The Son of God came to earth as a man. He was human, red-blooded, physical. He was born of a woman and nursed at her breasts. He was real. You could have given him a hug. He was the sacrifice for the sins of the entire world, for every man’s evil deeds, the complete compensation for all the guilt of mankind. But why did He have to wait until He was in his thirties to be the sacrifice? Wasn’t it because he had to be mature enough to teach people what they needed to do to be in God’s kingdom? And why did He even have to say anything to anyone? Couldn’t He have just been sacrificed for our sins without saying all the words He spoke?
No! Our Master knew He needed to give us many instructions. He knew we needed to be taught what to do. He spoke many things because he wanted us to do something! Although many people today acknowledge His sacrifice, not many do the things He said. What about His teachings? Do all His words mean nothing?
When I became a Christian, I learned that only some of the things He said were to be obeyed. No one could ever explain to me what standard they used to determine which of His words were to be obeyed and which ones could be ignored. Is the Word of God then just something that is relative, or is it absolute?1
The truth is that most of mankind does not believe the words the Master spoke when He was here on earth. Their lack of faith keeps them from doing what He taught. This lack of faith in His words is behind every evil thing that has happened on earth since His first coming up until this present day. Mankind’s disobedience to His teaching is unbelief in Him. No one is more responsible for this than the ones who claim to be His followers but do not do what He says.2
What was He trying to teach us anyway? He said so much! He was teaching us to love each other just as He loved us. He wanted all of His followers to be best friends, totally in love with each other. He wanted them to share everything they had with each other, caring for one another unconditionally. That’s what He was trying to teach us. Yes, He came to forgive us of our sins, but more than that, to teach us to love each other instead of living for ourselves. He wanted to teach us how to love each other in a radical way, the way He loved. This is His will for all of us who believe in Him.
The Christian religion certainly bears the greatest portion of the blame for the unbelief that is in the world. Why? Because it is the one portion of the world’s society that claims to be His followers. Why don’t Christians believe in what He said enough to obey it? What is that like?
It is like a village of people who call a certain man to be their king. As king he goes about the village giving commands and teaching the people what to do. The villagers feign reverence to him whenever he is around, even bowing down, giving money, and singing songs. But never once do they do what he tells them to do.
Eventually some of the people start to laugh at him. What a laughing stock he is! A king only has as much authority as his subjects give him. To the degree a king is not obeyed, he is only a figurehead, like a mythical character that isn’t real. In the same way, Christ is only Lord to the degree that His followers obey Him. The disobedience of His followers proves their disloyalty to Him. It proves that they do not really love Him.3 The disobedience or unbelief of Christians brings shame to the Son of God. Not only this, it also feeds the unbelief of the whole world.
Because Christians do not believe what their Messiah taught about love and about abandoning all they have to follow Him, this disobedience gives people a reason to sneer at the words of the one whom Christians call their king. Without submission or obedience to His word, there can be no concrete evidence of His authority in a person’s life. No one has respect for a person who says much but is not listened to and obeyed.