Listen to this post NOW on the KevKast!
DO NOT let this title scare you away!! I know some of us will resist this post because we fear getting sucked into a religion or church system. In part one, I shared a similar distaste for the “too small” Jesus that has been presented to us.
Cultural Christianity is synonymous with Jesus. Thus any mention of Christ usually assumes it shares the same particular and narrow expression produced by the modern church: THIS IS NOT THE CASE.
We say at the Living School, Christ is not Jesus’ last name. If you’ve been to church recently then the term Christ has been taught in a limited capacity as the KING, Messiah, or anointed one. Christ is a title and it was given to Jesus. I think most people get this far.
Jesus was a man who lived 33 years before he was killed by Church and State. The confusion and thus error occurs when we conclude the same is true for the Christ. This error is at the center for turning Christianity into an alternative religion which was never the goal of Jesus. Thus biblical Christianity is not at all the same thing as what I call Churchianity which is widespread.
The term Christ Jesus brings together both universal and particular reality. Christ is a cosmic term, Jesus is the localized person in history. The Christ is cosmic and as such is not limited to what modern people call Christianity. The biblical understanding of Christ is much more far reaching, for example:
Colossians 1:16 pulls out this cosmic reality. “For by him all things were created, in Heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.” This is a theme Paul expresses in almost all his writings. Science would call this “invisible power” the Big Bang.
If the Christ is cosmic then it is not restricted to one belief system or religion. Thus the work of Christ has not been limited to only the life and work of Jesus, although Jesus fully embodies the Christ. Paul explains this in 1 Corinthians 10:4 by pointing out that the Christ was the rock that flowed out water to the Israelites to save them in the desert.
The bible teaches that the Christ is the power behind Judaism. On the mount of transfiguration, Jesus shows three disciples his cosmic connection (Matt 17:1-8). Both Moses and Elijah hid themselves in the cleft of the rock (cave) on Mt. Sinai (Horeb). The Christ saved them from the destructive forces of wind, earthquake and fire (1 Kings 9:9-12). There Moses and Elijah learned the name (particular) Jesus, of the power of their faith.
John explains the cosmic power of Christ as the Logos (The Word). Here the universal Logos puts on the particular (human form) and dwells among us (John 1:14). The logos or power behind the Christ shows up all throughout scripture, particularly seen as feminine through WISDOM in Proverbs 8 &9.
Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job were all completed by God through the Christ. They were not what moderns would call Christians and couldn’t even be called Jews as they predate the law. Yet the Christ completed their work like Moses lifting up the bronze staff which was the Christ saving the Israelites from the fiery serpents in Numbers 21:8.
My point is that scripture reveals The Christ working in our lives regardless of our religion, whether we are pagans, or whether we are modern day church goers. The cosmic Christ of the scripture is NOT the tiny Christ sold by the modern church that only has power for those who pick Jesus’ team. Salvation is cultural more than personal.
Spirituality is the experience of BOTH the universal and the particular. Those who focus on the particular Jesus would do well to learn the scripture and see the Christ as all inclusive. Those who access cosmic power within their own tradition or practice would do well to gain the particular found in Jesus.
Based on the Christ, biblical Christianity cannot be an alternative religion as depicted today. Christianity is that power which completes all religions and practices. Early Christians didn’t abandon Judaism, rather Christ Jesus reframed it in a way that freed them to be true Jews. The religious hated the idea that non-Jews could be saved without conversion. Sound familiar?
This is archetypical of all religions and beliefs because none of them on their own gets us to God (John 14:6). The hybridization of the universal and the particular in Christ Jesus shows us that we don’t get to God through religion because we are already in God. We are all both word and flesh, body and spirit, universal and particular and that’s what it means to be an image bearer (Genesis 1:27). As such we are all little Christ’s or “Christians.”
The mission of Jesus was not to create a new religion to compete with others. It was to return people to their deepest source within and build humanity from the inside out. So while the name of Jesus has been ruined by those who use it most, the work of Christ has not stopped renewing people all over the globe.
The particular name for this universal work is now our name. And if you are ready, we are the second coming.