Whether we learn from experience or from researching every possible detail before purchasing, or acceptance of “proven theories or methods,” we still rely on the expertise of other individuals. No person is “self-made.” Seeking knowledge coupled with wisdom is the foundation for living a fulfilling life. It is a personal decision to evolve in a world that consists of dynamic processes, norms, and values determined by the people for the people. Even if, we agree or disagree with the global culture, we are compelled to make the decision to fit in or exclude ourselves. Our convictions always involve some level of risk. Yes, we have the freedom to stand against the status quo, but that decision takes courage and self-confidence. Most often, exclusion from one’s peers can lead to a lonely existence.
Humanity has several common threads. We thrive off knowing the most credible, the elite, the record-breakers, the billionaires, etc., on a global level. When you need to source accurate information on the past history, achievements, and current activities of leading world figures, from heads of state to sporting greats, The International Who’s Who 2020 published by Routledge is available for the discounted price of $960.
But an issue has arisen that plagues modern civilization. The Who’s Who are being challenged by the up-and-coming who desire that their opinions are heard. And that is the dilemma that many of us face in changing times, “Who do I listen to?” Why are people who possess similar credentials and considered experts in their profession or discipline on the opposite ends of the spectrum? There are many factors, but one that readily projects itself, we have the freedom to express our opinions–whether factual or not. Our focus is on people. Many have lost or never possessed the motivation to research credible sources to know the truth of the matter.
At the age of 17, I entered the healthcare profession as a licensed vocational nurse [LVN, LPN]. Years later, when I became a registered nurse, my knowledge, along with my clinical responsibilities, increased substantially. However, there was one subject that remained the same, Human Anatomy and Physiology, throughout the pursuit of my advanced nursing degree. The structure and function of the human body are valid and unequivocally non-refutable. The disagreement among physicians is limited to the varied treatment modalities for their patients. Still, there is not much leeway in the delivery of patient care. All healthcare professionals are governed by regulatory agencies.
Sadly, humanity has a more significant problem than the anarchy against world leaders, disagreements between medical experts, and the chaos between federal agencies, pharmaceutical companies, and politicians. We are involved in a spiritual war between Christian religious leaders and their followers of the various Protestant denominations. Within the body of believers, there is disagreement over the Holy scriptures, disbelief of the Trinity, and whether or not, God really cares about human beings. Satan has gained additional followers–former believers because his deceptions include the promise of wealth. One of his tactics is that human beings have the power of manifestation to produce money and other material objects. The catch: They must proclaim their allegiance to him. The war of believers has escalated to the point that many have forgotten why they committed to serve God.
When did God become a religion or denomination?
Is there one and only true God? Why didn’t God forgive Satan? The study of the Bible, is it important? Why is the life of believer so hard? I know what I did was wrong, but doesn’t God promise forgiveness? These are just a few of the questions that many believers are asking. Many of the religious leaders are avoiding the answers to these questions by preaching motivational messages.
Does anyone remember that the most critical aspect of our lives is to have a relationship with Jesus Christ?
Historically, dissension among religious experts has existed since biblical times. “One day the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, demanding that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.” Matthew 16:1
- After 6AD, Jewish religious leaders were appointed by the Romans.
- The High Priests were both secular and religious leaders of the Jewish community.
- Rabbis were Jewish religious teachers who taught and discussed interpretations of the Jewish law…Jesus was regarded as a Jewish rabbi (‘teacher’) by most of his followers (see Mark 10:1, 17, 35 & 51). The teaching of most rabbis reflected one of the three main religious schools of thought – Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes.
- The Jewish Council (the ‘Sanhedrin’) was also both a religious and political assembly. It enforced the religious laws regulating Jewish worship and legislated on day-to-day affairs in Jerusalem and throughout Judaea. Prominent members of the council in Jesus’s day included Nicodemus (see John 3:1), Joseph of Arimathea (see Mark 15:43 & John 19:38-39), and Gamaliel (who was Paul’s religious tutor) (see Acts 5:34 & 22:3). https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney1/21-the-romanojewish-world-of-the-new-testament/jewish-religious-leaders/
There is a growing phenomenon in 2021 when people hear or read conflicting opinions. They readily accept the false and the inaccurate information but disregard the truth. “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:24. Either they lack knowledge from not studying the Bible or possess the will to serve God according to their mindset.
The book of John is an account of Jesus’ disciple who was an eye witness to the events that He documented. Whenever Jesus taught, He was always challenged by the religious leaders [Matthew 16:1-4]. But their attempts were futile. They were very knowledgeable in the scriptures and doctrines, still they did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah or the Son of God. Regardless of the supernatural miracles Jesus performed, the religious leaders refused to accept Jesus as the Messiah–prophesied in Isaiah 7:14. Jesus’ parables [a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels.] exposed their diabolical mindsets, making them appear as leaders uneducated in the Scriptures.
Jesus did not have an easy life. He dealt with rejection, anger, and was always avoiding the people’s desire to stone Him to death. Even Jesus’ disciples had their own agenda. The disciples argued amongst themselves quite frequently over “Who was the greatest?” Severe rivalry existed between the twelve men. They were so competitive, when Jesus attempted to warn them of the deception of the religious leaders, they misunderstood His words. “Watch out!” Jesus warned them. “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” At this, they began to argue with each other because they hadn’t brought any bread.” Matthew 16:6-7
It would be interesting to know how they would have answered the religious leader’s confrontational questions. Sadly, even though the disciples were in the physical presence of Jesus as God Incarnate—the Son of God who is God in human form, manifesting divinity, holiness, and righteousness, their minds were filled with foolishness.
After making the Pharisee’s and Sadducees stand down [Matthew 16:1-4] Jesus and the disciples traveled to Caesarea Philippi; Jesus asked His disciples two questions:
- “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” Matthew 16:13
- “But who do you say I am?” Matthew 16:15
We can easily search the Internet to answer the first question. Countless religious articles describing various doctrinal beliefs of who Jesus really was [yes, other religions view Jesus in past tense] are available. They say that Jesus was a prophet, a great man, etc., but never the Son of God. Nor do religions apart from Christianity believe in the Second Coming of Jesus [Revelation 22].
Question #2 is up-close and personal. “Who do you say I am?” confronts your intimate, personal beliefs of who Jesus is to you. Salvation is a 1:1 relationship with God who is only available through His Son, Jesus Christ. The saying, “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time,” is only applicable to humanity. We can never fool God at any time!
The Holy Spirit motivates us to self-evaluate, which is only possible when using the scriptures as our standard. We must come clean and face the most crucial relationship in the life of a believer. During worship this morning, I questioned the strength of my relationship with Jesus while reading Matthew 16. I could easily use many adjectives to describe the Alpha and Omega, but that would not answer the question, “Sonya, who do you say I am?”
Prayer: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson