Jesus christ denies he performed miracles
accusing him of being an impostor.
RACHEL Friends of Emisoras Latinas, we continue with our mobile unit in Capernaum, interviewing no one less that Jesus Christ himself during his second coming to earth. At this moment we are arriving at… at… Those people coming this way are correspondents from other networks.
JESUS Could it be that they heard you talking about miracles and now are all coming here?
RACHEL Wherever there are spectacular events and scenes, they’re sure to appear. Please, no pushing, please…
JOURNALIST Are you really Jesus Christ, or do you just look like him?
CORRESPONDENT Do you support or oppose the World Trade Organization?
WOMAN REPORTER Will China become the new empire of the 21st century?
RACHEL Please keep order, colleagues. We’re going to hold a press conference. Please don’t push. Just take your place there, wherever you can…
JOURNALIST If you are really Jesus Christ returning to earth, perform a miracle to prove it to us.
SEVERAL That’s it, a miracle! We want a miracle!
CORRESPONDENT Get the camera ready, Shorty, things are going to get really good now! Come on, this guy’s gonna do a miracle!
JESUS Listen,… Once I was here in this very same place, in Capernaum, and people were asking me to do healings and miracles…
WOMAN REPORTER And how many did you do?
JESUS Not one.
WOMAN REPORTER What do you mean, not one? If there are no miracles, we’ll lose audience ratings.
JESUS I said it then, and I’ll say it to you now this generation won’t see any miracle except the miracle of Jonah.
WOMAN REPORTER Hey, that would be great! What if a whale would swallow you and vomit you back up! Can you do that one again?
JESUS No, my friend. The whale didn’t swallow anybody. The miracle of Jonah was that God sent the prophet to preach in Nineveh. And the inhabitants of that city were transformed.
WOMAN REPORTER What were they transformed into? Whales?
JESUS Listen, open your ears. The Ninevites were haughty people; they were greedy and violent. But they believed what Jonah said to them, they repented, and they changed their lives.
JOURNALIST But what kind of miracle is that? There’s nothing spectacular about that!
JESUS It’s the miracle of people being converted, of people changing their lives.
CORRESPONDENT Leave off the spiel for a while, and do a real miracle, the kind you know how to do.
JESUS Listen to me, friends. Jonah and all the prophets have said it time and again the important thing is to share, to help your neighbor. Whoever has a plate of food should give half of it to a neighbor who has none. Whoever raises his hand to strike another should extend it to cure people’s wounds. The only miracle is sharing what one has, not doing harm, doing good. All the rest is a matter of tricks.
WOMAN REPORTER Just one miracle, even if it’s a little one! What don’t you turn this soft drink into wine?
CORRESPONDENT Or why don’t you go surfing on the lake without a surfboard?
WOMAN REPORTER Fly! Fly up in the sky, and then come down again!
JESUS Rachel, this is like casting pearls before swine…. Let’s get out of here!
RACHEL Yes, the truth is that these colleagues of mine…
JOURNALIST Hey, hey, where are you going? We haven’t finished yet. We haven’t seen anything.
CORRESPONDENT This guy ain’t Jesus Christ. He’s an impostor!
WOMAN REPORTER Put away the cameras. This footage is useless.
JESUS Come on, Rachel! Shake the dust off your sandals!
RACHEL Yes, we’d better go. Come on. After this disastrous press conference, and from Capernaum, this is Rachel Perez, reporting for Emisoras Latinas.
ANNOUNCER Another God is Possible. Exclusive interviews with Jesus Christ in his second coming to Earth. A production of María and José Ignacio López Vigil, with the support of the Syd Forum and Christian Aid.
*More information about this polemical topic…*
Jonah and the whale
The book of Jonah is one of the most popular and well-known texts of the Old Testament. Because of its humor and dramatic tension this story has provided abundant material for radio dramas, cartoons and movies.
The story tells how Jonah was sent to Nineveh, an important city of Assyria; it was on the Tigris River, near present-day Mosul in Iraq. Jonah was not a historical character, although he is classified as one of the “minor prophets”. Probably written in the eighth century before Christ, the book of Jonah has as its central message a call to universalism and a critique of the excessive nationalism of the Jewish people. Jesus recalls this story for the reporters so that they will understand that he was never a magician and that the core of his activity involved denouncing injustices and announcing the justice of a kingdom where the only miracle is sharing what one has.
Thomas Jefferson, principal author of the American Declaration of Independence and third president of the U.S.A., had high esteem for the message of Jesus and rejected the popular image of Jesus as a magician who worked miracles and performed extraordinary feats. He therefore eliminated from the gospels all the narratives that contained supernatural elements and composed what is known as “Jefferson’s Bible” or “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth”. In this text there are no longer any angels, prophecies, miracles, or resurrection from the dead. Jefferson cut out all such stories, since he was convinced that the most important thing about Jesus was his message and not his miracles, which could be interpreted as acts of magic. He finished his “Bible” around 1820, but he never published it for fear of criticism. The most complete version of this work was finally published in 1895 by the National Museum of Washington and is available on the internet.
Sensationalism and yellow journalism
The reporters who are seeking out Jesus and Rachel are a caricature of the sensationalist reporters who abound today in the mass media, both printed and electronic. They refuse to analyze and evaluate the causes and consequences of the spectacular news items they transmit. The term “yellow press” refers to any sensationalist reporting that indulges in terrifying headlines, stories of catastrophes, and highly detailed descriptions of crimes, accidents, and scandals, especially when they concern well-known persons in politics or show business.
Calling such news “yellow” goes back to an old battle (around 1895) that took place between two major U.S. newspapers, Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World and William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal. Both newspapers were accused of exaggerating this lurid type of reporting in order to claim exclusive scoops and increase sales. The newspaper The New York Press denounced the reporting style of both Hearst and Pulitzer in an article titled “We called them yellow because they are yellow,” the insinuation being, of course, that they were cowards.
The miracle of Jonah
In the biblical narrative of Jonah, the “extraordinary” event is not Jonah’s survival in the belly of a whale. The real “miracle” was that the Ninevites, who were thought to be “hard-hearted” pagans and foreigners, accepted the word of the Jewish prophet Jonah and changed their lives as a result. The Ninevites were “converted”, they were transformed. For this reason Jesus refers to the story of Jonas in his discussion with the reporters: the greatest miracle happens when people change their lives, when they transform their attitudes about life.