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UNDERSTANDING HOW REMARKABLE WAS JESUS THE GALILEAN (taken from the novel by Tom Colgan, The Puzzle’s

Answer pp. 123-127) The question deals with the issue on how we understand the historical ministry and person of Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus, the Galilean. To see and grasp this new paradigm you have to try and see clearly what the old paradigm of understanding has been trying to say. You look at what it was saying that Jesus was doing, what it claimed his message was, what it says was the main mission. And then you look again, and try to see the whole picture, try to see the picture more clearly. There have been decades of incredible scholarly work that helps us to see and understand the mission, message, ministry, and purpose of Jesus as he worked with those who gathered to hear and watch. It is a complex problem with a lot of important observations to take into consideration as you try to find the answers for defining these crucial concepts of what Jesus was doing. But we know, he was taking his work seriously. He was involved in the problems of his society and was working to address them. He felt like he had revelations to disclose, truths to share with people, and he knew it would help them, if he could only get them to realize it. He had to somehow, in a simple way, get across important and somewhat complex ideas so these who were in so much need would begin to understand. It is important to look at those with whom he was working, to know the culture of the first century, and understand the position in society that these people were put in and why. And you begin to slowly put together what Jesus, by implication, must have been telling them. At the same time you are trying to understand the new paradigm’s stance, it is important to know what the popular understanding has been down through the centuries, and still remains for many, if not most, Christians still today. When you think of the question about the mission and message and purpose of Jesus, most Christians can easily answer with basic doctrinal awareness what tradition says are the right answers. And it would be easy for those who are listening to the leaders of tradition in Plato’s Cave to give the popular and expected answers on the right meaning of the shadows on the wall. But what about a new answer. What about a new insight? If there was such a thing, it would be a new paradigm. It would stretch the boundaries of the current old one. It would set new walls. But who would dare to bring forth a new paradigm. Who would have that audacity? The interesting thing about this new look at understanding the work of Jesus is realizing that what Jesus took seriously, what he was disclosing were truths about God that were attacking the old tradition of his day. He was fighting a David and Goliath battle himself. He was taking on the 1,000 year old traditions that went back to Moses and the Torah. And he was doing it by countering how those old paradigms and truths were affecting these people with whom he was working. They were being put in their place and having their lives devastated by the truths that their society was proclaiming. Jesus said things were different. He proclaimed new truth. Truth comes from God. He was proclaiming God was different than was being advertised by the religious authorities of their day and age. Of course, they didn’t believe him! Not, at first. But, then, amazing things happened. And they began to stretch their faith. And they began to test the waters and stretch their ability to believe something new. And things began to change. Jesus was introducing new paradigms!

He was bringing new truths about God, new disclosures on how to understand reality. He was changing the old paradigms, trying to bring about a paradigm shift in the lives of these ones in front of him. And he did! But people couldn’t understand what was happening, or exactly what happened, in retrospect. They didn’t comprehend paradigms, or truth concepts that could make such differences. And they came up with the best conclusions that would explain their understandings. They identified Jesus as God, explained his death, and said he was a sacrifice for sins, shedding blood for humanity’s salvation. They didn’t know exactly what he said, or what he was trying to disclose, and that became less important as the focus on his identity and action as a saviour became the central points. But, what if the paradigms that he revealed to those unto whom he ministered were the paradigms or truths that not only caused the change that happened then, but would be the same paradigms that could change the world today? The elusive paradigms that we were looking for and longing for, but knowing that no one would be capable of bringing them forth, are really the same paradigms that Jesus brought so long ago. But, somehow, we didn’t quite get it right the first time. We must look again, closely, and begin to see and understand what it was that Jesus took so seriously in his ministry. Perhaps, we will see many things. Perhaps, we can see why people were changed so remarkably. Perhaps we can see the difference that Jesus’ new truths, his new paradigms, were making in their lives. We can see the implications. And perhaps, we can even see why Jesus began to raise a stir among the religious authorities. His new paradigms were beginning to raise a challenge to the old paradigms of their tradition. And the powerful tradition thought it only had to swat this small gnat to rid itself of any possible threat to their authority and rule. But they were wrong. The leaders in Plato’s Cave may have killed the one who was trying to give new insights. But if people have already heard new truth, if they have already caught a glimpse of a new paradigm, truth can not be put away very easily. Minds have already seen it, it has been received, and truth, especially remarkable truth, will never be forgotten. That is exactly what happened in Jesus’ case. He was more remarkable than we have ever given him credit. History has seen in Jesus someone amazing, but more like they would look at Superman with a cape. It is one thing to look at someone superhuman and see him as amazing. It is another thing to look at someone’s humanity and see it as incredibly remarkable, full of insight, full of the ability to see intuitively the problems of the world, and the problems of its theology, and its understanding of the divine, and to proclaim in a way people could really grasp it, new truths about God that had the power to transform lives, and had the power to change the world. Jesus was that remarkable. His paradigms were that remarkable. If only we could see this more clearly. Jesus has been lifted up and exalted as remarkable because of his identity, and his role as Saviour of the world, but that has overshadowed the remarkable nature of his message and his ministry. Jesus took his disclosures to the crowd that was in so much need, very seriously. His truths and concepts made impact and caused transformations. And they should have. But we should not fail to see them. We should see his new truths and say they are, indeed, remarkable.