A rare but efficacious sacrifice!
I often say to anyone that gives me audience that one needs to have insight before the solution to a challenge is unravelled. I also emphasize that insight gives a particular solution to a particular situation. I would easily quote Luke 17:11-19 where Jesus told the 10 Lepers to go show themselves to the Sanhedrin and on their way they received their healing. To Barthemeus Luke 18:38-42 Jesus simply said receive your sight. Yet to a particular blind man John 9:1-9 Jesus had to perform a ritual act. He(Jesus) took some Soil and spat into it then rubbed the spittle-Soil paste unto the eyes of the blind man before instructing him to go wash off the paste. Jesus repeated the ritual twice before the blind man received his sight. In the cases cited, it was clear that Jesus clearly had the right insight into the respective situations before profering the exact solutions. No wonder various modern day pastors and prophets of God will give to some 21days fasting and to others 7days dry fasting. There are also White fasting, Water fasting and the likes. There are even those that will be instructed to bathe in a river with specific details on how the bathing ritual should be done and with whatever items. Many many types.
Today I’ve realised that even if I can’t dispute the efficacy of the aforementioned, insofar that I’ve been an ardent advocate for such, there is a most efficacious way.
OBEDIENCE IS BETTER THAN SACRIFICE!
The Word of God says in John 15:7″If you abide in me and I abide in you; you shall ask the father whatever you desire and it shall be granted unto you” now that paints a clearer picture than the frequently recited verse that says in Mat 7:7″ask and it shall be given”. Indeed whatever we ask shall be given but remember it’s only when we abide in Him. The conditional instruction here is “if you abide in me and I abide in you”. It is a two way affair. A Covenant between you and Jesus. How then do we abide in Jesus? keep His commandments. Thou shall have no other God except me. Thou shall not commit adultery. Thou shall keep the Sabbath day holy. Thou shall not bear false witness. There are 6 more although Jesus summarised the ten commandments into 2… Thou shall have no other God except me and Thou shall love thy neighbour as thy self. Do we keep these seemingly simple commandments? Do we as men gaze lustfully at other men’s wives? Do we as women dress up with revealing clothings that leaves little to the imaginations? Do we slander our friends or family? Do we Masturbate? Do we watch pornographic films? If we engage in these and more vices how then can we say we are abiding in Jesus. We can make up all the excuses for our wrong doings but remember God is not mocked. If there’s no Law then there’ll be no Sin therefore since God has made His commandments clear then breaking any of the commandments equals to a Sin against God and once we Sin against God, we severe ourselves from a relationship with Him. That is the reason we begin to make the sacrifices of dry/white/water fastings to appease God. Let’s recollect what Jesus told the Sanhedrin about why His disciples didn’t Fast. Jesus said that it is only when the bridegroom is taken away will the children fast.
Back to the aforementioned healings by Jesus. Surely there was insight, but have we thought of one beautiful incidence in the Bible? Where Jesus said to Peter, Luke 22:31 “You Peter, Satan has asked for you but I have prayed for you so that when you are strengthened you will strengthen the others”. Because Peter abided in Jesus by sincerely following Him, it was Jesus/God Himself that prayed for Peter. So even when Peter did deny Jesus, his reconciliation had already been fought for and won. But for Judas Iscariot, Jesus simply said to him “what you have to do; do quickly”! Jesus never bothered to intervene for Judas because it has become cleared that Judas no longer abided in Jesus when he fell in love with mammon.
Be ye reconciled to God today through the Sacrament of reconciliation and begin to abide in Jesus by keeping his commandments and you’ll no longer burden yourself with midnight visits to rivers all in the name of trying to appease God..Jesus Himself said His Yoke is easy and His burden is light Mat 11:30 why should you make it heavy for yourself? Just try to abide in Jesus by keeping His commandments, it may be difficult at first, it may sound rare from me because I’m also struggling, but it’s the most efficacious way!
Simon Osi Anene.
A Lay man’s perspective.