Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
Matthew 5:5-12 (NKJV) 5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful,For they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
The ‘Hijacking’ of the Message of Christ
To ‘hijack’ means to stop or commander something (usually something that is in motion, or capable of motion), and steal it. It might be a car, or an aircraft. To hijack something, you have to coerce the pilot, or driver, (the captain) using a gun or some other type of weapon.
This is an apt definition for what has happened to the original message of our Lord Jesus Christ. There are many, (people in the church and non-believers alike), who stand to gain by commandeering the original lifechanging message of Christ so that they can steal it, and use it for their own good. Remember, Jesus said the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; (see John 10:10).
This is a message that I have been preaching for years, that is, that True Christianity has been hijacked by a large spectrum of people who stand to gain something from doing so. During this pandemic, and the protests around the nation and around the world, we have seen this on display in earnest.
I read one of the worst examples of this the other day. A politician essentially said that God is going to keep killing black people until America repents, (presumably for the sins that are about his agenda). This may seem like a bizarre theory from ONE person on the FAR right, but it is indicative of the rampant misuse of New Testament scripture and theology among a number of people and a myriad of platforms, and positions today. For example, a preacher who routinely preaches perverted prosperity only to increase their own net worth is no different or better.
We Need Healing Now!
(Starting with ‘The Truth’ – See John 14:6)
Times of crisis seem to bring out the best or the worst in humanity. This dual crisis of the pandemic, and the unrest caused by police brutality seems to have doubly exacerbated our plight. I have grave concerns for what will happen next.
Unless the Lord helps us, I see all the elements of civil war in our nation. The fuses have already been lit, someone needs to put them out. My prayer is that the vast majority of Americans take some time to stop, pray, and think before we continue down this spiral of madness. And while we are chilling out, this might be a good time to learn and consider what Jesus was really about so that we can model Him, and so that we can know when someone is attempting to use His words for their own gain.
When people ask me how to start reading the Bible, I tell them to begin by reading the gospel of St. Matthew. Matthew’s gospel is a wonderful demonstration of the life of Christ, and an overall thesis on His philosophy. Jesus’ ‘Sermon of the Mount’ is a great snapshot of who He is, and what He wanted His disciples to be.
Jesus noticed a crowd gathering around Him and he uses it as an ideal moment to teach them. What is the first thing He talks about? He gives a magnificent discourse on how His disciples should strive to be humble, peace-loving, and caring people. He makes a contrast between the Kingdom of Heaven, and the kingdoms of this earth. He admonishes us that the things we do on earth have eternal consequences. He calls us to righteous living no matter what. He says that we should be merciful, and that our hearts must be untainted by hatred, and self-interest.
Jesus the Son of God, declares that His disciples should be ‘peacemakers’. I love that word. The Greek word means one with the ability to pacify, and who has a passion to bring lasting peace. Real peace begins with those who have a love for it. God has given them the creative power to re-produce it, even in hostile environs. Jesus said that His disciples do not depend on circumstances, or wait for the actions others. Christians are required to MAKE peace.
When a person knows peace, they also know when someone is attempting to use their peacefulness for their own purposes. Christians have a right to call this out, (even when they see it in the church).
According to Jesus, Christians also have a love for ‘righteousness’, which is another word for justice. This pandemic has highlighted the injustice of the lack health care opportunities for everyone. The protests are about highlighting the injustice of police brutality, and lack of the rule of law for everyone. This injustice allows people of color to be treated differently in respect to the law of the land.
Real Christians also have a love for ‘truth’. Facing facts, and telling the truth is the hallmark of positive change. Demons love darkness, but believers walk in the light! (For example: There is a difference between a protest and a riot. There is a difference between destruction of property and looting, and violence against a human being. Was it a violent rioter, a violent police officer. Was it a protester or a looter)?
Real believers are pure in heart. They don’t act in order to be seen, or to get something in return. They act out of the purity of love that is in their hearts. I have seen so many pictures and read so many stories of people reaching out to others during this crisis. Yes, we have seen pictures of looters, and of violent policing, but we have also seen many people who have come to grips with issues in their hearts and have repented, and begun the long road to change. These things don’t just happen by themselves. This is the result of people actually modeling the words of Jesus Christ.
It is my prayer today that the Beatitudes will inspire all Christians everywhere to search themselves inwardly, so that we can manifest His words outwardly. You don’t even have to be a Christian to become awestruck by the power of Jesus’ words. We should all want to be like Him. We should all know what He is really about. This is the only way that we can know when someone is trying to use His words for personal gain.
The Beatitudes don’t underscore words like, powerful, rich, famous, strong, war-ready, hatred, money, pride, etc… No! Instead we find these words: poor, mournful, meek, thirsty, merciful, pure, peaceful, persecuted, reviled, lied upon, and illtreated. Jesus said if these words describe you, you should be exceedingly glad because you are in great company.
What a contrast! And this is just the beginning of what Jesus said. Don’t stop at the Beatitudes. Keep reading about Him in the Bible until you are sure that you have His heart! Then you will be ready to learn how to tuly be saved.
Now you know.
Bishop Horace Ransom Jr. is the Senior Pastor and Founder of New Covenant Church International in Detroit, Michigan. He is a Jurisdictional Bishop and serves on the Board of Presbytery for the Jabula International Network, North America. Bishop Ransom is an outstanding teacher of the Word of God with a passion for challenging believers to become the best that they can be. Faith, Purpose and the Kingdom of God are frequently the subject matter of his dissertation.