Unity views on ... Jesus Christ
Traditionally, Jesus has been seen chiefly as a figure to be worshipped. Although no one can say for sure what He looked like, this has not inhibited sculptors and painters from trying to depict His image, nor have writers been stopped from creating many word pictures of Him.
Many of the great churches of the world have paintings and/or statues of Jesus, and there are people who go to these representations to pray. We have made of Jesus Christ a God, to be known only in awe and reverence. But He did not want this:"Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good." At no time did He tell His followers to worship Him; instead, He gave that ringing command, "Follow me."
Still, we are awed by what He did for mankind. Jesus Christ showed all of us that we each have direct access to God. He did not walk across the land, saying, "Look what I, as the Son of God, can do." Rather He walked among the people, telling them, in effect, "Here is what you, as a child of God can do." At one point He even said,"Is it not written in your law,'I said, you are gods'?" He told us of our true estate: we are reflections of God Almighty.
But it has been difficult for us to grasp such a lofty concept, for we have been taught by others that only Jesus was the offspring of God. It was He who healed "every disease and every infirmity." It was He who raised Lazarus from the dead. It was He who multiplied the loaves and fishes. It was He who told parables that have lived for ages. It was He who was resurrected from the dead. We may ask,"Can any other person do such things?"
The answer, according to Jesus, is yes. Even if no one has yet done them, we can, for Jesus said,"He who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do." Jesus believed that we could do such things. The problem is that we don't believe. Belief that can perform miracles is the key factor in the doing.
Up until now we have worshipped and adored Jesus Christ, even though there is Biblical evidence that He was not at all comfortable with this response to His teachings. What is our alternative? If we are not only to worship Jesus Christ, then how shall we regard Him? Why not do what He asked us to do - follow Him? His greatest role was that of Way-Shower.
A mystic is a person who believes that he or she has direct access to God. In this respect, Jesus Christ was a total mystic. But He wanted all of us to understand that we too are mystics. He wanted us to know that if we follow His teachings, we will also work the works of God.
In order to do this, we need to go back to the direct teachings of Jesus. We must not permit ourselves to become overly concerned with what either the church or its leaders have said about Him. The important thing is what Jesus Himself taught. We have become more concerned with the religion about Jesus Christ than with the religion of Jesus Christ.
How do we know how to follow Him? The answers are simple; activating the answers in our lives will be more difficult. We need only to go to the gospel accounts of His life, study them carefully, and make a sincere attempt to activate them in our own lives and affairs. This is our great alternative.
What are some of the general tenets of His teachings? What would be life-changing for us to follow?
The idea of healing was central to Jesus' ministry. The Bible records that He healed "all manner of disease". Nothing is incurable in the sight of God; therefore, nothing was incurable in the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. If we believe we can do the works that He did, nothing shall be incurable to us, for we too will be working in the flow of the power of God. Therefore, one of our alternatives is to believe that, when we pray believing, there is an activity of healing working through us. We have the divine right to be well and strong, according to the example of Jesus Christ.
The idea of love was uppermost in Jesus' teachings. His example shows us that His love was so great that it embraced even His enemies. He instructed us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. If we are to our exercise our alternative and really follow Him, our lives must be dominated by love. There would then be no room in our minds and hearts for thoughts and feelings of anything less than love - no hate, no envy, no jealousy, no malice.
This may be the most important alternative that we follow: to be completely motivated with compassion. This makes of us radiating centers of divine love. As such, we make our greatest contribution to the world. When the time comes that the world is dominated by love, war shall be impossible. Many of the problems that confront the people of the world today will dissolve before the intense warmth of God's love, a love that finds expression through God's people.
The idea of faith was also exemplified by Jesus Christ. He referred to faith as the mountain-mover in our lives. He taught that when people have sufficient faith, there is no problem in life that cannot be overcome. He conquered even death, through his faith in eternal life.
As our Way-Shower He demonstrated to us that we cannot live without faith. As we take up the quality of faith as a hallmark for our own lives, we find that we have the key to more abundant living. Faith has been referred to as a "key" to open life's doors. It truly is! A divinely inspired faith gives the vision and strength to scale the waiting hills of life and to know the exaltation of living at the peak of human capabilities.
Obviously the teachings of Jesus are intricate and extensive. But if you will tale the time to delve deeply into those teachings, you will find that they are totally applicable to contemporary living. If, in addition to whatever feelings of awe and reverence you have toward Jesus, you will also seek to follow His teachings, you will find this experience a life-changing one.
Remember: Your alternative is to follow in His steps and to do so with an open mind and a sincere heart.
This item is an excerpt from the book "Alternatives" by William L. Fisher, and reproduced with the express permission of Unity School of Christianity, Unity Village, MO.