Alleged Eastern equivalent sayings of Jesus Christ
by Ernest Valea
Jesus' sayings that allegedly suggest reincarnation:
1) Matthew 11:14 and 17:12-13, concerning the identity of John the Baptist as Elijah reincarnated;
2) John 9:2, "Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?";
3) John 3:3, "No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again";
4) Matthew 26,52, "All who draw the sword will die by the sword"
Jesus' sayings that allegedly imply that humans have a hidden divine nature:
1) John 10:30, "I and the Father are one," regarding the basic identity between our self and the Ultimate Reality.
2) Luke 17:21, "the kingdom of God is within you." This statement is sometimes interpreted as confirming the Eastern concept of an inner divine self (atman) that has to be intuitively discovered. Therefore, a brief comment is necessary. The context of this saying is the following:
The Kingdom of God can be defined as the domain in which his rule is fully acknowledged. It first comes as an inner transformation of the heart of the individual believer under the power and grace of Christ. There is also a further aspect, which refers to the time when God will assert his universal rule, and his kingdom will be manifest to all (Matthew 25:31-34).
Why did Jesus addressed these words to the Pharisees? On the one hand, we know that the Pharisees had constantly rejected Jesus as the Messiah and instead considered him a blasphemer. Their expectations from the Messiah were totally different from what Jesus had to offer. On the other hand, Jesus constantly rebuked them for their hypocrisy (in Luke, see 11:39-43; 12:1; 16:14-15; 18:10-14), so they couldn't belong to the kingdom Jesus was speaking of. Therefore it is absurd to believe that despite all the hostility between them Jesus acknowledged that they had an inherent divine nature, a kind of hidden treasure which is the true nature of any human being. Otherwise why didn't he teach this to his devoted disciples? Were they not fit to accept it, while the Pharisees were? If so, he should have chosen his disciples out of the Pharisees, which is again absurd.
The phrase "within you" (gr. entos hymon) must have another meaning than implying a divine human nature. It is better translated as "in your midst," "among you" or "within your reach." Jesus, the one who was standing in the midst of the Pharisees, was the divine representative of the kingdom to come. This is the truth they had to acknowledge, that the kingdom was already present in their midst in the person of its king, not that there was an inner spiritual nature waiting to be discovered.