August 7, 2009

The Most Challenging Miracles

Which eyewitness claim is harder to believe? That a carpenter ordered a storm to clear up? Or that a regular Jew lived a life well pleasing to the God of Moses?

Which bit of Jesus’ early life is more astounding? That he amazed the teachers of Jerusalem with sage-like qualities at age 12, or that he lived two more decades in Nazareth before doing the same thing in their Synagogue?

Which one of his teachings seems more difficult to believe that he himself followed it? “Be perfect”? Or “Worship the Father in spirit”?

Which miracle of Jesus is harder to accept, as an actual fact? That the Lord rose from the dead? Or that the Father was IN HIM, and that they communed and communicated with each other, metaphysically?

If we want to employ a faith-based historiography of the Gospels we should take all these miracles as supernatural events. That means if we're going to reconstruct a historical life of Jesus, by faith, we're going to have to deal historically with an indwelling Father, with spiritual experience, and with the so-called "silent years" in Nazareth.

What I'm wondering these days is - what makes dealing with these elements so much more challenging than dealing with "regular miracles"? Is it the complexity of our theological presuppositions? Or is it the awareness of our personal inadequacies at spiritual encounter? If the former, I suggest we need to simplify our assumptions. If the latter, I suggest we not let shame keep us from presenting him as He truly lived... according to the Gospels.

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"If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient observation than to any other reason."

-- Isaac Newton