The Tomato Principle
A reader felt that I was diminishing the perfection of Jesus with my previous comments on the subject. Perhaps I can add some necessary details so readers can more clearly see my views.
As I said in the chapter mentioned there are two main words for perfection. The first is AKRIBELA and this is the perfection which implies never making a mistake. The interesting thing is this word was never used in reference to Jesus, or even God for that matter. BUT it was used in reference to the belief system of those who crucified the Christ. They saw Jesus as far from flawless and therefore it would be blasphemous to assume that he was the son of God.
The word used in reference to the perfection of Jesus was TELEIOO which implies the finishing of a job, assignment or mission. Thus the Bible references of the perfection of Jesus and his Father imply that when they accept a mission they are able to successfully complete it.
God may have not created a flawless (AKRIBELA) world, but he created according to his will with all its flaws evolving into the fulfilling the measure of its creation, or TELEIOO, the perfection or the finishing of his work.
Now a big problem is created in expecting anything or person to be perfect as in AKRIBELA. For instance, which one is the one perfect snowflake, and if we found it would we even recognize it?
If we were to take God’s own pick of the perfect snowflake and show it to 100 people along side of thousands of other snowflakes, how many would agree with God that it was the perfect one?
Answer: Very few.
Does God have to command us to believe his pick is the most perfect?
That would be a ridiculous process.
Even so, the describing of any man, even Jesus, as being perfect as we define it today is too subtle and illusive to exist in reality.
For instance, the law of Moses decreed that on the Sabbath “thou shalt not do ANY WORK.” Ex 20:10. Now technically the Jews were right that Jesus was violating the letter of the law when he worked very hard to heal and teach on the Sabbath and even allowed his disciples to harvest some grain.
Now we all know that Jesus turned water into wine yet the scripture says “Woe unto him that givest his neighbor drink, that puttest thy bottle to him…” Hab 2:15.
He thus definitely broke the letter of this scriptural injunction as well as many others in this act.
Part of the reason that Jesus was crucified on a tree was to teach the very principle that the exact following of the black and white law is not necessary for salvation, even for him.
In Deut 21:23 we are told that he who is hung upon a tree is “accursed of God”. Paul was making reverence to this when he said: “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” Gal 3:11-13
Who can deny that Jesus flagrantly broke the law of Moses by allowing himself to be crucified on a cross made from a tree?
Instead of telling us that Jesus redeemed us by obeying every letter of the law he tells us the opposite.
Jesus redeemed us by “being made a curse for us.”
Now, how could this be? How could the breaking of the law and taking upon himself the decreed curse redeem us?
The principle here is illustrated in the history of the tomato. Few realize that until recent history that it was considered poisonous. In the early 1800’s no one dared eat one for they thought they would be “cursed” and die.
In 1820 a man named Robert Johnson of New Jersey doubted the common wisdom and experimented on himself by eating them until he was convinced of their safety as a food.
But when he told others that it was a safe food to eat many thought him a mad man. He couldn’t seem to make any progress in convincing others to eat the fruit so he made a bold announcement. He proclaimed that he would actually eat these dangerous tomatoes on the steps of the courthouse for all to see, and he set a time for this dangerous performance.
At the set time as large crowd turned out to see this crazed person eat the poisonous fruit and wither and die in pain.
After the crowd gathered Mr. Johnson proceeded to eat an alarming quantity of this cursed food. He ate until he was full and as he crowd waited for him to die he smiled, told jokes and teased them for their foolish belief.
After this demonstration word spread from New Jersey to surrounding cities, states and nations until the whole world was soon freed from the illusion of the poisonous tomato.
Even so, it was with many of the laws of Moses and Old Testament decrees. When you think of it, hanging on a tree would no more cause a person to be cursed than the eating of a tomato, and just as Robert Johnson picked a situation to demonstrate the illusion of the people, even so did Jesus allow himself to be crucified on a tree to demonstrate that he could flagrantly violate the decree of the law and yet have no curse, but instead obtain the greatest blessing of all time – the resurrection.
Why then was Jesus compared to a “lamb without blemish and without spot?” I Peter 1:19
This comparison was made to teach a principle and not as a decree that Jesus followed the letter of the law in all cases.
It is written: “Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” II Cor 3:6
Note here that the early disciples saw themselves as ministers “not of the letter, but of the spirit.” They did not see Jesus as a lamb without blemish because he followed the letter of the law, but they did believe he followed the spirit of the laws of the prophets and by the spirit of the law (which gives life) Jesus was indeed “without blemish and without spot.”
Do we still have illusionary fears about modern harmless tomatoes? Can you name several?
People when given a choice between following the letter of the law or the spirit will usually lean on the letter. Why
April 25 2001
Copyright by J J Dewey
JJ’s Amazon page HERE
Gather with JJ on Facebook HERE