I’m a science fiction fan, and one of the classics is Frank Herbert’s novel “Dune.” It’s a tome of a book, but there’s an abbreviated movie version that remains true to the story. A pivotal scene occurs when the protagonist, Paul, awakens to discover who he is and cries heavenward, “Father, the Sleeper awakens!”
In this Easter season I’ve been wondering when Jesus discovered who he was and his destiny. I’m a Christian and comprehend the trinitarian philosophy of God existing in three forms. By analogy, H2O can exist in three states. Water is the liquid form, unless it’s frozen and solid (ice). When evaporated by heat, H2O exists in a gaseous state (steam). Similarly, I can conceive of the Creator as God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Some cultures view the Christian Trinity as polytheistic. I disagree, but I’ve grown up with the concept which didn’t always exist. In fact, it took the early Church three hundred years to come to the trinitarian conclusion which I readily accept.
When Jesus was born, did he understand his trinitarian nature? Or was he a baby and then a child and over time come to understand who he was as he “grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52).
Just as I’ve grown in understanding, I suspect Jesus did as well, and over time he increasingly understood his true nature and his destiny. Canonized scripture is silent for the years after Jesus’ infancy. We have just one brief glimpse of him at twelve years old as he accompanied his parents to Jerusalem for Passover. By then he already demonstrated that he was, by human terms, a prodigy (Luke 2:41).
The majority of what we know of the most influential man in history is contained in the four Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life. Like Socrates, Jesus never wrote anything, and all our information about both of them is from the writings of their followers. In Jesus’ case we have four different visions written perhaps two to three generations after he lived. Each account was focused on different groups, and all witnesses see events differently. Therefore, it is understandable that the accounts are somewhat different.
Each of the Gospelers describes a further transformation of Jesus’ character at his baptism. And the synoptic Gospelers describe further enlightenment at Jesus’ “transfiguration.” Perhaps Jesus received additional insights as he interacted with his heavenly Father. And by the end of his three year ministry, I believe his nature was less of man and more of God. However, because Jesus retained his humanity, his sacrifice resonates even more with me.
Though I continue to study and learn, I’ve discovered I’m no longer conflicted because I know who I am, and I know what is right – at least for me. I believe in an Absolute by which I measure/judge myself, rather than the fuzzy relativism of our postmodern era. Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables” poignantly sang the question, “Who am I?” This is the question all of us must answer. At sixty-five years old I’m a Christian, a father, a husband, a doctor, a contemplative, a teacher and, yes, a writer which incorporates perspectives of all the others. So, from my bully pulpit, I sing the “Good News.”
Are you familiar with the youthful impresario, Amira Willighagen? If you’ve never experienced this prodigy’s gift, you must go to YouTube and watch her sing “O Mio Babbino Caro” by Puccini. The judges of Holland’s Got Talent were blown away and described her singing as that of an “old soul.” I’ve become weary and I’ve realized I have an “old soul,” not because I’m a prodigy, but because I know what’s wrong with our country. If our best presidential candidates are an old socialist, a dishonest lawyer who endangered state secrets and an uncivil tycoon, we are lost, and the world with us. It troubles me to know that what we’re seeing today has happened before, and it always leads to destruction.
Do you think Europe has awakened from the latest terrorist attack in Brussels? After all, the Islamic terrorists attacked the capitol of the EU, home of NATO and seat of the World Court. Europe is being invaded, not by Muslim armies as in the 8th century, but by refugees from the latest Middle Eastern wars. Some European leaders have awakened, but most, like Angela Merkel of Germany, have not. They are blinded by their political correctness and their social democracy bias. They have forgotten that the roots of Western Civilization are founded on the precepts of Judeo-Christian philosophy and ethics. Islam has a fundamentally different perspective which we are seeing all over the world as Islamists take jihad to New York, Paris and now Brussels while our president does the wave at a baseball game with the communist Castro and dances the tango in Argentina. Maybe our Nero hasn’t awakened to the reality of a world in flames.
So where do we go from here? I believe we must “keep looking up,” despite the war being waged on Christians by secularists in America and by jihadis worldwide. I believe it is our duty to speak the truth in love and stay informed. As a citizen, I believe it is crucial to ask yourselves not what the perverse media and politicians say, but ask yourselves why the statements are made. This will take you closer to the truth.
Two thousand years ago Jesus was arrested, tried and convicted on trumped up charges of sedition and blasphemy. He was taken to the Roman procurator, Pilate, who asked Jesus, “What is truth?” Was Pilate being curious, philosophical or just sarcastic? Of the sedition charge, Pilate “could find no guilt” in Jesus, and he implied the blasphemy charge was inconsequential and seems analogous to our own foolish political correctness. Pilate was an unprincipled and vicious Roman bureaucrat who finally bent to the mob’s will, fueled by the lies of the Jewish equivalent of our media.
We know the outcome of Jesus’ challenge to “the establishment.” But who triumphed? The world little remembers the Jewish leaders or the mighty Romans of that time. But the world was forever changed three days after Pilate’s sentence, when it awakened to a startling new reality.