Growing up in the Christian faith I was always under the impression that Jesus died to save us from our sins.
Somehow these words never felt right.
They never resonated as a deeper truth.
Something was missing or at least unsettling.
I did not know what it was.
When your study the texts, Jesus knew that he would be murdered by the people.
Yet I have never been able to find words where he explicitly said that his death would save followers from their sins.
There was an instance where a wayward head of the Jewish faith at the time made a prophecy to this effect.
The same priest who would ultimately condemn him and have him put to death had prophesied earlier that Jesus would be killed to save his people.
And yet I wondered, how could a priest who was so deluded and lustful for power, condemn and demand the death of the son of God while having been blessed with the ability to prophesy. It didn’t make any sense. Prophecy had never been bestowed upon anyone who was that deluded by greed and power.
Why do we rely on the words of such an unreliable character. If the intent of this message was true why did it not come as a prophecy by Jesus himself or a past figure who was revered for his reflection of God’s will.
As a child I always wondered, why do they constantly say he died to save us from our sins?
Why did Jesus never once mention in Luke, Matthew, Mark, John or Thomas that he would die to save us from our sins?
A careful reading of texts of the gospels suggests that he “laid down his life”. When one studies the parables one is left with a very different understanding of these words which render a meaning quite different from dying…
Perhaps “the laying down of his life” was an act of choosing to live a life surrendered to fulfilling the will of God and sharing God’s teachings rather than a separate self embroiled in a carpenter’s trade. Perhaps he chose “to lay down his regular human life” to share through his actions and parables, the will of God for us to transform/enter the kingdom of God in order to gain eternal life.
Was he not showing us how to live life in accordance with the will and that repent meant to give up one’s own will and self centered nature entirely.
Did he not say that his purpose was to express the will of God, which from my reading
is for us to shed our false selves and raise the true self which is hidden and to do it within this lifetime,
in this present moment, with work, will, awareness, determination, love and his loving guidance.
Did he not lead by example. Did he not lay down his life with diligent practice, solitary silent prayer, and with the awareness of a Lion shed his imagined self and uncover a true essence that reflected God’s will.
Did he not share teachings in the form of actions and parables that save us from our deluded thinking which leads us towards saying and doing sin?
Is not the wholesale removal of imagined self and all of its attachments and avoidances what repent means?
Is this not this dramatic transformation that all the parables point towards?
If he died to save us from our sins, why did he even bother to mention the parables? What was the point if there was to be a contractual agreement to give his life to save us?
Why did I as a youngster feel like the parables had been discarded by the church that sought to influence my thinking?
Are these parables not the cornerstone discarded by the builders?
When I think of his life and consider his parables, I recognize he had a deep understanding of the self, and the human condition comprised of a mind constantly fed uninvited destructive thoughts which diverted, diminished, and constrained notions of the heart from which love increasingly struggled to flow to our words and actions. The result was endless hurtful separation of people, at times with terrible violence.
I sense a clear pathway is discernable from the parables and logia as well as many other wisdom traditions that shows we must follow his example of selflessness and humility in this lifetime.
We must shed the self centered nature as the Buddhists, the Taoists, the Sufis, the Vedas, the Kabalists, the Shamans as well as many others point out.
We must be as Christ told us in his parables.
Be the gatekeeper of what blesses you and what defiles you.
Be the gatekeeper of your thoughts and feelings. These thoughts and feelings are not yours. They are experienced in your mind to let go of or embrace. The choice has always been yours.
Be that which recognizes the arising dysfunctional or negative or self centered thoughts and feelings of self and others.
Become the Lion of Awareness that is blessed. The Lion that puts the Man in us in its proper inferior place.
Realize that it is the message of the Living Water (Simple Awareness) of Christ or Buddha or whoever you follow.
Realize that the message of what this life is about and what we are to do is hidden in the meanings of his actions and parables.
It is the message of the Simple Awareness that transforms us from sleep to wakefulness,
that transforms us from a slave to our imagined selves to our true eternal selves.
When awareness comes into being, the Lion awakens.
His majestic presence roars with stillness and vigilance
This is your choice
in this lifetime.
If you let anything die to gain eternal life
Let it be your false self.