Pearls from the Web
The Stand-in Jesus
By brother-initiate William Chan, Taoyuan, Formosa (Originally in Chinese)
Below is a parable currently circulating on the Internet.
A life-sized statue of Jesus Christ nailed to the cross in a church in northern Europe is said to be efficacious in responding to prayers and has thus attracted a large following.
Observing that Jesus Christ, high on the cross, had to handle many people’s problems each day, a gate keeper at the church wished to share His burden and prayed daily that his wish might come true. Then while in prayer one day the gate keeper heard a voice saying, “All right! I shall come down to watch the gate for you and you can come up to be nailed on the cross. However, no matter what you see or hear, you must not utter a single word!” The gate keeper thought this was a very simple condition so the two switched roles. Jesus came down and the caretaker went up, his outstretched arms nailed to the cross like Jesus’ had been.
Endless crowds continued to come into the church to pray but no one noticed the change. And despite hearing all types of incredible prayers the caretaker was able to refrain from speaking, and instead kept his promise by silently listening to people pour out their hearts.
Then one day a wealthy man came in to pray and absentmindedly left his wallet behind in the church. The stand-in Jesus noticed it and wanted to notify the wealthy man but restrained himself.
A while later a poor person arrived and prayed that Jesus would help him through the difficult time he was experiencing. Then when the poor man was about to leave he saw the wealthy man’s wallet by his side, opened it and found it to be full of money. The poor man was overjoyed and grateful at heart, saying, “Dear Jesus, You are really wonderful! You have answered my prayer!” He then went home absolutely happy. However, the stand-in Jesus on the cross disapproved of his action and had wanted to advise him against taking money that did not belong to him, but unfortunately he had to uphold his promise and say nothing.
Shortly afterward, a young man who was about to travel abroad on a ship came in to pray for Jesus’ blessing for a safe voyage, and just as he was preparing to leave the church the wealthy man rushed in, grabbed him and demanded that he return the money. The young man did not know what had happened and a fierce quarrel ensued. At that moment, the stand-in Jesus could no longer contain himself and from the cross explained to the two men what had happened. Having learned the truth, the rich man went in search of the poor man and his money while the young man set off for his ship.
At that time, the real Jesus Who had been playing the caretaker’s role came in, and pointing at the stand-in Jesus on the cross, He said, “You! Come down! You are not qualified to occupy that position.” “Was I wrong to have spoken the truth and upheld justice?” the caretaker asked.
“You thought you were upholding justice, but were you really? The rich man does not lack money; in fact, he planned to spend the money in his wallet in a brothel. However, the same amount would have been sufficient to sustain the poor man and his family for some time,” said Jesus. “However, the most unfortunate victim was the young man. If the rich man had held him and delayed him from boarding his ship, his life would have been saved. Now the ship is sinking and he is drowning.”
This parable may sound like a joke but it conveys a profound moral. In real life we often think that our own arrangements are the best, but things often turn out differently. The Truth is that all situations, whether good or bad, are always the best arrangements for us, and only when we have realized this fact can we be grateful in good times and remain blissful even in bad times. The parable is also best illustrated by the following words from Master:
We have to thank God every time Hes gives us the opportunity to learn the fastest way, to understand the Truth, which erases all of our miseries; because the Truth really will set us free. If we don’t know that, we always worry. We always feel terrible and ask, ‘Why is there misery? Why are people troubled? Why is there disaster?’ Then, because we don’t know, we worry all the time and try to take care of every little thing. But we can never take enough care because everything goes with the universal plan and we’re just a small particle of the cosmos. We always worry like we are God and try to arrange world peace. We try to do everything in our lives in order to achieve what we think we must and forget that only God’s will will be done, not ours because we do not know anything.” (Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai, Munich, German, August 18, 1995, Originally in English; News #54, Master Says section, “God Takes of Everything”)