Since the fall of Man in Eden, men have pursued power to fulfill selfish desires. “Power” comes from the Latin, potis, meaning, “to be able” and “strength, vigor and control”. Men seek power to in an attempt to control other men (political, economic), natural resources (land, resources) and even life itself (longevity, health). Through the acquisition and use of power, men hope to increase physical pleasure (wealth, possessions, sensual, sexual) and emotional/mental pleasure (enjoyment, pride, greed, lust).
Man’s pursuit of power is futile for it does not lead to lasting happiness due to Original Sin. Modern Man has gained some control over nature (agriculture, weather, nuclear science, manufacturing), human life (genetics, medical technology) and over the pursuit of happiness (psychology, philosophy, communications and media). But Man’s growing power through advancements in science/technology has not made Man happy. Man’s power is feeble, for it offers only the emptiness in possessions, the discomfort of conflict/war, the temporary indulgence of selfish desire and can not avoid the finality of death. Man’s futile grasping for power does not bring lasting peace and joy.
Awed by the Power of Jesus Christ
Satanspel – The Devil’s Story
At Eden, Satan seduces Man with the false story (from the Old English “spel”) that humans can have “all knowledge” and “become like gods” (Gen 3:5). The turning away from God and His Truth to the devil’s false story, the Satanspel, is the fall of Man into Original Sin.
The Satanspel of today promises that a “modern” secular society (humans can be gods) and information technology (knowledge) will lead to the salvation of humans. Secularists seek to neutralize God in the public square and promote an individualist order where all humans can fulfill their personal cravings for material goods and sexual perversion. The “knowledge” of Eden is the “information” of today with Man submerged in a swamp of information through ever-more intrusive media devices. In the “information overload”, the trivial, obscene and morbid seduce Man into greater and greater distraction from God, with Man falling into ever-greater darkness of sin.
Gospel of Jesus Christ the Divine Evangelist
In Divine contrast to the dark lies of the Satanspel, the Gospel (literally, “Good news” or “God’s story”) is the Truth of Jesus Christ. Jesus, whose name means “God saves”, brings the Divine good news that God Is and Man can be saved by God through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, He, Himself, is the Good News, for He is God who comes into the world through the Incarnation to save Man from the dark spell cast by Satan. The Good News is the Story of Salvation for mankind. The Good News is that, rather than the randomness of deconstruction and cold evolutionary forces without a plot or storyline, there is the Truth of the Salvation Story in Jesus Christ.
What Jesus Teaches as Divine Evangelist
The Gospel Himself, Jesus Christ the Divine Evangelist teaches that:
There is a Kingdom of God – Rather then the confusion and waywardness of Israel or the deception of the human tendency to want to become gods, Jesus Christ brings the Good News that God exists and rules eternity in His Kingdom (CCC 544).
Salvation is the Story – Rather then a long string of meaningless events, human history has a trajectory in God. Even in the treason of Eden, God describes the victory over Satan in the protoevangelium (Gen 3:15; CCC 410), in which Mary, the New Eve, through her seed Jesus Christ, will conquer evil. The Gospel is the Good News of the God Story, that Man can be saved from Original Sin and death, that Satan has been defeated (CCC 1086) and that there is a way of life and a way of death (CCC 1696). Jesus Christ is the turning point in Salvation History, fulfilling all the promises by God in the Old Testament (CCC 1964-70). Men are given a real history, a family history, in the Bible and the Traditions of the Church.
Jesus, Himself, is the Good News of the New Covenant – In the Incarnation, Jesus gives definitive proof of God’s existence. Jesus pays a high price and works tirelessly to bring the Good News, walking thousands of miles, healing the multitudes, living without a home, accepting the Will of the Father to submit to the injustice of puny men unto death. In the Incarnation, Jesus gives God a human face and man preserves this idea of Christ’s Good News in the blessings of Icons (CCC 1160).
Man must repent and accept the Good News – Jesus comes to set the record straight. Man is in deep trouble because of Original Sin, which is the opposite of the Gospel (CCC 389). Man must reject the false idols of human gods and scientific rationalism. Man has a choice and is accountable (1 Pt 4:17) for conversion (CCC 1427). Man will either be in the kingdom or outside with “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt 22:13). Man must not be ashamed of the Gospel (Rom 1:15), “live a life worthy of the Gospel” (CCC 1692) and be prepared to give up all for the Gospel (CCC 2544).
There is Salvation in Christ – Jesus Christ ushers in a New Covenant, paying the price for human sin through His Crucifixion and offering all men the new life of the Resurrection (CCC 571). Christ teaches that there is no salvation for man without self-sacrificing love.
Man must embrace the Gospel through lifelong catechesis– Jesus Christ, Himself, is the Word, which is the Gospel. The Gospel is promulgated in writing and speaking (CCC 76). Man must continually be catechized and pass along the faith to the next generation through education/catechesis (CCC 2226).
Man must embrace the Church – Jesus Christ establishes His Church so that men can know the Truth be given Grace through the Sacraments. The Apostles pass along the authority for Christ’s Church on earth to bishops so that “the full and living Gospel might be preserved in the Church” (CCC 77) as their first and primary task (CCC 888). The Gospel is preached at every mass (CCC 1160). Christ establishes communio in the Church and the fraternity of brotherhood (CCC 2636).
Men are commanded to evangelize – Jesus preaches the Gospel with His own lips (CCC 75) and commands the Apostles to understand and preach the Gospel to all nations (Matt 26:13; Mark 13:10) for it is good news for all nations (CCC 528). Today, Man is called to be obedient evangelists (CCC 3; CCC 673), for the preaching of the Gospel has the power through the Holy Spirit to renew culture in Christ (CCC 2527). Man must take the Gospel seriously for it has been passed down for 2000 years with great hardship and sacrifice.
Responding to the Gospel has requirements – To fully respond to the Gospel, Man must embrace renewal in prayer (CCC 821) and be drawn into the sacraments (CCC 977). Jesus leaves a perpetual evangelization of man through the Sacraments (CCC 1247). To bear witness and promulgate the Gospel, Man must live a life faithful to the Gospel (CCC 2044: CCC 2226; CCC 2472).
Men must persevere to preach the Gospel – Christ teaches that there is great resistance to His Gospel, and despite apparent defeats and setbacks, Man must never cease to preach the Gospel (CCC 854).
He will send the Holy Spirit – Key to the Gospel is the promise that Christ makes to send the Holy Spirit to give the power to transmit the Gospel (CCC 2600, 2640).
Definitions : “Miracle” – Latin miraculum “object of wonder” and “marvelous event caused by God“. “Resurrection” – Latin resurrectionem “a rising again from the dead.”
1) Miracles before the Passion
- Jesus predicts His Passion and Resurrection – Jesus repeatedly predicts His Passion and Resurrection in the Gospels. In Matt 20:18-19, Jesus gives a highly detailed prophesy identifying his betrayers (Jewish priests and scribes), that He would be scourged and crucified by the Romans and rise on the third day.
- The Miracle of the Passover and Passion – Jesus chooses the place (Jerusalem, the Jewish spiritual capital) and the time (the Passover, the Holiest Jewish feast) of His Passion. This choice ensures that huge numbers of Jewish pilgrims will witness the Passion, pilgrims who will later spread the news about Jesus across the Mideast. By using the Passover (celebrated for over 1300 years) for His Passion, Jesus radically redefines what the Holy Day means by becoming the Paschal Lamb that was sacrificed to take away the sins of the world.
2) Miracles between the Passion and Resurrection
- God accepts the death of His Son – In the Incarnation, the eternal Word takes flesh and was “crucified, died and was buried” (CCC 571-630). It is wondrous that God would so love humans that He would descend, incarnate and accept human death to save us from sin/death (John 3:16).
- Christ’s death reconciles humans to God – “By His death, Christ liberates us from sin…” (CCC 654). The un-payable debt of sin, from the time of Adam, is paid as Christ dies, saying “It is finished” (John 19:30), a term that in Roman times signified the full and final payment of a debt.
- Jesus descends into Hell – Jesus, having died, descends into Hell to offer redemption to righteous people who died before the Passion (CCC 632-635). This mysterious miracle confirms the completeness of “Christ’s redemptive work to all men of all times and all places…”(CCC 634).
3) Miracles at the Resurrection
- His body is uncorrupted – Despite being dead for three days with massive wounds, there is no corruption/decay of His body (Acts 2:27, CCC 627). It defies human experience.
- He transcends human experience by rising from the dead (Matt 28:1-10 Mark 16:1-20; Luke 24:1-53; John 20:1-31) – With the Father’s help, Jesus “effects his own Resurrection by virtue of his divine power” (John 10:17-18; CCC 649). He is not a ghost (Luke 24:39). His Resurrection is not simply the reviving of a dead person like the other people whom Jesus raised (Luke 7:11-17; Mk 5:22-24; John 11:1-44) for all of them eventually died. Jesus’ Resurrection is “about breaking out into an entirely new form of life, into a life that is no longer subject to the law of dying…a life that opens us a new dimension of human existence.”
- His resurrected body is miraculous – The horrific physical wounds of Christ included serious face and head wounds, head wounds due to the crown of thorns, full body scourging (120 lacerations), dehydration, large nail holes in His hands and feet, being pierced through the heart and having no food or water for three days while in the tomb. One who didn’t die from these wounds would certainly be hospitalized for weeks. Yet, Jesus rises with a miraculously healed body, a body that still shows the wounds of the crucifixion (Luke 24:40) including a pierced heart (John 20:20) that again works. The Gospels don’t mention the horrific wounds of the scourging, the beating or the crown of thorns after the Resurrection, which apparently are not noticeable.
- His Resurrection opens up a new life for all humans – “By His Resurrection, He opens for us the way to a new life…[a] new life that is above all justification that reinstates us in God’s Grace…we too might walk in the newness of life…[and we] become Christ’s brethren.” (CCC 654).
4) Miracles from the Resurrection to the Ascension
- Jesus appears with His Resurrected body – Jesus’ “real body possess the new properties of a glorious body: not limited by space and time but able to be present how and when he wills…” (CCC 645). He can disguise and reveal His appearance at will (Luke 24:16; John 20:14,19). He can appear and disappear at will (Luke 24:31). He eats and drinks (Acts 10:41) and allows others to touch Him (John 20:27). On the day of the Resurrection, He walks about 6 miles to Emmaus, shares a meal and teaches for an extended period.
- Jesus reveals the fullness of Salvation History – At Emmaus, Jesus explains the meaning of the Old Testament to the disciples, filling them with awe (Luke 24:32). The Incarnation reveals that the hidden meaning of the Old Testament is the dying of the Savior for our sins (1 Cor 15:3).
- Jesus appears and interacts with many disciples – Jesus appears many times to many people including Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9; John 20:11-16), Peter and John, to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, to the Twelve and five hundred disciples (and to Paul after the Ascension) (1 Cor 15:5-8).
- Jesus Ascends to heaven – After His Resurrection, Jesus predicts that He will ascend to heaven (John 20:17) and, after 40 days, miraculously ascends into the clouds (Mark 16:19; Acts 1:6-11). The stunned disciples then see two men in white robes who say, “Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
- Jesus sends the Holy Spirit – At Pentecost (Acts 2), Jesus’ promise to send the Holy Spirit (John 14:16; 15:26) is fulfilled.
 Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2011), xxii-xxiii.