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The Way to a Wonderful Life, Sunday, April 20, 2014 

Listen to the Radio Broadcast of this Message:  click here
          As I was researching information about the Master Mind Jesus not found in the New Testament of the Bible, I came across some interesting information; there are those who believe that Jesus studied Buddhism, and there is so many more references to Jesus in the Quran than I expected to find.  And of course I found so much written by people who either do not believe that there was a real Jesus and from those who ridicule those who believe in him.  And all of this is really very expected.  Not everyone can grasp the difference between an allegory, a symbol, a parable, and the Truth that is being revealed.  And, in this we don't judge anyone harshly, we just realize, in faith, that we "know what we need to know when we need to know it" ... and not everyone is attracted to experiencing a greater realization of their relationship with G-d and with All that G-d Is.  This we can realize to a greater measure by "studying" the life and works of the Master Mind Jesus more so than any other person in history.

        Reza Aslan an internationally acclaimed writer and religions scholar has written a very controversial book about the life of Jesus.  Yet, his background gives him outstanding credentials to write such a book.  From Wikipedia:  Aslan's family came to the United States from Tehran in 1979, fleeing the Iranian Revolution. He grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. At the age of 15 he converted to evangelical Christianity. He converted back to Islam the summer before attending Harvard. This fact alone contributes to much of the criticism of his writings about Jesus even though he earned a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard Divinity School, there are those who refuse to even read his book because he is a Muslim.

       It was Aslan's willingness to pursue the historical facts of Jesus' life and his respect for what Jesus achieved that attracted me to his book; 
Zealot:  The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.  I found these words very compelling:  “The memory of the revolutionary zealot who walked across Galilee gathering an army of disciples with the goal of establishing the Kingdom of God on earth, the magnetic preacher who defied the authority of the Temple priesthood in Jerusalem, the radical Jewish nationalist who challenged the Roman occupation and lost, has been almost completely lost to history. That is a shame. Because the one thing any comprehensive study of the historical Jesus should hopefully reveal is that Jesus of Nazareth—Jesus the man—is every bit as compelling, charismatic, and praiseworthy as Jesus the Christ. He is, in short, someone worth believing in.” 

        I think the words, "someone worth believing in" is something that most everyone can agree with.  Reza Aslan, for a period of time was an Evangelical Christian and perhaps it was this exposure, although some Evangelical sects can be extreme, which gave him insight into how Jesus is felt in the hearts of those who believe in him.  In my own personal experience I have found that it is more important for me to "believe him" then it is to "believe in him" but there is not much of a gap between these in my mind.  The Master Mind Jesus called us to "believe the works that I do" and in this he was telling us to look at the facts, not the fairytales or the myths, in order to make our decision to either believe him or not.  In Aslan's book, we can find the historical facts that even Jesus' detractors and enemies could not discount his "works" ... although misunderstood and labeled as "magic" his works could not be denied.  They were, although seemingly miraculous, facts.

Reza Aslan makes a straight-forward conclusion based on historical facts in these words:  “These abiding words of the Beatitudes are, more than anything else, a promise of impending deliverance from subservience and foreign rule. They predict a radically new world order wherein the meek inherit the earth, the sick are healed, the weak become strong, the hungry are fed, and the poor are made rich. In the Kingdom of God, wealth will be redistributed and debts canceled. “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.... “The choice between James’s vision of a Jewish religion anchored in the Law of Moses and derived from a Jewish nationalist who fought against Rome, and Paul’s vision of a Roman religion that divorced itself from Jewish provincialism and required nothing for salvation save belief in Christ, was not a difficult one for the second and third generations of Jesus’ followers to make.  Two thousand years later, the Christ of Paul’s creation has utterly subsumed the Jesus of history. The memory of the revolutionary zealot who walked across Galilee gathering an army of disciples with the goal of establishing the Kingdom of God on earth, the magnetic preacher who defied the authority of the Temple priesthood in Jerusalem, the radical Jewish nationalist who challenged the Roman occupation and lost, has been almost completely lost to history.

I believe that it was the Christ within him that created the great passion that caused Jesus to defy both the religious leaders and the rulers of Rome.  In the words attributed to him in the Gospels we can find a repetitive instruction to look to his works to develop our faith.  I believe that Jesus understood that words can be changed and rearranged, deleted and added to, but his works are evidence that there is a Law of Good, a Principle, that we can all depend on.  He challenged everyone to discover the Christ within us; that part of G-d's Power, Intelligence and Spirit that the mystics of the Old Testament told us is the image and likeness of G-d and our commitment to discover it within us will cause us to find it.  

      The apostle Paul writes to the Philippians 4:13, American KJV ... "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me"  ... this became an affirmation for countless numbers of people throughout history, yet there are so few that have realized that this Christ is within them and like Paul, rarely has it proved to cause anything remarkable.  However, the Master Mind Jesus tells us that the Christ must be discovered within us.  We can read in the ancient wisdom; Proverbs 23: 7, "For as he thinks within himself, so he is."  In order to realize the power of this Christ within us, we must identify with It and consciously recognize It.  It is this identification to the point of a unitive relationship with G-d that gave Jesus the faith to know that the Christ would resurrect his life even after death in the physical ... "The Father (Spirit) and I are One" he declared.  In other words, the Christ resurrected Jesus ... the Christ within him that had been recognized and identified with consciously throughout every day of his life.


Keep the faith!
. Henry Bates

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