Sunday, January 13, 2019

Always Take Sides

“You are my beloved Son. On You my favor rests.” Luke 3:22

Why do we believe the stories in the Gospels about Jesus? In the 3rd chapter of Luke, something unbelievable happens. Jesus went to John to be baptized along with the crowds. As He was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in the form of a dove. Then a voice from heaven declared, “You are my beloved Son. On You my favor rests.” In other Bible versions, we may read, “With You I am well pleased” or “I am fully pleased with You.” 

In a time when our faith is being belittled by the President of the Philippines no less, it is good to examine why we believe in such amazing things. The historicity of Jesus is well documented. Applying the standard criteria of historical study, most scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed. The two events in His life subject to “almost universal assent” are that He was baptised, and that He was crucified. 

Jesus claimed to be God many times, saying “I AM” over and over again in the Gospel of John. “I AM” is the covenant God of Israel, and Jesus was tried and crucified because of blasphemy. If Jesus claimed to be God, we have to believe Him, or we reject and ignore Him as a con man or an insane person. 

Obviously, all His disciples (except Judas) believed Him. All of them, except John, were martyred for their faith in Jesus. Hundreds of thousands of followers were stoned, beheaded, tortured and fed to the lions. Why would all these men and women give their lives for a lie? Even if almost all the early leaders were killed for their faith, Christianity flourished. 

Today in our country, we Christians are being persecuted for our faith. President Rodrigo Duterte urged “tambays” or bystanders last Wednesday to kill or steal from “rich” bishops. He said our God is stupid, and continuously lambasts the Church for speaking against his ordered extrajudicial killings. We should not remain silent against all these attacks. Nobel Laureate Eli Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor who lived through the unimaginable gives this advice: “Always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor never the tormented.”  

Let us take Jesus’ side, He who sided with the oppressed, the victims, the tormented, the voiceless. 

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