Do we heed the Word or follow the preachings of men?
Jesus' reality in the Christ Spirit of things:
Over time, many misunderstandings and literalistic theologies have circulated in the name of God. As an example, letters of the Apostle Paul often use expressions highly glorifying Jesus to be worshiped as a godhead and head of the church thus reflecting the ancient church teachings of the time.
,Paul writes" The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross." (Colossians 1:15-20 NIV)
Yet, in contrast, Jesus himself explains," Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does." Again, in the same sermon, Jesus emphasizes," I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." ( John 5:19-20) and (John 5:30)
Not only is Jesus proclaiming his impotence to act by himself and does only what the Father Wills him to do but Jesus adds," My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me." (John 7:16 NIV) Again, this important principle is repeated again by Jesus in the same teaching, "For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak."( John 12:49 ESV)
What Jesus says about himself is supported nicely in the Qur'an when it reads,"They misbelieve who say, 'Verily, God is the Messiah the son of Mary;' say, 'Who has any hold on God, if he wished to destroy the Messiah the son of Mary, and his mother, and those who are on earth altogether?" (The Qur'an (E.H. Palmer tr), Sura 5 - The Table)
"Christ the son of Mary was no more than a Messenger; many were the Messengers that passed away before him. His mother was a woman of truth. They had both to eat their (daily) food. See how Allah [God] doth makes His Signs clear to them; yet see in what ways they are deluded away from the truth! (The Qur'an (Yusuf Ali tr), Surah 5:75)
If Jesus is not speaking on his own authority ( John 49) then by whos authority is he speaking? Perhaps this verse in the Qur'an may be a guidepost to an answer to that question.
Sura 42 in the Qur'an introduces somthing much bigger; an idea that, if truly applied to the paradigm of modern thought, could forge a path towards world unity. "He has enjoined upon you for religion what He prescribed to Noah and what we inspired thee with, and what we inspired Abraham and Moses and Jesus,-to be steadfast in religion, and not to part into sects therein-a great thing to the idolaters is that which ye call them to! God elects for Himself whom He pleases and guides unto Himself him who turns repentant. But they did not part into sects until after the knowledge had come to them, through mutual envy; and had it not been for thy Lord's word already passed for an appointed time, it would surely have been decided between them; but, verily, those who have been given the Book as an inheritance after them, are in hesitating doubt concerning it. (The Qur'an (E.H. Palmer tr), Sura 42 - Counsel)
Might this guidepost be also eading back to this passage in the Bible? " In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. " (Bible: KJ: John 1:1-5)
From this it is also seen that the only way we can know God is through the Ageless Christ Spirit of Truth. Thus the popular Bible verse (John: 3:16) " For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." can be viewed quite differently from its orthodox church understanding.
The earlier Qur'an passages expresses a bold idea. Was the "Word" the same "Word that was in the Beginning" also the same "Word" that inspired, not only Jesus, but Noah, Abraham and Moses as well? What about other holy seers such as Lord Krishna and Buddha the Enlightened One?
This makes sense if the Word was in the beginning; and also gives a whole new meaning, a true world religion unitung with accepting love and faith, when Jesus says," Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. ( John 5:24)
How then is it possible for churches to credit specific authorship to Jesus of Nazareth for what he teaches, as is claimed by the Christ Spirit of Truth itself? (John 14:10) Indeed, if Jesus was to claim authority for what his Father-God told him to say, would he not be committing plagiarism against the Holy Spirit, the anointing Christ itself?
Jesus himself would never desire to be extolled and worshipped. The 1st Commandment seen in Mark 12:25 gives no evidence Jesus desired worship for either his name or himself.
Also, the statement, "I came from heaven," (John:6:38) illustrates that the Christ Spirit of Truth, which anointed Jesus itself and came from heaven. Obviously, Jesus of Nazareth, being a man, did not come down from heaven but was born of Mary. The two realities of Jesus and the Christ are quite different. The Christ can be imagined as carrying the timeless Message of God whereas the physical body of Jesus served much as a lamp housing the light of the Christ. Jesus was limited to the human condition of space and time; The Word of God of the Christ is not.
So much confusion is found among churches and soctrines of churches! The mystery of the plurality between God and the "Son of God" is stated and restated throughout the Holy Books as authored by the Universal Truth!
Check out these Bible passages and see how they line up with what Bahá'u'lláh explains about Hidden truths revealing the relationship between Jesus , Mohammed, Bahá'u'lláh and God
" No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." (1: 18 John: King James Bible)
" All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him. "( 10:22Luke King James Bible)
This mystery is further explained," "Christ says, "The Father is in the Son, and the Son is in the Father." Was Christ within God, or God within Christ? No, in the name of God! On the contrary, this is an intellectual state which is expressed in a sensible figure.
A look at how the full fruits of Scripture might be harvested from a different perspective.
" Human knowledge is of two kinds. One is the knowledge of things perceptible to the senses -- that is to say, things which the eye, or ear, or smell, or taste, or touch can perceive, which are called objective or sensible....
The other kind of human knowledge is intellectual -- that is to say, it is a reality of the intellect; it has no outward form and no place and is not perceptible to the senses. For example, the power of intellect is not sensible; none of the inner qualities of man is a sensible thing; on the contrary, they are intellectual realities. So love is a mental reality and not sensible; for this reality the ear does not hear, the eye does not see, the smell does not perceive, the taste does not discern, the touch does not feel. Even ethereal matter, the forces of which are said in physics to be heat, light, electricity and magnetism, is an intellectual reality, and is not sensible. In the same way, nature, also, in its essence is an intellectual reality and is not sensible; the human spirit is an intellectual, not sensible reality. In explaining these intellectual realities, one is obliged to express them by sensible figures because in exterior existence there is nothing that is not material. Therefore, to explain the reality of the spirit -- its condition, its station -- one is obliged to give explanations under the forms of sensible things because in the external world all that exists is sensible. For example, grief and happiness are intellectual things; when you wish to express those spiritual qualities you say: "My heart is oppressed; my heart is dilated," though the heart of man is neither oppressed nor dilated. This is an intellectual or spiritual state, to explain which you are obliged to have recourse to sensible figures. Another example: you say, "such an individual made great progress," though he is remaining in the same place; or again, "such a one's position was exalted," although, like everyone else, he walks upon the earth. This exaltation and this progress are spiritual states and intellectual realities, but to explain them you are obliged to have recourse to sensible figures because in the exterior world there is nothing that is not sensible.
So the symbol of knowledge is light, and of ignorance, darkness; but reflect, is knowledge sensible light, or ignorance sensible darkness? No, they are merely symbols. These are only intellectual states, but when you desire to express them outwardly, you call knowledge light, and ignorance darkness. You say: "My heart was gloomy, and it became enlightened." Now, that light of knowledge, and that darkness of ignorance, are intellectual realities, not sensible ones; but when we seek for explanations in the external world, we are obliged to give them a sensible form.
Then it is evident that the dove which descended upon Christ was not a material dove, but it was a spiritual state, which, that it might be comprehensible, was expressed by a sensible figure. Thus in the Old Testament it is said that God appeared as a pillar of fire: this does not signify the material form; it is an intellectual reality which is expressed by a sensible image." (Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 85)
Perhaps it is prudent to ask: Is it better to trust practices by the Church or Decree by a Pope or Bishop, or place more emphasis on teachings attributed to The Christ Spirit itself?
Is it better to look for unity between world religions or keep our present course of misunderstanding divided by walls of creeds and fear?
"If Christians of all denominations and divisions should investigate reality, the foundations of His Holiness Christ would unite them. No enmity or hatred will remain for they will all be under the one guidance of reality itself. Likewise in the wider field, if all the existing religious systems will turn away from ancestral imitations and investigate the reality, seeking the real meanings of the Holy Books, they will unite and agree upon the same foundation, the reality itself. As long as they follow counterfeit doctrines or imitations instead of reality, animosity and discord will exist and increase. "(Compilations, Baha'i Scriptures, p. 331)
If this could truly be realized and applied towards world thinking perhaps Christianity, among other Faiths, would become a little less dogmatic and be more accepting on equal terms of other world faiths...as would other Faiths be also unto them. ( the Golden Rule! )
For this I pray....Amen!
Here is an interesting little question. Obviously we cannot know what Jesus actually looked like. Yet, as a boy, I commonly saw an artists portrayal of a tall handsome white man with blue eyes, beard and long brown flowing hair.
How does the content of this painting agree with the following Bible passages?
1 Corinthians 11:14 - Doth not even
nature itself teach you, that, if a man
have long hair,
it is a shame unto him?
Yet, millions have been led to believe this image truly represents the image of Jesus.
Has this image become an idol figure?