A guest post written by Anne Stearns Condon from Thousand Oaks, California, and originally published in the Ventura County Star to celebrate Easter.
“The time for thinkers has come. Truth, independent of doctrines and time-honored systems, knocks at the portal of humanity. Contentment with the past and the cold conventionality of materialism are crumbling away.” These words were written by a nineteenth century Christian theologian, Mary Baker Eddy. They hark back to the appearance of Christ Jesus on the human scene, because his arrival caused a tremendous shift in public thought. His teachings changed forever the world’s comprehension of life.
Jesus demonstrated the power of spirituality over materiality. He revealed the fact that one’s mental capacity, reflecting God, infinite Mind, could be victorious over sin, sickness, and death. This new way of thinking was revolutionary to all who witnessed it.
Christ Jesus gave his followers the confidence to heal as he did. He told them: “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also;” (John 14:12). His Christianity was not merely a declaration of words but proof in action of the healing power of God.
As the Son of God Christ Jesus was appointed a distinctive place in God’s plan for the whole world. His mission was to enlighten mankind, to show the glory of the kingdom of God and how to find it. No person or any group were excluded from the ever widening circle and warm embrace of Jesus’ loving concern for all humanity. Feeling his compassion, many flocked to him and were healed of various diseases and sins. Crowds of everyday people would gather when he preached a sermon. Their awe was palpable and it was said of him: “Never man spake like this man.”
Even some of the highly educated religious leaders of the day expressed keen interest in the new teaching. One was Nicodemus. The question was, could a unique teacher, like this outsider called Jesus, have a lead on a fresh understanding of truth never known before? Nicodemus was intrigued. As an astute thinker and also a discerning one, he was convinced that Jesus was sent by God because of the miraculous healings he performed.
“Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” Jesus told him. He added, “Except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, 5). Nicodemus was baffled by this radical concept. He learned, however, that regeneration of thought is absolutely necessary to see the kingdom of God. Did he discern that the purifying water of spirituality would enable a person to pull away from materiality and to embrace the Holy Spirit as the supreme ideal? The Bible doesn’t say. Nevertheless, it was evident that Jesus impressed Nicodemus greatly.
For the many who were receptive to Jesus’ teachings, there were those who misunderstood his mission and thus rejected his message. Controversy arose and began to accelerate and it finally brought Jesus to the cross. When the dastardly deed was done and most of his followers had deserted, there came Nicodemus and his eminent colleague, Joseph of Arimathaea, who had become a disciple of Jesus. Together they courageously took his body to a garden and laid it in a new sepulchre.
There is no need to linger at the cross. It wasn’t Jesus’ victory but his betrayal by those whose thoughts were filled with hate, fear, ignominy. His crown of rejoicing came with his resurrection, announcing the good news: “He is risen!” His majestic triumph gave the final proof that infinite Life, God, conquers sin and death. This is the glorious Easter celebration. The Bible confirms it: “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (John 6:23).