July 26, 2020 by Kgalalelo
As I get older, I’m beginning to understand things I couldn’t before, especially in relation to human behaviour and why people do certain things that I used to think were odd, and I find myself filled with compassion.
I’m beginning to understand what Jesus meant with the scripture found in Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Jesus was crucified on the cross and mocked and His clothes divided and while all of this was happening, He was watching and feeling compassion for the people. He saw foolishness in them.
They looked like small children who play with toys and break them afterwards for no reason. The kids do not know what they are doing, but when they are all grown up and have children of their own, they begin to understand that it is wrong to break things that have been bought. Most of us behave in that manner.
I’m beginning to understand why Jesus wept in John 11:35. He was Lord and yet had human emotions and felt the pain of death like we do. He knew that He had the power to raise Lazarus from the dead and He did but yet, was filled with compassion over the ones that were surrounding Him for the limited knowledge they had.
When He told His disciples that Lazarus was asleep, they did not understand, they thought He was speaking about natural sleep whereas Lazarus had died. Martha didn’t understand when Jesus told her that her brother was going to rise again, she thought only at resurrection of the dead but Jesus meant that He was going to bring him back to life.
Mary, Martha’s sister also was weeping and the Jews who had come to comfort both of them were also weeping; everyone seemed lost and in pain over the loss of Lazarus. They didn’t know what Jesus knew for He said in verse 25-26, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die”. Jesus was “deeply moved in spirit and troubled” (verse 33).
I’m beginning to understand why some people lose their way, find it to lose it again. It happens to all of us quite often when I lose myself in my thoughts that are not aligned to God. It is at that time that I know that I am lost and need to find my way home again, back to God where there is harmony and peace of mind.
There is another category of people though, who are completely lost and don’t wish to find the way and even when others point them into the right direction, they refuse to acknowledge it. Others become violent, mock or show very little interest. “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). They hear the Word of God, and yet refuse to acknowledge it.
In Matthew 13:3-9, Jesus gives us a parable of the sower. He says, “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil.
It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
He interpreted it this way in verse 10-23, “When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.
But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
Most of us finds ourselves in one of these categories. We hear but do not understand, we see but do not perceive (Matthew 13:14). May God help us all.
I look at the situation in our communities and am filled with compassion because most people are living day in and day out trying to make a living, the best way they can in order to put food on the table. Some of their ways, well, are not commendable while other people try harder and yet their efforts do not bear much fruit. Illiteracy is another disease in our communities thus making opportunities limited for other people.
I think about God and the way that we portray Him sometimes which depicts our self-righteousness and realise that we don’t quite know who God is, the way that we think we do. The suffering in most communities is real and not only in terms of poverty but spiritually. No wonder many people also fall for false prophets, they are looking for someone to rescue them. Things are exactly how they were in biblical times.
People were tormented, suffered from physical ailments, were spiritually poor and needed someone to liberate them and then Jesus came along and embraced us all and gave us a way to the Father, the direct way, without going through someone else. Some of us understand what Jesus did on the cross while others don’t.
It is a sad state of affairs and we need to keep praying that God may open people’s eyes to the knowledge of the kingdom amid the struggle and suffering. Many will still mock and think that we are crazy but those who have seen the light should try.
The principle of never judging rings true as well as Jesus says in Matthew 7:1-5, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye”.
Jesus knows our weaknesses and inclinations to judge. All of us are guilty one way or the other and even things that we think are petty and don’t mean anything, are part of our judging our fellow men and women. Introspection is always critical that we may remember our own shortfalls and refrain from judging others as we are judged with the same judgement we impose on others. Whatever we say or do comes back to us. We should therefore, heed the words of Jesus and keep them in our hearts all the time that we may remember how we ought to live and engage with each other.
In Joshua 1:8, God commanded gave the following command to the Israelites, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful”.
Footnote: Scriptures taken from the The Holy Bible, New King James Version, 1982: Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson, Inc. & The ESV Global Study Bible®, ESV® Bible, Copyright © 2012 by Crossway. All rights reserved & The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™ (2004). Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Wheaton, Ill: Tyndale House Publishers. The Holy Bible, Berean Study Bible, BSB Copyright ©2016, 2018 by Bible Hub Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2016 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.
Kgalalelo Saane Mphephuka
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