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The specific statements made by Jesus throughout his ministry have become timeless instruction for those who want to practice Christian healing today. There’s also much to learn about Christian healing from the spirit of his work—not just what he said, but from the manner in which he spoke and acted. His unselfishness, his unwavering devotion to relieve suffering, his patience and calm in the face of urgent matters are unmatched lessons about living a life devoted to God and filled with compassion for humanity.
But Jesus also knew how and when he needed to rebel.
Nothing in his healing ministry suggests there was resignation to chronic invalidism or deformity. No hints of passivity with common bouts of fever, or timidity when confronting the jarring symptoms of contagious disease.
Of course most of us instinctively push back against suffering of any kind. We naturally want it to end. But if you look at the larger picture, the full range of encounters Jesus had with human suffering, there’s a sense that what fueled his vehement rebellion in the face of sickness and suffering, and culminated in healing, had more to do with what he stood for, not just what he was against.
The Science of Christianity reiterates that what underpins Christ-healing is our inseparability from God, who is the one and only Spirit. From this Spirit, which is purely good and loving and operates as divine law, we draw our inspiration, our energy, our whole life. This spiritualization of thought strengthens and sustains us. We pray to be uplifted by and filled with this Spirit, to really feel the love that is foundational to everyone’s true nature and thus to have and express a fuller sense of the infinite goodness that comes from Spirit, and that in turn inspires and heals human lives.
When we yearn to feel and know divine Spirit for what it is, and for all that we derive from it, the conviction grows that because Spirit is thoroughly real, the belief that we’re material creatures subject to life in a material world is a grossly mistaken sense of man. It’s contrary to who we actually are as the likeness of Spirit, God.
Jesus knew that. He knew he wasn’t a mere mortal, on his own in a material world. He knew the sickness and other adversities he encountered weren’t something that he or anyone else had to brace themselves for and possibly fall victim to. He rose in rebellion against adversity. He healed sickness. The presence of Spirit and the true idea of Spirit that Jesus embodied gave him everything he needed to master adverse conditions. He patiently taught others that the God he worshipped and followed moment by moment was their God, too, and that they would find, as he showed, that harmony is the outcome of a life based on Spirit.
The spirit of what Jesus stood for and taught is the basis of the practice of Christian Science. The Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, says, for instance, “Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good.” Elsewhere in the book, and with similar boldness, Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Instead of blind and calm submission to the incipient or advanced stages of disease, rise in rebellion against them.”
What distinguishes Jesus’ resistance to the claims of sickness he was asked to heal, was the triumphant spirit that accompanied his stand against the troubling claims. The symptoms and suffering believed to have a strong grip on someone’s life were not only to be resisted, but the false belief underlying their legitimacy was to be fully extinguished. Period. To the father and onlookers of the boy who’d been suffering from seizures, the Bible says that Jesus “rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.” That’s authority and finality—enter no more into him. Nothing in that stand suggests that Jesus harbored doubt, or left room for a possible return of the trouble.
Is such conviction something that you and I can feel if we’re confronted with adverse conditions?
This important question prompts some self-examination. It brings us back to what we stand for, not what the darkest thoughts of the human mind argue that we’re up against.
Christian Science teaches the allness of Spirit and that this all-good Spirit imparts itself to us. It uplifts us with love and intelligence and conviction, and does this no matter where we are or what the circumstances happen to be. We really shouldn’t expect anything less from a Spirit that is perfect Love, all-knowing Mind, and the source of our being.
Our receptivity to this powerful Spirit is something we can cultivate, and there’s no better time to do this than now. How? When we long to perceive the nature of Spirit as unfailingly compassionate, unselfish, and promotive of everything that’s right and good, we’re opening our thought to a higher idea of our own capacity as God’s likeness and expression. That’s why it’s not only possible but desirable to embrace this idea of God and strive to live up to it, because it already belongs to us. It’s who we are.
Who we aren’t—what the human mind persistently argues is our primary selfhood, a life that is foundationally material—obscures the spiritual idea of Life. The limits, demands, and temptations of a misleading concept of life impede our spiritual growth. We try hard to cope with problems that stem from self-ignorance and find it all very frustrating. We might feel there’s nothing more we can do.
If that’s what we’re feeling, then it’s time to act. It’s a call for rebellion.
There’s no better opportunity than this to rise up against the downward drag of materialism. There’s no better time than now to pray for divine Spirit to lift our thought and govern our lives. We can do this with conviction and an expectation of triumph for one overarching reason: we’re taking a stand for what already exists and for who we already are.
So this isn’t just a rebellion we’re talking about. This is also about taking in more of the spiritual idea of God than we previously thought was here. This is a time for revelation.
by Russ Gerber
from the April 11, 2016 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel