This concludes my study of Jesus the Christ Chapter 12...
John 3:22; 4:2
The exchange between Jesus and Nicodemus brings to mind some modern Christian misunderstandings. True, we must first accept through faith that Jesus Christ is our Savior. However, Jesus himself reproved Nicodemus for not understanding the ordinance of baptism. He suggests that Nicodemus was not a true teacher, since he didn't teach this to the people. Today, many Christian teachers tell people that they only need to claim Jesus as their Savior and nothing else is required. Jesus spells out in no uncertain terms that baptism by water and spirit are essential for entrance into the kingdom of God.
"while it was true that in His mortal advent the Son had not come to sit as a judge, but to teach, persuade and save, nevertheless condemnation[Pg 162] would surely follow rejection of that Savior, for light had come, and wicked men avoided the light, hating it in their preference for the darkness in which they hoped to hide their evil deeds...The narrative of this interview between Nicodemus and the Christ constitutes one of our most instructive and precious scriptures relating to the absolute necessity of unreserved compliance with the laws and ordinances of the gospel, as the means indispensable to salvation. Faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, through whom alone men may gain eternal life; the forsaking of sin by resolute turning away from the gross darkness of evil to the saving light of righteousness; the unqualified requirement of a new birth through baptism in water, and this of necessity by the mode of immersion, since otherwise the figure of a birth would be meaningless; and the completion of the new birth through baptism by the Spirit—all these principles are taught herein in such simplicity and plainness as to make plausible no man's excuse for ignorance." JTC, Talmage
Then we turn to the murder of John the Baptist for Herod certainly knew the prophet shouldn't be put to death. This is one of the most chilling examples of corrupting worldly power. Not because of any guilt on the part of the accused but because of supposed political sense honor and some personal embarrassment, this Herod put gentle John to death. Although I have never been and am not likely to ever be a political leader, I can say without reservation that killing is only justified in self-defense or the defense of one's loved ones. Even then I'm not sure I could do it. Popularity surely isn't a reason to kill.
The more I study the life of Jesus, the more I'm grateful to have been taught of Him by my parents and my community at large. Even though Christianity wasn't preached in my school, its principles and values were at the forefront of the culture. It's hard to believe how everything has changed. Possibly, some of the misguided ways of enforcing rules and regulations in families and schools in the name of Christ's teachings contributed to the turning away from Christianity today. Certainly, the methods of force and violence were wrong applications, were actually contrary to the example that Christ gave to us all. Still, I could feel and see something in the gospel of Jesus Christ that was worth pursuing. I'm so happy that I did. The joy, love, and gentleness I know from this path are worth everything. I wish people could know and feel what I do concerning this beautiful way of life. I'll keep improving my little corner of the world and hope it spreads.