Ordinarily, this blog begins with a snippet from an article in the Christian press. I get ideas from certain articles; I like to comment on them using Urantia Book teachings. But at Easter, it is very depressing to find article after article about the atonement - how Jesus was a sacrifice for our terrible sins, and the sins of Adam. And, how God demanded this sacrifice. So, this Easter Week, I am making a blog that I hope will speak to all articles of that sort. They are just my personal musings, but I hope you can stick with me and see how The Urantia Book's teachings about Jesus can really alter one's perceptions of what's real - and for the better!
The draw of Holy Week
Holy Week is a big deal for most Christian people, including me. I count myself in that group, although I am not really a Chrsitian. My religion has evolved since I found The Urantia Book, and so, I now consider myself a "Jesusonian." I particularly like this characterization of the job of the Jesusonian:
195:10.5 In winning souls for the Master, it is not the first mile of compulsion, duty, or convention that will transform man and his world, but rather the second mile of free service and liberty-loving devotion that betokens the Jesusonian reaching forth to grasp his brother in love and sweep him on under spiritual guidance toward the higher and divine goal of mortal existence. Christianity even now willingly goes the first mile, but mankind languishes and stumbles along in moral darkness because there are so few genuine second-milers—so few professed followers of Jesus who really live and love as he taught his disciples to live and love and serve.
The events of Holy Week seem to impact me in an even greater measure after finding out so much about the real story in The Urantia Book. Reading the incredibly detailed account of those terrible days will make anyone who reads them want to do everything they can to further the teachings of this Son of Man who gave his life for his ideals. That the original message has gotten lost in the maze of Christian thoughts of atonement and a vengeful God makes the desire to share Jesus' simple and beautiful Gospel of the kingdom even more pressing.
When I was a kid in Catholic school, and even into my late teens and early twenties, Holy Week was a special time. I can remember going to church on several of the Holy Week days, when special ceremonies were performed. The church itself is very starkly decorated during this time. The statues are covered in purple wraps, there are no flowers. All is plain and bare. My predominant feeling during those times was one of great sadness. I felt - and still feel - so very sad about how Jesus was treated and how he suffered. But back then, there was also a pressing feeling of guilt because I was taught - as you probably were, too - that Jesus suffered all of that agony because I was a wretched sinner.
Part of me never really believed that. It just did not make sense that the actions of two human beings (Adam and Eve) could stir up the emotions of God so dramatically that he had no recourse but to kill his only begotten son to make up for it. Who would do that? I can't even imagine a human father acting that way.
Things I discovered in The Urantia Book
When I found The Urantia Book, not only did I discover that the atonement was not part of Jesus' mission here. I also found out that Adam and Eve were not the first humans, but divine beings in their own right. It's true that they did not do the right thing. It's true that they suffered for what they did wrong and so did their children. But there has never been a "fall of man" because of Adam and Eve.
I also discovered that the real villains in the history of our world are Caligastia, Lucifer, and Satan. Had it not been for them, Adam and Eve might have fared much better. One of the most important parts of Jesus' multi-faceted bestowal was to take back the sovereignty of the planet from these rebels and cast them out. And he did that on Mt Herman during what has come to be known as the "Great Temptation."
Jesus - an greater hero than I ever thought
All of this is leading up to why Holy Week has special significance for me since finding out the truth about Jesus. The truth is that Jesus really did not have to die on the cross. He was given a chance to return to the Father after his baptism. This happened during the Forty Days on Mt Hermon:
136:3.5 While he tarried on the mountain, talking with Gabriel, the Constellation Father of Edentia appeared to Jesus and Gabriel in person, saying: "The records are completed. The sovereignty of Michael number 611,121 over his universe of Nebadon rests in completion at the right hand of the Universal Father. I bring to you the bestowal release of Immanuel, your sponsor-brother for the Urantia incarnation. You are at liberty now or at any subsequent time, in the manner of your own choosing, to terminate your incarnation bestowal, ascend to the right hand of your Father, receive your sovereignty, and assume your well-earned unconditional rulership of all Nebadon. I also testify to the completion of the records of the superuniverse, by authorization of the Ancients of Days, having to do with the termination of all sin-rebellion in your universe and endowing you with full and unlimited authority to deal with any and all such possible upheavals in the future. Technically, your work on Urantia and in the flesh of the mortal creature is finished. Your course from now on is a matter of your own choosing."
But Jesus did not choose to leave Urantia:
136:4.9 [Gabriel] indicated to Jesus that it would afford his Paradise brother, Immanuel, great satisfaction if he, Jesus, should see fit to finish up his earth career of incarnation as he had so nobly begun it, always subject to the Father's will. On the third day of this isolation Jesus promised himself he would go back to the world to finish his earth career, and that in a situation involving any two ways he would always choose the Father's will. And he lived out the remainder of his earth life always true to that resolve. Even to the bitter end he invariably subordinated his sovereign will to that of his heavenly Father.
And then he spent the rest of the forty days formulating plans and making decisions that would guide his ministry to our world. That is a section that is so fascinating and so full of unknown details about Jesus ... click here to read about those decisions.
What was Jesus' real mission here, if not atonement?
Jesus' mission here encompassed the following elements:
He was to regain sovereignty from the rebels
He was to reveal the heavenly Father to mortals and reveal the good news of sonship with God and the reality of the brotherhood of all humanity - the gospel of the kingdom.
"God can be revealed to the finite sons of the material worlds, by the divine Son of the spiritual realms, only as a Father. You can know the Eternal as a Father; you can worship him as the God of universes, the infinite Creator of all existences."
And he was to reveal the Father through a life lived as a normal human being; a human being whose life was dedicated to doing the will of the Father in all things. His was a model life - a pattern life - that was to be the inspiration for the creatures inhabiting the whole universe of Nebadon, and for all time.
Finally, he revealed the religion of personal spiritual experience that is appropriate for all of us - free of dogma, tradition and crystallization. It is how the captives are liberated to live lives of originality and freedom:
169:4.13 Jesus is the spiritual lens in human likeness which makes visible to the material creature Him who is invisible. He is your elder brother who, in the flesh, makes known to you a Being of infinite attributes whom not even the celestial hosts can presume fully to understand. But all of this must consist in the personal experience of the individual believer. God who is spirit can be known only as a spiritual experience. God can be revealed to the finite sons of the material worlds, by the divine Son of the spiritual realms, only as a Father. You can know the Eternal as a Father; you can worship him as the God of universes, the infinite Creator of all existences."
Part of every normal life is death. Just as certainly as every mortal is born of woman, every mortal must eventually die. Jesus was not to be exempted from that necessity. And this is the heart of the matter, and why his horrible sufferings and torment are so remarkable to witness for someone like me. Knowing that he could have terminated his mission once the Lucifer rebellion had been ended that day on Mt Hermon, but that he chose instead to fulfill the will of the Father to complete his mortal life - well, that's pretty heroic.
The life he lived is his legacy - not his death
Studying the life of Jesus is extremely eye-opening. To think that he could have chosen not to live that life in our midst says so much about Jesus. For, studying and learning the details of that life is so valuable to any person who wants to know the best way to live. He gave us that. He left no writing. He did not establish a church. But he lived a life dedicated to the Father's will. And in doing so, he revealed that Father to us, to our "creature eyes." Said Jesus:
180:6.8 "Down here I have taught you in proverbs and spoken to you in parables. I did so because you were only children in the spirit; but the time is coming when I will talk to you plainly concerning the Father and his kingdom. And I shall do this because the Father himself loves you and desires to be more fully revealed to you. Mortal man cannot see the spirit Father; therefore have I come into the world to show the Father to your creature eyes. But when you have become perfected in spirit growth, you shall then see the Father himself."
He told us about the Father over and over. He taught us how to communicate with the Father, through prayer and meditation. He showed us by example how to relate more successfully with our brothers and sisters. He told us we are not inherently sinful, and relieved us of that terrible burden of original sin. And he revealed a God of love, whose nature is incompatible with any form of atonement. To think that he stayed and fulfilled such a life of example and inspiration when he could have terminated his bestowal earlier fills my heart with gratitude.
His last week of life was so full of goodness and humanity...so full of lessons that are as fresh today as they were then. His devoting a whole day to a callow youth who simply craved his companionship; his new commandment, given at the Last Supper, stands as a testament to his whole life and provides a simple blueprint for right conduct; his humility in washing the apostles' feet is another of those lessons of goodness; and his very human agony in the garden, when he realized what was to happen holds such meaning for all of us. He endured and he prevailed and even up to the last, he ministered to those around him - the women on the way to Golgotha, the thief on the cross, the Roman soldier who witnessed his bravery. But of all the goodness that Jesus displayed, his words of forgiveness for those who killed him reverberate throughout the centuries.
Jesus revealed a God of love - and forgiveness
And this is a thought about that that echoes for me: if Jesus revealed the heavenly Father to us, and he forgave those who transgressed against him so horribly, how can anyone think that God would heap punishment and shame and guilt on all people for all time because of something that Adam and Eve supposedly did? And demand that Jesus die because of it...? It does not make sense. If Jesus can forgive, we must know that the heavenly Father also forgives his erring children.
Finally, I offer this passage from Meaning of the Death on the Cross
Jesus lived and died for a whole universe, not just for the races of this one world. While the mortals of the realms had salvation even before Jesus lived and died on Urantia, it is nevertheless a fact that his bestowal on this world greatly illuminated the way of salvation; his death did much to make forever plain the certainty of mortal survival after death in the flesh.
Though it is hardly proper to speak of Jesus as a sacrificer, a ransomer, or a redeemer, it is wholly correct to refer to him as a savior. He forever made the way of salvation (survival) more clear and certain; he did better and more surely show the way of salvation for all the mortals of all the worlds of the universe of Nebadon.
Happy Easter, everyone!!!