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What Do You Think Jesus Meant...


mike rhodes
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On the night before his crucifixion, Jesus tells the disciples that he's going away. They are confused. He tells them that they will follow later. He says that he's going to prepare a place for them. They ask him how they know the way. and that's when he says it.

 

"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me."

 

So the first question to answer is where is Jesus going? Well the first place he is going is to the cross and to death. Then he will be resurrected. Then he will ascend to Heaven and sit on the right had of God the Father.

 

So now we get to your question. What did Jesus mean? We can only speculate at this point. The orthodox interpretation is that you have to become a disciple of Jesus to go to heaven. But what does that mean? Well it means that you look to Jesus for the way, the truth, and the life.

 

The problem I have with this, is that I'm a Universalist. I believe that heaven is open to all...whatever heaven may be. So, I take a heretical view. Jesus presents himself as more than a man. He is a way of living life more abundantly. He is showing us the "way" to live, the "truth" about the nature of God, and the "life" that is more abundant. So in living this way, believing Love and Forgiveness and Kindness and Peace (which is the nature of God) we will live life more abundantly. The hard part about this scripture is the that "The Way" is the way of the cross. We have to deny ourselves. We have to be willing to lose everything in order to enter into the Kingdom of God which is here and now (at hand).

I accept that I am at odds with tradition. I don't know what Jesus "meant", but I know a lot about how he wanted us to live and how he wanted us to see God.

Edited by fatherman
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Hi Mike,

 

I think this is one of those problematic passages in the NT that is subject to a wide variety of interpretations. Ruling out a literal meaning, we are left with metaphor. In terms of Christian contemplative language, Jesus was in the "unitive state" with his Father (God, we presume). I would also say he had dissolved the ego, except for his "survival ego", of course. There is also a non-dualistic perspective implied here.

 

The question then, is how can any or all of us attain to this state. If one thinks it is by following the path of Christ, I guess they can't go too far afield. Some Christians say that Christ's life is "recapitulated" within all of us; how Christ's life went, so will ours. If that's the case, then it is only a matter of relaxing into a state of primordial union.

 

Steve

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Thanks for the responses guys! I am hung up on it because I am wrestling with this dilemma: Was Jesus saying that following him is the only way? Because I have to think that God works through all religions and will meet us where we are if we are devoted to him. I tend to think that there is probably more than on way to God, but It seems like Jesus is claiming exclusivity here, outright.

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It's also important that he was talking to his disciples and not the masses. I really don't know what he meant, but it seems like he would have been trying to persuade the masses of this. Now he did say what it truly means to be righteous. He did say what it meant to live in a state of beatitude. This was Jesus' stump speech, not believe in me or burn.

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In a way it may not be important, but it may help clarify the question.

 

What if we ask, what did a later anonymous author mean (might have meant), when he put the words on paper and attributed them to Jesus?

Edited by romansh
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If I'm reading you correctly, Mike, you are asking if Christianity, specifically by exemplifying the life of Christ, is the only way to experience "God" (whatever is meant by that). Sometimes fear holds us in place when we might move forward in our spiritual evolution. But, the spiritual path is kind to the courageous, and if one develops wisdom and compassion along the way, then there is nothing to worry about. If one's path does not lead to at least these two manifestations, then it is probably not worth the effort.

 

Christianity, while not being the "only" way, is certainly on solid footing as one of the ways. We are all very much culturally determined in our particular belief systems. If you were living in India, you might be a Hindu, chanting the "one thousand names of God" and wondering whether or not that was the only way. I think we need to find "God" in the moment, and that moment encompasses all of our personal history, psychological development, cultural determinants, and religious beliefs, among many other factors.

 

Best of luck with your dilemma!

 

Steve

Edited by SteveS55
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Three Joseph Campbell quotes which I quite like:

Heaven and hell are within us, and all the gods are within us. This is the great realization of the Upanishads of India in the ninth century BC. All the gods, all the heavens, all the worlds are within us. They are magnified dreams, and dreams are manifestations in image form of the energies of the body in conflict with each other. That is what myth is.

 

and

Religion turns poetry into prose

 

and Campbell quoting Jung

Religion is a defense against the experience of God.

 

To be fair, I would take all three quotes together with a hefty dose of metaphor.

Edited by romansh
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I am a Christian and this is my take on the quote. I think there are an infinite number of ways to the infinite and all are legitimate so it is important to know oneself and the best way for one to proceed. Some paths label the consciousness they awaken to, I label my way as Christ consciousness, but Krishna consciousness, no-thing consciousness, nirvana, or no label at all is OK.

 

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) Most Christians are familiar with the narrative of Jesus dying on the cross for us, but the truth also lives now, the same as it was living when Jesus died. Truth will constantly reveal itself to us because it is all around us, but we have to allow it to work. The personality of Jesus died on the cross for us and people are content with that, but the problem is they stop there and close off the Christ Consciousness that is always with us now and was then. Jesus was teaching us how to get to the pure consciousness of God, the God awareness of Jesus, but many Christians ignore that and worship the form and personality of Jesus. They don’t do anything with the Truth that Jesus was teaching except defend passages that they do not understand. Christ Consciousness needs to be experienced to receive more of the Truth; therefore, we see vocal Christians who are angry, condemning others and threatening people with hell and Christians who love unconditionally and are caring for everyone. Jesus lived what he was teaching and was a perfect example of Christ Consciousness, which shows the way to a higher vibrational frequency in the midst of the low frequency on the material plane. Joel S. Goldsmith was a modern mystic that died in 1964 and he said, “The kingdom of God does not deal with something separate and apart from living. The kingdom of God concerns itself with our daily life. It is not meant to take us out of the world, but rather to leave us in the world, separate and apart from its negative aspects.” Jesus accommodated and was use to the consciousness of the Kingdom of God and is presently teaching people through experience the pure awareness present in everyone and in every part of creation. Jesus said I am the way because he is the symbol of the divine reality of complete oneness that we have a hard time grasping, he was the teacher and example of human consciousness at one with an all pervading God consciousness. As a symbol of the whole of reality, he transcended race, religion, nationality and worldview, this viewpoint from infinity encourages and offers us the opportunity to join him to reflect on the oneness of everything in a love that goes beyond our human selfishness. Our human consciousness in duality is attracted to objects perceived by the five senses so as Christians it helps to focus on Jesus as a representation of unity in order to consider our own place in universal oneness. To intensify or experience with the union with God it helps to use science, philosophy, literature, theology, psychology, the arts and other fields of human discovery. Jesus is our representation of non-duality in sandals that we can relate to on the physical plane and becomes our companion to bring us around to the subtle energy and consciousness of a resurrected reality grounded in compassion. Jesus offers us the possibility to go beyond our separate self, which suffers on the physical level to the universal oneness that we are all a part of. He is a spiritual guide that we can sit, kneel, stand in front of, and walk with as a deep loving friend who challenges and elevates us to go beyond the material realm. Christ also used personal likenesses as examples; he used Beloved Father to refer to God consciousness to expand awareness the same way we use Jesus to expand our awareness to see God in everything and in every human being. The mystic union is the cosmic meeting where everything is joined together without separation, but when the awareness of God Consciousness comes undone the universal energy act as if it splits up and pretends to fall again into separate energies that cause the illusion of being an individual outside the Kingdom of God. Christ is a way we Christians describe union with God as Jesus said, “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30) We might be liberated from our prison of pain and pleasure for a short time, expanding our consciousness to our true essence of one with the Father and then find ourselves back in our individual personality in our circling galaxy, but no need to worry as we never return to a consciousness of previous dimensions as it expands. Christ as a symbol in consciousness represents the polarity of God consciousness that encompasses the spiritual and physical realities. Jesus shows us how the oneness of all reality: the finite and infinite, the material and spiritual, heaven and earth are not separated in Eternity. Christ consciousness demonstrates this duality in unity without losing the polarity in the nondual reality; therefore, our spiritual expansion needs to be accompanied by a corresponding action so we return to physical form to learn, to live and act with integrity.

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  • 3 weeks later...

My take on it - Jesus never said this.

 

The author of the Book of John (written some +60 years after Jesus' death) is clearly the most spiritual of the gospels and talks about Jesus in ways the other three haven't developed yet.

 

Personally, I think this is more of the author's selling point about Jesus than a true representation of the real, human, Jesus and what he may/may not have said.

 

Cheers

Paul

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There's a guy called Shane Willard who preaches a little bit on this in his message 'You are the Tabernacle'. Shane teaches scripture from a hebraic perspective. I really liked his explanation.

 

Jesus is the expression of what the tabernacle was aiming to achieve - the pathway to God.

 

The tabernacle consisted of 3 courts, separated with 3 gates: The gate into the Outter Court was called the Way Gate, the Inner Court gate was the Truth, the gate into the Holy of Holies was called 'the Life Gate.'

So, from a Hebraic perspective, when Jesus was saying 'I am the Way, the Truth and The Life" he was saying: I am the Tabernacle!

 

If you listen to his whole message, you will be able to hear the whole thought in context. I don't really want to try to repeat his teaching, but I thought this a significant point.

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