Jesus Is Everywhere

 

This may surprise many folks, but there was a time when there were more than just the four Gospels in the Bible. 

In fact, over 50 Gospels circulated in the early centuries of Christianity, and possibly many others, according to most biblical scholars.  This leads us to a critical question:  

Why weren't these other Gospels included in the biblical canon?  

It all comes down to the early councils of the Church, which decided what got in and what didn't.  

Their fundamental decisions about the Gospel accounts hinged chiefly on the theology the Gospels supported, whether or not they were written by an apostle and weren't some kind of "secret" revelation between Jesus and one person. 

But when you read some of these other Gospels, you start to realize how much was lost when they were abandoned by the councils of the Church, who almost assuredly had an agenda. 

For example, the Gospel of John contains seven "I Am" statements from Jesus, "I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life," "I Am the Bread of Life," and so on.  

These statements were used by the author of John's Gospel to make a point about the divine nature of Jesus---statements that set Jesus apart, elevated him and connected him to the "I Am" statements that God made in the Hebrew Scriptures.  

But there are also "I Am" statements in some of the Gospels that were left out of the Bible, like these: 

I  Am the Light which is upon them all.  I  Am the All.  All things came from Me and all things will return to Me.  Split the timber, and there I Am.  Lift a stone and you will discover Me there. - The Gospel of Thomas 

I Am the seed that is planted in every being. I  Am Father, Mother and child.  I Am the incorruptible One, and I dwell within you. - The Apocryphon of John 

I Am in that place which knows no division. - The Gospel of Thomas

The exciting thing about these statements is that they make the point that Jesus embodies the Universal and Eternal Christ, the Word of God that John declares was "with God in the beginning."  

These Gospels lift the idea that Jesus is, as Father Richard Rohr has written, "A Name for Everything," and the notion floated by the poet Gerard Manly Hopkins that "Christ plays in 10,000 places."  

Why does this matter?  Because one of the many things that get lost in Christian theology in our current culture is that the Spirit of Christ is everywhere, all around us, in us, and through us.  

And when we realize this, it changes us.  It changes how we see the world, allowing us to look for signs of Christ's loving, creative presence instead of despairing when things seem hopeless.

We also have the chance to get glimpses of the kind of world Christ is constantly at work to reveal--a world without division, full of peace, harmony, healing, and hope.  

May you seek Christ all around you today and every day from this day.  May you discover his presence in the world and within you anew.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


 


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