The Image of Jesus: Was He Black? The Search for the True Jesus: Historically and Theologically
April 19, 2017 by Herbert Daughtry
Before I continue the “Search for the True Jesus: Historically and Theologically,” I think it’s important to state why I want everyone to view, even study, especially Christians, the CNN series on “Believers.” Without controversy, what we see throughout the world and studied in history, religion can be, and often is, as practiced by its devotees, wicked, cruel, destructive, ignorant, exploitative, and oppressive – every evil act has been done by people claiming to act on behalf of their god(s). It would be amusing if it were not so serious. The “spookier” the people who are supposed to be possessed by God, the more people seem to love them and be attracted by them, and even become their followers.
It is true that extrasensory acts has nothing to do with religion. A person may be clairvoyant and non-religious, and even a charlatan. In other words, we should not believe that because a person can tell our fortune, make up a prediction, or some other act that’s beyond the norm, he or she is a sincere servant of God. The Bible teaches many of the “miracles” or acts beyond the norm that Moses performed, the magicians or soothsayers could do the same. At Duke University, Dr. J.B. Rhine, who founded the Parapsychology Lab, demonstrated that people who possessed some of the most unusual, extrasensory acts did not view themselves or their acts as religious. The Bible says to test every spirit whether they be of God.
Ripley, who used to write columns in many news outlets called “Believe It or Not,” wrote that “a man is never so strange as when he is seeking his God.” But, the true followers of Jesus Christ – granted that I am biased, does not fall into the category of the weird and strange; and, surely not among the hypocrites and the parasitical. For the Bible states that we are saved by faith through grace. It is a gift of God, not of works less any person should boast. Because we are saved, converted, or born again, we obey the laws of God. We do good works because we are already saved, and not to get saved. In God’s infinite wisdom, God has eliminated the opportunity for arrogance, conceit, and self-aggrandizement.
Our salvation and relation to God and others should be simple enough. We do not need to offer animals, carry icons or statues around, burn candles and incense, travel thousands of miles to holy places, kiss the feet of sacred statues, drink or bathe in Holy water, or flagellate ourselves. To repeat, we only need to express simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, love our neighbors as ourselves, and serve others.
I remember going to Israel a long time ago. I was on the El Al flight. I was the only person of African ancestry. Needless to say, I attracted a lot of attention. The security officers kept questioning me. I became annoyed when one of the officers asked me, “Who do you work for?” I angrily replied, “I work for God.” The young security officer shook his head and mumbled under his breath, “That’s the problem in the world. Everyone works for God.” I thought to myself, “How true it is!”
Looking across the world at the exploitation, oppression, and violence (every conceivable inhumane, uncivilized act is done in the name of God), sometimes, I wish we could remove all religious symbols, including churches, temples, mosques, incense, bells, holy vestments, statues, icons, etc. I guess, occasionally, God must feel the same way. For He said through his prophet, Isaiah: “When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts?”
“Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.
“When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood! Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong.
“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord.” (Isaiah 1:12-18)
Mr. Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave who became one of the greatest advocates for freedom, justice and inequality in human history, told the religious people of his day that they were hypocrites for while enslaving four million people, they were celebrating Independence Day. In 1857, he was invited to speak in Buffalo, NY to a Fourth of July Celebration.
He said, “What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days of the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is a constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes that would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation of the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of these United States at this very hour.
“Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.”
If we could practice three doable Scriptures:
-The prophet Micah asked, “What does the Lord require of you? But to love mercy, to do justly, and to walk humbly with God.” (Micah 6:8)
-Jesus put it another way, “Love God with all of your heart, mind, and strength. And love God will all your strength.”
-Then, there’s the Golden Rule which Jesus (and 500 years before him, the Chinese sage, Confucius) taught: “Do unto others as you would want others to do unto you.”
What a wonderful world it would be! With the technology and knowledge we possess today, we could make a heaven on earth.
… to be continued.