Matthew 1: 16
And Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called the Christ.
Mark 1: 22
And they were astonished at His doctrine; for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Matthew 13: 10-12, 13, 16-17
And the disciples came, and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” he answered, and said to them, “Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” “Therefore I speak to them in parables; because they seeing see not: and hearing, they hear not, neither do they understand.” “And in them is fulfilled the prophesy of Isaiah, which says: ‘BY HEARING YOU SHALL HEAR, AND SHALL NOT UNDERSTAND: AND SEEING YOU SHALL SEE, AND SHALL NOT PERCEIVE (Cp. Isaiah 6: 9).’ ” But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your eyes, for they hear. “For verily I say to you, that many Prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which you see and have not seen them; and to hear the things which you have, and have not heard them.”
Matthew 13: 34-35
And these things spoke Jesus unto the multitude in parables, and without a parable spoke He not unto them; that it might be fulfilled by the Prophet, saying, “I WILL OPEN MY MOUTH IN PARABLES, I WILL UTTER THINGS WHICH HAVE BEEN KEPT SECRET FROM THE FOUNDATON OF THE WORLD (Cp. Psalms 78: 2).”
John 3: 3, 6-7, 9-10, 12
Jesus answered and said unto him, “Verily, verily I say unto you, except a man be born again [from above] he cannot see the kingdom of God.” That which is borne of flesh is flesh and that which is born of spirit, is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto you, You must be born again. Nicodemus answered and said unto Him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you a Master teacher [Rabboni] of Israel and don’t know these things?” If I have told you earthly things, and you believe not: how shall you believe if I tell you of heavenly things?”
1 Kings 4: 29, 34
God gave Solomon wisdom-keen insight and a mind as limited as the sand on the seashore. Solomon’s wisdom was greater than that of all the people of the East and all the wisdom of the Egyptians. He was wiser than anyone, than Ethan the Ezrahite, or Herman, Calcol, or Darda, Mahol’s sons. His fame spread to all the nations surrounding him. People came from every nation to hear his wisdom; they came from all the kings of the earth who had heard about his wisdom.
NOTE: That Solomon was very wise is the stuff of legend-but how do other men compare, such as Daniel (Ezekiel 28: 3); Job (Job 2: 11: 42: 1-6) and Job’s friends, Eliphaz (Job 4: 1); Bildad (Job 8: 1); Zophar (Job 11: 1) and Elihu (Job 32: 1)? There is however, one person who possessed the greatest wisdom of all, as in the following:
Matthew 12: 42
The Queen of the south will stand up at the time of judgment with you. She will condemn you, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear Solomon’s wisdom. But look, someone greater than Solomon is here.
Luke 13: 23-24
Then said one unto Him, “LORD, are there few that be saved?” And He said unto him, “Strive to enter in at the straight gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”
Matthew 23: 13
But woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: For you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them who are entering to go in (Cp. Luke 11: 52).
Luke 6: 39
And He spoke a parable unto them, “Can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch?”
Luke 17: 20-21
And when He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation. Neither shall they say, Lo here, or lo there: for behold, the kingdom of heaven is within you.”
COMMENTARY: Outside of Christianity Jesus is accepted as a great teacher of wisdom like Confucius, Lao-Tzu, Pythagoras, Buddha, Solomon, Khrishna, Aristotle and others, but not as the Son of God or Jewish Messiah. The Church, on the other hand has contributed to an over-emphasis on the miraculous or supernatural (exorcisms, signs, wonders, healings, resurrection, etc) and not as much on what Jesus taught. This is not to suggest that these elements are unnecessary but to focus so much attention on the extraordinary causes us not to see what is before our eyes and hiding in plain sight. Jesus is called the “Christ” which means ‘anointed’ in the special sense of the word but I would like to offer another thought here. Jesus as the Son of God who came down to this earth from the highest Heavenly realm to teach us how to find our way back to God, offers this gift of esoteric knowledge wrapped up in the garment of mundane everyday sayings which obscure greater spiritual truth. The parables He delivered most likely have a double meaning which might be difficult to discern at first, and while it might not be the case for all of them all of them, doubtless, some of them probably do.
I remember reading a little bit about Zen Buddhism where the student or pupil is taught a simple Koan (riddle, parable or proverb) by the Master and not instructed as to what it means or how to interpret it. It is only after diligent reflection, contemplation or meditation without external distraction that the mental discipline and sometimes rigorous physical training and sacrifice pays off and the novice (disciple) understands. This person has just experienced an epiphany [Def. – A sudden rush of intuitive insight into the essential nature or meaning of a thing]. So, what does all of this have to do with Jesus and His teaching or Christianity, for that matter? Most of the time, whether in pulpits or Bible classes on Wednesday night or Sunday School, parables are rarely taught, and when they are it is usually interpreted in a very literal way because this how the meaning appears on the surface. It all seems so simple and perhaps that is just the point. Jesus said that the purpose is to obscure to truth and not make it plainly clear. If the audience to whom He spoke these words to didn’t grasp the hidden meaning, even within the context of their social and religious environment with terms that they would have been most familiar with, then what are our chances today that we could? Even some of Jesus’ followers found it difficult to fully comprehend or understand His message (Cp. John 6: 60).
It must be remembered that Jesus spoke many parables but He only gave answers to but just a few as recorded in the gospels, and even then there might have been a deeper meaning or layer underneath. Keep in mind that the times that Jesus disclosed the meaning of the parables to His disciples [The Twelve] was when they were in a private setting, away from the crowd. There were a couple of occasions when Jesus asked the disciples if they understood the parables and they said they did. I am not so sure they did, and certainly not all of them because Jesus rebuked “the twelve” several times for their unbelief and being dull if hearing; not to mention their embarrassing behavior from time to time. Outside the miracles and the few instances of social interaction, parables are the crown jewel of Jesus’ teaching and it would benefit us greatly to ask God to open up our understanding to these sacred words that have been hidden from the foundation of the world.
To wrap this up then, I am starting to think of Jesus in a slightly different way now. The Son of God, yes, that’s a given but when I read about Jesus who is called “Christ” to me it is like this: Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River and as a result of the mystical experience that He had, the Holy Spirit descending upon Him and hearing God’s voice from heaven seems to me that He become a ‘Bodhisattva’ [attaining “Enlightenment”], which is also having an epiphany. As a divine being who took on the mantle of human flesh, Jesus set aside His divine prerogatives of godhood. The experience in the Jordan awakened Him to the higher spiritual realm [in its fullness??] at that moment in time and what had been forgotten was now restored to His memory and He knew what the end of His mission was- to teach us how to find our way back to the Source (God) through His teachings, and to ultimately, die for the sins of the world.
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June 19, 2012