Mfonobong Inyang: The Radical Love of Jesus Christ

Mfonobong Inyang: The Radical Love of Jesus Christ
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The wittiest wordsmiths struggle when articulating unsullied truths about The Word, even gifted folks find it fascinating when documenting their thoughts on The Gift. Anyone who thinks they are the GOAT of erudition and elocution will tell you that writing about The Lamb isn’t merely academic, it takes deep insights and revelation. Paul of Tarsus, an astute communicator and a doctor of the law didn’t find it easy either; he was so intrigued by the passion of the Christ that he declared, “I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” What manner of love is this that a man should lay down his life for his friends?

A Game Of Shadows

You should read Sherlock Holmes or at least watch the famous sleuth’s box office adaption; it can get you wearing your investigative hat. Jesus had been slain from the foundations of the world but he steps into the realm of time and steadily but stealthily makes his way to Cross. Pay attention to the clues hidden in plain sight, you will uncover the typologies of Calvary embedded in the Old Testament right from the Garden of Eden. Who is in the garden? A little bird tells me the animal that was killed and its skin used to cover Adam and Eve was a shadow of Jesus. You would routinely see animal sacrifices used for different offerings much later. These were shadows of Jesus on the Cross because the life of the flesh is in the blood and without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin.

Jesus was the message that Moses and the rest of the prophets in the Old Testament tried to preach that year but dem no fit run am. To get the OT about this, you need to especially read Pauline Epistles – which I refer to as the declassified documents. Where you see Moses putting a snake on a pole and asking people to look upon it; the New Testament puts it this way, “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the Cross”. In addressing the covert ops of Jesus in the wilderness as Moses led the people into the Promised Land, Paul writes to the Corinthians, “They drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them and the Rock was Christ.”

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When Moses appeared alongside Jesus during his transfiguration, Peter with his religious mindset suggested erecting multiple monuments but God quickly took Moses out of the picture because nobody else but Jesus was him. Notice that all the prophets that came before Jesus would preface their speech by saying, “Thus says the Lord”. Jesus never used that phrase because na him gan gan be the Lord. Instead, he would say, “Verily, verily I (the Lord) say unto you”. Mary’s response to the two angels at the sepulchre after Jesus was resurrected was instructive, “they have taken away my Lord.”

Theory Of Relativity

The Theory of Relativity propounded by Albert Einstein states that space and time are relative and all motion must be relative to a frame of reference – represented by perhaps the most famous equation in the world, E=mc2. However, in ecumenical terms, this takes on a whole different meaning. It loosely states that messiahs must be relative to those they are called to redeem. Abraham, a type of messiah, could redeem Lot from captivity because he was relative to him. Joseph, a type of messiah, could redeem his brothers from hunger because he was relative to them. Boaz, a type of messiah, could redeem inheritance for Ruth because he was relative to her. David, a type of messiah, could redeem his country from the grip of Goliath because he was relative to his homeland.

The Holy Trinity manifests as God The Father in creation, God The Son in redemption and God The Holy Spirit in regeneration. Jesus was planted in the womb of Mary so he could be incarnated as a human being because God knew that he couldn’t redeem mankind as God. Hence the son of God had to become the son of man so that the sons of men could become the sons of God. Jesus then effectively became kinsman-redeemer. Apollos submits brilliantly, “For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities”. To put it in colloquial language: Jesus know as e dey go, e sabi wetin dey sup. Paul puts the matter to bed in the first instalment of his eponymous epistle to his protégé, Timothy, with a most apposite description, “the man Jesus Christ”.

The Pharisees were livid with Jesus because they taught religion while Jesus brought relationship. When Jesus referred to God as “Father” – all hell was let loose! To them, Abba is merely God but Abba to Jesus means Father. You would always hear Jesus outchea talmbout My-Father-this and My-Father-that. The one time he notably said otherwise was on the Cross when there was a temporal separation in their relationship owing to the sin of the world he was carrying, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Na the matter dem still dey solve for the ecclesia today; some are holding on to religion while fighting those who are propounding relationship.

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Neither Do I Condemn You!

One of the reasons Jesus physically walked the earth was to model how God thinks through the things he did. Remember, Jesus is the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Exhibit I: A woman is caught in the act of adultery. Instead of condemning her, trust Jesus to call those religious hypocrites out on their BS. Exhibit II: Jesus is moving through the hood with his crew and tons of people are falling over themselves just to catch a glimpse of him. Matthew wasn’t exactly the tallest guy but he wasn’t short of ideas. He climbs a tree and gets Jesus’ attention who instantly promises to have dinner at his place. Jesus just showed up and next thing you know, Matthew is doubling down on giving away half his wealth to the poor and refunding those he screwed over four-fold. Exhibit III: Jesus tells a story about God, The Prodigal Son, who asks his father for inheritance. He squanders his fortune and quickly realizes that there’s never much love when you go OT. He gets an epiphany, comes back home and the father who was waiting for him, makes the first move! That is wild!

Some English words attempt to describe that kind of love: reckless, lavish, promiscuous, relentless and excess. I made the argument extensively in my book, Hope Is Not A Strategy that the Jesus I know is counter-cultural. This condemnation strategy being used to railroad people in accepting Christ is not giving, I’m not exactly sure we’re talking about the same Jesus. The religious folks accused Jesus of being “a friend of sinners”. It’s the goodness of God (not condemnation) that leads people to repentance. When Jesus said, “Don’t judge” – e get why.

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For God So Loved The World

This verse is seminal because many people in the community of faith seem to believe that Jesus only died for a select group and that redemption by the only begotten of God cannot be gotten by anyone else outside this enclave – I don’t get it. The operational phrase is “whosoever believes”. The thief who was hung alongside Jesus made it into paradise simply because he believed. The grace that brings salvation has appeared to everyone. That’s why it’s called the good news; something that is almost too good to be true.

Let me drop some gospel on you. Jesus died for cybercriminals, election riggers, smugglers, corrupt judges, embezzlers of public funds, people that rape women at IDP camps in exchange for food, those that weaponize justice against their political opponents, kidnappers of school children, ‘intellectuals’ that are paid to malign others, those in uniform that extort from innocent citizens and even yours truly! We plenty for the WhatsApp group, we gather dey for the matter – so make nobody come dey buga.

Isaiah described the seemingly ordinary child that was born in the manger as “the mighty God, the everlasting Father”. When the wise men saw his star, they gave him gold (emblematic of his kingship) because they knew that dis na smallie wey dey mighty. They also gave him frankincense (a symbol of his being a deity) and myrrh (an embalming oil, symbolic of his death). Jesus understood the assignment; he lived to die – his strategic interest was redemption. This made him rebuke Peter when the latter tried to stop him from heading to the Cross, yet Jesus called Judas, “friend” because Judas would play a crucial role in expediting his Crucifixion. Righteousness is indeed a gift from God but make no mistake about it, Calvary’s Cross was no small price to pay for salvation. Selah.

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