Jesus the Son of Man

Jesus the son of man

Jesus the son of man

But Master, Sky-heart, knight of our fairer dream,
You do still tread this way.
No bows nor spears shall stray your steps;
You walk through all our arrows.
You smile down upon us,
And though you are the youngest of us all,
You father us all.
Poet, Singer, Great Heart!
May our God bless your name.

— Kahlil Gibran

No day is ever entirely wasted.

On Friday I was in Guildford for lunch and the afternoon, but my main reason for being there was to drop off a couple of books to a Hungarian girl I had met the week before. Only she was not around as her boss was away on holiday for a couple of weeks.

A wasted day, thought I, but at least I can get some fresh produce off the local market.

It was a pleasant sunny day, and so I sat in the Castle Grounds for a while reading The Eight, a gift from my friend Elaine.

I thought I would look in a bookshop, to be told I had missed out on the hardback Paulo Coelho books they had in.

I looked in the religious section. I was looking for a copy of the Quran. In Istanbul, near a Mosque, there were bookshops selling the Quran, beautiful caligraphy, but the one that caught my eye was one with Arabic on one page and English on the facing page, but foolishly I did not pick up a copy.

That is what I was hoping to find. No such luck, not my day it seemed, then my eye settled on Jesus the Son of Man by Kahlil Gibran. I have this as a paperback, but this was a slim hardback. I was pleased with my find.

Why are there four Gospels? Why not three, why not five? Why not one?

By having more than one gospel, we hear of the life of Jesus in different voices.

That is what Kahlil Gibran does. We hear of the life of Jesus from many of the people who knew Him, some of whom we have not heard from before.

The mother of Judas tells us ‘My son was a good man and upright. He was tender and kind to me, and he loved his kin and his countrymen.’

‘The Galilean was a conjuror, and a deceiver’ a young priest tells. A woman caught in adultery sees him in a different light, ‘When Jesus didn’t judge me, I became a woman without a tainted memory, and I was free and my head was no longer bowed.’

But is this not sacrilege, blasphemy even, characters we have not heard of before, characters who do not appear in the gospels?

Not really. Thomas records the sayings of Jesus. It is as though someone followed Jesus around, notebook in hand, or at least spoke with those who knew Him, and wrote down what they could recall. Mark made an attempt to record His life. Luke and Mathew incorporated both Thomas and Mark and added their own observations. John interpreted what was known of the life of Jesus, tried to give it meaning.

To these early Christians, Jesus may have been dead, but to them He was still with them, He inspired them in what they wrote. Where do we draw the line? It is in that context we should see the writing of Kahlil Gibran.

We all know the story of the woman accused of adultery. Let him without guilt cast the first stone. But how many know it was not in the very earliest known copies of John?

The story that most moved me was the encounter with Jesus by Mary Magdalen. It reminds me of Santiago in The Alchemist meeting Fatima at the oasis in the desert. Maybe it was this story Paulo Coelho drew upon.

A beautiful poem at the end sums up all the stories, A Man from Lebanon.

The one book I have never come across is The Prophet. I notice White Crow Books publish both, also Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse.

If you are to have one book on the life of Jesus, then Jesus the Son of Man would be it. Jesus the Son of Man also compliments The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey, which I would also recommend.

Although Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) spent much of his life in the USA, he grew up in Lebanon. It was in Lebanon, he learnt the Bible from a priest.

Sand and Foam
The Gospels
Gospel of Thomas

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