The Mystic's Jesus
By Martin LeFevre
Apr 15, 2022, 11:20am

To my mind, a mystic is simply a person who denies dogmas, creeds, rituals and beliefs, and has a direct experiencing of the sacred. Obviously that means the Christian's Jesus Christ is very different than the mystic's Jesus of Nazareth.

To a Christian, Easter, which is the cornerstone of Christianity, means death and resurrection. A believer in Jesus Christ says, "You can't have the joy of resurrection unless you've gone through a death, and death without resurrection is just hopeless."

To a mystic, for whom death is not separate from life, the belief that "death without resurrection is just hopeless" is pitiable nonsense. In deeper states of meditation, the actuality of death, which is in every breath, draws near, without fear.

Clearly Jesus transcended death well before he entered Jerusalem, and lived this understanding. He said, "Truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit."

That means to die while fully alive - that is, to psychologically die -is to enter and grow in the mystery and immeasurable richness of life, since life and death are only separated by and in the human mind.

The resurrection is as real as the Easter bunny to one that actually experiences what Jesus was pointing toward. Though I'm no fan of Nietzsche, he's worth quoting at length on Jesus crucifixion:

"This unexpected shameful death, on the cross, which was in general reserved for the rabble, [engendered] the feeling of being bewildered and shocked to their very depths, and the suspicion that such a death might be the refutation of their cause."

It brought "the terrifying question mark 'Why did this happen?' Everything had to be necessary, had to have meaning, the highest significance. An absurd problem arose: 'How could God have allowed that to happen?'"

To this, the disturbed reason of the little community found a terrifyingly absurd answer: God gave his Son for the forgiveness of sins, as a sacrifice...the guilt sacrifice, and this in the most repulsive, most barbaric form, the sacrifice of the guiltless for the sins of the guilty! What ghastly paganism!"

"For Jesus had abolished the very concept of 'guilt' - he had denied any separation between God and man, he lived this unity of God and man as his 'good news.' From now on, step by step, there enters into the figure of the redeemer the doctrine of his death as a sacrificial death, the doctrine of resurrection, with which the whole concept of 'blessedness,' the whole and only reality of the gospel, is conjured away - in favor of a state after death!"

Strong stuff, even in our times, even as another world war has started. Yet the hold of Christian nationalism is still so strong that the New York Times feels compelled to feature this claptrap during Holy Week: "If the resurrection of Jesus Christ did not happen, then all bets are off. But if it actually happened, then there's all the hope in the world."

The idea that Jesus "defeated death" by physically resurrecting from the dead and walking around for 40 days before physically ascending into heaven is childish. Easter is about two things: the denial of the failure of Jesus mission; and a collective fear of death projected into a triumph over death.

Jesus' followers were devastated and shattered by his horrible death. They didn't know what to make of it, and it took two centuries for early Christians to coalesce around the cunning explanation that Jesus' crucifixion was predestined, and that he was sent and meant to die for our sins all along.

With mystical experiencing (meditative experiencing is a better term, but both are loaded), no intellectual contortion predestining Jesus' crucifixion, and no supernatural belief in his physically rising from the dead are required.

Jesus was not a guiltless sacrifice for the sins of the guilty, nor did he teach, "We must all be great." What then compels another NYT columnist, "an outsider to Christianity" at that, to proclaim, "Christianity gleams with a light it often lacks in today's politics, and even in its pews?"

Jesus mission was to bring about a radical change in the human heart. His mission failed (though he did not), and he was scourged and crucified. His mission failed because the people of his time refused, as the vast majority of people still do today, to be self-knowing and continuously learn about themselves.

Let's be done with Christianity's fixation and fiction of resurrection. Jesus was a man, not God (he said he was the "son of man," not the Son of God), though he was not broken.

Since Jesus was a man, a human being, we don't have to be broken. And if we are, we can heal and be whole again. We can inwardly learn, forgive others and ourselves, and grow as human beings.

Not however if we continue to make heroes out of those who profess their hatred, however justified, and call for more "weapons, weapons, weapons" of war.


Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He welcomes dialogue.

Published with permission of the author. All copyright remains with the author.

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