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Who Is Jesus And What Does He Mean To You?


spiritseeker
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I am new to this website and I would really love to hear everyones beliefs on who Jesus is and what he means to you? Was he just a great leader of people but not the son of God? Did Jesus even exist? Is Jesus the son of God?

 

I have walked down many different paths to get here and I do believe in Jesus but I need to learn more to decide on what I believe about him. I know that I love him and he has special meaning to me but to what extent I dont know. I would love to hear all your beliefs and experiences on how you got to where you are.

 

Can anyone recommend some good books that can help me in my quest to learn more aout Jesus?

 

Thanks! :)

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Hello again Spiritseeker. This is a good topic and I'm sure you'll get some very different answers to your question.

 

In my own approach to Christianity, I don't make too much of a distinction between the 'historical Jesus' and the 'Christ of faith'. I’m not too concerned with trying to ascertain what ‘really happened’ because it seems likely that, for my purposes, it'll turn out to be a fruitless endeavor. Therefore, the Jesus as presented in the New Testament and in latter theological formulations of the church is generally the Jesus I take interest in. The book of Acts describes some very direct experiences of the spirit of Christ among his followers following his death. I don’t think they (his followers) were particularly concerned with the historical-critical method then. :)

 

For me Christ cannot be removed from his metaphysical meaning that the church has found in him. If I may continue speaking in generalities, the story of the incarnation, miracles, resurrection, ascension, have bearing on the meaning and nature of life for me right now and here. It is a concrete, historical manifestation of an always-true living reality. It mediates the Divine, a sacred dimension of reality.

 

When it comes to books I've generally enjoyed anything by Marcus Borg. But Thomas Merton is probably my favorite Christian writer.

 

Peace to you,

Mike

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Greetings spiritseeker and welcome to the forum,

 

Here is my direct answer to your questions in my own words....

 

Who Jesus is to me?

 

Jesus is a historical character, either real or fictitious (I do not know), who life has been portrayed to me in a Book called the Holy Bible and in various Movies and through preaching and testimonies to me for over a half century.

 

What Jesus means to me?

 

To me, Jesus represents in the reading and understanding of many but not necessarily all of his teachings as recorded in the Holy Bible, the personification of God/Life/Reality in as much as it can be related in human words or actions to that end. It is by his purported teachings that I have found a direct approach to God. The actual historical character, whether real or made up has no real meaning to me. The teachings on the other hand are priceless as are the teachings of many of the great masters of other religions.

 

I do not recommend any books at this time but I do recommend periods of stillness, silence, and focusing on attention and awareness inward which i believe is key to the Kingdom and all your answers. It seems to me one can spend a lifetime trying to 'learn about' Jesus and still miss that which he reportedly pointed to.

 

Just one man's answer to consider,

Love in Christ,

Joseph

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Hi Spiritseeker,

 

This is a response to another question posted on what the Resurrection means to me. I think it sums up my own feelings about Jesus.

 

"...for me, my faith is based upon a relationship with Jesus NOW. By that I don't mean an emulation of, or an adherent to, though both are important, but rather a communicative relationship with a risen Jesus. As my faith relies on this communication, then Jesus needed to have, I guess, 'conquered the grave'. Now was this done bodily or in a Spongian spiritual way? Well I can accept either notion, as long as there is a concept of a Jesus that one can have a relationship with now. The second reason I don't think one should reject outright the notion of the resurrection is that it places an implied limit upon the power of the limitless divine. An aspect of the resurrection which I love is the notion that it serves as a big YES! Yes, this man Jesus IS the fullest revelation of me (the limitless divine). YES, his great commandment to love one another IS the right thing. YES, the golden rule SHOULD be your goal. YES! And to emphasise this point, the limitless Divine does something beyond any kind of natural phenomenon, breaking all the laws of nature, to show us that YES, this man was special, and was showing us the way."

 

One final thing I should add, but an important thing, is that all of the above applies to Christ, and not necessarily to the Christian Church as it stands today. I believe whole heartedly that Jesus is 'the way' to the Divine, but do not believe that the Christian Church, as it stands today, reflects that way, for the most part.

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Hi Spiritseeker,

 

One final thing I should add, but an important thing, is that all of the above applies to Christ, and not necessarily to the Christian Church as it stands today. I believe whole heartedly that Jesus is 'the way' to the Divine, but do not believe that the Christian Church, as it stands today, reflects that way, for the most part.

 

Hi Adi,

 

Thanks for the reply but could you please elaborate on something for me? Do you believe that Jesus is the only way to the divine or do you believe Jesus is a way to the divine?

 

I would love everybodies thoughts and opinions on this. I personally believe there are many ways to the divine.

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Hi again Spirit Seeker,

 

Like you, I believe there are many ways to the limitless Divine. But I should add a caveat. If, like Borg, you subscribe to the view that the 'fullest' revelation of the Divine is Jesus (as I do), then while there are many paths to the Divine, I would consider Jesus to be the highway. I also think there is such a thing as a Trintarian or perhaps Incarnational is a better word, paradox which can allow one to place Jesus within a Godhead even but still adhere to the notion of pluralistic validity. If one believes that Jesus is a manifestation or incarnation, or even a part of the essence of the limitless Divine, then I would argue that whoever has experienced that limitless divine, and I would say that all faiths are attempts at articulating that experience, they have also encountered Jesus, in a subtle but profound way. Herein lies the paradox. If you believe that all people have encountered the limitless Divine, and you believe that Jesus and that Divine are inexorably linked, then Christians should acknowledge a 'touch of Jesus' in all the world's faiths.

 

Something to ponder anyway.

 

I would also say that when Jesus said he was the 'way' he didn't mean the Christian Church. I believe Ghandi to have followed the 'way' of Jesus, which should be seen more as a template for life than the doctrinal dogmatic notions which have developed.

 

Hope all this makes sense.

 

Adi

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I think the 'way' is the golden rule but also more. I think Jesus showed us of the importance of the 'altrusitic imperative' yes, but he also showed us about inclusion, reaching out to the disenfranchised and also, very importantly for writers such as Borg, showing us how to stand up to totalitarian regimes in a fundamental but also non-violent way. Having said all of that, and I have already mentioned this, for me I need Jesus to also have a metaphysical aspect for me to have, as I said, a communicative relationship with Jesus. For me the golden rule, social justice and non-violent resistance make up the philosophy of Jesus, but it is the metaphysical aspect which makes it a faith. Just a personal view of course, and which many here are probably seek of me espousing.

 

Adi

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Interesting topic for my first post - I view the bible as spiritually true, though not historically accurate. Enough atheists and critiques of the bible have proven historical inaccuaracies. I just fail to see how historical inaccuraices necessarily invalidate a spiritual truth-claim. Just like a I fail to see, since we cannot scientifically prove or disprove anything that is not able to be subjected to the scientific method, how the rational (science) disproves the non-rational (spirit).

 

So, what does Jesus mean to me? The way to Heaven, to salvation, to a better and happier life on earth.

 

I agree that the church is not necessarily the best venue for this, but I do not reject the church outright. It is made up of people, so what does one expect to find? Besides, the bible does say not to reject the fellowship of believers AND it is for each of us to work out our own salvation, and that Jesus is the way, not the Pope or a Pastor or a movement or even PC, but I do think, at this point, the PC just might be more inline with what is. We shall see.

 

Oh, and I tend at this point to be looking at the study of religion from a more psychological viewpoint, kinda like a Jungian approach. I tend to think that sprituality and psychology is the same force/concept/thingie just like electricity and magnetism is the same, what we call eletro-magnetism.

 

Not exatly a conscie or coherent reply, but perhaps helpful.

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Interesting topic for my first post - I view the bible as spiritually true, though not historically accurate. Enough atheists and critiques of the bible have proven historical inaccuaracies. I just fail to see how historical inaccuraices necessarily invalidate a spiritual truth-claim. Just like a I fail to see, since we cannot scientifically prove or disprove anything that is not able to be subjected to the scientific method, how the rational (science) disproves the non-rational (spirit).

 

So, what does Jesus mean to me? The way to Heaven, to salvation, to a better and happier life on earth.

 

I agree that the church is not necessarily the best venue for this, but I do not reject the church outright. It is made up of people, so what does one expect to find? Besides, the bible does say not to reject the fellowship of believers AND it is for each of us to work out our own salvation, and that Jesus is the way, not the Pope or a Pastor or a movement or even PC, but I do think, at this point, the PC just might be more inline with what is. We shall see.

 

Oh, and I tend at this point to be looking at the study of religion from a more psychological viewpoint, kinda like a Jungian approach. I tend to think that sprituality and psychology is the same force/concept/thingie just like electricity and magnetism is the same, what we call eletro-magnetism.

 

Not exatly a conscie or coherent reply, but perhaps helpful.

 

That is a great post Jay Tee! I definately view the bible spiritually and now that I have found a path (PC) that I am comfortable on I look forward to reading the bible without all the dogma and worry.

 

I think going to Church is fine. It just depends on what works for you. Personally I dont attend a church but I think it is great to groups of people can celebrate their beliefs together.

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Hi Spiritseeker,

 

For a book on Jesus, I'd suggest Marcus Borg's Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time.

The best one I've read on progressive or emergent Christianity as a whole is Jim Burklo's Open Christianity.

I was getting ready to suggest this book by Borg myself. :)

 

When asked "who is Jesus to me," I usually respond, "the human face of God." This, by the way, just so happens to be the title of another book I'd like to suggest by J.A.T. Robinson. It has been years since I've read it, but I found it enlightening at the time.

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I wasn't going to post in this thread because I didn't know what to say. I "have been relocating my theology" and hadn't gotten to the point of figuring out how to talk about Jesus. After reflecting on various conversations on this board I can say, with XA and others, that Jesus is the personal, human face of God. Even though creation becoming has been going on for billions of years, Jesus is who I know. Jesus is the door to my humanity and my divinity.

 

Dutch

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In addition, the "Way" of Jesus includes radical forgiveness, not worrying, and loving one's enemies, which all can help one's psychological health in the here and now.

 

Jesus is not only a spiritual guide who encourages me to be more than I am, but a presence who remains with me during tough times. Jesus' teachings applied are a source of freedom from old patterns of behavior that entrap us into unhealthy ways of living. Jesus calls us to focus on others instead of ourselves, concentrating on those society (and even ourselves) loves the least.

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  • 2 weeks later...

What is PC's stance on who Jesus is? Sorry if this is a silly question but I am curious from an official point of view. Can members have different opinions on Jesus? For example some people will believe he is God, some will believe he is a great teacher, some will say he is a myth but they love the values and morals as a guideline to life.

 

I know PC's respect and value individuality and our freedom to make our own choices but that is a huge range when you have someone who says he is God and someone who says he is a myth.

 

I am not referring to the messages in this topic to make my assumptions so if I am wrong please let me know but I am just trying to get an understanding of Progressive Christianity and this is very important to me.

 

Thanks!

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Hey Spiritseeker,

 

You are right, there is a HUGE range, which is great but can be confusing. I guess I would fall more in the 'god' range (though I see God as the limitless divine and the ultimate mystery). But I think for a general position Marcus Borg often says he sees Jesus, and importantly the way jesus lived, as the 'fullest revelation of God'. I think, though I may be wrong, that most here would agree with that statement to at least some degree.

 

Adi

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Spirit Seeker,

 

I think one will find all the official position one will get for now by reading Point 1 and point 6 of the eight points. The answer would be yes, of course members can have different opinions on who Jesus was and what he means to you. PC supports the search, not dogmatic certainty or the accuracy of any single document at least here at TCPC.

 

Joseph

 

 

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Spirit Seeker,

 

I think one will find all the official position one will get for now by reading Point 1 and point 6 of the eight points. The answer would be yes, of course members can have different opinions on who Jesus was and what he means to you. PC supports the search, not dogmatic certainty or the accuracy of any single document at least here at TCPC.

 

Joseph

 

Thanks Joseph and Adi.

 

I will try and explain my thinking at the moment (which could be hard for anyone to understand!) :)

I feel compelled to figuring out what Jesus means to me. To do that I feel like I need to discover if I believe he has "special powers" and IS God or if I believe that he was one of Gods children like us all but he was a really good teacher and a great example to base my life on.

 

know to alot of people this isnt important but to me I just dont know how I can ever come up with an answer to this. I really feel like I have hit a brick wall because I do think that for me to have the kind of relationship I want with God then I have to make a decision on where Jesus fits in all of this.

 

I would love to hear everyone elses experiences and thoughts as I feel like I am slowly sinking at the moment. Spiritualy not literally ofcourse! :)

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Hi Spiritseeker,

 

This is such a personal thing and will involve your own searching. May I recommend a book called The Meaning of Jesus, Two Versions, by Marcus Borg and N.T.Wright. You will see both perspectives laid out there and may give you some food for thought. My personal conviction is in a metaphysical Jesus, one with 'special powers', as you put it, as I believe that the limitless divine showed its face in Jesus, and also it's limitlessness, if that makes sense, to add power to the messages of Christ. But, again, such a personal take! Read, read and read again I would say! It is wonderful you are asking these questions, and right, and good, as this is how faith becomes strong. You aren't sinking mate, you are swimming towards a greater personal conviction and understanding!

 

Adi

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Thanks Joseph and Adi.

 

I will try and explain my thinking at the moment (which could be hard for anyone to understand!) smile.gif

I feel compelled to figuring out what Jesus means to me. To do that I feel like I need to discover if I believe he has "special powers" and IS God or if I believe that he was one of Gods children like us all but he was a really good teacher and a great example to base my life on.

 

know to alot of people this isnt important but to me I just dont know how I can ever come up with an answer to this. I really feel like I have hit a brick wall because I do think that for me to have the kind of relationship I want with God then I have to make a decision on where Jesus fits in all of this.

 

I would love to hear everyone elses experiences and thoughts as I feel like I am slowly sinking at the moment. Spiritualy not literally ofcourse! smile.gif

 

 

Okay spiritseeker I think I understand why you want to know. Perhaps not having a answer you do feel a bit disoriented. After all you are venturing into uncharted waters and even though there are others here to support you, the journey is one each must go on and experience for oneself alone.

 

 

This is only my view on the issue to be taken lightly. The mind itself to me seems to feed on answers which just opens up more questions. To me it is ever seeking and never finding rest. ie: Say for example you settle down to the belief that Jesus has "special powers" that you don't have. What do you now have? Just another belief or piece to the puzzle that may or may not be true and if it is an incorrect one than later the building will collapse again. What am I proposing? I am saying that perhaps there is no need to have a position either way. If you never met Jesus in person, or God has not given you personal revelation of the answer, then why even struggle for an answer that is just another mind concept not to any edification of the Spirit?

 

To me, I am satisfied allowing God to reveal things to me directly, through subjective experiences through the Spirit as I am ready to receive. In the meantime, why should I allow precepts of the minds of men to obscure that which is always available but hidden by opinions and positions of the mind so that subtle revelations are missed from my view. To me, all things are known and present as is the Sun. We are never without it but the clouds often obscure our view. These clouds, to me, are nothing more than preconditioned opinions, positions, false beliefs, man made concepts, self judgements, and an abundance of labels and self-definitions that serve only to veil that which has been with us always and is freely received by a simple, open and uncluttered mind.

 

In my view, you cannot sink for the One that has started your exploration shall and is surely able to finish it with your cooperation through this concept of time.

 

Love in Christ,

Joseph

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