Once there was a son who said with all his emotion, ‘oh, my dad is so important to me…I really want to get to know him and what is going on in his life’. There was one primary difficulty for the son regarding his stated desire. His dad was forced to be away from him for long periods of time. However, his dad writes a letter to him every week, and the son knows about his letters. But instead of taking the time to read his letters, the son walks by his dads old place of work on his way back from school. If the son sees any of his dads old co-workers, and if he is ‘feeling like it’, he will ask them what they thought about his dad.
Did the son’s statement about how important his dad was to him match up with his actions? No, it does not.
If we claim that something is important to us, but we don’t know much about it (because we have not tried out best to learn about it), then the fact is it is not important to us, all our claims, statements or protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. Our actions (our lack of diligence about something we claim is important) betray our true heart. This is true in any domain in our lives.
Many claim that the person of “Jesus Christ” is very important to them. If this is actually true, then a person who claims that would learn all they could about “Jesus Christ”. They would go directly to the source – Joshua’s words and teachings in the four gospel accounts of his life at the beginning of the new testament – and study HIS teachings since that is the best way to understand this person I claim is very important to me. Certainly they would care about what is true about him and his teachings and not just listen to other people and what THEY think about him…this would be especially true if you were aware of Jesus’ warnings that many would come in his name and mislead and deceive many.
Here is a little quiz to see if you know what Joshua of Nazareth (referred to as "Jesus Christ") taught about himself, God, the world and his kingdom. Please, dear reader, do yourself a favor and be honest with yourself in this exercise. Don’t go running to find the answers, but rather, be honest and answer them as best as you can with what is in your heart and mind...jot down your answers on a piece of paper as you read through the questions the first time. This way, you will get a real answer to the claim, “Jesus Christ is important to me”. For if you have not actually taken the time to diligently read Joshua's teachings in order to get to know him, then he really is not important to you.
Many of the questions have simple yes or no answers. All of the questions don’t need more than a few words – less than two sentences at most – to answer them correctly.
1. What was Joshua’s favorite title or description for himself...what term or phrase did he use the most to describe himself?
2. Did Joshua teach that “the church” could be a building, organization, leadership or ministries?
3. What did Joshua teach would normally happen between the person who decided to follow him and their family?
4. Name two things that Joshua taught are required in order to be his follower?
5. Did Joshua ever teach the concept of “grace” in relation to salvation?
6. What does the bible teach the “word of God” is?
7. What did Joshua say the new command was? What is required to live it out?
8. Did Joshua teach he was a sacrifice that God required in order to forgive people’s sins?
9. Did Joshua teach that God sends people to hell to be eternally tormented?
10. How many spiritual teachers could a follower of Joshua have?
11. How many spiritual pastors/shepherds/leaders/guides could a follower of Joshua have?
12. Did Joshua teach that God is angry with people? If you believe He is, what makes Him angry?
13. Joshua taught that following him would be difficult and that it would be difficult to enter the kingdom of God…what is difficult about following him for YOU personally?
14. Did Joshua teach you should tithe or give money to an organization that claims to represent him?
15. What did Joshua teach “the world” was and what is your position in the world?
16. What did Joshua teach is the primary purpose of the Holy Spirit regarding the world?
17. If Joshua taught, “love your enemies”, could I obey that teaching and at the same time shoot, bomb or otherwise kill or harm people who are not harming others but rather are called 'the enemy' by the government of the nation I live in?
18. What does Joshua teach is the primary characteristic of love?
19. If I have placed my faith in Joshua and his Father and love Joshua and Joshua’s Father with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, name the primary manifestation of that love in my life?
20. In what way does Joshua teach that God wants people to worship Him?
21. Does Joshua teach that “God is in control”?
22. What is Joshua’s clearest statement regarding what “eternal life” is comprised of?
23. What does it mean to "know God"?
24. What does Joshua teach about smart and intelligent people and how his Father handles them?
25. What are two vocations or jobs or 'professions' that Joshua singles out for rebuke?
26. What two things does Joshua say are required to see and enter the kingdom of God?
27. What does Joshua teach about materially wealthy people?
28. What does Joshua mean when he says blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness?
29. What was the main warning Joshua gave regarding what his followers would have to be careful to avoid in the years after he left?
30. Did Joshua teach that he would appear to people in some ‘spiritual manner’ after his ascension back to the Father?
31. Did Joshua teach that his followers ought to look to the Hebrew scriptures (Old Testament) in order to learn about or get to know his Father?
32. Did Joshua teach that he was his Father...that they were the same Being?
33. Did Joshua teach it was right and acceptable to God to pray in front of other people?
34. Did Joshua teach that his Father was "all powerful"?
35. Did Joshua teach that miracles would continue after he left the earth to go back to his Father?
36. Did Joshua teach that his followers would live like all the other people of the earth and thus be indistinguishable from, for example, agnostics, atheists, Muslims, Buddhists or Jews?
37. Did Joshua teach that dunking someone under water would cause that person to enter into eternal life?
38. What is the "new command"?
39. If Joshua says, "Go, make disciples...teaching them all that I have taught you", how exactly are YOU doing that and what is the priority in your life for that? Answer the latter question with how many hours per week are you doing that.
OK, you’ve taken this little test, and it will reveal whether you know some basic things about Joshua of Nazareth and about some of his teachings. Many people create a ‘jesus’ to fit their view of God or their lifestyle. This practice is VERY common - in fact, it describes Christians in general - but it is dishonest, fake and false. There is one Real Joshua of Nazareth and he is revealed through his own words captured and persevered in the four books known as the gospels.
If you’d like the answers to the test, click here.
If you did poorly on the test that proves that you don’t know him well. To know someone well means to understand how they perceive the most important aspects of life and human existence. Remember, how can you do what Joshua wants if you don’t even know what he teaches!?
Please understand and acknowledge that if you don’t know or understand Joshua or his teachings, you cannot possible do them. Please know that he says, "If you love me, you will do what I say". How can you do what he says if you don't know what he says? And how can your claim to "love him" be real if you have never made a serious effort to even know what he says let alone do it?
The first step of true enlightenment is to acknowledge our ignorance and its implication, especially in areas we claim to be “important” to us. If we do that well and with painful honesty, then and only then can we start to understand and possibly begin life’s most important journey. Begin that journey and come, join the peaceful revolution!