The great philosopher Zhuangzi told a fascinating story about a debate with his friend Huizi, another famous scholar and philosopher of the 4th century B.C.E. The story is playful but profound. Let’s see if you can unwrap the deeper meaning of the debate.
Zhuangzi and Huizi were walking beside the weir on the River Hao. Zhuangzi said, “Look, the fish are coming to the surface and swimming carefreely. They look so happy!”
Huizi asked, “You are not a fish; how do you know the fish are happy?”
Zhuangzi replied, “You are not me; how do you know I don’t know the fish are happy?”
Huizi said, “Exactly! I am not you, so I don’t know what you think. In the same way, you are not a fish, so you don’t know what the fish are thinking.”
Zhuangzi said, “Ah, but let’s return to your original question. You asked me how I knew the fish were happy. That means you already knew I knew. I know it by being here on the weir of the River Hao.” (End of the story.)
Most people interpret this story shallowly as an entertaining display of Zhuangzi’s debating skills. But this story is not merely a witty wordplay of the sage. It provides a profound wisdom of human consciousness.
When Huizi asked, “You are not a fish, how do you know the fish are happy?” Zhuangzi answered, “You are not me, so how do you know I don’t know the fish are happy?” That means, “I know the fish are happy the way you know me as your friend.” But Huizi missed the point and thought it supported his argument.
So, Zhuangzi asked him to return to the original question for self-reflection to awaken his consciousness. Then Zhuagzi ended the argument by saying, “I know it by being here and now.” That means he knew the fish were happy by being in the moment.
Huizi was not in the moment because he was argumentative. An argumentative person is less reflective and unconscious. They focus on winning the debate rather than learning the truth. We know Pharisees loved to argue, so they missed seeing the Son of God standing before them. That’s why Jesus said they were blind.
Let’s bring it closer. Do you know when a dog is happy? You do if you love dogs and own dogs. I know when a dog is happy. I don’t think you would ask me, “You are not a dog; how do you know the dog is happy?”
Zhangzi’s debate goes deeper. He implied we are all part of one creation, so we can know if the fish are happy as well as we know our friends. It’s a matter of consciousness.
Another good example is John Donne’s famous poem, “No Man is an Island.” If your consciousness reaches the point of John Donne, you don’t have to ask, “For whom the bell tolls?” because “It tolls for you.” It’s about the consciousness of the oneness of humans.
Zhuangzi takes you to a higher level of consciousness—beyond humans to all creatures, “How do you know if the fish are happy?” The answer is, “You know it through consciousness because we are all part of God’s creation.”
I want to take us even to the highest level of consciousness to discern the Spirit. Not only are humans one, not only are all creatures one, there’s oneness between the creation and the Creator.
John Calvin said we are born with a sense of divinity and a seed of spirituality. Human consciousness is paralyzed because of total depravity. It must be awakened. Only with the awakened consciousness can we discover Jesus is God’s Son.
One of the most frequently asked questions is, “How can we know for sure Jesus is the Son of God?” Where is the undebatable evidence? Even Christians struggle with this question.
Some know, but they can’t explain it. Others regard it as a mystery. Still, others find the idea absurd and superstitious, so they avoid it entirely. It is critically important to know Jesus is the Son of God because it matters to how we live and function in this world. So, how do we know?
The most common answer is, “That Bible says so.” However, the Pharisees knew the Bible from cover to cover, but they failed to recognize Jesus as the Son of God. Many Bible scholars today still fail it. The words in the Bible taste dry without consciousness.
So, today, we will tackle this tough question, “Is Jesus really the son of God?” If so, how do we prove it? If it needs the higher consciousness, how do we awaken it? Let’s begin!
[Hi, in case we haven’t met yet, I am Sam Stone, the Lightkeeper—you are the light of the world, and I am the keeper! (No pun intended). It’s my calling to help you shine your brightest so that God is glorified in you and you are satisfied in God.]
The Scripture lesson for today, the First Sunday After Epiphany, also known as the Baptism of the Lord, is from the Gospel According to Mark 1:4-11. [Listen to the Word of the Lord!]
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” (Mk 1:4–11).
[Blessed are those who delight in God’s word. Thanks be to God!]
Last week, I talked about the secret of how Simeon and Anna recognized the baby Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus was only 40 days old and hadn’t yet performed any signs and miracles to prove himself as the Son of God. But Simeon and Anna recognized Jesus as the Messiah without seeing his works.
On the opposite end, Thomas said he would believe only when he saw and touched Jesus’ crucifixion wounds. The next day, Jesus showed him his wounds and let him touch them. Then he believed.
Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” (Jn 20:29).
Jesus implied that it was possible to know him without seeing him. It implies human consciousness.
John the Baptist is another man who knew Jesus was the Messiah even when he was in his mother’s womb. That fascinates me even more. Now, John the Baptist said,
He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mk 1:7-8).
Again, how did he know the one after him was so great? Can I know what he knew? The answer is yes because we are all born with a sense of divinity and a seed of spirituality. The question is, how do we activate our sense of divinity and our seed of spirituality? Jesus said,
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Mt 5:8).
It means our minds are blind when our hearts are impure. Children have pure hearts, and that’s why Jesus wants us to become like children. How did John the Baptist maintain a pure heart? His lifestyle reveals:
Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. (Mk 1:6).
He also lived in the wilderness to stay away from the corrupt community. I am not recommending that you dress, eat, and live like him to maintain purity. It just means he created a condition to avoid corrupting his heart. Last week, we talked about how Simeon and Anna did to keep their hearts pure.
Purity of heart is the same as righteousness. According to Jesus, righteousness means loving God and loving people, nothing more and nothing less. Now, let’s look at how Jesus set an example for us.
The focal point of this passage is that Jesus came to be baptized by John the Baptist. Since John baptized people for the repentance and forgiveness of sin, it raises the question of why Jesus needs to be baptized if he is the Son of God and has no sin. Matthew gives us more information:
John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. (Mt 3:14–15).
We find two clues as to why Jesus came to be baptized. First, Jesus said, “Let it be so now,” meaning this was part of God’s will. A couple of weeks ago, we discussed Mother Mary’s response to Angel Gabrial’s announcement about her conception. She used a similar line.
Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” (Lk 1:38).
Her simple “Let it be” response made her the greatest woman in human history, carrying God’s Son to earth. Jesus uttered the same word of wisdom here, “Let it be so now.”
Another similar one-syllable sentence is “Let go and let God.” It’s so simple and yet so profound, but not so easy. If you can “let it be” or “let go and let God,” you will fulfill a greater purpose. At least you will live a life with fewer worries and anxieties.
Then Jesus gave us the second clue about his reason for baptism.
“Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” (Mt 3:15c).
The key word here is righteousness. As mentioned, according to Jesus, righteousness means “loving God and loving people,” nothing more and nothing less. The Great Commandment covers all righteousness.
So, Jesus’ baptism is his commitment to love God and love people for the rest of his life. We see he fulfilled this commitment all the way to the cross. It seems Jesus’ heartfelt commitment touched the heart of God to respond from heaven dramatically.
And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. (Mark 1:10).
It says, “He saw the heavens torn apart.” God is no longer hiding in heaven. In Jesus, God became flesh. Through Jesus, humans can see, touch, hear, and feel God. Through Jesus, human consciousness is renewed and awakened.
We see the heavens torn apart again at the Transfiguration. And again, at the crucifixion, where the veil of the temple was torn apart, indicating the barrier between humans and God has been removed.
Then the Holy Spirit descended like a dove on him. Spirit is invisible, but here, a dove personifies the Holy Spirit coming down from the torn-apart heavens.
In the Gospel of John 14 and 15, Jesus promised the companionship of the Holy Spirit with those who love God and love people. Now, God’s voice came from heaven, revealing the Trinity—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit at the same time and space.
And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased. (Mk 1:11).
Here’s our key verse. God announced Jesus as his Son, pleased by his commitment to love God and people. I know this is not a decisive argument against those who doubt because, at that moment, only Jesus and maybe John had heard and seen it. Why didn’t everyone at the scene see the heaven open and hear God’s voice?
In the context of the entire Bible, we discover Jesus’ identity as the Son of God is not to be imposed but to be conscious of. Peter was the first among the disciples to have that consciousness. When Peter recognized Jesus as the Messiah, Jesus told him not to tell anyone. Why? Two reasons.
The first and commonly known reason is that the religious leaders at that time would arrest anyone who claimed to be the Son of God. When Jesus eventually admitted that he was the Son of God publicly at his trial, they decided to crucify him.
Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus said, “I am.” (Mk 14:61b–62a).
The second reason is more important. Jesus’ identity as the Son of God is not to be imposed on people because it perpetuates human unconsciousness. Jesus wants you to know him through your awakened consciousness. A good example is in this verse:
Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!” (Mk 15:39).
How could someone, looking at the dying man on the cross, recognize him as God’s Son? What awakened his higher consciousness? That’s the type of faith God wants from people—not from reasoning but from consciousness—because we are His creation and carry the consciousness of our Creator deep inside.
Only this type of faith is genuine because it’s not imposed on you. That’s why Jesus asked, “Who do you say I am?” He wants you to recognize him from your sense of divinity and your seed of spirituality.
If Jesus asked you today, “Who do you say I am?” How would you answer? Like the centurion, can we answer from the bottom of our hearts, “Truly this man was God’s Son?” Let his irresistible grace revealed on the cross awaken our consciousness and see his presence so that those who are blind cannot talk us out of it.
That’s it for today. I hope you find this message illuminating as much as I enjoy receiving it from the Head Office. Until we meet again, keep your light shining brighter and broader, and harvest the fruit of profound freedom, purpose, and happiness.