The Life and Mission of Jesus Christ - Sun Myung Moon
Chapter Two - Jesus' Early Ministry
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for-the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor:
John The Baptist
When Zechariah saw hint, he was startled and was gripped with feat: But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid, Zechariah: your- prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John...
He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will he great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God.
And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous -- to make ready a people prepared fin- the Lord."
I am sure that many people who read the Bible must have wondered about John, "If he were such a great man, why did he not become the chief disciple of the Son of God?"
Jesus himself indicated the mission that John the Baptist came to fulfill: "For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come." (Mau. 11:13) John the Baptist represented the consummation of the Old Testament, the law, and the prophets. He was the prince of the old age. Jesus Christ came as the prince of the new age. Had he been supported by John the Baptist, he could have stood upon the firm foundation of the Old Testament Age. Then the new age could have blossomed in the fertile soil of the accomplishments of the old age. The Son of God could have established his glorious kingdom at once. And John the Baptist would have been the cornerstone of that kingdom.
Had John the Baptist followed Jesus, the distinguished leaders of that society would have been the first to accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Then who would have crucified the Lord of glory?
When God sent his only Son to this world to establish his kingdom on earth, don't you think he wanted to be followed by the most able people of his age? Do you think that God wanted only the outcasts of society to follow Jesus? Not at all! The simple failure of John the Baptist broke the link between the Son of God and the people. As a result, only fishermen, tax collectors, harlots, and lepers followed Jesus Christ. This brought great grief to the heart of God.
The book of Malachi in the Old Testament had a parallel purpose to the Book of Revelation in the New Testament. It shows clearly the timetable and the last-minute description of how the Messiah would come. In Malachi, you will find these words: "I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord conies." (Mal. 4:5 Elijah had ascended into heaven in a chariot of fire in a whirlwind, according to the Old Testament. So people believed that Elijah would literally return from the blue sky in a chariot of fire and announce the Son of God. This is what the people expected.
But did Elijah cone? The problem was, Elijah did not return in the manner people expected. The people never heard anything about his miraculous return. However, one day a young man from Nazareth, whose name was Jesus, was being proclaimed by his followers as the Messiah, the Son of God.
Now this was Johns testimony when the Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, "I am not the Christ."
They asked him. "Then who are you? Are you Elijah?"
He said, "I am not." "Are you the Prophet?" He answered, "No."
What was the people's reaction? "Impossible!" they said. "How could Jesus of Nazareth be the Son of God? We have not heard anything about Elijah." No Elijah, no Messiah. In order to accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God, they would have had to disregard their 4,000-year-old tradition and throw their Bible away. But no one was willing to do that.
Malachi's prophecy of the coming of Elijah was indeed an obstacle to Jesus' successful ministry. When Jesus' disciples went out all over Israel teaching the gospel and proclaiming Jesus as the Son of God, the people repudiated their words, saying, "If your master is the Son of God, where is Elijah? The book says Elijah must come first." Jesus disciples were not well prepared to answer this question... So the embarrassed disciples one day decided to go to Jesus to ask for his help in the matter. An account appears in Matthew:
The disciples asked him, "Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?" fie replied, "Elijah does come, and he is to restore all things; but I tell you Elijah has already come."... Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.
Let us imagine we could transpose these events to our time. John the Baptist of 2,000 years ago was a person of tremendous influence, enjoying great prestige all over Israel as a great man of God -- just like Billy Graham of today, a great Christian leader. Let us say that some unknown young man suddenly appeared and began proclaiming himself to the world as the Son of God...and saying that Billy Graham was Elijah. You would undoubtedly say, "Impossible! How could Billy Graham be Elijah? He did not come out of the blue sky. We all know he came from North Carolina!" Precisely this same kind of unbelief confronted our Lord Jesus Christ... Yet Jesus continued to preach with power and authority in spite of scornful public opinion. The people could not dismiss such a man lightly, so they decided to go ask John the Baptist himself and settle their questions once and for all. They asked John, `Who are you?"...
John the Baptist denied everything. He said, "I am not Elijah." He even denied the title of prophet. Everyone knew and recognized him as a prophet of God, but he said, "I'm no prophet." Why? He evaluated the situation and knew that Jesus Christ was treated by his own society as an outcast. Jesus seemed to be a loser, and John decided not to side with Jesus. He thought it would be much better to deny everything.
By doing so, John the Baptist pushed Jesus into a corner, making him seem a great impostor without defense. After John's denial, Jesus had no further recourse on this point. We can read in Matthew that John the Baptist, waiting in prison to be beheaded, sent two of his own disciples to Jesus to ask the following question: "Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?" (Mau. 11:3) Is this the question of a man who has faith in Jesus as the Son of God? John the Baptist had earlier testified to Jesus at the Jordan River: "I have seen and have born witness that this is the Son of God." (John 1:34) Yet this very same person, with the very same tongue, was now confronting Jesus by asking, "Are you really the Messiah, or shall we go and look for somebody else?" How disheartening that question must have been to Jesus!
The New Future of Christianity
September 18, 1974
Temptation In The Wilderness
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to he tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written "Man does not live on bread clone, but on every void that conies from the mouth of God.'
Jesus defeated Satan by overcoming three temptations in the wilderness, the last of them on a mountaintop. Yet we should realize that when Jesus journeyed to the wilderness, after being rejected by the chosen one, John the Baptist -- a situation that made likely his rejection by the Jewish nation as well -- he carried a heart of sorrow the like of which no one on the earth had ever experienced.
Jesus appeared as the only Son of God, who came to resolve the 4,000-year history of God's providence. He came as the seal of victory that God could boast about before that generation and countless generations to come. Yet Jesus walked into the wilderness alone with a sad heart, without a fiend, leaving behind the people, the chosen John the Baptist, and Joseph's family.
Jesus was filled with the determination and sense of mission to pay the debts of history. What did he think about during his 40 days of fasting? He felt an acute sense of responsibility to restore through indemnity by himself, the rueful course of his forbearers. As he walked through the wilderness, Jesus must have thought about how all humankind, the descendants of Adam and Eve ever since their expulsion from the Garden of Eden, have been roaming about a wilderness of sorrows in search of the Garden.
What did Jesus think about as Satan led him to the top of the mountain? He climbed the mountain with a serious heart, under pressure to subjugate Satan by holding up the shield of victory knowing that on that outcome would hang the entire historical course of 4,000 years. He also recalled the history of the mountain he was climbing. He must have remembered the loyalty of Noah, who built his ark on a mountain, enduring hardships for 120 years... Jesus thought about how it was for the sake of the Messiah, Jesus himself, that Noah labored...
Jesus reflected on Abraham, who journeyed to a mountain after he was commanded to sacrifice Isaac. He thought of Abraham's heartbreak as he led his son up Mount Moriah. For whom did Abraham have to offer his only son Isaac as a sacrifice? Jesus must have reflected upon the fact that it was for Heavenly Father, and ultimately for the Messiah, for him.
Jesus then recalled Moses. He imagined the scene in which God appeared to the sorrow-stricken Moses in the burning bush, by the foot of Mount Horeb, and formed an unchanging bond with him... When God ordered Moses to lead the Israelites from Egypt to the blessed land of Canaan, he was an old man of eighty years, exhausted from his life in the wilderness of Midian. Yet his gaze and figure were consumed with the heart of heaven... On the top of that mountain, Moses fasted and prayed for 40 days, and he came down with God's Word. For whom did Moses pray and fast for 40 days? Jesus reflected that it was only for the sake of Heavenly Father, only for the sake of establishing a restored nation through the chosen people and of paving the road for the Messiah.
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, `throw yourself down. For it is written: "'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.' "
Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' "
For whom did Elijah confront the satanic priests of Baal on Mount Carmel, standing on the mountaintop and praying before heaven in that dramatic showdown? Jesus reflected that it was for the sake of God and himself. Reflecting on such historical connections with mountains, Jesus felt a serious heart.
No one ever had a more serious heart toward God's will than Jesus Christ. He went to the wilderness with a burning heart to capture and subjugate Satan. He stood alone on that mountaintop with a firmer determination than any ancestor in history.
The Sorrowful Heart of Jesus as He Went to the Mountain
January 25, 1959
It is written that after forty days, Satan tested Jesus three times... What was Satan's purpose in giving Jesus the three temptations? In the beginning, God created human beings and gave them three great blessings, perfection of individual character, multiplication of children, and dominion over the natural world, by which they might accomplish the purpose of creation. By inducing the first human ancestors to fall, Satan deprived humankind of the three great blessings and thus prevented the fulfillment of the purpose of creation. Jesus came into the world to accomplish the purpose of creation by restoring these blessings. Therefore, Satan tempted Jesus three times in an attempt to pre-vent him from restoring the three blessings and accomplishing the purpose of creation...
After Jesus completed the 40-day fast in the wilderness, Satan appeared before him and tempted him, saying, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread."... Jesus' answer to this temptation was, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." Originally, human beings were created to live on two kinds of nourishment. The body lives on the nourishment obtained from the physical world, while the spirit lives by receiving the love and truth of God... Jesus defeated Satan because he spoke and acted in full accordance with God's Principle. By his victory over this temptation, Jesus fulfilled the condition to restore the individual nature to perfection and thereby established the basis for the restoration of God's first blessing.
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor "All this I will give you," he said, "If you will bow down and worship me."
Jesus said to hint, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve hint only"'
Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Next, Satan brought Jesus to the pinnacle of the Temple and challenged him, saying, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down." Jesus referred to himself as the Temple, and it is written that Christians are temples of God and members of the body of Christ... When Satan dared Jesus to throw himself down, it meant that he wanted to usurp Jesus' position as the Lord of the Temple by enticing Jesus to fall from that position to the lowly state of a fallen person...
By overcoming the second temptation, Jesus, the main temple, the bridegroom, and the True Parent of humanity, opened the way for all people of faith to be restored to the positions of branch temples, brides, and true children. Jesus thus established the basis upon which to restore God's second blessing.
Finally, Satan took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him all things under heaven and all their glory, saying, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me."...
Jesus replied, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'" Angels were created as ministering spirits to revere and serve God, their Creator. By his answer, Jesus indicated that according to the Principle, even a fallen angel like Satan should worship God; by the same token, he should honor and attend Jesus, who came as the body of the Creator... By prevailing in the third temptation, Jesus set up the condition to restore dominion over the natural world, God's third blessing.
Exposition of the Divine Principle
Moses and Jesus 126.96.36.199
Repent For The Kingdom Of Heaven Is At Hand
From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
When you say you believe in Jesus, do you only believe in those things that make you feel good? Do you reject those things about Jesus that make you feel painful? We should accept what Jesus taught and do those things that Jesus himself would want us to do. We should not take part in things that Jesus would not like. What are those things, which Jesus would not like? They are, simply, Satan and sin.
We should separate ourselves from Satan and sin and believe in Jesus from that position, rather than from a position in which sin, Satan, and Jesus are all mixed together in our lives. This is why Jesus said, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." For what should we repent? We should repent of the fact that we have been living together with Satan and sin throughout our lives.
Once we have repented and separated ourselves from Satan, Jesus urges us to believe in God and serve God. Jesus wanted to rule over a world from which Satan and sin were eradicated, not a world in which Satan was mixed together with everything and in which people had just a vague belief in Jesus. Jesus mission was to separate individuals completely from Satan and sin and separate families and countries from Satan and sin...
Even the most faithful believer in Jesus or the most righteous church on earth cannot proclaim proudly that they are absolutely separated from Satan and sin and that they are following Jesus exactly as he would have them do. No one can say they are living in perfect love in an ideal world with no suffering and tears.
This means that Satan exists as much within churches as he exists everywhere else. Furthermore, there is almost as much sin there as in the rest of the world. If this is true and if what church people love and hate is no different from what the rest of the world loves and hates, then there is very little difference between the world and the church. Which would Satan find more pleasure in, the church or the world? Why would he like the sins of the church more than those of society in general? Satan likes the sins of the church more because then he can protest to God, "Look at those people in the church. They don't love others; they even hate others! They are not faithful, either. This must be my church."
Perfection Of Restoration By Indemnity Through Human Responsibility
March 1. 1983
You Must Be Born Again
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him."
In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."
The Bible records the visit to Jesus of a Pharisee named Nicodemus, who asked how people can be saved. Jesus' answer was very clear: "Unless a man he born anew he cannot see the Kingdom of God." Nicodemus was totally puzzled and inquired, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter his mother's womb and be born again?" Then Jesus said, "Are you a teacher of Israel and yet you don't understand this?"
Everyone has been born in the fallen Adamic lineage; in the position of an enemy of God. How can mankind become even servants who are not of satanic origin? Is there any way that you could be born as a servant on the side of God? You don't know even how to do that much. Then how could you be born again as God's children? Reaching the servant level on God's side is just the initial state of restoration, but a servant cannot inherit the master's fortune. A servant has no right of inheritance; therefore, each person needs to be elevated at least to the adopted son's position... or better, as direct sons and daughters.
Do you want to be direct children of God? Naturally, fallen mankind could not know the whole process of salvation. That's why God promised the Messiah to guide the way God knows that no one has any way of knowing the truth without meeting the true Son of God as an example and model.
January 1, 1978
Jesus Early Ministry
What is it to be restored at the origin -- at the root? Because of the fall, from our very origin we are in a different place from where we are supposed to be. To be restored at the origin means to be born again. In other words, because we were born of fallen parents, we must be born again from the parents who have not fallen. Is that absolutely necessary, or just sort of necessary?
"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"
Jesus answered, "If I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit."
How can you prove that humankind is fallen? Many people do not believe it; they think, "This is the way humankind has always been. This is the way God meant the world and humans to be. In fact, only Christians have a strong belief that humankind is fallen. Other religions do not. In Christianity the fall is a primary teaching, while other religions don't pay it much attention. Nevertheless, it is a matter of paramount importance...
What is the cause of the Fall? The Bible teaches that our first ancestors ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The Bible is absolutely necessary and we have to abide by its words. What does the Bible mean by eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil? What serious wrong did Adam and Eve commit that made God, their loving Parent, chase his son and daughter away from his own home? The magnitude of the problem it created means it must have been a very', very valuable fruit -- more than an apple, more than an orange.
If they ate a literal fruit, they would have eaten it with their hands and mouths. The hand and mouth would be the only pans of the body that were used to commit the sin. But what does the Bible say they covered after they ate? They covered up the lower parts of their bodies. Look at what children do. Whenever a child does something wrong, they express it. They are naturally honest. If their mother says, "Don't eat that," but the child eats it anyway and then the mother comes and confronts the child, what does the child do automatically? He hides his hands, doesn't he? He doesn't hide his lower parts. Have you ever seen a child, by reflex, hide his lower parts when he has eaten something he shouldn't? People don't do that. That is simple enough and easy to understand.
Here is another proof that the lineage must have been involved. God has yearned and suffered for thousands of years to correct the lineage. If the problem were caused merely by the eating of a certain substance, God could have found a remedy for that easily. Yet, no matter how much you try to correct yourself, no matter how hard you work to correct this and that weakness and stop doing certain sins, or even correct flaws in your character, you can never change your blood lineage. You cannot do anything about the blood that flows inside you. It just cannot be denied. You could cut off your arm, but so long as that evil blood is flowing in your body, another part of you will commit sin.
So we can quickly come to the conclusion that the origin of evil comes from had lineage, wrong blood lineage. The blood flowing in all mankind, all individuals, is had blood. We cannot say it is God's perfect blood. The fallen lineage is Satan's blood, in other words. We inherited Satan's blood. That means your body is Satan's.
We can imagine that if the ancestors of mankind did not fall, God's blood would be flowing through you and through everyone who is around us today. If that had happened, then everything would belong to God. There would he no such thing as "evil," and there would be no Satan. God originally owned that center root, center truth, and center bud. Those contents are what connect every human being. You are each like one branch. Branches automatically connect with the trunk, which is God. The fruit is not the same size as the branch, but all are equalized in the one tree. You are fruit of God -- that is the natural, original conclusion.
We are all branches of a tree, but it is not God's tree. It is Satan's tree. What kind of fruit is borne by Satan's tree? Satan's fruit. We should clearly understand this. This is why we all agree that mankind needs to be saved. What does it mean to be saved? To be saved means to go backward from the root of having done something wrong, and being brought back to the position where man didn't fall. We come back to the point before the Fall.
Restoration from the Origin and Rebirth Are for Myself
September 20, 1992
The baby Jesus was conceived in Mary without sin, but in all other cases Satan can claim ownership of a baby, even before the baby is born. This was not so in the case of Jesus because God had prepared a new genealogy whereby he was conceived in a sinless state. Jesus was the only one in history whose birth was prepared in this way. He was conceived in the lineage of God and born as a Son of God and he could proclaim, "I am the only begotten Son of God." No saint or prophet was born in that manner. It is more than logical that he declared, "I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me." Once you know this, is there any other route by which to reach God?
Jesus also said, "I am in the Father and the Father is in me." Jesus is in the father's position, but...in order to go back to the very origin of life, the process of our rebirth should be assisted by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit with the Spirit of Jesus brings rebirth. Since we are born in a wrong way through satanic parents, we have to go through this new channel to become a new creature. From this standpoint, the Holy Spirit is a mother spirit. That is why in the Bible it says that we cannot be reborn until we receive the Holy Spirit. At the point of convergence of the love of the spiritual father, Jesus, and the spiritual mother, the Holy Spirit, rebirth occurs.
March 19, 1972
Summoning The Fishermen
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me." Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him.
Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
When God sent his only Son to this world to establish his kingdom on earth, don't you think he wanted to be followed by the most able people of his age? Do you think that God wanted only the outcasts of society to follow Jesus? Not at all! The failure of John the Baptist broke the link between the Son of God and the people. As a result, only fishermen, tax collectors, harlots, and lepers followed Jesus Christ. This brought great grief to the heart of God.
If the Lord is returning to the world today, is it not most log-teal that all the leadership of Christianity -- the bishops, the cardinals, the pope, and all the evangelists and great ministers of the world -- should become the first group to welcome the Christ? If they followed the Lord and became his first disciples, the establishment of his kingdom would be infinitely easier.
You may say "Reverend Moon, by what authority are you speaking? What makes you so sure?" I do have the authority to say these things. God showed me the truth. I met Jesus. Jesus himself showed me these truths. And I met John the Baptist, too, in the spirit world. He himself bore witness to the truth of this testimony. After these extraordinary spiritual experiences, when I returned to the reality of this world, the same Bible I had been reading took on a whole new meaning.
The Future of Christianity
October 28, 1973
Even today in Korea, fishermen are poor and lowly people and not well respected. You can imagine how Jesus may have felt when he had to seek out ignorant fishermen 2,000 years ago.
Rejected by the prepared people, Jesus came as a laborer and as a friend of the fishermen. He shared his life, heart, and desires with them. He fought on with the determination that he would help satisfy their hearts' desires, even at the cost of his life. The reason fishermen such as Peter could follow him was because Jesus testified and fought with this kind of heart and mindset. What did Jesus do for three years after picking these uneducated disciples? In the same way that God had served and toiled for 4,000 years to raise the Israelites, Jesus chose them and served them.
Jesus had great hopes for the twelve disciples he had chosen. It was Jesus whom God had sent to influence Judaism and guide the priests and officials. His ideology was grand, his hopes were great, and his heartistic level was high. What did Jesus do while looking at these people? Through the three years of his ministry, Jesus passed through the same course as God, who had walked the path of sacrifice and service for the sake of raising the people.
Therefore, Jesus searched for disciples, forgetting food and drink. When he had something to wear, he gave it to his disciples, disregarding his rags. If there was some comfortable place to sleep, he let his disciples sleep there and sat in an uncomfortable place.
The Incarnation of Jesus, a Pioneer
February I, 1959
Good News To The Poor
The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me. because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor"
It is in true love that humanity is able to meet God and enjoy eternal life. For this reason, true love is capable of over-coming all the world's problems. Through true love, by which we sacrifice ourselves in order to live for others, we can find the solutions to such problems as interracial conflict, violence, the conflict between rich and poor, and the various environmental issues. Families in which the individual members are united centered on true love can successfully combat the corruption of morals that has contributed to the downfall of so many of our youth.
When the individual, family, society, nation, and world become one through true love, then mankind can expect a very bright future.
Fifth Summit Council for World Peace Founder's Address
August 22, 1992
What do you think l was doing when I was 17? Even before I was given my life's mission, I always had the heart that I wanted to be a friend to the suffering people in my village. When I was a boy, there was a rich, arrogant boy who always received a hard time from me. But those who were unfortunate and suffering were always my friends. If I heard that some household had no money to buy groceries, I considered it an emergency and I did everything possible to obtain some money for those people. Until I had done that I could not sleep. I wanted to be more than a friend. I wanted to be someone who could serve and help others. Between the ages of twenty and thirty which is considered the prime of youth, people normally want to dress well, and have pleasant experiences in life. But I lived in exactly the opposite way I never wore a new suit. I always bought surplus clothing in thrift shops. My hair never looked neat and attractive.
During the prime of my youth I spent every day experiencing the most desperate, suffering situations in human life: working in labor camps, mines, poor farms, docks, and even begging. I looked at every aspect of human life, even the world of prostitutes. I studied all the miseries of human life... I always thought to myself, "What if this man were my elder brother or my father and he was suffering on my account, what could I do for him?"
The Harvest Season of Gods Providence
September 19, 1982
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