During Christ Jesus’ three-year ministry, he was widely known for the many healings he brought to multitudes of people. They were healings of all types of problems – he even raised several individuals from the dead – and people came from long distances to see him, because they too wanted to be healed.
But Jesus hadn’t come only to heal. He also came to teach the way of salvation from sin, disease, and death. His healings served as living proofs of the truth he taught.
While the people loved to be healed, many of them didn’t so much like the truth he preached. The book of John recounts one incident in which some of his followers rejected what he was trying to teach them about the spiritual nature of life. “Doth this offend you?” he asked. “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” But they couldn’t accept it, and the Bible says, “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:61, 63, 66).
Jesus’ teachings and healings directly challenged the entrenched assumptions of materialism as to the nature of life, and this disturbed and even enraged what St. Paul calls “the carnal mind,” the fleshly, materially based sense of life that “is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7). This enmity against God – this hatred of the divine Truth, or Christ, that Jesus represented and expressed as the Son of God – is what ultimately brought about Jesus’ crucifixion.
Jesus had the power to avoid being taken and crucified, and the human element in this utterly selfless man struggled with the prospect of being put through that terrible ordeal. But he knew it was necessary. He told two of his disciples, Andrew and Philip, “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour” (John 12:27).
More than any of Jesus’ other works, what followed after the crucifixion – raising himself from the grave – was a resounding proof of the truth that underlay Jesus’ entire mission: that God, divine Spirit, is the life of man. It showed that all men and women, as God has created them, are actually spiritual and immortal, the inextinguishable expression of God.
The founder of the Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, writes in the textbook of Christian Science: “The efficacy of the crucifixion lay in the practical affection and goodness it demonstrated for mankind. The truth had been lived among men; but until they saw that it enabled their Master to triumph over the grave, his own disciples could not admit such an event to be possible” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 24).
Further on Mrs. Eddy says of Jesus’ resurrection, “He proved Life to be deathless and Love to be the master of hate” (p. 44).
At this Easter season, it’s good to consider how we can best show our love for Jesus and our gratitude for his intense sacrifice and victory over death. It’s clear from the Bible that Jesus never wanted adulation. What he wanted was for people to understand the truth he was teaching and to begin living that truth and proving its practical healing effects.
Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). God being the true Life of all, life is indeed abundant, because Life is infinite Spirit. Since each of us is God’s spiritual expression, our life is infinitely abundant in harmony, joy, and unending purpose. Our life is safe in the keeping of eternal Spirit, divine Love.
As many have experienced, following Jesus in the understanding that our real Life is God brings evidence of this reality in tangible ways. We see it in physical healing, moral regeneration, and a more deeply settled happiness. We know and feel more keenly how loved we are by God.
The more we understand what Jesus taught and why he sacrificed for us so intensely, the more we love him and want to dedicate ourselves to following his teachings and example. This is how our love for Jesus is truly lived, every day.