Some of my closest disciples left writings about me. Their intent was to document what I did and what I taught so others might know, believe, and be saved.
They did well in recounting the important points of my earthly ministry. In the process, they characterized me in various ways. John wrote that he saw me "full of grace and truth". None described any of my physical attributes. From reading the gospels you get no sense of how tall I was or how heavy, or my complexion, my facial features, or any other thing focused on my physical being. The only clear reference to my physical appearance is found in Isaiah's prophecy that I was to be "in no wise comely so that none should desire me."
It is important to My Father that humans would not be swayed by my appearance. Men judge by appearances. They flock to the beautiful and handsome among them. Sadly, in your time, they make idols of persons who are regarded as celebrities because of their looks, their station in life, their much heralded activities, and so forth. Not one of those attributes is important in the grand scheme of things.
To have and live true life you must look beyond the physical to the spirit ... the essence. For those reasons I came humbly, of a low station in life, showing no outward signs to attract men. You can be sure I was physically strong and healthy. I apprenticed to my step-father Joseph and became a carpenter; a builder of things. I had plenty of muscle and stamina. In three years of teaching I walked more than a few hundred miles. A weakling could not have done it even with the power of the Holy Spirit driving him.
It is written of me that I was a "man of sorrows" or "one who knew sorrow". This is true. But, it does not really tell you what I was like in human form. I am going to tell you more about my personality than is revealed in scripture. I am speaking through my devoted servant Wayne who is writing this with trepidation, fearing he will disseminate erroneous information. I've told him not to worry. I will take care to make it plain so no one is deceived.
Yes, I knew sorrows, but I also knew exceeding joy. When you read the gospels, as I have through human eyes, I see a man who is stern, dour, frowning, and displaying other signs of seriousness and discontent with the people and their practices. This often true. What is missing from the record is portrayal of my actual demeanor.
In childhood I was indeed a serious boy, given to contemplation and study of scripture. But I also played with others until I reached an age where I needed to pull my weight in the family. When I was near ready to begin My earthly ministry I went to a wedding feast in Cana. This was a joyful gathering, celebrating the union of a man and woman according to My Father's plan.
How do you suppose I behaved there at that event? Solemn? Aloof? If you have that impression let me disabuse you. I was happy for the couple and their family and guests. It put me in mind of my own coming marriage to my spotless bride, my church. At one point when the wine ran out my mom asked me to do something. I told her my time was not yet. By way of insisting her son obey her, she told stewards to do whatever I said. As you know, I miraculously made excellent wine from ordinary water. I was glad to do this for them and to honor the woman who brought my flesh body into the world.
Reading about it as it is written you might get the impression I was annoyed or spoke harshly. This is not the case. When I spoke harshly it was to hypocrites posing as righteous religious authorities. In general I possessed and showed a pleasant demeanor. What else would you expect from someone who loves you, and all humans, as much as I do?
Think about what I said in what is called the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew wrote about in chapter five. Read it again if you must. Do you see a man, standing stiffly on a mountainside solemnly proclaiming, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." ? Think about it. I was more like an enthusiastic twenty first century evangelist or pitchman selling his goods on TV. When I delivered that line of truth I shouted it out for all to hear.
If this were audio instead of print media you could hear my tone of voice as I shouted this fabulous good news to all in my hearing. What it sounded like was,
(As an aside I should tell you that "seeing" God is a spiritual matter. No human eye can see the invisible Father or Spirit, or for that matter, Me, unless we manifest as visible beings in your world. That is one of the reasons I incarnated ... so My works could be seen by men enabling them to believe.)
It is said that when I arrived in Bethany, knowing in advance that Lazarus was dead and buried four days, I felt sorrow for Martha and Mary. Especially poignant was when they said to me, "Lord, if you had been here our brother would not have died." True. It is written that I wept. What is not written is why I wept. I felt great sorrow for all humanity because death was, and still is, in the world, causing untold grief to My Father's created children. Worse, I was overwhelmed with sorrow for those who will die the second death because they will not believe.
But don't you know, after Lazarus came out and was unwrapped, we celebrated with great joy. This was because one dead man was brought back to life. You can not imagine the joy in heavenly realms when one person sees the light and becomes a redeemed child of God. Paul had a good grasp, even better than my closest disciples, of the joy awaiting the save. He called it "unspeakable joy", transcending anything possible for humans living on earth.
Not to confuse you but I want to shift gears for s moment. I was born a human infant, son of a human virgin. What made me different from you is my conception. I was not conceived by Adam's seed. I did not inherit the curses of Adam's descendants. Adam's seed was passed through Noah, the only person on earth who My Father found acceptable to continue the human race. Ultimately that seed passed through Abraham, David, and on to Mary, my mother. Her ovum was fertilized by God My Father by His Holy Spirit; not by a human.
If you need a modern parallel to how I was conceived, imagine radiation treatments for cancer. A narrow beam is focused on body tissue to alter it. A narrow beam of Holy Spirit radiation passed through Mary's body and altered an ovum, causing it to fertilize. So my foetus and subsequent development in her uterus all proceeded according to natural human biological processes. I emerged into the world a flesh and blood human infant like any other except for my divinity.
In my boyhood I was as merry and happy ss any other child. My grandparents Joachim and Anne doted on me. As a baby I was subject to the events that occurred with all babies ... I suckled, slept, pooped, and slept some more while my body developed. What distinguished me from other children was difficult for others to recognize or isolate. Only my mother Mary truly understood my natures because of direct revelation to her through the angel Gabriel, sent to tell her.
Joseph, good man that he was, believed her story and trusted it was true. He was aided in this by angelic messenger. He knew I was not his blood son but he fathered me as well as any man could. I refer to him as Dad out of respect for his part in my earthly life. The awareness of my divinity and powers was not manifest to me in childhood. It came later as the Holy Spirit subtly guided me into the knowledge of who I was.
It was not until after my baptism by cousin John that the Spirit led me into the wilderness. I stayed several weeks, alone, communing with My Father, learning my true purpose and mission. Guess who finally confirmed this to me? Here is a Bible verse which tells it.
I literally laughed in his face and told him,
You see, during this time in the desert, fasting and praying, took its toll on my body. The weaker my body became, the less it demanded of my concerns and focus. I was entirely engaged in seeking My Father's wishes for me through the guidance of His Spirit within me. The Spirit became dominant, overwhelming my natural tendencies for gratifying my physical self. Satan had tried to get me to turn stones into bread, saying "IF you are the Son of God". Then he took me to the temple pinnacle and challenged me to prove I was the Son of God by throwing myself to the ground so angels could come and rescue me lest I dash my foot against a stone.
These episodes began after I was baptized by my cousin John. The Holy Spirit descended and I heard My Father's voice say,
I knew then with certainty. Your scholars wrestle with concepts of High Christology and Low Christology. Sort of like a Senate investigation. "Jesus, what do you know and when did you know it?" They try to figure out if I actually knew I was both Son of God and Son of Man. You have other scholars engaged in what they call the "Jesus Project" in which they want to print the gospels in four colors:
Red for citations they believe I actually said.
Pink for citations they think I might have said.
Gray for citations they think doubtful, and
Black for citations they are pretty sure I did not say.
These kinds of efforts result in nothing but confusion. For true believers, especially the earliest among them, it was simply their acceptance of fundamental truth given to them by the Holy Spirit, that enabled them to see, to hear, and to believe. It is not enough that I believed and knew myself to be one with My Father. It was important that others believe, else none would be saved. I worked supernatural miracles simply to give testimony to who I was, and am, that spiritual eyes could be opened. Had I lived and died without men being infused with belief, there would have been no point in my undertaking the mission.
Back to the topic of sorrows and joys.
Did you read where I raised Jairus's daughter from the dead? People where hanging about mourning her demise. I showed up, shooed them out, and told the daughter to get up. I didn't storm in there like a Roman General and command her to come awake. I smiled and touched her and said softly to her, "Little girl, arise." Which she did. My Father honored my command to the child and raised her. I smiled again. Soon I had everyone joyfully celebrating, smiles all around.
On my way to the home of Jairus a woman who had a health issue of long standing was in the crows who buffeted me on every side wherever I went. She reached out and touched my garment, believing in her heart that merely touching me would heal her and it did. I felt power transfer from me to her and asked, "Who touched me?". In the record it sounds as if I was speaking in an accusatory tone. My disciples said there were many people and it could have been anyone. I looked around and spotted her. She was afraid because she was overwhelmed by what happened to her in that moment. In her mind she had committed some wrong by daring to touch the miracle working Son of God. She had been taught only God's laws and lived in fear of what He might do to punish her. I felt sorrow about that but great joy that My Father healed her through me. I smiled at her and said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction."
I want to give you one more real life example when I felt great joy. A group of children had a great desire to see me and talk with me. My well meaning self styled bodyguard, disciples devoted to me, tried to keep them from bothering me the way adults often do.
I said to my followers, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." I said this laughingly, not sternly. I was delighted to have children come to me and receive blessings from God through me. I once lamented about how I wished I could gather all of JErusalem under my wings like a mother hen with her chicks. (I didn't have wings as a man; it was a figurative statement. I could fly without wings had I wanted to do amazing tricks with no purpose.)
Anyway, the kids came and we talked and I blessed them. They delighted me; gave me joy.
My greatest joy came when I contemplated what I was doing on earth; why I had come. ` I asked my disciples who they think I am. Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." I told him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven."
Peter, which is the name I bestowed on Simon son of John, affirmed what I knew. My joy came from the reality that My Father by His Holy Spirit broke through into the mind of at least one man. Others would follow after my coming death, resurrection, ascension, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in humans. This event was the turning point in accomplishing the mission the Father had given to me.
My greatest moment of sorrow came in the garden of Gethsemane the night I was arrested for blasphemy, to be tried, convicted though innocent, scourged, and crucified. Do not think my sorrow came from what was going to happen to my body. My sorrow came from the knowledge that if my choice to suffer these things; that if I refused, mankind would continue in his false beliefs and none would be redeemed.
I did not relish the process of submitting to a brutal execution but I knew the consequences meant the difference between second death for all people and eternal bliss for those who came to know and believe in the salvation I could provide.
In the midst of pain and suffering I nevertheless experienced joy in the fulfilling of God's promises of a Messiah to save mankind by the renewing of the Spirit of Life which God had put into Adam, and which Adam had so long before forfeited.
Following my resurrection from the dead I had forty days of splendid joy. My work was done. Salvation was now available to all people. It needed only for the Holy Spirit to come and give testimony in the hearts of men. Other than my victorious return to earth, ell that truly matters has been fulfilled.
I ascended bodily into the clouds, returning to my place beside My Father where I live eternally in what Paul called "unspeakable joy" which transcends even the imagination of mortals. I would tell you what it is like but you can not comprehend it while living as flesh. When I said to prospective disciples, "Follow Me", I mean more than walk, learn, accept, and obey My commands. I meant follow me all the way home. Live by the Spirit then pass through the door of physical death of your body.
Do what I did. Live in the knowledge and peace and joy that God's gift of faith alone can give you. You will be blessed in your heart and mind. You will be a blessing to others. The more you share your faith in me with others, the deeper and stronger will be the bond of love between you and Me; the greater will be your joy even while you live through your life in the world.
The day will come when you join me, and like me, live in eternal joy.
Written by © Wayne Hepburn, December 2012
Banner made of images borrowed without permission from these sources:
Portrait Serious: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-FSIpmCuLMA4/TfnvB5W4XlI/AAAAAAAAA9o/foi90D0bs9s/s1600/1jesus_praying.jpg
Portrait Smiling: Portrait Serious edited by me.