"Be clean!" ... show yourself to the priest and offer ..." (Luke 5:13-14)

While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" And immediately the leprosy left him. Then Jesus ordered him, "Don't tell anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them." (Luke 5:12-14)
Here Jesus is purifying a man who worshiped Jesus. How do we know the man worshiped Jesus?
When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him. (Luke 5:12).
His cleansing also healed the man's leprosy, after which Jesus instructed the man to make offerings to the Supreme Being to complete his process of cleansing. Here is the text just prior to this:
While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. (Luke 5:12-13)
This brings up some serious questions about Jesus' mission and his healings:

Was Jesus' mission to heal people? Why then did only a few people get healed?

Why, understanding that miracles are also considered signs, did Jesus say:
"A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign!" (Matthew 12:39)
The scriptures indicate that Jesus healed only a handful of people during his ministry. Why didn't Jesus heal everyone? Why didn't he heal the entire population from their various diseases? Or for that matter, why didn't he heal the entire world of disease?

Was it that Jesus just didn't have the power to heal everyone? Or perhaps disease among humanity was just out of control, and neither God nor Jesus can heal all of it?

Does God care about our suffering?

For that matter, why is there disease at all? Does God and/or Jesus not care about us? Why do our bodies suffer from diseases, and then old age, and then death? Does God not care, or perhaps things have just got out of hand and He lost control?

This, in fact, is what some teach: That God has lost control over the world and Satan has taken it over, and that is why there is so much suffering.

If this is true, how could they be referring to "God" then? "God" refers to an omniscient being - the Supreme Being - a person who controls everything. If they claim that Satan has taken over the world, that means that God is not really God. That He is not in control.

This also means that they do not really believe in the existence of God. It means - despite all their talk about "faith" and "worship" - they are actually atheists. They do not really believe in an all-powerful, omniscient God.

Do they even know who God is?

What it also means is that they do not know the God that Jesus is teaching us about. Jesus is teaching about the omniscient God - the Supreme Being. One who is in control and has not lost control over the world or anywhere else.

The essential questions regarding suffering, disease, old age, death, and the existence of the Supreme Being are not being answered by these teachers. They also are not being answered adequately by the many speculative philosophies that abound, including groups that have even utilized the word "science" in their monikers.

They cannot answer these questions because the teachers of these institutions do not know the answers to these questions. They put forth speculative interpretations and philosophies that cannot even explain the most BASIC principles of existence: They do not know who we are. They do not know who God is. They confuse the Supreme Being with Jesus, and some inventors of new speculative philosophies have even taught they are God's incarnation.

Not knowing the BASIC principles of who we are, and who God is, creates a gap of knowledge that these teachers have tried to fill with speculation and empty repetition.

Some teach that Jesus' crucifixion was the only way that we are cleansed of our sins. They say that Jesus is God and he had to sacrifice Himself to cleanse humanity of Adam's "original sin." This is nonsense. God does not need to sacrifice Himself like an animal in order to cleanse anyone. What kind of God is that? Does God have to follow some rules of sacrifice?

And if God had to sacrifice Himself on a cross to cleanse our sins what is going on with this man who worshiped Jesus and was cleansed? Why did he not have to wait until Jesus' crucifixion?

"Be clean!" indicates that Jesus has the authority to purify someone, and his statement, "show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them" indicates that the purification of this man's sins was completed through an offering to God - as was instructed to Moses by God and instructed to Moses' students.

Both of these statements indicate that people could certainly be cleansed prior to Jesus' crucifixion, through following the instructions of God's representative. If Jesus' crucifixion was the only way for humanity to be cleansed, how come Jesus cleansed this man?

What is sin?

"Sin," in fact, is basically self-centered activity that harms others. And this can only be purified through activities that re-develop our loving relationship with God and God's .

But because these teachers must fall in line with their institutions in order to keep their salaries, they are beholden to the election and appointment by councils of deacons, cardinals, and bishops. So they must maintain a philosophy originally imparted by those who sought to gain followers and control populations through domination of the Roman Pauline theology.

As they have embraced the interpretations of the early Church - driven by the political ambitions of Constantine and his surrogate Nicene Synods - they have left behind the very core principles of Jesus' teachings as only passed down by his dedicated disciples to those dedicated students who passed those teachings on without changing its substance.

What are we made of?

The first principle, lying in open sight throughout the scriptures, yet hidden from view by those who mistranslated over it and misinterpreted around it, is that we are spiritual persons - and not the physical body. The physical body is a vehicle we operate for a temporary period of time. After it dies, we continue to live.

It is like a person stepping into a car and driving it. When the car breaks down the person can step out of it and walk away. In the same way, the body is driven by the spiritual person - which has been relegated by English translators of Biblical literature to the term "spirit." Let's consider some of the many verses that confirm Jesus was teaching that we are spirit in essence, not these physical bodies:
"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." (Matt. 26:41, Mark 14:38)
"Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit." (John 3:36)
"The spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life." (John 6:63)
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. (Matt. 27:50)
Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46)
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)
"The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." (Romans 8:16)
"For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him?" (2 Corinthians 2:11)
We can see that Jesus' students reflected this teaching:
And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me--holy is His Hame. (Luke 1:46-49)
"He [Jesus] appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory." (1 Timothy 3:16)
"As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead." (James 2:26)
"Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit He caused to live in us envies intensely?" (James 4:5)
"Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." (1 Peter 3:4)
The word "spirit" in all these verses comes from the Greek word πνεῦμα (pneuma), which means, according to the lexicon: "the vital principal by which the body is animated," "the rational spirit, the power by which the human being feels, thinks, decides," and "the soul."

Who is it that "feels, thinks, decides"? It is the person - I - the spiritual being who "animates" the physical body.

This is who we are: We are spiritual persons, and we are operating these temporary physical bodies.

The same word, πνεῦμα (pneuma) translated to "spirit" in the scriptures is also used sometimes to describe God, as in "Holy Spirit" or simply "the Spirit." But in these uses, the word πνεῦμα (pneuma) is preceded by an adjuctive such as ἅγιος (hagios) which refers to the Supreme Being - and typically translated to "Holy" as in "Holy Spirit."

This is because God's identity is also spiritual. God is not subject to the limitations of the physical world. He may appear as He wishes in the physical world, but He is not of the physical world. This was confirmed by Jesus:
"God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24)
This indicates clearly that the Supreme Being's identity is also spiritual. It is not physical. This is why we cannot see God with these physical eyes unless He decides to appear before them. And this is why the speculative paintings by Michelangelo of God being an old guy with a long white beard are simply wrong. God is outside of the physical dimension.

God is not subject to time and space. He is ageless and timeless. He is eternally beautiful and ever-youthful. He doesn't get old.

πνεῦμα (pneuma) was also used in the New Testament texts to describe unembodied persons - either "evil spirits" or "good spirits." This use is consistent with referring to our identity as spirit as well - just that we also occupy a physical body.

And lastly, πνεῦμα (pneuma) sometimes appears in the texts to describe a particular character, mission, purpose or objective, as in, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:3)

These uses, however, should not be confused with the clear teaching that our identity is not physical, it is spiritual, and this is made clear by such statements by Jesus as, "The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." (Matt. 26:41, Mark 14:38)

Peter and James both understood this clearly, as reflected by their teachings. Again, here is Peter's clear statement:
"Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." (1 Peter 3:4)
The "inner self" Peter is describing is translated from three Greek words, namely, κρυπτός (kryptos), ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos) and καρδία (kardia). κρυπτός (kryptos) refers to something that is within or hidden, and ἄνθρωπος (anthrōpos) refers to the person - the self. The aspect of this person being the central person or inner person is confirmed with the word καρδία (kardia) which refers to the heart or innermost core.

Thus, Peter's description of the person as the "inner self" could also be translated to "the person within" or "one's core being within the body."

The fact that we are spiritual by nature is a key element of Jesus' teachings and every other prophet - teacher - discussed in the Bible. Often this has been translated to "my soul," but it must be understood within the context of their teachings that they were speaking of their soul as their spiritual self, separate from the body. For example:
"My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?" (Psalm 42:2)
Here David is thirsting for God. His inner spiritual self is thirsting for God. Note that just after he says his "soul" thirsts for God, he asks when "I" can go and "meet with God." If his soul was separate from himself - such as many speak of today - why couldn't his soul go and meet with God separately? Why does the "I" of David want to meet with God?

Because David's "soul" is David. It is a figure of speech to speak of the soul separately.

We might also use a similar separated syntax when we speak of a car and its driver. A person might say "I need gas" when really the car needs gas. Or a person might say "I sped up" when the car sped up. The person was merely sitting in the car pressing the gas pedal.

Throughout his teachings, Jesus clarified the fact that we are spiritual by nature and not the physical body, with phrases such as:
"Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life" (John 6:27)
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food....? (Matt. 6:25)
"I have food to eat that you know nothing about." "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work." (John 4:32 and 34)
Jesus is talking about the spiritual being in these verses, and in the latter verse, spiritual food for a spiritual person. The spiritual person (each of us) comes from the spiritual realm. This realm is God's realm, and God is spiritual.

What is the food of the Soul?

Our spiritual nature is love. By nature, each of us is fulfilled when we are loving God and loving others. This is why Jesus says that his "food" is "to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work."

Why was Jesus so interested in doing God's will?

Voluntarily doing someone else's will means wanting to please that person. A person who wants to please someone else and gives of themselves to please that person is loving that person they want to please. This means that Jesus is loving God and wanting to do what pleases the Supreme Being.

This means that Jesus' "food" is love for God.

Why is there so much suffering?

This brings us to the answers to the question of suffering brought up earlier. The Supreme Being created the physical world as a rehabilitation center for those who turned away from Him and became self-centered. We abandoned our natural loving constitution: We became diseased. So God created a world for us to get rehabilitated.

God has never lost control over the world.

We wanted to seek out our own self-centered happiness. So He set up a virtual dimension and these temporary physical bodies to enable us to act out our self-centered desires for a while.

But the Supreme Being also didn't want to lose us forever. He knows we can never be happy in this self-centered virtual state. We can only be happy when we are in our natural position as one of His loving caregivers. So He set up this virtual world with rules - in the form of consequences - so we were presented with lessons to help us learn about love and hopefully understand the difference between selfishness and love - caring for someone outside of ourselves.

In other words, suffering is something we created. Suffering is often the consequence of self-centered activities that have inflicted suffering onto others. But it is also an opportunity for us to learn. Such learning gives us empathy and understanding.

The consequences of a selfish consciousness are thus played out in the physical world for our learning experience. If we hurt someone, our bodies get hurt. If we help someone our bodies are helped. This consequence learning system is also now accepted by parenting experts as the most effective form of child learning.

And if our consequences do not play out in this lifetime, they play out in the next. This is why people can be born into suffering. They are bearing the consequences of their self-centered activities in a previous lifetime.

Yet it is important to also understand that the diseases and death in the physical world do not happen to us - they are happening to our virtual temporary physical bodies. It is like playing a video game. Our game icon can get shot and blown up and may even die. But we can still turn off the computer and walk away. In the same way, the disease and death of the physical world is happening to our virtual temporary physical bodies. We are spiritual persons. We are simply misidentifying ourselves with these bodies. This is called illusion.

The Supreme Being set this illusion up to help us learn these lessons that relate to love and selfishness. He is trying to show us that we will never be happy when we are out for ourselves. But when we care about others we feel happier. When we give of ourselves we are more fulfilled. This is our spiritual nature. We are caregivers by nature.

If we graduate to this level of consciousness, the Supreme Being will guide us to one of His loving representatives - whom He sends to the planet to re-introduce us to Him - to give us an opportunity to regain our spiritual position.

If we are serious about returning home to Him, and we follow the instructions of His representative, we can return to the spiritual realm after this physical body dies. This was described by Jesus as he stated to his disciples that he was returning to the spiritual realm after his physical body was murdered:
"Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" (John 20:17)
God's representative teaches his devoted students how to re-develop their loving relationship with God. This is why Jesus instructed the man to go and make offerings to God (Luke 5:14 above). This is the accepted process handed down from teacher to student by God's representatives for thousands of years to help the devoted student develop their relationship with God.

And this was precisely what Jesus was doing when he "blessed" food. He was making an offering to his Beloved, the Supreme Being. Today we find that many will "give thanks" - and there is nothing wrong with this.

What are offerings to God?

But making an offering to the Supreme Being (i.e., "God, please accept this food as my humble offering by the mercy of your loving servant") is a more advanced process for developing one's relationship with God. And this is precisely what Jesus instructed the man do through the priest at the temple. (Although offering to God does not require a temple if one invokes God's Holy Name and God's representative.)

This process of re-developing our loving relationship with God invokes our spiritual self, as our spiritual self needs love. We can see how each of us needs love on a day-to-day basis as we seek the approval of others and seek to be comforted by others, and we seek to serve others in some way.

We can even see how the spiritual persons within animal bodies also seek love. We can watch a person throw a ball out for the dog to run and catch and then bring it back. Over and over - even hundreds of times - the dog will run and get the ball to bring back to his master. Why? What reward does the dog get for running so hard every time to get the ball? He is driven by love. He wants the love and approval of his master.

Because the spiritual self within the dog's body seeks love, just as we all seek true love. Love is our spiritual food, and love for the Supreme Being is the perfection of love because an exchange of love with God (loving service to God) completely fulfills our quest for love.

Jesus' was trying to give those he taught this spiritual "food" of love for God. He was trying to introduce his students to the Supreme Being and give them this spiritual "food." This is why Jesus instructed the man to make an offering to God. This is why Jesus' primary teaching (and the primary teaching of Moses and his students) was:
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'" (Luke 10:27)