Thursday 10 March 2016
Is Jesus a genuine Prophet of God?
These very works which I am doing bear me witness that the Father has sent me. John 5,36
Is Jesus a real Prophet, someone whom God really sent to this world, revealing the truth in order to make it possible for people to receive Eternal Life as promised by God, or is Jesus an imposter, who pretended to be what he in fact was not, deceiving God’s people with magical tricks and false teachings?
Everyone who encountered Jesus had to decide for themselves whether Jesus was genuine or false. In today’s Gospel reflection we see how Jesus tried to convince his adversaries that he was indeed genuine, reminding them that John the Baptist, who was recognised as a real prophet, also affirmed this. Furthermore Jesus pointed out that the “works” themselves which he performed were clearly works of God and not some magical tricks and therefore confirmed that his teachings were from God. Finally Jesus referred to the Hebrew Scriptures in general and in particular to Moses who “wrote about me.” This refers to the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures called the Torah in which the well-known prophecy of the offspring of the woman is mentioned (Genesis 3:15), the redeemer who will crush the head of Satan. In spite of all this evidence, his adversaries did not believe in him and continued to look for a way to kill him.
This conflict between worldly people and Jesus remains with us even today. The Catholic Church continues to proclaim Jesus as Lord and Saviour of all humankind, calling people to faith and conversion in order to receive the gift of Eternal Life through perseverance in the grace of God. But the world is full of worldly people who have other beliefs and other interests and values which are in conflict with Jesus Christ. They will even look for all kinds of reasons to discredit Jesus and to try and convince the world that the Catholic Church teaches a false religion. One thing is clear however, and that is that the spiritual blessings Catholics enjoy through their faith in Jesus as proclaimed by the Church are so wonderful and so real that throughout the ages many Catholics have even accepted to be killed rather than give up their faith in Jesus. And this is true even in our own time and place. The beatification of Blessed Benedict Daswa whom the Church recognises as a genuine martyr of Christ testifies to this reality.
People can debate as much as they wish concerning the question of the authenticity of Jesus and his message. But it is only when we personally experience the actual blessings of faith in Jesus that we realise how true Jesus really is. Yes, Jesus is indeed a real Prophet, someone whom God really sent to this world, revealing the Truth in order to make it possible for people of every place and time to receive Eternal Life as promised by God
Do I waste a lot of time debating about Jesus and religion with worldly people or do I get on with my vocation by personally witnessing to a blessed life of faith in Jesus Christ through loving service where there are genuine human needs?
Lord Jesus, you are so wonderful and merciful and have made our lives full of purpose and love. Help us to remain faithful to you through our loving service of the needy so that the blessings we enjoy during this season of Lent may attract others who are far from you and help them to believe and experience your grace and blessings for themselves. Amen.
+Bishop Joaõ Rodrigues
Diocese of Tzaneen