Rediscovering the Christian faith: Jesus reveals the most astonishing and most profound aspect of his being in John 17

More than 2,000 years since the mortality of Jesus Christ people still debate his divinity.

The Jews, until now, are still waiting for the Messiah – for they could not accept that Jesus of Nazareth, who lived among their forebears, was the prophesied Redeemer of Israel.

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Christianity – the religion that bases its beliefs on the birth, mission and resurrection of the Lord is itself divided into hundreds of denominations and sects.

Christians, or those who profess to be, can’t agree on many points, thus they created their own groups or churches based on their understanding of the Scriptures.

One denomination agrees that Jesus is the Son of God, but he can’t be God. When he showed himself to his disciples after his resurrection, he was a spirit as Heavenly Father hid his body. Arguably they say that flesh and blood can’t enter the kingdom of God. Jesus, however, said “… that a ghost has no flesh and bones as I have…”  (Luke 24:39). In effect, this group who calls themselves Witnesses, actually debunks the doctrine of resurrection – where the body and the spirit are reunited but glorified and perfected – making its claim to be branch of Christianity questionable.

Another sect delves so much on the proclamation that Jesus is the Son of Man, making him as mortal as we all are, and he can’t be God or has godly attributes. Could it be that followers of this Church are the antichrists among us? (1 John 4:1-3)

Those who protested the practices of the Catholic (Universal) Church, believed to be founded by Apostle Peter in Rome, established their own, taking one or some fundamental beliefs to be their core – that’s why we have the Baptists, Anglicans, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Four Square, Methodists, Presbyterians, Charismatics, Adventists, among many others, or those named after secessionists like Lutheran, Wesleyan, etc.

Taking all these considerations, we took the pain of reexamining the Scriptures once more – starting one late night towards the end of January 2014.

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We’ve read the Bible from cover to cover – from Genesis to Revelation – a number of times before. The first two times were to fulfill a goal. The second two times were a requirement. The next two times were reviews.

After that, we opened the Bible from time to time and read the books according to our interest and need at the moment – like the lives of King David and his son Solomon, learning that even if God already gave them more than what they needed and asked for, they still stumbled because they could not rein in their carnal desires; the poetic truths contained in Proverbs, Psalms and Ecclesiastes; the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles; Revelation, on what’s going to happen in the last days.

We have also used different versions of the Bible in our search for knowledge and clarifications.

The King James Version is the only one accepted, used and endorsed by the saints in the later-days (that’s how they’re formally called but have a nickname for believing in another book that, according to them, testifies of the divinity of Jesus the Christ).

Our only concern in using KJV is that the language used was good during the Medieval Period, or maybe until the Renaissance, but in the 21st Century it needs to be updated, for God certainly wants to speak to us in a way that his people understand.

The New World Translation, as we find, is full of biases. It’s been updated to suit the beliefs of the Society that printed it.

We also used The Way during our college days. But for convenience we carried the New Testament (with Psalms and Proverbs) published by the Gideons. It’s still KJV but it’s not bulky to take it along wherever anyone wants to go.

When we were with Radio Veritas as anchor/host somebody gifted us a copy of the Christian Community Bible Catholic Pastoral Edition, published by Claretian Publications. The Foreword says, “Complete original text translated from Hebrew and Greek, presented and commented for the Christian Communities and for those who seek God.”

We’ve been using this version in our review of the Scriptures and relish the fact that it contains the apocryphal books – Maccabees, Tobit, Judith, Baruch, Wisdom, Sirach – which added much insight to those seeking godly wisdom.

In our interactions with members of different religions, including Islamists, Buddhists and Hinduists, the truth remains that we are all God’s creation and bears his likeness. (Genesis 1:26-27)

The beliefs that we have are what has been formed in our minds thru indoctrinations or teachings handed down to us by our forefathers.

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Some people find it easy to accept that Jesus Christ is the Savior – born of Mary, baptized by John, personally taught the people for three years, was crucified, died and rose from the dead, and that he is to come again in the last days.

Certain aspects in the Christian belief, though, may be missing.

During his discourse about the kingdom and children of God (John 8:30-59), the Jews were so incensed, they said, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?” (v. 57)

Jesus spoke of his being, which is indeed astonishing. “And Jesus said ‘Truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.’” (v. 58)

For the Jews, that was too much.

Jesus proclaimed at that very moment he is in fact, Yahweh or Jehovah.

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Moses, in his conversation with God, asked, “…If I go to the Israelites and say to them: ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ they will ask me: ‘What is his name?’ What shall I answer them?” (Exodus 3:13)

“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. This is what you will say to the sons of Israel: ‘I AM sent me to you.’ God then said to Moses, ‘You will say to the Israelites: YAHWEH, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, has sent me.’ That will be my name forever, and by this name they shall call upon me for all generations to come.” (Exodus 3:14)

In John 17, we read Jesus’ relationship with the Father, and maybe, a lot of Christians have overlooked this:

“I have glorified you on earth and finished the work that you gave me to do. Now, Father, give me in your presence the same Glory I had with you before the world began.” (v. 4)

For years, we’ve been wondering about creation. The photos we see of the galaxy and the worlds out there firmly testifies of our belief in a Supreme Being, that things did not happen because of a Big Bang, but things came about for a purpose and that is to give glory to God, our Heavenly Father.

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This is our testimony that God lives and Jesus Christ is our Savior. Amen and Amen.

May you also find wisdom in your search, as James admonished: “If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God who gives to all easily and unconditionally. But ask with faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave driven and tossed on the sea by the wind.” (James 1:5-6)

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