Who Was Jesus?

It seems to me that almost everyone carries respect for Jesus. I find it remarkable that one man can command respect from such a broad spectrum of people. Yet we have so many different ways of seeing him: the divine Son of God sent to earth to die for our sins, a wise teacher, a social prophet, an enlightened spiritual master.

It is inevitable that we will each see him through our own eyes. Yet being exposed to other points of view can aid us in deciding just how we will see him. A Course in Miracles presents a fascinating and original picture of Jesus, one which weaves together many elements often seen as incompatible.

The Course affirms many traditional Christian perspectives. It sees Jesus as being a perfect embodiment of God sent to earth on a special mission. It affirms that he performed miraculous healings and even raised the dead. It teaches that he was not only crucified but also resurrected and that these were the crowning events of his mission and the pivotal events in human history. Thus, like traditional Christianity, the Course sees Jesus as a direct expression of God in the earth, who was a focus of miraculous occurrences.

Yet, strangely enough, the Course also sees Jesus as just a man, one of us, whose nature was no different than our own. It says that we, like Jesus, are all called to a special mission, we all can perform miracles, and we all have the potential to be the perfect embodiment of God in the earth. Jesus simply went all the way down the road which beckons each of us, yet which we generally spend our lives avoiding. The Course says simply, “He saw the road before him, and he followed it.” How many of us can say we have done that?

In the eyes of the Course, however, who Jesus was is not nearly so important as what he taught. The Course sees Jesus as a teacher through and through. He taught through his deeds as well as his words. He even taught in those final, pivotal events of his life. According to the Course, his crucifixion was not a payment for our sins, but a teaching demonstration, showing that it is possible to react with forgiveness and defenselessness in response to the most brutal attack. And his resurrection was another teaching demonstration, showing that what is true and good can never be destroyed, not even by murder.

He was trying to teach us a path of inner transformation. Forgiveness can be far more than just holding back our impulse to retaliate. Practiced deeply, it can be a profound method of spiritual awakening. And that, says the Course, is what Jesus was trying to teach us. That is the road before us. And if we see it and follow it, we too can work miracles. We can do everything that Jesus did, and be everything he was.