The problem of Jesus’ last name is a misunderstanding most Christians have about who Jesus was. Even Pope John Paul II’s book of private reflections, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, contains this metaphysical misunderstanding.
There is a metaphysical distinction between Jesus of Nazareth, the historical human personality, and the Christ as God’s “Only-Begotten Son” (Nicene Creed), the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Ordinarily, when we speak of Jesus, we talk as though Christ were Jesus’ last name.
We say, “as Jesus said to the woman at the well,” or we might say, “as Christ said to the woman at the well,” or again, “as Jesus Christ said to the woman at the well.” This ordinary usage is convenient but it can create a serious problem in understanding not only who Jesus was but also who we ourselves are.
Most Christians, of course, know that Christ was not the last name of Jesus of Nazareth but a title given to Jesus by the early Christians, meaning the “anointed one” or Messiah. Nevertheless, even though we know the origin and meaning of the title, Christ, we still ordinarily use the word Christ as if this were Jesus’ last name in the same way that Smith is used as a last name for persons whose ancestors were blacksmiths. Understanding the origin of the last name doesn’t alter the usage in either case.
What exactly is the problem? The problem comes when we try, in light of this familiar usage, to interpret the words of the Nicene Creed: “I believe in Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son of God.” What we usually end up mistakenly thinking is that the Creed means Jesus of Nazareth is God’s Only-Begotten Son. That is, we mistakenly think that Jesus, and Jesus alone, was God’s Son, and that all other humans are therefore less than Jesus.
That is not what the Creed means. To think so is a serious metaphysical error. And this error is so grave that, unless corrected, it can actually prevent us from taking our place with Jesus in the Christ Consciousness, and later in the Kingdom of the Father. It is the Christ who is God’s Only-Begotten Son, not Jesus.
True, Jesus of Nazareth knew he was the Christ; that is, that he had the Christ Consciousness (and the higher nondual consciousness of oneness with the Father). He knew that, as Christ, he had been directly begotten by God from all eternity. But Jesus knew and preached that the same was also true for us.
We too, according to Jesus, are to become Christ by putting on the mind of Christ, that is, the awareness that we too are directly begotten by God. One of the reasons Jesus called himself the Son of Man was that he wanted us to realize that our reality and destiny are the same as his.
Most Christians make this theological mistake of thinking that Jesus of Nazareth, rather than the Christ, was God’s only-begotten Son. I made it myself, and it caused me a great deal of confusion when my consciousness was trying to realize Christ Consciousness. ….
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~ From: Putting on The Mind of Christ, by Jim Marion