Jesus insists His disciples must reject everything pertaining to men.
Everything man-made is not of God. That is why John says:
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world..” (1 John 2:15-17).
Jesus says: “My kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36). Accordingly, Paul says: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2).
Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, was born of very poor parentage in a manger. His parents were so poor they could not afford to offer the required lamb as a sacrifice for a male child that opened the womb. So, they offered the poor man’s substitute: a pair of turtledoves.
“If she is not able to bring a lamb, then she may bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons — one as a burnt offering and the other as a sin offering. So, the priest shall make atonement for her, and she will be clean.” (Leviticus 12:8).
Jesus was born in a nondescript village called Bethlehem: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel.” (Micah 5:2).
He grew up in obscurity. He did not live in a major city but in Nazareth; a town not even on the map. Therefore, someone asked disparagingly: “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46).
Chalk and cheese
The ways of God are antithetical to the ways of men. God says: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
This ensures that God’s yardsticks are diametrically opposite to those of men. Indeed, if God says something is white, men will say it is black. If God says something is bad, men will say it is good. If God says something is dreadful, men will say it is wonderful. Solomon says: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 14:12).
God is spirit; man is flesh and blood. The things of God are spiritual. The things of men are physical. The things of God are invisible. The things of men are visible. The things of God are eternal. The things of men are temporal.
The things of God are invaluable. The things of men are worthless. Jesus says: “What is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:15).
This led Paul to declare that: “What things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:7-8).
Men determine excellence by natural giftings. Lionel Messi is great because he is a good footballer. Usain Bolt is great because he can run very fast. Albert Einstein was great because he was very intelligent.
But God disregards all giftings in flesh. Thus, Solomon says: “The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favour to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11).
Agbani Darego was acclaimed for her beauty. Hollywood actors and actresses are renowned for their looks. But: “(Jesus) wasn’t some handsome king. Nothing about the way He looked made Him attractive to us. He was hated and rejected; His life was filled with sorrow and terrible suffering. No one wanted to look at Him. We despised Him and said, ‘He is a nobody!’” (Isaiah 53:2-3).
Therefore, for the man who is born again of the Spirit, it no longer matters whether he is good-looking or tall or smart or rich or poor. Those are all distinctions of the flesh and not of the Spirit. In the Spirit, such distinctions are non-existent:
“In this new life one’s nationality or race or education or social position is unimportant; such things mean nothing. Whether a person has Christ is what matters, and he is equally available to all.” (Colossians 3:11).
That is why, in the kingdom that God is creating, he scatters every criterion made according to the flesh. The poor become rich, and the rich became poor. The first become last, and the last become first. The old becomes new, and the new becomes old. The master becomes the slave. and the slave becomes the master.
Man is evil
Jesus says: “No one is good but One, that is, God.” (Matthew 19:17). Therefore, anything that is of God is good. Jesus considers only the things pertaining to the kingdom of God to be good.
Since God is the yardstick of goodness, evil is anything and everything that is not of God. Jesus says to Peter: “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:23).
This means, according to Jesus, the things of men are the things of Satan.
Jesus asked the Jews: “The baptism of John — where was it from? From heaven or from men?” (Matthew 21:25). The implication is that if it is from heaven, it cannot be of men. If it is from men, it cannot be from heaven.
Jesus says: “This is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19).
The scriptures concur: “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5). “The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” (Genesis 8:21).
How then can men be good? We can only be good if we are born anew of God: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18).
Therefore, Jesus insists His disciples must reject everything pertaining to men. We must relinquish all earthly allegiances in favour of heavenly allegiances. This includes earthly fatherhood. Jesus says: “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9).
In Jesus’ doctrine, all earthly fathers are evil. (Matthew 7:11). Accordingly, He requires us to reject every natural connection to men:
“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:26). CONTINUED.
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