Hero (n) : a person of great courage, spirit, etc. one who has undergone great danger or difficulty. Any admirable or highly regarded man. The male character in a fictional or dramatic work.
Hero within, John is a hero because he through his lack of emotion during sermons, he continued to search for the believer in himself. He still attended and always remained aware of the people and the atmosphere around him.
John's separation is the period where John lacks the faith in "his fathers" religion. He disagrees with the way his father lead his life. (Being unfaithful to ones wife and having a bastard child, are not exactly supposed to be perks of the ministry).
His initiation & return are The Holy Ghost over takes John, and finally he understands what it is to have faith in that which you cannot see or understand and what it means to "get the ghost" or receive "the grace of god".
Heroism under fire, because Jefferson accepts his fate, as a man, upon sentencing he is the hero in the story. As a black man, an innocent black man, that ruling was made not so that justice is served but to make Jefferson feel like the trash the jurors saw him as. When his life ended at the banging of a gavel he could easily have cried out, or broken down, but he did not he stood up and took it like a man.
Jefferson is imprisoned and therefore separated from his family, society, and the free world as a whole. This gives him perspective and time to think about not just his actions but the actions of the judge and jurors and arresting officers etc.
Jefferson's initiation into heroism is his transformation from a pig to a man in the eyes of others through his education and faith. Though it wasn't really Grant's doing it was Jefferson's desire to change that even mad such a transition possible.
Jefferson's Return is simple: Execution.