190. Jesus Christ in the eyes of a non-Christian. Part Six
We were discussing what Data Sahib wrote in his 11th century book (blog 104)
“In a village Salang, in Ferghana (now Uzbekistan) I went to see a sage. The sage said “my son, you have been in my notice from such and such date” when I thought about the date, that was the date and year of my first day on the journey towards God. An old lady, Fatima, lived with him. He said, “Fatima, bring something to honor this durvesh” she brought a platter of fresh grapes, although this was not the season for grapes. There were also fresh dates in that platter, whereas one did not have dates in Ferghana”.
Miracle of Pawhari Baba, as mentioned in blog 130.
Yashoda Mai, the guru of Krishnaparem, once met the great saint Pawhari Baba when she was a fifteen year old girl. He lived in a cave. Once, it was announced that he was going to give bhandara (feeding, distribution of a vessel of foodstuff, and clothes to the sadhus), the next day. An intrigued Mai, disguised herself as a boy, and stood in the line of sadhus. Everybody was getting a vessel of food and a dhoti (garment covering the lower half of the body). When her turn came, she just plunged head-on in the cave.
“Believe it or not, Baba,” she said, “I saw something absolutely incredible: It was just a tiny cave with no other exit. And there were neither vessels nor any dhotis___not a vestige! The narrow space inside the cave was quite empty!”
Death. Three features of his( Jesus) last ordeal are extremely important; foreknowledge, fear of the oncoming torture, and choosing a painful death. Jesus knew about the soon approaching, greatest, single challenge, of his short life; betrayal, trial, torture and death, and he chose a painful death. Let me furnish the evidence of his foreknowledge. I will restrict myself to the gospel of Mark only, because it is the earliest.
31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. ( Mark 8;31)
“because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.”( 9:31)
33 saying, “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man shall be delivered unto the chief priests and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles.( 10:33)
It will make anyone doubly brave if he/she accepts the oncoming terrible death knowingly!
If one was uncaring or did not have the capacity of fear or his body was immune to pain, then it is easy to face these mishaps. But Jesus was not like that. His human nature is manifest by the following account:
“and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.””(14:33-34)
At this point he even asked God to excuse him, if possible. 36 “Abba,[a] Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”(14:36) 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”(14:38)
He chose an extremely painful , in contrast to painless, death. Suicide bombers choose a painless death. Socrates chose a painless death. Jesus could have melted that night in wilderness of Palestine. But he did not. He chose first the flogging , mocking, and later the crucifixion. Death by crucifixion is a long drawn out affair. The victim suffers from pain from nails going through the flesh,, thirst from bleeding, and difficulty in breathing because chest cannot expand efficiently.
Jesus Christ faced all this with unflinching bravery and stoicism.
Resurrection. At the time of the death of Jesus there were probably no more than a thousand of his followers. They must have been very discouraged and depressed by his death. Their leader had been ignominiously killed. He was tortured, mocked, made to carry his cross, himself, in the streets, and then for almost six hours he hung on the cross. In order to escape arrest his close disciples had ran away in the night when he was captured.
The disciples believed he was the Messiah. They had witnessed his awe inspiring miracles with their own eyes. If they expected God to intervene to save Jesus from death, nothing of that sort happened. There was no thunderous voice from the clouds, no lightning struck the Roman soldiers. There was no earthquake, no tsunami, and no hurricane. No divine intervention. Jesus simply died. He did not return physically, as promised.
Ask yourself this question. How did Christianity grow from a few demoralized, persecuted, leaderless followers to the largest religion in the world?
To be continued