This statement by Jesus is also portrayed in the Book of Luke. According to the Gospels of Jesus:
Therefore, whoever is ashamed of me and my teachings to this adulterous and sinful society – the Servant of Humanity will be ashamed of them when he appears in the majesty of his Creator with the holy angels." (Mark 8:38)
For whoever is ashamed of me and my teachings, of him will the Servant of Humanity be ashamed when he appears in his and the Creator’s glory, and that of the Holy Messengers." (Luke 9:26)To be "ashamed" of Jesus and his teachings means not to follow them. It means abandoning them for the sake of being accepted by others - or impressing others.
Is this a threat?
Jesus is not speaking about going out into the street and being a fanatic either. He is not speaking of yelling at people and threatening to people that unless they accept Jesus as their savior they will go to hell. He is not speaking of threatening that the end of the world is coming in the next few days and we had better accept Jesus or we are going to hell.
Jesus' teachings were very clear. His mission was to instruct us on the purpose of life:
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’" (Mark 12:30)Can a person be forced to love someone? Can a person be threatened into loving someone?
Let's give an example. Let's say that a supervisor at work walks up to a woman who works for him and says, "fall in love with me or I will have you fired." Will the woman fall in love with such a man?
Don't be ridiculous. The woman would not fall in love with such a man who threatened her. Love cannot be forced, either under duress or under threat. A person might pretend to love if they were under threat or duress. But they wouldn't love.
Does God enforce love?
Besides, God is the Supreme Being. He could force us to do practically anything He wanted us to do. And if He wanted to create robots programmed to show love for Him, He could certainly do that. He is God after all. But then that would not really be love, would it?
But the Supreme Being enjoys exchanging relationships of love. This is why we exist. To bring Him enjoyment. But in order to give Him joy, we must love Him out of our own free will.
This is why we are here, seemingly away from Him. We can't see God because He created this world to allow us complete freedom to love Him or not. If we don't want to love Him we don't have to. Heck, we can even pretend He doesn't even exist. This gives us complete freedom - not only to accept His existence - but to love Him.
Is fanaticism compatible with freedom?
Now if God gives us this complete freedom - to choose to love and worship Him or not, and to even have the capacity to decide He doesn't exist - then who do the fanatics think they are, trying to force us to worship God?
They are certainly not representing the Supreme Being.
"when he appears in the majesty of his Creator"
The word appears is translated from the Greek word ἔρχομαι (erchomai), which can mean "to appear, make one's appearance" according to the lexicon. In the context of this statement, Jesus is speaking of his appearance in the spiritual realm.
After Jesus left his physical body and left the physical world, he went to the spiritual realm - he appeared in the spiritual realm. The Supreme Being dwells in the spiritual realm. Actually, He dwells in both the spiritual and the physical realm, but He is visible to everyone within the spiritual realm.
Within the spiritual realm also exist many others. These are God's loving servants - here referred to as "holy angels" - or "holy messengers." The term is used throughout the Biblical texts to refer to those who are citizens of the spiritual realm - who sometimes descend to the physical world to save others.
So Jesus is discussing the time of death, when a person faces God or His representatives - something often referred to as "Judgment day."
On Judgment day we are judged for our purpose and activities within this lifetime. This is for us to realize what choices we made during this lifetime, and the lessons we learned.
We all have the choice to love God or not. Even the citizens of the spiritual realm have the constant choice to love and serve God - or not. Those who choose not to love and serve the Supreme Being are naturally pushed out of the spiritual realm to take on physical bodies within the physical world.
But once a person takes on a physical body, they begin to identify with that physical body. This is misidentification. The physical body we currently wear is temporary, but the design of the physical world is that we forget that we are eternal, composed of spirit.
This is confirmed by Jesus:
"Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit." (John 3:6)
What is the physical world?
This world might be compared to a deep-sea cold water scuba diver. A human cannot go down into the depths of the cold water ocean without a wetsuit and breathing apparatus. We would get hypothermia and drown otherwise.
Once we put on this scuba gear, we can descend into the depths. The scuba gear is like this physical body. We are wearing our physical body just as a scuba diver wears breathing tanks and a wetsuit.
During the deep-sea dive, the scuba diver might get confused and start to think he can stay down there in the ocean forever. This is misidentification. A smart scuba diver realizes that he only has so much oxygen in the tank and thus must ascend from the depths and leave the ocean within a few hours.
In the same way, these physical bodies are temporary. They only have a breathing capacity of about 100 years or sooner. Then we must leave them behind.
Where do we go then?
If we have chosen to come to know and love God and return to our relationship with him, then we can follow Jesus' teachings by praying to God, offering gifts to God, praising God and giving our life to the Supreme Being. Such a choice will result in a speedy return to the spiritual realm to be in the company of God, Jesus and the holy angels.
But should we choose to live a self-centered life - revolved around eating, sleeping, mating and defending - then our consciousness will keep us within the physical world, forgetting our relationship with God.
Is this like being threatened?
This is not a threat. It is a consequence. There is a big difference between a threat and a consequence. Consequences provide a perfect response to our past activities. And consequences are fair - despite the notion that some accuse God of not being fair.
For example, if a person trains hard to win a competition, the consequence of all that training will be the victory - or close to it. That is a fair consequence. But if a person doesn't want to work hard, the consequence may be that the body will become overweight and the person will have the perfect excuse to not work hard - because the body is too overweight to train.
So taking on a physical body is like that. It is a response to our inclinations combined with our actions. It is a fair system, not a form of threat.
For example, if a person is only focused on eating, sleeping, mating and defending, and wants to forget God completely - and not have to feel guilty about their activities - then taking on a lower conscious animal body is the perfect solution. The intellectual capacity of an animal allows them the ignorance of spiritual matters - the ignorance they seek to have.
Yet the type of body they end up in will also depend upon their past activities. Thus we also find the perfect method for learning: One gets to experience directly what one causes upon others.
How much more fair can it be?
The reason most people don't think God is fair is because they are only looking at this present lifetime. When they see a child born into suffering, they think God is punishing that person.
But do they know that the suffering the child endures is a consequence for an action of a previous lifetime? This is why Jesus' disciples asked him this question:
His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2)If the person within the body of the blind man - who was born blind - did not exist prior to being born in that body how could he have sinned prior to being born blind?
Obviously, Jesus was teaching his disciples that we can inhabit a different physical body in a prior lifetime. This was a teaching that was also accepted by the Mosaic philosophy for thousands of years, as well as early Christianity before it was banned by the Romans.
This is also consistent with the notion of hell. How would it be possible for a person to even go to hell without taking on another physical body?
The spiritual realm is a place of joy and bliss. There is no hell in the spiritual realm. Thus the only way a person can experience hell is if they take on a hellish physical body.
There are many myths about hell. Some consider it being beneath the earth. Where is it then? Humans have drilled and excavated much of the world's surface down miles deep. We've found no dungeons of hell.
Actually, we are in hell right now. But the relative degree of our hell and the hell of those around us depends upon the nature of the physical body and its relative position in life.
Consider the hell of someone occupying the body of a mouse who gets tortured by scientists doing lab experiments. Or even a mouse being chased by a relatively gigantic ferocious cat. This is hell.
The human form of life is a life of choice. During this life, we can decide which way we are going. Are we going home to the spiritual realm? Or are we going to continue to ignore and run away from our Best Friend the Supreme Being?
We make the choice. This is our perpetual freedom. No one - not even the fanatic - can take that away from us.