Last week, I explained the way that the Xhosa people conduct their funeral ceremonies and customs. This week, I would like to follow up with an experience we were amazed to encounter during our survey trip in June of this year!
We were able to witness a traditional Saturday while on our survey trip in June. Three car loads of Americans parked and watched as a dozen or more funerals took place simultaneously. As we were watching and discussing exactly what was taking place, we were approached by two police officers acquiring as to what we were doing parked in a cemetery.
I did my best to explain that I am a preacher, and that I wanted to learn more about the Xhosa customs and traditions so that I might share Jesus more clearly with them. The police officers demeanor immediately changed and his face lit up! What followed was a conversation that I still ponder on a daily basis.
One police officer stated that he was a methodist and that he believed in Jesus Christ. Needless to say, we were very interested in his story and wanted to hear more about what he had to say. As he was explaining the Xhosa traditions of ancestral worship, he commented; “You see; God is far away! But our ancestors are close by. If we make sacrifices to our ancestors, and ask them to provide for our needs, they go to God who is far away and speak to Him on our behalf!”
As the conversation progressed over the span of an hour or so, I was able to speak to him away from the main group for a few minutes. At this point, I am sharing with him why God has lead my family to come and preach Jesus to his people. With excitement, he makes another statement directly to me; “If you will understand this, it will help you in your preaching to my people. Our ancestral traditions are ok, as long as we know that there is a better high priest. Jesus is our better high priest!” As I watch and listen, my heart begins to break for this man. He has claimed to know Jesus Christ, yet it is not the Jesus that I know! He does not know the Jesus of our Bible!
He repeats himself again with the statement that Jesus is a “better high priest” and everything within me cries out; “NO! Your ancestral worships is not ok! It’s idolatry! And Jesus is not simply a ‘better high priest,’ He is THE HIGH PRIEST!” Jesus said, “I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE, no man cometh to the Father BUT BY ME!”
The reality of their “gospel” is this; they know the name Jesus, but they do not know Him as Savior! They are trusting in their customs and traditions, with Jesus mixed in, but remain lost and dead in their sins and trespasses!
I am asking YOU to pray for the Underwood family as we continue raising our support to get to South Africa so that we may preach Christ and Christ ALONE to the Xhosa people. If this comes across as begging, then so be it. The souls of men are at stake! Their eternity is labeled “CONDEMNED ALREADY!” Will YOU help us reach South Africa, before it is everlasting too late?!