The Revelation of God in Jesus
Approximately one thousand years before Jesus, the first kings of Israel ruled over a united kingdom that included all the tribes of Israel, both northern and southern. The kings who ruled over the united tribes of Israel were Saul, David, and Solomon. Before Saul were the Judges, and the tribes functioned independently in some matters and united in certain political matters. Saul was anointed with olive oil by Samuel who said, “The LORD has anointed you to be ruler of his people Israel” (I Samuel 10:1). This was the beginning of the tradition that acknowledged the king of Israel as anointed by God—through the priest—and united both the spiritual and political aspects of leadership in one person. Samuel also anointed David as king (I Samuel 16:10-12). David's son, Solomon was anointed by the priest Zadok (I Kings 1:39). After Solomon, the kingdom was divided over political issues, suffered through various wars, including exile in Babylonia, and various occupations, including the Roman occupation of Israel during the life of Jesus. There was a great desire on the part of the tribes of Israel to be united under a king who was favored by God spiritually, and in addition this messiah (mashiach in Hebrew, which means anointed one; Davidson, 1980) would be a great warrior who could overthrow foreign occupation and oppression.
Many people thought Jesus was the messiah because he seemed to fulfill some of the characteristics described by the prophets. Some followed him, but many also rejected him. After Jesus was crucified, his ministry and his teachings were seen in a different light. He became a different kind of messiah—a messiah who overcame the world, overcame death, and was seen as a savior of humanity. Jesus never became the earthly ruler, the political and spiritual leader of the people of Israel. He was not anointed by any of the priests in Jerusalem, nor did he preside over a united kingdom, and he did not overthrow the occupation of the Romans.
Many spiritual leaders have suffered the same kind of fate as Jesus—persecution and death—but after his crucifixion, Jesus, and his teachings, took on a broader and different spiritual meaning in the lives of his followers. Many struggled to develop a theology and an understanding of salvation based on his teachings and the events of his life. In spite of the difficulty of putting the power and presence of Jesus into words, or the phenomenological experiences of many people who either saw him perform miracles or saw visions of him, many attempts were made. These stories and texts reveal important aspects of how to understand and respond to his ministry and teachings, but they do not form a consistent and coherent understanding of his life and ministry.
The Christ-centric orientation presented in this book sees Christ as anointed by God and as an example of one of the many paths to union with God. Through the authentic pursuit of his own purpose, Jesus revealed God to the world. Through the authentic pursuit of his purpose, his experiences, his teachings, and his spiritual evolution became a model of the way to God. This orientation does not make any exclusive claims; rather it makes the claim of openness, acceptance, and love. Jesus was born a Jew, practiced his spirituality as a Jew, and understood himself to be a part of the Jewish religious tradition. The parables and his other teachings are derived from his Jewish heritage: from the law (The Torah), the wisdom writings (Proverbs, Job, etc.), and from the Prophets (Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, etc.). To say that they were derived from the teachings does not mean that they were the same or that he believed the same things. Jesus began his life as a Jew, but he moved on from this kind of identification. He was not a Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or member of any other religious tradition. However, the teachings and the way of his example, his “anointing” by God, make him relevant to every place, time, and spiritual orientation, but not in a manner that denies those other traditions; rather he affirms in them the same principles and processes of spiritual growth, development, and orientation to the one true God.
2014-042 Jesus is an eternal figure, not a historical figure. He is not a point in time that divides history. There is no beginning, middle, and end in the cosmic sense. There is just one eternal setting in which all things happen. So everything that Jesus teaches and says, just as he said, that the law and the prophets depend on love, we must also say that his teachings need to be expressed in an eternal context. There is not going to be a world apocalypse or some such rapture. There will be changes to be sure, but it is not the function of Christ to come riding in on clouds and to establish the Kingdom of God on Earth. These things are just wishful thinking. The proper context for seeing Jesus is eternal, not chronological or time-based. Those who encountered him encountered or saw wholeness, unity. This is why when Jesus confronts the demons in a person possessed, the demon responds and recognizes his wholeness, and the demon is fearful. These different parts of persons that are healed, many of these show a psychological disordering of values. These are psychological: a “dis-ordering” of values, and there are many splits inside a person. You might say that the unconscious of a person has taken over in such a way that the person can only respond with denial or projecting of their unconscious onto the world and it feels bad. But in Jesus, they see wholeness and are healed. All of the events in the life of Jesus must also be seen in the context of synchronicity. For each person that he met, it was a meeting of parallel lives that came together in the moment for a purpose. And the synchronicity, the elements of the synchronicity and the things that were discovered about Jesus all came together in a very powerful way. Jesus is non-historical. Jesus represents unity, unification, wholeness, and these things are expressed in a synchronistic manner.