April 3, 2016
Some people fold their arms and think that if they pray very hard, Jesus will save a nation from a downturn. I’m inspired to inform you that Jesus won’t save any nation. He’s just not interested. It’s your duty to do, not Jesus’. Blasphemy? Hold on for a minute or two!
“Even though he once declared that he was sent to help the Jews and not the gentiles (and gentiles include Nigerians), he obviously was not going to help even the Jews gain political or economic independence. He either wanted to but just couldn’t or he could but just didn’t want to. So why do you think if you pray to him, he will end Boko Haram or stabilize the political landscape or improve the value of the Naira to the dollar or end fuel scarcity or end power failure or fix the roads or fix the health sector or create jobs or give us good leaders or end neocolonialism?”
According to biblical accounts, Israel was under the colonial rule of the Romans when Jesus was on earth. They were being taken slaves even in their own country. They were poor and oppressed under the draconian rule of the Romans. Historical evidence showed that the Israel of that era suffered from insecurity, extreme poverty and a heavy burden of disease, being a totally underdeveloped nation of powerless colonials. They paid heavy taxes and many families couldn’t sustain themselves. The economy was simply too harsh for survival for the average Jew who worked tirelessly to support the luxurious life of the average Roman. Such was the state of the nation of Israel Jesus lived in. A hundred times worse than the Nigeria of CE 2016? Perhaps.
Photo: ‘Jesus De Saviour’, the largest Jesus statue in Africa is situated in Nigeria. Weighs roughly 40 tonnes and stands roughly 9 meters (30 ft.) tall.
So they were looking for the messiah (which means ‘saviour’, ‘rescuer’), someone that would liberate them from slavery. Over thousands of years prior when they had been enslaved consecutively by Babylon, Assyria, Persia, and the Greeks, their prophets had prophesied about this messiah that would come and rescue them. But here in the Roman era came Jesus declaring himself the messiah even though from the way he looked, he didn’t appear like the one that would save the nation. He even maintained that the political or economic liberation of the citizens wasn’t his mission. Rather he was here only for the spiritual liberation of the citizens of the colonial Israel. The imperial Romans and the elite Jews were desecrating Yahweh’s message and worship and Jesus’ passion was to correct that anomaly.
He was reported to have performed miracles but none included freeing the Jews from the hands of their colonial masters. Instead, he encouraged his fellow Jews to remain under the colonial rule. On an occasion, members of a pro-Roman Jewish political party wanted to know if he nursed any political revolutionary ambition: he once again reminded them that he wasn’t interested in going against the colonial rule of the emperor Caesar.
Jesus could not liberate his fellow Jews from political and economic hardship.
His concern was just to propagate the message of this invisible Kingdom of heaven that wasn’t meant to directly have any bearing on the physical predicament of the nation. And for this reason, the Jews didn’t like him. He was a revolutionary but only of an invisible kingdom and not of the sociopolitical freedom of his visible nation. But he kept calling himself the Christ (i.e., the ‘Rescuer’) and when they saw that he couldn’t even rescue himself, they rejected him as the messiah they had expected. And at their behest, the Romans killed him. Of course, they killed the wrong guy. They killed the person who wasn’t a threat whatsoever to their rule.
Even his disciples weren’t spared the disappointment. These were folks who had spent a few years with him. They also thought that he was the political messiah. They were more concerned about them becoming an independent nation so that their lives could improve. But he once again told them that he wasn’t interested in rescuing Israel politically and economically. He admonished them to forget about emancipation and just focus on testifying about him instead.
Acts 1:6-8 Living Bible
And another time when he appeared to them, they asked him, “Lord, are you going to free Israel from Rome now and restore us as an independent nation?” “The Father sets those dates,” he replied, “and they are not for you to know. But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power to testify about me with great effect, to the people in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, about my death and resurrection.”
Jesus wasn’t interested in liberating Israel neither did he bother to end the slavery of his own people. Even though he once declared that he was sent to help the Jews and not the gentiles (and gentiles include Nigerians), he obviously was not going to help even the Jews gain political or economic independence. He either wanted to but just couldn’t or he could but just didn’t want to. So why do you think if you pray to him, he will end Boko Haram or stabilize the political landscape or improve the value of the Naira to the dollar or end fuel scarcity or end power failure or fix the roads or fix the health sector or create jobs or give us good leaders or end neocolonialism?
“If the belief that Jesus will one day save Nigeria is what makes your life go round, I don’t really have any problem with you. That’s your choice that you’re very entitled to. Where I’m going to have all the problems in the cosmos with you is when that belief (or any other belief for that matter) prevents you from contributing your own quota to nation building as a citizen.”
Nigerians typically gather in large crowds to beg Jesus to save their nation.
In conclusion, if you think praying to Jesus will solve any of the problems facing Nigeria, you better wake up. If he didn’t do any of this for his own people even while he was on earth, why do you think he will do it for Nigeria now that he’s no longer on earth? Jesus is only interested in you entering the kingdom of heaven and not Nigeria becoming developed. To solve our real problems, we’ll need real solutions. We will have to stop jam-packing the auditoriums along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway and other sites within the country. We will have to stop locking down the roads for several days in a month. We will have to stop worshipping the pastorpreneurs.
“Jesus does not build civilizations: citizens do.”
We will have to roll up our sleeves and build our nation ourselves. Jesus does not build civilizations: citizens do. Eighty-seven percent (87 %) of the Chinese don’t practise any organized religion while 6.2 % are Buddhists, 1.7% believe in Allah, and only 2.3 % believe in Jesus. Forty-seven percent (47 %) of South Koreans don’t even hold any religious belief while a total of 71 % don’t believe in Jesus. Yet these are highly developed economies, light years ahead of Nigeria. Before you misunderstand me again (it’s not as if I’m afraid of being understood anyway as I’m used to it already), let me state this very clearly. If the belief that Jesus will one day save Nigeria is what makes your life go round, I don’t really have any problem with you. That’s your choice that you’re very entitled to. Where I’m going to have all the problems in the cosmos with you is when that belief (or any other belief for that matter) prevents you from contributing your own quota to nation building as a citizen. The economic and sociopolitical liberation of your nation is your duty, not Jesus’. Stop praying and start acting now!