From the newly revised ebook edition of ‘Realms of Wondrous Gifts: Psychic, Mediumistic and Miraculous Powers in the Great Mystical and Wisdom Traditions’
By Santoshan (Stephen Wollaston) with conversation with Glyn Edwards
... Much is popularly known about the miracles of Jesus, such as curing those who were blind, sick or lame, bringing Lazarus back to life, calming a storm, walking on water and turning water into wine. His miracles were seen by his followers to be signs that he was the expected Messiah and that God’s new kingdom was about to come. However, for some Christians his miracles are not looked upon for authenticating his status, as he himself refused to perform them for that purpose (Matt. 12:38-39). But it is perhaps the way in which he is said to have both entered and left the world that are thought to be the most miraculous events in his life.
Jesus’ virgin birth is told differently in two of the four canonical Gospels. It is also told differently in the Muslim Qur’an, which credits the infant Jesus with the ability to speak. It seems extraordinary that what is seen to be an important event by many Christians is not mentioned in Mark’s or John’s Gospel (apart from ambiguous passages about the word being made flesh at the beginning of John’s Gospel and a scant reference to Jesus’ mother in Mark 6:3) and raises questions as to whether it was something that was added to the Gospels in an attempt to give more weight to Jesus’ importance. There has also been some research into Jesus’ human birth being deliberately played down as there were some who wanted to see him as solely Divine. Not all Christians believe in the virgin birth of course and accept that the retelling of a holy man’s life can become more embellished and elaborated upon over the years. Many important figures in the past, such as Alexander the Great and the Buddha, were also credited with virgin births. Interestingly the Gospel of Thomas and the contents of the speculated lost Q Gospel focus more on Jesus’ teachings rather than on his life and deeds. The Episcopalian priest, Cynthia Bourgeault, has also written about Jesus as a great wisdom teacher.
The account of Jesus’ resurrection is a different matter and is recorded in all of the four canonical Gospels, but each gives a different account of what actually happened. In Chapter 28 of Matthew’s Gospel it describes how Mary Magdalene and the “other Mary” find Jesus’ tomb empty and how an angel tells them that Jesus has risen, after which they meet Jesus on their way to tell the disciples what had just happened. Or perhaps we should say ‘other disciples’ if we accept the view of the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, which sees her as one of the main and most important disciples with secret teachings of Jesus and fitting the role of an apostle herself.
The oldest of the canonical Gospels is now thought to be Mark’s Gospel, of which the original ended at Chapter 16, Verse 8 (Verses 9-20 were added later). Mark describes how Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James and Salome, find the tomb empty and meet a young man in white who informs them that Jesus has risen.
In Chapter 24 of Luke’s Gospel, Cleopas and another disciple are the first to be mentioned as seeing Jesus, and there are several women, including Mary Magdalene, who go to the tomb, find it empty and are met there by two men wearing shining clothes, who ask them why they are, “looking for the living amongst the dead.” In Chapter 20 of John’s Gospel, only Mary Magdalene is said to have gone to the tomb and found it empty. After this she tells Simon Peter and the disciple Jesus loved, who then make their way to the tomb to see for themselves. It is only once they have gone home that Mary Magdalene then sees two angels in white, who ask her why she is crying and then sees Jesus, who tells her not to hold onto to him as he has not yet returned to his Father.
The contradictions in the four Gospel accounts obviously make us wonder just how much of them are reliable. But we have to remember they cannot be read as historical documents, written in the same way contemporary historians would write about events today (although some Christians try to use them this way). They are testaments of faith. In addition to this, the term ‘resurrection’ is symbolic language and can mean different things to different people. The finding of the empty tomb and Mary Magdalene’s involvement as a chief witness are the only consistent elements. In analysis, the question has to be asked as to whether an empty tomb implies that Jesus’ physical body was actually resurrected or not. (Interestingly there are stories of Tibetan yogis and lamas whose bodies are said to have disappeared on their death.) But the fact that women are featured so heavily in the Gospel accounts adds validity to them, as prejudice towards women in Jesus’ time shows they were not usually looked upon as reliable witnesses. Therefore if someone was to fabricate a story of this kind during that period and wanted to convince others about its credibility they would not have included women as central eye-witnesses ...
Jesus’ transfiguration, where it is said his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as light (Matt. 17:2) or a flash of lightening (Luke 9:28) has become a popular episode in his life for some Spiritualists to identify with. There are indeed some parts of the event that are comparable to Spiritualistic types of physical phenomena, such as the materialisation of the deceased Moses and Elijah (Matt. 17:3 and Luke 9:30) and a discarnate voice that spoke to Peter, James and John (Matt. 17:5). The mention of a bright cloud that enveloped them (Matt. 17:2) was speculated by James F Malcolm to possibly be ectoplasm. But as so little information is given about this cloud, we cannot really say what it was or why it is was there.
Another episode in the life of Jesus shows him having the ability to foretell his own death, which can be seen in Matthew’s Gospel where he tells his disciples he will be handed over to be crucified (26:5). Controversially the Gnostic Gospel of Judas highlights the idea of Jesus planning his own death. Ideas held by many Christians about Jesus’ crucifixion and death being an act of atonement or bringing about salvation for humanity, which draw on passages in Mark’s and John’s Gospel, has some similarities with a practice found in yogic traditions where a guru may voluntarily take on the karma of a disciple or community in order to advance their spiritual evolvement...
This articles is based on extracts from the newly revised ebook edition of ‘Realms of Wondrous Gifts: Psychic, Mediumistic and Miraculous Powers in the Great Mystical and Wisdom Traditions’, which includes two extensive appendices of questions and answers with the renowned medium, Glyn Edwards. It is now available in most eBook formats, include Apple iPad, Amazon Kindle and PDF, and can be download in it entirety in seconds for as little as $4.99 (approx. £3.15) from http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/129418.
WHAT PEOPLE SAID ABOUT THE ORIGINAL PRINTED EDITION:
“a breath of fresh air.”– SPIRIT GUIDES.
“A real gem of a book … Highly recommended.”– PSYCHIC WORLD.
“Written with both clarity and insight, this is a rare and enriching book...”
EILEEN DAVIS, international medium and spiritual teacher.
“a nice blend of the scientific, philosophical, Christian and spiritual views that make it a must read...”– MYSTIC LIVING TODAY.
“It is a book that will be of tremendous help to all who wish to deepen their understanding of the powers and the wider implications of spirituality.”
SWAMI DHARMANANDA SARASWATI, author and yoga master.
ABOUT SANTOSHAN AND GLYN EDWARDS
Santoshan (Stephen Wollaston) studied world religions at King’s College London, is a member of GreenSpirit, their editorial and publishing team and the designer of GreenSpirit magazine. He is an author and coauthor of several books, including ‘Spirituality Unveiled: Awakening to Creative Life’ (O Books 2011) and ‘The House of Wisdom: Yoga Spirituality of the East and West (coauthored with Swami Dharmananda: O Books 2007).
Glyn Edwards has worked internationally as a medium for over 40 years, has appeared on television and radio in numerous countries around the world and is considered as one of the finest mediums and teachers of psychic and spiritual science in the UK. He co-authored ‘The Spirit World in Plain English: Mediumistic and Spiritual Unfoldment’ and ‘Spirit Gems: Essential Guidance for Spiritual, Mediumistic and Creative Unfoldment’, and has recorded various teaching CDs and cassettes.
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