by Rev. Reingard Knausenberger
This was a theme, explored during two Epiphany Sundays, and the first discovery was, to not only notice what is written in the Bible, but also what is withheld in silence, and not mentioned. For it is worthy of note, that all four Gospels are silent about the time of Jesus’ life after the birth until his baptism in the Jordan. Only one significant spotlight is shone by Luke on the boy as a twelve-year-old, highlighting that as an obviously very important event.
Based on the lectures Rudolf Steiner held during 1913 and 1914 named The fifth Gospel (GA 148), where he shares his research into this question, one can be reminded of the last verse (John 21: 25) of the Gospel of John: ‘Jesus did many other things, but if they were all written down one after the other, I do not think the world itself could contain the books that would have to be written.’
Puberty is a difficult time for every growing child, where one’s whole organisation transforms and inner sensations and experiences present themselves, which can be confusing, chaotic, emotional and causing deep feelings of loneliness and not being understood. From about 18-24 years a sense of wanting to explore the world, find purpose and meaning, acquire skills and interact with different kinds of people arises, also often also a desire to test oneself. Then a third phase until 28/29 years could be felt as a desire to ‘come home to oneself’, searching with whom, to which goals and purpose to commit to.
The fifth Gospel takes one on a journey of sensing the unfathomable pain and suffering that Jesus’ soul went through during these years of growing from twelve years into adulthood in his thirtieth year. His experienced realising of the desperate situation of all humankind being on a trajectory of hopeless decline, with no possibility or hope of rejuvenation, or true purpose…finding no one able to understand and to share this depressing reality with…until his mother, who has always ‘carried and nurtured in her heart’ the unusual instances around him, can offer him her heart as a receiving vessel, in the most significant conversation of all time that changed everything and made the baptism possible.
What these lectures open up, as one engages wholeheartedly with the content, is more, much more than an intellectual understanding of why Christ was desperately needed ‘to save all humankind’, and how it in fact could happen that the Son of God could make his home in a human body and go through true human experiences, even death, which is not a heavenly, but an earthly event.
All this inevitably brought us then to the engaging questions: what about Christ now in our current time, where is his Passion and death, his resurrection continuing, as we endeavour to progress in our evolution to be truly human? What is our task in the present, where is awakening needed? What does it mean: where two or three are gathered, there I will be, how does that happen? What new abilities are needing to be developed now, to be real servants and companions of Christ in the transformation of ourselves and the earth? To name but a few of the new avenues that open up to be explored more in depth.
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