Nigerian Independence essay of Messiahs and founding fathers in the Nigerian experience
An interesting parallel exists between what is happening in Nigeria today and the Word of the LORD in the Book of Acts. All of a sudden, messiahs and men with messianic complexes are arising here and there claiming to know the way forward for Nigeria and sections of it. The learned theologian and Pharisee, Gamaliel gave us a picture of what is going on today in Nigeria. Here is the Word:
Acts 5:29-42 (NLT)
29 But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.
30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you killed him by hanging him on a cross.
31 Then God put him in the place of honor at his right hand as Prince and Savior. He did this so the people of Israel would repent of their sins and be forgiven.
32 We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to those who obey him.”
33 When they heard this, the high council was furious and decided to kill them.
34 But one member, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, who was an expert in religious law and respected by all the people, stood up and ordered that the men be sent outside the council chamber for a while.
35 Then he said to his colleagues, “Men of Israel, take care what you are planning to do to these men!
36 Some time ago there was that fellow Theudas, who pretended to be someone great. About 400 others joined him, but he was killed, and all his followers went their various ways. The whole movement came to nothing.
37 After him, at the time of the census, there was Judas of Galilee. He got people to follow him, but he was killed, too, and all his followers were scattered.
38 “So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown.
39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!”
40 The others accepted his advice. They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go.
41 The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus.
42 And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah.”
But how does one recognize a true leader sent by God to lead Nigeria and Nigerians out of the present confusion, so the nation can fulfill her destiny?
But before that, let us take a look at the character of the false messiahs – Theudas and Judas of Galilee.
Theudas was deluded. He pretended to be someone great. He was egomaniacal and so full of himself. He had neither the mandate of heaven nor did he have the character to inspire and lead the people to the golden age.
The next one was Judas of Galilee. He was a reactionary, an opportunist who took occasion with the ordered census by Augustus Caesar to rabble rouse and create confusion and fire up resentments against Rome. Why was Judas successful in winning some? It was because he preyed on the grievances of the people and struck a chord in their hearts because of the injustices of Roman governance.
The point Gamaliel was making was that such leaders will always come and go, but the leader sent by God will come but will not go and His work will be born of God thus having a lasting and epochal impact. As a result of that, anyone fighting him will be fighting God. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the King that rules by love.
How do we recognize a leader sent by God for the good of all the people of Nigeria? One thing that will characterize his tenure is his inclusion. When a leader is not inclusive, know for sure that he has not come from God. Ephesians 2:14 (NLT) 14 For Christ Himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.
King David was a leader sent by God to position Israel for their golden age, which came about during the reign of Solomon his son. Here is what he said on the subject in 2 Samuel 23:1-4 (TEV)
1 David son of Jesse was the man whom God made great, whom the God of Jacob chose to be king, and who was the composer of beautiful songs for Israel. These are David's last words:
2 The spirit of the LORD speaks through me; his message is on my lips.
3 The God of Israel has spoken; the protector of Israel said to me: "The king who rules with justice, who rules in obedience to God,
4 is like the sun shining on a cloudless dawn, the sun that makes the grass sparkle after rain."
According to this Word through David, it is no longer difficult to identify and follow a leader sent by God.
The first thing is that this leader will rule with justice and equity because they go together
The next thing is that he will rule in obedience to God or in the fear of God. What does this mean? There are only two commandments from God. These are the commandment to love the LORD our God and the commandment to love our neighbor as our self. Our neighbor in this regard has been defined for us by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the parable of the Good Samaritan. The Jews have no dealings with the Samaritan but it was the Samaritan who saw the Jew in danger and went out of his way to save his life. What this means is that any leader sent by God to position us for our golden age cannot have enemies amongst us, whether they be real or perceived. He must have the depth to breakdown our walls of division and weld us into one people under law and under love for the benefit of us all.
According to King David, this leader will be like the sun shining on a cloudless dawn. In other words, his influence and impact will touch every life directly. He will be in a position to impact the life of each and every one of us giving us hope for the dawn of a new and glorious day for Nigeria. Besides, he will make every blade of grass to sparkle after the rain. In other words, he will first bring down the rain of universal opportunity that will then go to bring out the best in each of us as individuals or as groups within the entire nation of Nigeria. Each one of us will be able to sparkle and be our best for God and for the nation of Nigeria.
King David’s opinion on this subject is made more valid and universal in application because he was the founding father of the nation of Israel although he was not their first king. He welded the twelve tribes into one nation and so set the stage for the Golden Age of Israel under King Solomon his successor.
Our democracy is seriously faulty because it keeps turning up leaders who do not fit into this mould of a founding father. It is either they are not inclusive or they do not understand justice and love for all. It is through love and justice for all that we shall individually and collectively be inspired to sparkle and excel for the common good of all Nigerians. Indeed we shall recognize our founding father when he has created the atmosphere and mindset of brotherhood in a united Nigeria which has been revealed in 1 Corinthians 12:26 (NLT) 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.
We must therefore keep praying and waiting for God to reveal our true founding father, who will make us all one family and one nation under God – though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we must stand for the good of all.