The depth of Jesus' teaching
A FRIEND of mine once asked a woman who was preparing for an academic career how she could feel comfortable with her commitment to Christianity. My friend believed that academic study and research required a certain depth of intellect that was incompatible with the acceptance of Christ Jesus' teaching of divine redemption from sin and disease. She viewed a belief in God's power as somewhat primitive and unthinking, and even as evidence of a superficial intellect in the believer. Yet the graduate student with whom my friend spoke did not feel that her intellectual integrity was compromised by her belief in God. She pointed out that while certain approaches to Christianity might seem superficial to some people, this did not necessarily indicate a lack of depth in Jesus' teachings.
Jesus made it clear that his understanding of the law of God well exceeded the level of his listeners' comprehension. He said: ``I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now''1 and ``This people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed.''2 Materialistic thinking is what clouds the profound meaning of Jesus' lessons. In the Christian Science textbook Mary Baker Eddy3 remarks: ``Jesus of Nazareth was the most scientific man that ever trod the globe. He plunged beneath the material surface of things, and found the spiritual cause.''4
Identifying Jesus as ``scientific'' may seem a bit odd to some people. And yet many physical scientists would question whether the ultimate nature of reality can be captured by studying little bits of matter under a microscope.
We can never truly grasp the underlying nature of things without first gaining a better understanding of God as the source and substance of all true existence. When we begin to see, as the Bible implies, that God expresses His own perfect nature in what He creates, we increasingly learn to view existence in a more spiritual light--to realize that what our eyes and ears report isn't ultimate truth; that sickness and conflict are not caused or required by God and are therefore illegitimate. Since this spiritual view can be proved through healing, it makes sense to think of Jesus' spiritual standpoint as ``scientific.''
Jesus not only looked beneath material appearances to the reality of God and His spiritual creation; he proved the superiority of spiritual law over material when he healed the sick and sinning through prayer alone. Thus he showed these discords to be concomitants of a false, material sense of creation. With each healing he illustrated the underlying reality of man's spiritual wholeness in the likeness of harmonious divine Spirit.
Through much prayer and study of the Bible we can come to comprehend better Jesus' healing method. In my Bible study, the Christian Science textbook has been indispensable in helping me understand Jesus' application of spiritual law in healing sickness and sin. I've learned that when healing is needed, it's important to give up the sense of personal intelligence that thinks it knows too much to be able to trust the power of God. Turning to the divine Mind, we can be receptive to what God knows, and what He knows is harmony always, because that's what He created. On this basis the inharmony reported by the five physical senses can be destroyed. It has no foundation in reality because God has neither created nor permitted it.
This was proved one day when my daughter felt very ill and asked me to pray for her. Earnestly praying, I realized I could rely on the divine Mind (and not a personal, limited understanding) to show me the child's innate spiritual harmony and to bring that harmony to light.
Complete healing came later that day. The child was buoyant. I was grateful. We both had been freed from the burden of material thinking that had insisted on the necessity of disease.
Through prayer and healing, we too, as followers of Jesus, can look beneath the surface of material appearances and find the spiritual fact that transforms human experience. Thus we begin to uncover our own and others' spiritual identity made in the image and likeness of God.
1John 16:12. 2Matthew 13:15. 3The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 4Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 313. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. Mark 10:15