There’s this last sentence in the Gospel of John that says that Jesus did many other things as well as those recorded in the written texts of the Gospels. The author goes on to say and that if every one of them were written down he supposes that even the whole world would not have enough room to contain the books that would be written to record all of them.
For those who have a fundamentalist view this poses a few interesting challenges.
Either the author was speaking speculatively based on the limited perspective of the times or he was writing somewhat persuasively using ‘poetic license’ and deviating from actual fact to achieve a desired effect.
In either case it begs to be asked what bearing this might have on the accuracy of the events declared as facts in the prior text of the gospel of John as well as the other gospels and epistles. In other words, when were they being 100% specifically accurate and when were they speaking broadly or even metaphorically to achieve some degree of lateral effect?
Jesus is recorded to have walked for about three years proclaiming the coming of the Kingdom of God, making contact with the world, performing miracles, doing good and healing all kinds of people of all kinds of diseases.
The people who followed him all the time must have had an amazing experience as they saw these things happening before their very eyes. As they walked with him they saw things happening that had never been recorded before and a lot of the time they were as shocked and amazed as those who were actually healed or set free. Even right up till the end there is clear indication that most were baffled and even confused by it all.
At the end of his time with them Jesus told them that he was going away and that he still had so much more to reveal to them but that they were not able to receive it. He made a strange statement wherein he said that something else would happen.
He told them that another comforter would come because he was going away and that he would personally send this comforter to them to reveal more and more things and would effectively lead them deeper and deeper into all truth.
However, this comforter was not another human being, but a spirit.
But Jesus never stopped there. He went on to say that because of this they would do even greater things than they had seen him do up till that point.
That’s a mind blast considering that Jesus amongst many other things, walked on water, raised the dead, fed multitudes seemingly out of thin air, commanded evil spirits to leave people, confounded the greatest legal minds of the day and healed every kind of sickness and disease.
And the disciples saw it all as they followed him around. They were there, all day, every day, absorbing it all, letting it all sink in. They never really understood most of it intellectually, but they learned by just being with him as he went along.
Communication research has revealed that only 7% of human communication is verbal.
Now they might be out by a percentage point or two either way so let’s cut them some slack here, so even if human communication is not exactly 7% but let’s say as much as 20% verbal, it still tells us that at least 80% is non verbal. And this is just what the researchers can ascertain.
That’s pretty amazing especially in the light of how textually based we have become as a modern culture. Literacy rules and it’s only very recently that other ‘intelligences’ are being recognised as playing a role.
The reality is that almost all wisdom and understanding these days is textually rooted and bound. Even in our everyday speech if we want to emphatically stamp the veracity of something we will insert the word ‘literally’ (e.g. “He literally spat at me!”). Mostly we’ve done away with learning a “trade” or doing an “apprenticeship.” In fact education is almost exclusively ‘academic’ these days.
So, if Jesus did so many things not even recorded and told us that he could not tell us everything he wanted to but that the spirit he would send would take it on from there and lead his followers into all truth by taking what was essentially his and making it known, why do we lock all truth about Jesus and the Kingdom of God to the written scriptures as we have them recorded for us in text?
Why do we pride ourselves when we boldly declare ourselves as exclusively “bible based” believers?
What about the Spirit Jesus is recorded in the texts as saying would come and do the job of taking it all further and lead us on where his own teaching and practical demonstration was not the full picture?
Jesus himself said that any blasphemy against him could be forgiven, but if anyone blasphemes against the Spirit there was no forgiveness.
I know we sincerely desire to be obedient to God and serve the purposes of the Kingdom as fully as we can, but what might this reveal about our fundamentalist proclamations and tendencies? In our desire to be textually accurate have we closed the door on our reliance of the Spirit and being led as was always the intent?
And does all truth only come through the academic, literal scripting and encoding of the ideas presented in the biblical texts or might there be an 80% portion as yet mostly, if not completely untapped?