A close friend that I grew up with is a practicing Muslim. Several years ago, I was hanging out with my friend and a few of his colleagues from his Mosque. After discovering I was a minister, one of his colleagues asked me, "Are you a Christian?"
Based on what I knew about him, I sensed he was not thrilled about Christianity - at least, the dominant understanding of Christianity. His experience was that it was judgmental and intolerant of other faiths that did not believe as he did. Knowing this, I replied, "To the best of my ability, I follow the teachings of Jesus.” His face lit up as he said, "Ah, you are a student on the path." He noted that he, too, was a great admirer of Jesus and his teachings and referred to him as a 'Master Teacher.'
As we approach Holy Week leading up to Easter, there will be a lot of conversation and discussion about Jesus. Some people will ponder questions like, "Who was he?", "What did he do?", and "What does he represent?" The reality is, we need more accurate information about Jesus. Most of the information about him is secondhand since the writers of the books of the Bible about Jesus were written more than forty years after his death. But from what we know about him, or understand through the stories concerning him, he was very open-hearted. When we grasp that, a part within us recognizes that we, too, must have an open heart.
Because of Jesus' openness to Spirit, he fulfilled his divine nature, arguably, like none before or since. He did so to such a degree that one could not tell where his human part ended, and God's presence within him began. He recognized God's presence in him, saying, "When you see me, you see the presence that sent me." More importantly, Jesus said, "All the things I have done, you can do." He did not walk around saying things like, "Look at me. Look what I did; I'm special." His message was more like, "Here is what you, as a child of God, can do. You are special."
Jesus represents our possibilities. As a result, we do not see him as the "great exception" (although he was undoubtedly exceptional); instead, we see Jesus as the model of what we must expect of ourselves. Whether we are conscious of it or not or want to admit it, we are hungry to express divine potential in the same way that Jesus expressed it in his life. The divine potential is called "The Christ in you, the hope of Glory."
Christ is not a person. It is that part of God within everyone. As students on the path, we look to Jesus and other avatars that walked the earth for ways, means, and strategies for the Christ presence, the Atman, the Godhead, or whatever we want to call it, to become full bloom in our awareness. So, as we head into Holy Week that culminates with the Easter experience, know it all has to do with our journey toward growing and developing our spiritual potential.
Peace and Blessings,