Saturday, June 17, 2006

Peter: Jesus' humanity

The word "church" in the Christian Scriptures is the Greek word ekklesia, and refers not to a building or denomination, but to the entire body of Christian believers. The "church" was the people. So, Jesus, in Matthew 16:18, was discussinng the spiritual guidance that Peter would give to the church as, not a leader, but a supporter. The Spirit of Love would move him to aid his sisters and brothers in any way possible. This was not any kind of "official appointment," as people since have made it out to be. It was a simple assignment of Love that, by the way, used a pun.

For, in Greek, the name "Peter" is very similar to the word for "rock" (petros, as in "petroglyph"). Jesus was simply asking Peter to give aid and support to his followers because he knew that he didn't have much time left on earth.

Re Mark 15:34, there is no great mystery here. This is a record of the words of despair spoken by Jesus during the "dark night of the soul." For just a moment, his human (lower) nature kicked in, and he felt abandoned and afraid. Of course, his higher nature (spiritual) took over very soon. But, having been crucified, having lost all his followers (his entire human support-system), and being in physical agony just after having been tortured and crucified, even the Master yielded to the power of the lower nature. He thus proved beyond any shadow of any doubt that he was fully human. This occurred so that we, in our weakness, could relate with him, and he with us. It demonstrates that even the most spiritual person (being) still has a lower nature of weakness, and, in moments when his humanity is stronger than his divinity, he can slip and fall. He can give in to the forces of negativity and weakness. This is actually good news, for it shows that Jesus was not a supernatural angel without human problems and challenges. Like us, he came to earth to experience the full range and spectrum of human challenges. Clearly, they did not win out over him, but, for a moment, he "sank down" into the vulnerable human self or nature.

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