It isn’t as if I go out of my way to make sure that I read/watch/etc every single thing that the Pope says. I’m not a Roman Catholic, I have no intention of becoming one, so why would I? But, as a human being living on media-saturated planet earth, I cannot help but hear/see/etc some of it, any more than I can help but be forced to know some (entirely unwanted!!) information about the latest publicized perversities of Britney Lohan, Martha Winfrey, or any other “celebrity”.
Still, I have actually lost track of how many times since being appointed to the top-job in Roman Catholicism, that current pope, Benedict, has betrayed and defamed Jesus Christ and all of Christianity by proclaiming that Christians, Jews, and Muslims all worship the same God; “the one true God” as he so often has put it. I have in other places and times explained in great detail why (1) this is not true, and (2) why outside of ridiculously watery politically correct pieces of weak social theology, no serious and honest Christian, Jew, or Muslim will ever agree with this, and (3) will all see it as an attack on or at least an affront to the faiths they hold dear.
So, since that subject isn’t the focal point of this writing, I will present one easy example and we’ll move on. The book of 1John (5:20-21) states very clearly:
And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. (21) Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. (italics mine)
You will not find a true Jew or Muslim who will agree that those verses are real actual truth, to do so would be a complete denial of what they each believe. You also will not find a true follower of Jesus, a real Christian, who does NOT believe those verses to be true. Again, doing so would be a denial of what a Christian believes.
So what is the focal point of this writing? During his recent U.S. “tour” (of sorts), at a mass Mass on Wednesday, 4-2-08, Benedict XVI spent time praising the previous Pope, John Paul II (it being the third anniversary of his death). I have zero problem with that. Paying homage to the fella who went before you is a nice way of showing respect, and of showing some personal humility as well. I’m also sure that many folks could write down a reasonable list of reasons to honor John Paul for things he did in his lifetime, or regarding his personal character and such.
However, when Benedict compared John Paul’s last days on earth (suffering as he was with Parkinson’s disease) to the suffering endured by Christ on the cross…his comments left the realm of decency and became outright blasphemy.
He actually said:
“Just as happened with Jesus, also for John Paul II; in the end, words gave way to the extreme sacrifice, and to the gift of self.”
Held as a major tenet of the Christian faith from the very beginnings of Christianity, and clearly expressed numerous times in the Holy Bible is that NO ONE has ever, or will ever compare to Jesus Christ! The apostle Paul’s writing in Romans 3:23 puts it as succinctly, and as glaringly apparent as anyone could ask for:
Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
All have sinned, not some, not several, not most – ALL! And all, every single person that has ever or will ever live, fall short of the glory of God. The only reason anyone who believes in Jesus ever has to compare themselves to Him is to remind ourselves continually that we are not Holy, not Pure, not Righteous, not GOOD ENOUGH in any way in and of ourselves to deserve anything but destruction, and that it is only because He is Lord, because He is Perfect, because He is God Almighty that we have any hope of any kind.
Romans 3:24 – Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Romans 3:25 – Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Romans 3:26 – To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Our redemption, our justification, our salvation comes only through Christ Jesus; by His grace. The grace of God sent Him to die for us, in our place for our wretchedness, for our sins, so that we could be cleansed, redeemed, justified, made worthy to live with Him in His glory forever. That is the very definition of the word “grace”.
Nothing that any and all of us combined could or even would ever do compares to that in any way. We are all sinful in our very natures, totally depraved,..fallen. Fallen, and lost. All of us need a Savior – we cannot do it ourselves.
God in His grace and His mercy chose to save us by sacrificing to a violent and horrible death on the cross His only begotten son, Jesus Christ. He was tortured beyond our comprehension. Even Mel Gibson’s film a few years ago, The Passion of The Christ, as jarring and brutal as it was for people to watch does not even begin to cover the magnitude of what He endured on the cross for us. He took the punishment, the pain, the suffering for the sins of the entire world for all time upon Himself in His physical form on the cross. No human mind can ever fully conceptualize the enormity of that act. We simply cannot do it.
Did John Paul choose to suffer from Parkinson’s? Did he choose to suffer this disease so that all of humanity could be freed of suffering it themselves? Even if he could have done so, would all the pain from all the world’s diseases (not even just Parkinson’s) being laid on one sinful human being be somehow equivalent to the sins of all mankind being heaped on the perfect and sinless shoulders of our Lord Jesus Christ? Could John Paul’s suffering Parkinson’s (or anything and everything else he may have suffered in his life) have paved the road that leads many sons to glory?
Of course not! The very idea that they are comparable in any way is utterly ridiculous. So for Benedict to imply that John Paul’s suffering from a human disease for some months gave him some similar stature with Christ is not only appalling, it is downright asinine.
Thus with your mouth ye have boasted against me, and have multiplied your words against me: I have heard them. Thus saith the Lord GOD; When the whole earth rejoiceth, I will make thee desolate. – Ezekiel 35:13-14