John, JESUS of Nazareth was – in HIS TIME – many things to many people; a teacher, a healer, a leader among many others. Specifically, I would like to know, what did HIS healing signify to you; what did they mean? What did they imply?
If I told you I had the key to life and I died, would I be worth believing in?
Not, quite. Giving the circumstances…
That’s what the healings meant. They were evidence, proof, validation. JESUS wasn’t meeting a people of faith. If they had faith, HE would not need to come. What they had was “the need for faith”. In this, HE had to help their faith, build it, prune it. This was the role of the miracles. They were to validate the words of JESUS, the claim of JESUS. They were HIS confirmation. But anyone with the right power-kit can perform ‘miracles’; what differentiates JESUS from all other miracle-workers then and now is the purpose of the miracles: the restoration of the soul. I believe the Christian should be mindful to prune the intention of every miracle. For JESUS, it was to help the spiritually weak to build faith and see GOD. With the miracles, they could understand the power of GOD through JESUS. Any miracle which doesn’t exalt the human to behold the stature of GOD is contrary to the truth. So when JESUS casted out demons (Mark 1: 21-28; 5: 1-15) or healed the sick (Mark 1: 29-31; 34) or forgave sins (Mark 2: 1-7) or performed the wonders of parables in wisdom (Mark 4: 1-9; 10-12; 26-29; 30-32) or fed a lot of people (Mark 6: 30-43) or even walked on water (Mark 6: 45-51) it was to show them that GOD had come to save them just as Moses had performed the 9 plagues to show Pharaoh that GOD had said what GOD had said. Invariably, if we have faith, we don’t need miracles to believe there is GOD, with faith we have an understanding that there is GOD, already. These miracles implied an aid to see GOD. That’s what I believe.
We know that JESUS was a human with great spiritual connection and characters; in your close evaluation of the person of JESUS, how do you think HE was able to reconcile the aspects of the flesh and the spirit?
Let me say, JESUS was as human as HE was GOD. HE was a part of GOD and an extension of GOD upon the earth. HE was the very perfect example of what GOD created as “Adam” in the garden of Eden. What we see in JESUS is what GOD expects us to be eventually. With this nature came great expectations which made HIM go beyond what we – HIS followers – could grasp. I remember one time HE said His true family were those who did the Will of GOD and not just a physical family. HE denied Mary HIS mother (Mark 3: 31-35). Yet, JESUS felt what we feel, HE overcame because HE had GOD so we can overcome what we fail-in now, when we have GOD in us. Another thing is, JESUS used what was flesh to reveal what was spiritual. HIS goal was the spiritual but for this goal to be achieved in the physical, HE had to relate through the physical. The reconciliation of which is shown in the miracles and the parables. I believe HE also had a very concise definition of discipline and purpose conscious. The best way to reconcile the flesh with the spirit was and is the presence of GOD.
Now, if we can glance through the teachings of JESUS, there was a foregrounded style in which they were convened and received. How do you reason these impacted the people then and now?
Like I said, the parables were HIS way of conveying the deep revelations of GOD. They were codes that built the image of GOD in the minds of the people. If you know about seeds, and I liken the work of GOD in us to the life of a seed, then you’ll understand the work of GOD in our lives (Mark 4:1-9). However, JESUS could tell those who were following HIM for the right reasons and the parables were key to sieving them from those who followed for wrong and selfish reasons. It was an appetizer to some and to others, a buffer. However, this style of parables was also a reflection of HIS composition; it showed us that HE had the grasp of wisdom to condense the high value of GOD to the low person. For the people, then, parables were a sign that HE was a rabbi: skilled with the word; but also the chosen one, the Messiah who knew many and all things. For the people, now, parables are a means of quickening understanding in the most practical ways possible. Parables were a way to relate the unknown through the known. The impact of parables was to open the eyes of those who were without vision and sight of GOD. The purpose and aim is always “GOD over all things”.
You have a beautiful report in the synoptic gospels. This is a personal one: what episode do you consider most intriguing among the others?
This is a hard one. I think it’s relative. To me, now, it could be “this” and to me – in another time – it could be “that”. But for now, I reckon one episode that stands out for me is at the crucifixion. I think the juice and gist there was the irony…the paradox…the conflict in seeing this very episode. To human-beings, JESUS had failed. On the cross, “the helper of many” was helpless; HE was shamed, convicted of crimes none of which HE had committed. While the world deemed JESUS a failure, HE was victorious. In that, what we saw as failure was victory over the power and slavery of sin (Mark 15: 31-39). That episode remains strong in me because I could see the ambit of human limitations and the ambience of GOD overwhelming authority over all things. It’s a Beautiful thing, trust me.