Jesus Existence Verified Merry Christmas
The celebration of Christmas is only a couple days away; the birthday of the Christ child. Christianity is a testimony to the existence of a remarkable person who launched a radical and enduring new religion. Jesus’ teachings have no historical context, which verifies his true existence.
Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist, devoted most of his life to the description of whole, or total, human being. Looked at psychologically, the Gospels reveal the personality of Jesus of Nazareth as a whole person, a truly individual person, and therefore someone quite unique.
Jesus’ teachings are free from historical conditioning. No ordinary person escapes the historical and psychological conditioning of his thoughts, personality, and attitudes by the history of the people of his time. All of us born into history at a particular time will have that history shape our personalities. Scholars have attempted to find the attitudes current in Jesus’ time that may have influenced his personality and teachings. But a remarkable thing about the personality of Jesus is that such historical conditioning is not evident. The personality and the teachings of Jesus are not from the history of his time, but stand out in contrast to it. The uniqueness in his teachings is a testimony to the reality of Jesus’ existence.
Though Jesus was a good Jew, for instance, his teachings departed so radically from the Judaism of his day that we cannot entertain the idea that he acquired his insights from the Jewish collective thinking of his time. It seems that Jesus acquired his insights from direct contact with a numinous power; that is, from God.
Jesus Personality and Teachings
Jesus’ personality and teachings are unique and not historically conditioned. His teachings are rooted in his inner world. They do not stem from a human source. Jesus could not have been invented.
No doubt there are many places where the early Church has influenced the Gospel records, and we should read the Gospels with all the historical criticism we can muster. Jesus’ personality could not have been contrived. The testimony of psychology is that Jesus of Nazareth existed, and that the Gospel records are essentially accurate, because Jesus’ personality is truly unique.
If in Jesus of Nazareth we have a personality who was unique, we shall not be wrong in supposing that the teachings of such a man will also be unique. Those that have tried to interpret Jesus’ messages have tried to reduce his messages to historically conditioned ideas, and so have missed much of the depth of what he said.
Kingdom of God
When we look at what Jesus said regarding the kingdom of God, we must keep in mind the uniqueness of his personality. Our minds then may be open to his message. We can avoid the danger of those who try to contain the mind of Jesus in a limited framework. We can allow our own minds to be expanded by his original and timeless insights.
The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field which someone has found; he hides it again, goes off happy, sells everything he owns and buys the field. (Matt. 13:44)
Jesus talks of the kingdom of heaven in an image or figure. Here the figure is that of a treasure hidden in a field. The kingdom is, therefore, something of great value, which, as in this parable, the individual may discover. Someone who has once found this treasure recognizes it to be so valuable that it is worth giving up everything else in order to acquire it.
Our inner reality is like a great treasure lying hidden in the field of our soul just waiting to be discovered. Someone who finds this inner treasure, and recognizes its value, will be happy to give up all other ambitions in order to make it real in his or her life.
Now let us compare this with the second parable:
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls; when he finds one of great value he goes and sells everything he owns and buys it. (Matt. 13:45-46)
At first glance it looks as if this parable duplicates the parable of the treasure. But, as Fritz Kunkel has pointed out, in the first parable we search for and find the treasure, which is the kingdom of heaven. In the second parable, the merchant represents the kingdom of heaven who is searching for things of value (fine pearls). In this case we are the pearls, The kingdom of heaven finds the treasure, which is us represented by fine pearls.
Paradox of the Parables
So the paradox is that the kingdom is both. We find one kingdom within ourselves as an inner treasure. Another kingdom of heaven is searching to find us, who when found becomes something of a supreme value in the eyes of God. We are the fine pearls if the kingdom of heaven can take root within us. And to us God gives a place of supreme value in his creation.
Very often in the history of Christianity theologians and teachers have dwelt upon the unworthiness of human beings, our proneness to sin, our worthlessness in contrast to God’s supreme goodness. They have even laid the responsibility for evil at our doorstep. There is none of this in the teachings of Jesus. We harbor the kingdom within our own soul. God searches for the one who will recognize the kingdom within him or herself. God ascribes to such a one supreme value.
“the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21, kjv)
“You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48)n
ps. When I was a little girl, my brother and I listened to this song over and over again. It was our favorite Christmas song. Please overlook the political overtone (made in 1954) and listen to the greater lesson.