How much do we love Jesus? It’s an important question to ask ourselves, not just at the Easter season but at any time—because our love for him and our gratitude for his selfless example are essential to understanding the truth he taught and expressed.
As so many of us know, Jesus was born of Mary. The Bible says, “When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 1:18).
Jesus’ virgin birth explains his dual nature. He was human, born of a woman, but he expressed the Christ, the divine nature, “without measure.” In the textbook of Christian Science Mary Baker Eddy explains this dual appearing: “Jesus was the offspring of Mary’s self-conscious communion with God. Hence he could give a more spiritual idea of life than other men, and could demonstrate the Science of Love—his Father or divine Principle.
“Born of a woman,” she continues, “Jesus’ advent in the flesh partook partly of Mary’s earthly condition, although he was endowed with the Christ, the divine Spirit, without measure. This accounts for his struggles in Gethsemane and on Calvary, and this enabled him to be the mediator, or way-shower, between God and men” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 29–30).
Christian Scientists look to Jesus’ resurrection and ascension as the triumphal, overarching proof of all that he had taught about God and about our oneness with God, who is divine Life. Jesus demonstrated for the world that life isn’t in matter, that all life is truly in God, who is infinite Spirit. He showed that this understanding overcomes sin, disease, and death, until it finally lifts us into the full realization and demonstration of our spiritual identity, in which all belief in matter disappears, and we discover our tangible, real selfhood as the reflection of Spirit, forever one with our Father-Mother, divine Love.
But Jesus’ crowning, world-changing demonstration of immortal Life could not have come without his intense human sacrifice that led up to it. Although multitudes flocked to Jesus for healing, he was persecuted at every step. Attempts were made to kill him. By the end, even most of his followers had left him, offended by his teachings. In the Bible, the book of Isaiah prophesied the reception this savior of humanity would get: “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (53:3).
We show our love for Jesus by striving to demonstrate in our own lives the Christ-nature he manifested.
Following his trial, Jesus suffered brutal physical violence and mockery, before being led to his crucifixion. But there was an even deeper struggle, which Mrs. Eddy movingly describes. “The burden of that hour was terrible beyond human conception,” she writes. “The distrust of mortal minds, disbelieving the purpose of his mission, was a million times sharper than the thorns which pierced his flesh. The real cross, which Jesus bore up the hill of grief, was the world’s hatred of Truth and Love. Not the spear nor the material cross wrung from his faithful lips the plaintive cry, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ It was the possible loss of something more important than human life which moved him,—the possible misapprehension of the sublimest influence of his career. This dread added the drop of gall to his cup” (Science and Health, pp. 50–51).
It’s difficult for us to comprehend the depths of what Jesus faced, as he encountered the full scope of the carnal mind’s hatred of Truth and Love. Jesus allowed himself to be subjected to the malice of the carnal mind, knowing the spiritual victory that awaited him and that evil’s only power was to destroy itself.
For Jesus, what was crucified and destroyed was not his actual life, but only a limited, fleshly sense of life. Leaving materiality forever behind, like the grave clothes in his tomb, Jesus rose into the full understanding and everlasting joy of his spiritual identity as the image of infinite, immortal Spirit. After emerging from the grave, ever the faithful Teacher, he comforted and strengthened his disciples before he finally ascended.
Considering all that he did for us, is our love for Jesus adequate? To fail to love in any situation where love is most needed is a mistake that many of us have probably had to repent of. But to take for granted this “man of sorrows,” who selflessly and alone with God gave his human all to show us the way of salvation, is to lose in significant measure the understanding of the man, and of the idea of divine Love that he taught and lived. This true idea of Love is the Christ, Jesus’ divine nature. It’s the divine goodness which animated him and brought healing to countless people.
Every day is a renewed opportunity for us to drop the love of self that would dull our love for Jesus. Then we begin to find within ourselves a deeper affection for the unutterable goodness that Jesus embodied.
We show our love for Jesus by striving to demonstrate in our own lives the Christ-nature he manifested. “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” Jesus said (John 14:15). We obey him as we love God, and as we love all humanity—seeing them spiritually in their true individuality as children of the one Father—and by healing on this spiritual foundation. Then, like Jesus, we too leave behind materiality more and more, and partake of his everlasting joy.
David C. Kennedy
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