By Bolanle Bolawole
[email protected] 0705 263 1058
“And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.
2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,
3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?
4 Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:
5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
6 And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
7 And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
8 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.
9 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.
10 For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
11 Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
14 And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.
15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear (Matthew 11: 1 – 15).
The question John the Baptist sent his disciples to go and ask Jesus Christ will qualify as one of the most dramatic in the bible. Jesus and John the Baptist were actually related by blood. Elizabeth, the mother of John, was Virgin Mary’s aunt. She was the sister of Anna, who was Virgin Mary’s mother. That apart, John prophesied the coming of Christ and his ministry; he showed Him to the world as the expected Messiah; the Son of God; the Lamb of God and Someone by far greater and superior to John himself, despite that John was seen as at that time as the greatest prophet living (which Jesus Himself later confirmed in the opening quotation above). But when John faced the storms of life, his faith shook, which many will say is human. Or, perhaps, he only wanted a confirmation of what he had prophesied and to alert Jesus to his predicament, in case Jesus was not aware. For denouncing Herod Antipas’s marriage to Herodias, which was illegal under Jewish law, Herod threw John into prison, where he was subsequently beheaded at the promptings of Herodias.
Jesus’ response was melodramatic! I would not know which must have disappointed John more: His surprise that Jesus apparently did nothing about his (John’s) predicament or the hiding he got for crying out unto Jesus. I am sure he got more than he bargained for. Why God allowed it so, only God can tell! True, then, is the Yoruba proverb, to wit: “Ajumobi o kan t’aanu; af’eni ori ba ran si’ni” That someone is your blood relation does not necessarily translate into his giving you a helping hand. Only your destiny helper as already ordained by God will feel the compelling need to help you. Interestingly, John the Baptist was not the only one that Jesus disappointed, so to say. His disciples, who had a wrong notion of His earthly ministry, also felt seriously let down when He told them His Kingdom was not of this world.
Acts 1: 1 – 12 says: “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey”.
Note that even before this date, after the crucifixion of Christ, the disillusioned, disappointed and frustrated disciples of Jesus had backslided, returning to their previous vocation. The dare-devil Peter said, I go fishing and the others followed suit!
John 21: 1 – 14: “After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.
2 There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.
3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go fishing. They said unto him, We go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.
4 But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.
5 Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.
6 And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.
7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked) and did cast himself into the sea.
8 And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.
9 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.
10 Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.
11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.
12 Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.
13 Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.
14 This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead”
Is Tinubu the expected messiah or shall we wait for another? Maybe we should consult ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo! OBJ appears to possess a special talent for knowing who is a messiah and who is not! In the heat of the struggle to revalidate the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election won fair and square by MKO Abiola, OBJ in far away South Africa declared MKO was not the messiah Nigeria needed. He gave no reasons. He offered no explanations. Was it that he felt MKO was incapable of delivering on his “Farewell to Poverty” rallying cry? Having been there, was he aware of structural and foundational defects that would frustrate the best of intentions? It is instructive that the same OBJ, despite his experience as military Head of State, came in as civilian president, spent two terms of four years each but failed fantastically. Are we to believe one-time presidential spin doctor, Dr. Reuben Abati, that spiritual forces beyond the scope and capacity of the occupiers of Aso Villa, hold sway? They get in wise but immediately they set foot in that “accursed” place, their brains are scooped out only for them to become normal again at their exit!
I invest a lot of hope in Tinubu (at least for now) and so I became worried when I saw a so-called manifesto of the same Tinubu which talked of building roads and bridges. Those are no achievements to be celebrated but the routine day-to-day activities of any serious government. State police? Yes and kudos but more than that is required. Nigeria is like a house with faulty foundations and structural defects. Giving it a new coat of paints and equipping it with Arabian carpets and Italian furniture is not what is required. How to restructure and move it from centralism to true and fiscal federalism is the task at hand. Breaking the dependence on crude oil, gas and tax from the South and putting the entire country back to work again as was the case in the First Republic is the only saving grace left. I expect that Tinubu will leverage on his massive goodwill nationwide, managerial acumen and political sagacity to rescue a country dangerously close to the edge of the precipice. Or else…
LAST WORD: Realignment of forces has started all over the country. It promises to be interesting! Nigeria’s prebendal politics – of religion, race and money – will run its full course. Rather than pull the country and its people together, it will further widen the gulf and raise the level of bad blood and poison the system beyond redemption. But, who has ever believed our report?