It is interesting and profitable for the student of Christian Science to study the accuracy with which Jesus read the thoughts of those with whom he came in contact, as many of these accounts are rich in lessons for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy says: "Our Master easily read the thoughts of mankind, and this insight better enabled him to direct those thoughts aright." Also, "The effect of his Mind was always to heal and to save, and this is the only genuine Science of reading mortal mind" (pp. 94, 95).
In the eighth chapter of Matthew and in the fourth chapter of John are two records of men who came to Jesus in behalf of a sick one at home. In the account of the centurion we read that it was his servant who lay "sick of the palsy, grievously tormented," and in the story of the nobleman it was his own son who was lying "at the point of death." Both petitioners besought Jesus for immediate help, for the cases were extreme. Onlookers, had they been inclined to compare these two requests for help, doubtless would have expected Jesus to treat them in an identical fashion, as superficially at least they appeared to be similar. But Jesus, "the most scientific man that ever trod the globe," as Mrs. Eddy characterizes him on page 313 of Science and Health, was neither superficial in his judgment on the one hand, nor hypercritical on the other. He therefore went straight to the heart of every situation, and with spiritual sagacity discerned the real need, as well as the quality and nature of every request, and so he quickly cast out all manner of evils and healed the sick instantaneously.
To the centurion who stated the case of his servant, Jesus replied, "I will come and heal him." To the nobleman who entreated him to "come down, and heal his son," Jesus answered, "Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe." Why did Jesus reply so differently on these two occasions? Was it not because of the contrasting mentalities addressing him? Upon examination we find that the centurion's faith in the Christ-power to heal was manifestly so great that he merely related the condition of his afflicted servant, knowing that the one who stood before him represented all-supplying Love, and therefore would meet this great need in the quickest and best manner possible, needing no outline from him as to how this was to be accomplished.
Jesus immediately recognized the centurion's childlike and absolute faith, and responded to it in a wholehearted way: "I will come and heal him." Love's idea, reaching out in self-forgetfulness, is present to meet every need far and near. How vibrant with gratitude, faith, and humility is the reply that comes echoing down the centuries from this simple, noble-minded man: "Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed." In the presence of such unquestioning faith as this the Master could well marvel, and turn to the multitude, saying, "Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel;" and to the man, with the words, "Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee." Is it to be wondered at that "his servant was healed in the selfsame hour"?
Jesus, the loving exponent of the Christ-idea, was no less willing, we may be sure, to respond to the nobleman's appeal to "come down, and heal his son," but perceiving that the man relied upon the necessity of his personal presence at his son's bedside in order that the child should be saved, wished to test him further, and exclaimed, "Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe." So great was the mental distress of the man confronting him, that this ringing denunciation against the faithlessness of the times failed to awaken him from the mesmeric claim of fear possessing him, for he cried out the more urgently, "Sir, come down ere my child die." Whereupon Jesus cut off any further arguments of error with the positive declaration of the Life that knows no death, when he said, "Go thy way; thy son liveth." Then the father awoke,— awoke to the radiant message enfolded in those three short words, "Thy son liveth" (Love's idea never has been sick, is not sick now, but forever reflects the imperishable Life, Truth, substance, and intelligence of his Father-Mother God, man's only parent),—and the hideous nightmare which had gripped him was at an end. We read that he "believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him," but he evidently tarried to hear more of the life-giving word, for we are told that although his home was only about sixteen miles distant, it was the next day when he met his servants, who were running to bring him the glad news, already singing itself in his heart, of his child's recovery to life and health.
Illustrations might be multiplied to show what a powerful search-light was Jesus' thought to force error from under cover, to detect hidden sin,—self-righteousness, condemnation, fear, hypocrisy, indolence; and seeing these qualities of thought as impersonal evil, therefore unreal, he was able to awaken men to the paramount necessity of examining and changing their individual thinking. Keeping ever before his mental gaze the true man of God's creating, Jesus was ever ready to present the Christ-idea, and those willing to listen and receive the blessing he imparted, experienced a glorious spiritual regeneration, a scientific healing.
The question as to how this valuable capacity to detect the unspoken thought for the purpose of correcting it—which Jesus possessed and used so efficaciously—may be acquired by the student of Christian Science, is answered for all time by our Leader on page 95 of Science and Health, where she says: "We approach God, or Life, in proportion to our spirituality, our fidelity to Truth and Love; and in that ratio we know all human need and are able to discern the thought of the sick and the sinning for the purpose of healing them. . . . The greater or lesser ability of a Christian Scientist to discern thought scientifically, depends upon his genuine spirituality. This kind of mind-reading is not clairvoyance, but it is important to success in healing, and is one of the special characteristics thereof."
It is not, then, a special gift bestowed upon a favored few, but rather is it a component quality of that Mind "which was also in Christ Jesus," which works in each one of us impartially and uninterruptedly to overthrow error's pretentions to place and power, and to proclaim the kingdom of God already here. We have this Mind in proportion to our loyal adherence to Principle, our unselfish endeavor to prove that we are loving our neighbor as ourselves, and our persistence in casting out of our own thinking self-love, self-will, pride, envy, criticism, with their unlovely associates, welcoming in deep humility the divine Science which awakens the perception of man's spiritual and eternal oneness with God.
It is to be carefully noted that on no occasion did Jesus dwell upon the error which he laid bare, but invariably rebuked and dismissed it in a few stirring words. Knowing it to be an illusion, he abided in the compassionate understanding of God as Love, and man as His perfect idea, unfallen and undying. Through this scientific mental discipline Jesus reflected the divine power to heal all who came within the radius of his pure thinking.
Faithfully to follow Christ Jesus the Wayshower, and our inspired Leader, Mrs. Eddy, who has reinstated and illuminated the forgotten Science of Mind-healing, we cannot be too careful, when listening to the demands for help about us, to take heed how we listen. Error would trick us instantly into admitting that here is a more or less serious claim to be met, a patient to be healed, when the truth is that there is no disease and no discord, since neither exists to God. Our work is to "be still, and know" the great truth of God's allness, and so to fortify ourselves in this impregnable stronghold that we shall be prepared to meet and overthrow whatever phase of evil asserts itself.
If we are letting that Mind be in us "which was also in Christ Jesus," we shall be divinely guided to say and to do the scientific right thing. We shall not confuse the eager, uninstructed thought, clamoring for explanations that it cannot grasp and does not need, but wisely leave the unfolding process with God, "who giveth the increase" as it is required. We shall not yield to the temptation to consult or watch matter for results, or to question the suppositional past, present, and future of error's claim, however displayed to us, but know the absolute unreality of the whole fabrication from God's standpoint,—our Principle and working basis. Neither shall we be baffled by any sudden change, seeming standstill, or stubborn resistance in our work.
Acknowledging the law of God, and knowing that law to be ever operative and omnipotent, we may confidently rest in the assurance that God blesses all sincere, steadfast work, and prospers it. For "the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place" is the Scriptural promise,—so all-powerful is the word of Truth when scientifically applied, to cleanse, purify, and spiritualize every problem, whether individual or collective.