How does the world see Jesus after all these centuries since he walked and lived on our world? Is our view accurate? This article: Ditch the modern-day masks of Jesus by Vladimir Mauricio-Perez explains that the world has come to view Jesus in ways that do not really reflect what the Gospels of rhe Bible, or the authority of the Church, have taught the faithful. We say: who can blame anyone for trying to further their understanding of Jesus? Relying soletly on the Bible can only take one so far...we'll blog about this - and the revelation of The Urantia Book that opens a whole new view of the Master, below. But first, here is a snip or two from the article; It is a good article and has some good points that many Christians will agree with:
"Here are just three of his many modern-day masks that can help us reflect and encounter the true Jesus of the Gospels, the one the Church has defended throughout the ages.
"Jesus all-loving, all-permissive
"Jesus, the activist commie
"Jesus was spiritual (but not religious)"
Click to read the article
Given the scanty amount of material included in the Scriptures about Jesus, one cannot be blamed for trying to put a new spin on an old story - or trying to make Jesus' teachings inform a modern world and its challenges. Of course, the basic teachings about Jesus in the Bible still ring true today and have been sufficient to inspire legions of followers to him, but wouldn't it be nice to discover the truth of his real life? More regarding the truth of who Jesus really IS? More regarding the teachings that he really taught and lived? And lastly, not more information regarding the religion ABOUT Jesus, but information regarding the religion OF Jesus?
Jesus lived a full life prior to his death. Using only the Bible as a measure of that life, we get a mere fraction of his 36 years on this earth. The Urantia Book contains a biography of the Master that encompasses over 700 pages of detailed information - a day-to-day chronicle of his life and teachings found nowhere else.
This biography has always been in existence; it was carefully preserved from the times that Jesus lived - preserved for a time when the world most needed it - that time is now, and this biography is part of a larger epochal revelation of truth for our world - The Urantia Book.
But what about these "modern-day masks?" The author above views them in light of Scripture; let's look at each one in light of the teachings of The Urantia Book:
Was Jesus permissive? or was he tolerant?
As the article above points out, Jesus as many see him today is far too "permissive," not expecting us to become better people. He cites examples from Scripture that are very good. And in some ways, we would agree.
In The Urantia Book, Jesus certainly was - and is - all loving. His mission was to portray the reality of God the Father to our creature eyes, and that God is the God of love. But permissive? Maybe "tolerant" is a better word than permissive. But make no mistake: Jesus was very clear on sin - what it is, and its consequences. He was neither permissive nor tolerant of sin; in this, the Bible and The Urantia Book agree. But The Urantia book delves deeper:
100:7.14 He was often indignant at evil, intolerant of sin. He was often mightily moved to resist that which was inimical to the welfare of his children on earth. But his indignation against sin never led to anger at the sinner.
In fact, Jesus is very clear in helping all of us understand the concept of sin in a new way - a way that places responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the sinner. Sin is defined as "deliberate disloyalty" to God - specific behaviors (sins) are not identified, but specific motivations are; i.e., If one deliberately chooses to go against God, that choice constitutes sin. And continued sin leads to iniquity - this is surely the responsibility of the sinner alone - not the result of any antecedent causation, any devil, or any other outside influence. Jesus ennobles mankind to become fully responsible for his/her own spiritual health.
Then Jesus made this final statement: "The Father in heaven does not willingly afflict the children of men. Man suffers, first, from the accidents of time and the imperfections of the evil of an immature physical existence. Next, he suffers the inexorable consequences of sin—the transgression of the laws of life and light. And finally, man reaps the harvest of his own iniquitous persistence in rebellion against the righteous rule of heaven on earth.
Click to read Jesus' revolutionary teachings on "Evil, Sin, and Iniquity"
Was Jesus a social reformer?
We might agree with the author of the article above in that people today like to imagine that Jesus was a social reformer and a political leftist. The truth is that Jesus avoided politics and the book teaches us that his mission was not to make pronouncements about the mores of this day or any other. Even though he is described as " liberal, big-hearted, learned, and tolerant," his concern was always and ever with the individual and that individual's relationship to God. If he did make pronouncements against any vices of his day, they mainly had to do with hypocrisy and unfairness.
140:8.21 Jesus had little to say about the social vices of his day; seldom did he make reference to moral delinquency. He was a positive teacher of true virtue. He studiously avoided the negative method of imparting instruction; he refused to advertise evil. He was not even a moral reformer. He well knew, and so taught his apostles, that the sensual urges of mankind are not suppressed by either religious rebuke or legal prohibitions. His few denunciations were largely directed against pride, cruelty, oppression, and hypocrisy.
And we agree that seeing Jesus as a social reformer lessens the strength of his main mission: that of revealing God to us. Jesus was, and IS, God. Even as a young man, Jesus understood the importance of his mission when he refused to become involved in a very contentious political issue of the day - an issue that threatened to divide him from his family and created great public sentiment against him.
Click to read about Jesus' struggle to avoid political entanglement at age 17
Was Jesus purpose to establish a church?
This last point is a bit thornier, as the author insists that Jesus' purpose on earth was to establish a church; it is a common belief. However, the teachings of The Urantia Book reveal that the "church" that Jesus supposedly established following Peter's confession was not an earthly organized church, but the establishment of the kingdom of heaven in the hearts of mankind. We include the passages here that reveal this truth:
157:4.4 After they had partaken of their meal and were engaged in discussing plans for the forthcoming tour of the Decapolis, Jesus suddenly looked up into their faces and said: "Now that a full day has passed since you assented to Simon Peter's declaration regarding the identity of the Son of Man, I would ask if you still hold to your decision?" On hearing this, the twelve stood upon their feet, and Simon Peter, stepping a few paces forward toward Jesus, said: "Yes, Master, we do. We believe that you are the Son of the living God." And Peter sat down with his brethren.
157:4.5 Jesus, still standing, then said to the twelve: "You are my chosen ambassadors, but I know that, in the circumstances, you could not entertain this belief as a result of mere human knowledge. This is a revelation of the spirit of my Father to your inmost souls. And when, therefore, you make this confession by the insight of the spirit of my Father which dwells within you, I am led to declare that upon this foundation will I build the brotherhood of the kingdom of heaven. Upon this rock of spiritual reality will I build the living temple of spiritual fellowship in the eternal realities of my Father's kingdom. All the forces of evil and the hosts of sin shall not prevail against this human fraternity of the divine spirit. And while my Father's spirit shall ever be the divine guide and mentor of all who enter the bonds of this spirit fellowship, to you and your successors I now deliver the keys of the outward kingdom—the authority over things temporal—the social and economic features of this association of men and women as fellows of the kingdom." And again he charged them, for the time being, that they should tell no man that he was the Son of God.
Any association that was to be established - the "outward kingdom" over which the apostles and their successors were to have authority - was intended to be an outward extension of this inner, spiritual kingdom; it did not turn out that way, but that was the intention.
The Christian church as we know it today has little to do with the unified spiritual brotherhood of the kingdom of heaven, and everything to do with the fact of the crucified, risen Christ. The religion that Jesus taught and lived - the religion of the spirit - was largely ignored and is now little known; rather, the church is now an instititionalized religion of uniform rules and regulation that must be followed in order to achieve salvation.
Despite the belief of the author above, Jesus' religion DOES allow the believer to follow God in their own way, the way of freedom and originality before God. And this is possible because of the indwelling spirit of God, whose presence in the mind of man is the authoritative basis for all that good, true and beautiful if sincerely sought as a guide through life. Said Jesus:
141:5.1 I have come into the world to proclaim spiritual liberty to the end that mortals may be empowered to live individual lives of originality and freedom before God. I do not desire that social harmony and fraternal peace shall be purchased by the sacrifice of free personality and spiritual originality. What I require of you, my apostles, is spirit unity—and that you can experience in the joy of your united dedication to the wholehearted doing of the will of my Father in heaven. You do not have to see alike or feel alike or even think alike in order spiritually to be alike. Spiritual unity is derived from the consciousness that each of you is indwelt, and increasingly dominated, by the spirit gift of the heavenly Father. Your apostolic harmony must grow out of the fact that the spirit hope of each of you is identical in origin, nature, and destiny.
Jesus was both spiritual AND religious. His entire life was a demonstration of how to live a religious life. He was in close contact with the unseen world - the world of the Father, angels, and spirit forces. And he taught us how to live such a life in any age, on any world in this universe.
There are several links to The Urantia Book in this blog, and you are warmly invited to read even more by accessing Part IV of The Urantia Book; The Life and Teachings of Jesus.