The Sacred Microbiota
MICHAEL THOMAS JONES
What was the status of the microbes that lived in, with, and under Jesus’ body? Were they divine microbes in the same way that Jesus was a divine person? Where is the boundary between human flesh and the non human organisms that it hosts?
On our body, there is anywhere from three to ten times the amount of non-human cells as human cells. What is a human? Is a human a human without all of these cells? What kind of bacteria did Jesus receive from Mary, and did the nature of these bacteria change when they became a part of Jesus? Are bacteria are part of us? When does something stop being a part of us? Did Jesus clip his toenails; did he ever cut his hair? What was the design of his chromosomes; his genetic code?
When Jesus offered the bread and the cup to his disciples, saying ‘this is my body and blood, did the disciples receive any of the sacred germs?’ Perhaps this is why they were able to perform so many miracles in the beginning. I’m not a fully committed cessationist, but maybe once the germs of Christ died off, so did the intense miraculous activity of the early church. From then on we have the spirit, and thus the miracles of Christ in history become less explicitly physical and more spiritual in nature.
Or maybe the descendents of these germs are carried on into the descendents of the church for thousands of years, and it is our duty to spread the bacteria of Christ to all the nations through common cup communion. Apostolic succession and laying on of hands becomes so much more important when you think of church history this way.
Maybe the flesh and fleshlings of Jesus were all just very ordinary throughout the course of his life.
But the disciples and Jesus in his resurrected body ate together as well. Did Jesus have a resurrected microbiome? Does the resurrected human body need a microbiome at all? When Timothy pressed his finger into the side of the Lord, did anything go out – or go in?
At the right hand of the father, has Jesus been eating this whole time? Have any humble earth born bacteria been helping him digest it?