptied himself utterly of himself that he became the carrier of ‘the name which is above every other name’…’
Jesus was a good teacher who made love for fellowman and total submission to the will of God the central focus of his message. And this is a thing that is grossly missing in our world, country and daily lives today.

A humble rabbi of royal blood, he sought only to teach his countrymen how to be better Jews by treating others as they wanted to be treated. The same message we daily hypocritically reject by our actions, celebrating ourselves instead rather than celebrating him in true reflection.

Of course today’s Christian, following the Pauline tradition, would want us to believe Jesus was God himself. Even though I am not here trying to set aside the importance of the Christian doctrine of The Holy Trinity, my deeply held belief is that Jesus was a good teacher who preached love for God and neighbour and as such we should reflect this in our celebrations and call to question our attitude that has neglected this message.

Today’s Christian must also recognize that the real Jesus was more human than they care to contemplate. That he was a great man of God who called men to reach out to other men with love. That Saint Paul entered the equation, and what he made of him and his message has been the most astonishing theme in human history. That a few centuries after Saint Paul, a few men who claim to get their apostolic calling from Jesus’ disciples, at Nicea, going with the norm of their times, made Jesus into a ‘God of God’, ‘Light of Light’ and ‘Very God of Very God’.

Though I feel unqualified to speak on the development of the great Christian theology over the years, as a man who live in a largely Christian country, where their actions may affect me one way or the other, who knows people’s actions are largely a function of what they imbibe, I think it won’t be out of line for me to speak about these things and if I say that even though the Romans stuck Jesus on the cross 2000 plus years ago, that so long as that Indefinable Force that men call God used him to touch the lives of many and prove to us that selflessness rather than the bully-boy mentality should prevail in the way we treat one another other, Jesus Christ will continue to live in the minds and through the actions of men like me…

Merry Christmas..
About the author: Albert Afeso Akanbi is a Novelist, Researcher and a Humanitarian. He is the author of three novels, a number of short stories and articles. He lives in Abuja, FCT, Nigeria and he is a father.
He tweets @afeso82 and share updates at BBM Channel PIN C004489A2.

2 thoughts on “Christmas: The King, His Message And Us – By Albert Afeso Akanbi

  1. MR AFESO, IF NOT THAT MILLIONS OF CHRISTIANS WHO ARE PROBABLY EASILY SWAYED by deceptive talks like this would read your article, I wouldn’t have cared to reply you at all. It fails me to imagine why you have taken it upon yourself to confuse and mislead people at a time like this. You maintained in your previous article that “Jesus of Faith” and “Jesus of History” were two different persons. But here you now suggest that they are the same, only that the Jesus of History was later deified. If you are marked with this level of inconsistency, you should expect only slow-minded men to follow your musings.

    THE SUMMARY OF YOUR THOUGHT IS that Jesus is not God, but a mere man like you and I who was incidentally deified by his followers. You speak at length about post-Jesus’s birth, but have you ever cared to look at the events that antecedes Jesus’ birth? Have you ever looked at the many prophecies how a messiah was to come and save his people, or how a a virgin was to conceive and bear a son?

    ISAIAH 7:14 READS “… the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him IMMANUEL (which means ‘GOD with us’).”

    ISAIAH 9:6 “FOR UNTO US A CHILD IS born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, THE MIGHTY GOD, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace”

    MR AFESO, NOTICE that Jesus is called God in both passages. If He was called God long before He was born, where, then, did you get the idea that He was deified? To deify and object means that the object was something else before it was made a god. But since Jesus was already God before He was born, does it not mean that He was God from the beginning?

    THERE ARE several other verses in the scripture that minced no words about Christs deity, but for the purpose of time, let me talk of only one additional passage of such. After Jesus had risen from the dead, he appeared to His disciples. But Thomas was not with them. And so Thomas doubted and said that unless he put his fingers in Jesus’s wounds caused by the nails that had pierced his hands, that he would never believe the story of resurrection. Jesus had to appear a second time to them for the sake of Thomas. And after Thomas’ doubts had been dispelled, he exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:28.

    ALSO CONSIDER the prophecies concerning how the messiah was to suffer and die (Isaiah 53), and wonder if any other person fulfills those prophecies like Jesus Christ. The thing you fail to understand, just like the orthodox Jews, is that the Messiah’s mission was not to form a political alliance of some sort or to lead a revolution against a worldly government, but to liberate man from the tyranny of sin and reconcile him with his God. People would rather acknowledge Jesus as a great teacher of moral principles whose teachings, if adhered to, would change the world for good. What causes men to step back is when the issue of Christ’s divinity is raised. And so you are not the first to think like this.

    MY TAKE IS that you are from the Grail Message, an Eckist or such. All you people do is try to denature Jesus of his divinity and wear him permanent human nature so that you could place Him at par with other men of faiths like Buddha, Mahanta, or Muhammad. But you fail woefully. Jesus shall one day, as God and Judge over all, judge all these people, together with you and people like you who argue for the devil.

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