Religious leaders discuss the word of God in this weekly feature. Published on Fridays, Church Talk discusses themes from the Bible as well as looking at current events in a Christian context.
‘Pirianga mou tikai kia Iesu’
“Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? Ko Toku nei nooanga roa kio kotou nei e, e kare akerai koe i kite iaku e Philipa?” – John 14: 9.
These words were not spoken as a rebuke, nor even with surprise.
Jesus was leading Philip on to a whole new level and dimension of experience in order for him to see and recognise who He really and truly is.
After several years he had spent with his disciples, interacted with them almost anywhere and everywhere, kept no secret from them and done great and wonderful things beyond the natural and ordinary things in life. Yet, they failed to see and acknowledge who he really was.
We can live a long and lasting relationship, be in marriage, at home with our children and family, at work with our bosses and employees yet still fail to fully know and understand who they really are. Jesus challenged his disciples in Matthew 16:15 when he said, ‘But whom say ye that I the Son of Man am’? It was Simon Peter who answered and said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God’.
But in John 14:8, it was Philip who posed another question when he said unto him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth (satisfy) us’. Hence, Jesus’ reply at verses 9 - 11, ‘Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me?’.
Jesus continued and said, ‘he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father. Believest thou not that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself; but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works sake. Verse 14: If ye ask any thing in my name, I will do it’.
Philip raised the question to clear every path of misunderstanding and to help us look no further for clarification as to who God the Father truly is, but the one Lord Jesus Christ himself. The Apostle John, Gospel writer and all the Epistles of John including the Book of Revelation, sums it all up in John 10:30: ‘I and my Father are one’. Not two or three, but wholly and holistically one. This takes us back to the first and greatest of all commandments, as found in Deuteronomy 6:4, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might’. Jesus himself concluded and added in Mark 12: 30, ‘...and with all thy mind’.
He is the One with whom we should get intimate, the Lord Jesus Christ himself. Not our wives, nor our husbands, not our fathers nor mothers, not our children nor family, not our bosses nor employees at work. Not anybody or anything alive on earth, but the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is the secret of all intimacies in life. To fail our intimacy with Jesus Christ is to fail all other relationships and intimacies with anybody else. Marriage is only possible when Jesus becomes the glue that bonds the relationship. The same thing applies to all other human relationships there are in this earthly life.
Being intimate with somebody means knowing that person in a very familiar and personal way. It involves knowing their likes and dislikes, their attitudes, behaviour, conduct, habits, the pros and cons, ups and downs and twists and turns about them in order to really be intimate with them.
Husbands and wives can never get to really love each other until they get to fully understand, respect and accept each other as they really are (1st John 4: 7 – 12). God (Jesus) is love. We love each other because he first loved us (1st John 4: 7 – 12, 18). Loving him with all our hearts, our soul, our mind and strength enables us to love anybody there is, in all aspects of life.
Many marriages fail. Businesses, governments, families and all kinds of human relationships also fail, simply because we fail our relationship and intimacy with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who created and made in his image and after his likeness. Paul in Acts 17: 28 declares that life is in Jesus Christ alone, ‘For in him we live, and move, and have our being...’
In Colossians 1: 18, our allegiance must be to him alone, ‘...that in all things he might have the pre-eminence’.
Topmost priority, first placing of anything in our lives must be to him. All responsibilities and accountability should be accorded to him. When our intimacy is right with him, then our sincerity, honesty, dignity and integrity in our family, marriage, job and whatever commitment in life will all fall into their right place – in earth as well as in the heaven.
Jesus calls his disciples and us the believers and followers of all times, generations and agse not as servants but friends. ‘Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you’.
Fix our relationship and intimacy with our Creator God Jesus Christ and he will fix all of ours. A true friend watches and doesn’t stab a friend in the back with gossip, accusations, anger, jealousy, bitterness and unforgiveness. Judas Iscariot was not a good and true friend. He had some hidden agendas and ulterior motives against Jesus Christ and suffered as a consequence of his own sin. Try not to be a Judas Iscariot in whatever relationships you have. Instead, be a true friend of the Lord Jesus Christ, willing always to serve and die for him. As Christ was raised from the dead, we shall also be raised from death to eternal life.
The whole discipline of life is to enable us to enter into this closest relationship and intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ. The greatest love that anyone can show and demonstrate is this: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15: 13 & 14).
Love and befriend Jesus and he will maximize, re-align, renew and refresh all our relationships - not in man’s way but in God’s.
Jesus will save and bless all our relationship with Him.
Kia Manuia rava i teia openga epetoma..Te Atua te Aroa!
Bishop Tutai Pere
What about the times when you just don’t feel anything but apathy about your relationship? What when a husband no longer loves a wife or a wife no longer loves a husband? What do you do then?
The Bible is full of promises concerning the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
These promises have long been a topic of debate and much speculation.
“Everyone who asks the question, “What is Christianity?” often wonders what the truth is behind something that has been turned difficult to understand by man.