India - Home to Many Faiths
India is a country where many different religious traditions exist. Although I know that there are sometimes negative reports about the treatment of Christians in India, that has never been my experience. I have always found Hindus to be the most tolerant community, with great reverence for all the religious traditions which exist. I've lived in India for 25 years, so you can take it that I know what I'm talking about.
There are, however, other communities living in India which are not so tolerant. I have found myself on the receiving end of some really harsh criticism. I have come across people who believe that we Christians, Catholics in particular, are guilty of blasphemy. Why? Because we call the Virgin Mary 'Mother of God'.
The Mission of the Virgin Mary
Tradition tells us that the Virgin Mary was born late in life to her parents and this is because a child born with a great mission must be covered in prayer. Mary had a special mission which was to give birth to Yeshua (Jesus) the second person of the Blessed Trinity, in his Earthly form. That's the greatest deed accomplished by any human being. She was conceived in the full purity of soul, without any corruption of sin.
The Handmaid of the Lord
Her father was a temple priest and recited scriptures aloud day after day, so Mary was surrounded by love and Scripture. She had the gift of prophesy. Just read the Magnificat in Luke's Gospel if you're not sure about that. We do not say she is the wife of God the Father. Rather we say she was surrounded with sacred Scripture and became pregnant with the Word of God. The Word of God is another name of Jesus. In the Bible she calls herself the 'handmaid of the Lord'
Mary Had to be Sinless
The term 'mother of God' is a prerogative or privilege. This was proclaimed at the Council of Ephesus in 431. The basilica of St Mary Major was build in Rome to honour Mary's Divine Motherhood. This is honouring Jesus' Divinity as the Son of God, consubstantial with the Father, rather than deifying Mary. The Virgin Mary needed to be sinless to bring forth a blessed child as God in any of His 3 persons can't go near sin.
Christians are the most misunderstood people and also the most persecuted because unbelievers cannot get their heads around the mysteries of God. We have to gently explain and bear their rebukes. Jesus told us in the Bible that we would have to suffer like this but told us never to worry what about what we must say when the world ridicules us. Jesus told us he said he would send his Holy Spirit, the Helper. The Holy Spirit gives us strength to bear all humiliation when the world scoffs at our faith. We have to be prepared for the world's hatred and rather rejoice that we are sharing the Saviour's shameful fate, knowing that if we suffer on Good Friday we will rise with Our Jesus on Easter Sunday.
Beware of the Danger
There's something very important to remember. To deny the Divinity of the Lord' Jesus is most dangerous to one's salvation. It is better for the unbelievers to say nothing than to commit the worst form of blasphemy which is to deny the Divinity of God's beloved Son. If you find it difficult to accept, better admit it and say nothing against it. Because the merciful God gives the benefit of the doubt at every opportunity. But anyone who has loudly denied Jesus will not benefit from His redeeming work.
Don't Speak Against It
If anyone argues with me about whether Jesus was human or divine, I always tell them that if you don't believe, it's okay. You should be honest and you can't help how you feel. But at least don't speak against it. See there are many people in this world who know judgment day is coming. They do everything they can to get Christians to deny Jesus and say He's not the Divine Son. He's only a human, they say, a servant of God. When you challenge them, they're like 'what did I say wrong? Being a servant, a slave of God, is a great honour'. Of course you can't disagree with that. But....
Don't Let Your Words Condemn You
But here's the thing. Jesus, by His Death on the Cross, saved the world. But if you're standing before God on Judgment Day and you've been denying Jesus all your life, how can He save you? Your very words will condemn you. So if you don't believe Jesus is divine, there's no harm in being honest about it. But for your own sake, please don't speak against it. Just take this advice, if you take nothing else away from here. It's important for your afterlife.
Many thanks to Pixabay for the images