The once popular notion that ontogeny recapitulated phylogeny, which claimed that embryos can predict future development, is no more scientifically valid but I see an interesting application of this to how we understand Jesus from the most basic “I never heard of Him” to the Kingdom-active life of a completely committed believer.
God’s people began ignorant
The apostles (disciples) were, just as we are, completely ignorant about who Jesus was, and what his program and purpose on earth might be. They started out believing, because they were part and parcel of his activities, that he was a nice man with special God-given powers. When he died they scattered not because they were disloyal but because they thought he was like other men, the way any person who recognizes that his hero is dead and he needs to find another hero, another leader.
A dead Jesus is better than a living one
In the USA we have a relatively easy method of replacing our President. If one dies in office the vice-president is right there to take the oath. But no one was replacing Jesus. His apostles, who had been taught the whole gospel without realizing it, had to absorb the following days of revelation and information to put together where they were now in the divine plan. They were, in fact, more fully empowered than Jesus.
Each individual starts out with nothing
But I am getting ahead of myself. The ontogeny part of this equation is that every human being must start at zero in order to understand who Jesus is and why He came, in addition to discerning the call and plan he has for our individual lives. In this respect we are better off now than those people who knew Jesus in the flesh.
A small child may be taught about Jesus and still not know a thing. He/she must continue down the path of seeing him as first a famous man, then a religious leader, then as a prophet, a healer, a savior. Each of these levels requires a ginning up of new faith. The just not only live by faith; their faith must incrementally increase with every new belief and every new challenge in life.
I had no Christian home (we believed in Biblical morals) but seeing Jesus as a savior, much less my savior was impossible as a teen. Because of my very unhappy childhood I thought God was a nice idea for someone else. I could not picture that any God would let me live like this.
But as I changed and grew as an adult I started asking questions. I had a fist full of bad answers but I sifted them out and in time saw a better picture; God was actually preparing me for the world I live in now, surrounded by liars and destructive forces, but living protected by Him I am still learning today and that generates much of my writing. This is no doubt part of your story too.
The just do not merely live by faith; they create a life by faith.
That means that everyone on the face of the planet is at a different point. How can we then come into the “unity of the faith?”
Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
Clearly not all men will be able to reach that unity. Jesus must have a point where He can use the unity that is available. He saw a need for no more than 12 disciples, and even one of them was a dud. If Jesus will bring the Kingdom to earth as He has promised, He must be prepared to do it with a critical mass of a number we cannot now see. That should not discourage us, but remind us that we can study to show ourselves approved by Him and available to be used for His Glory in the Coming Kingdom.
His plan for us has not changed….a world wide Kingdom where He alone calls the tune and millions, maybe billions of souls are brought into fellowship with Him. Our temporary distress, a world gone mad, should not discourage us. He said every word He spoke would come to pass.
Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
And we can be a part of it – or not. The choice to be a believer, regardless of the level, is our choice. Without this we live in an isolated unreal multiverse of our own.
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If you want to be a Change Agent, let me recommend this group which seeks to turn around fatherless boys.