“I and the Father are one.” (Jn 10:30)
“Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” (Jn 10:31-33)
Religion was taken very, very seriously in the Jerusalem of Jesus’ time. Indeed, it still is today, though the religion being taken so seriously will vary, depending upon which part of the ancient city or its holy places one may happen to find oneself.
In those days, when the Temple still stood, however, there was only one religion to speak of in Jerusalem, and its adherents had better be careful of what they said about it. The deity was monolithic and supreme, a jealous god, whose rules, injunctions, and demands covered every aspect of His people’s lives, and exhibiting a too-familiar attitude towards Him — and He was definitely a Him — was a serious offense.
Imagine, then, the outrage of the Jews of the Temple at hearing Jesus dare to announce himself, in their very midst, to be the son of God, and one with his Father! Such a claim was insufferable, heinous, and clearly deserving to be punished in the most extreme manner. Had the controversial young teacher not slipped away, he would have been stoned to death then and there.
A deity that is conceived to be so removed from humanity — accessible only through a privileged caste of priests or intercessors, who interpret for others the desires and requirements of said deity — is not so much a powerful divine being as a means for humans to achieve and maintain power over other humans.
Perhaps for the “establishment,” the most disturbing aspect of the teachings of this upstart prophet was that he offered the kingdom of heaven to all who followed him, offered them the same relationship to the Father that he claimed for himself, the same inheritance of divinity, the same eternal nature.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do. (Jn 14:12)
The concept of the almighty God as a loving Father was radical, but the idea that we could partake in the potency and nature of that divinity was far too radical, and dangerous to the status quo. And so the stage was set for a glorious tragedy.
The message of the kingdom of heaven, and the fatherhood of God, outlived the human sacrifice of Jesus, and the teaching of the Christ went forth to be taken up and propounded far and wide.
Sadly, human awareness being what it is, many who became the most vocal and overriding proponents of this teaching failed to understand it. A new religion arose, in the name of Jesus the Christ, in which faith and belief in the interpretations and pronouncements of his vicars upon earth became paramount, and the personal knowledge of the All-Father and the Divine Sonship within oneself became all but lost.
The revelation of the Divine to humanity is not static, however, not something that occurs once in time and space and must then be approached only through legend and belief. It is constant and progressive. In each age, each generation, there are those who listen to the voice of the divine — not from a burning bush, or in the clouds and thunder on a mountain top, but in the intimate chamber of one’s own heart and mind.
The Lord showed me, so that I did see clearly, that he did not dwell in these temples which men had commanded and set up, but in people’s hearts … his people were his temple, and he dwelt in them. ~ George Fox, 1624-1691, Founder of the Society of Friends (Quakers)
The message of the loving parent, the potent ruler of the earth, from whom the kingdom of heaven is inherited, and of the inner Being that is the true self of very self, the I Am that is part and parcel, one with that great One I AM — this message has been heard again and again, in many languages, in many ways.
Many have heard, have seen, have understood to the degree possible in their time and place, and have passed on to others their beliefs, their insights, their knowledge. Yet each generation must have those who think on the things they have been told, and listen for the still, small voice within that renews the covenant, marries created and creator, and advances the realization and awareness of the Divine I AM within humanity.
In the finite world of creation, there is no absolute truth, for all here partakes of the inherent duality of material existence. Yesterday’s truth is but a steppingstone to today’s, and upon today’s truth we shall rise to discern tomorrow’s truer vision.
It’s only when we can rise above our hopes and fears, our denials, dreams, and expectations, and bask in the inner light of the One I Am, that Being at the heart of us, of our humanity and our divinity, that we begin to find that we are — even as we are in that very moment — in Divine Perfection. And, like truth, perfection is progressive too! Walking in this holy communion with the Divine, we move each day into a greater expression of that Oneness.
Unfolding, unfurling, like the lotus or the rose, our awareness extends to the infinite variety of experience within the One, to the nature of our communion with all beings, with all things, as the composite, the aggregate that is that One. Then, indeed, we encompass the humble receptivity of the creature, and the utter potency of the Creator, the completeness of the whole, opposites united in the sacred union of Self Supreme.
~ by (Rev.) Diana Young, from the Esoteric Christianity eMagazine
(Diana was ordained in 1980 in a non-denominational tradition having roots in personal gnosis, for many years she combined a life “in the world” with private ministry and spiritual study. Currently she resides in Northern California, where she leads a congregation, counsels, and teaches esoteric philosophy.)