Unless we look more deeply into the life of Jesus than the mere historical account we shall miss the lesson, for it is all representative of that great universal fact, the history of a soul. There is but one Soul, and that is the Christ Universal. Jesus Christ was passing through a change in consciousness when the crucifixion came. He said, “Follow me.” If we would be relieved of the burdens of sin, sickness and death we must take all the steps he took. This is the lesson. He went all the way to the complete demonstration, and he is a safe guide. We should inquire into the meaning of every experience he had. The universal Principle, the Over-soul of this planet, was working its way into expression through this man. The same work is to be accomplished in all men. We are indissolubly linked with Jesus, and by the same obedience he gave to the Father we shall arrive at spiritual dominion.
The important point in this lesson is I Am mastery. The crucifixion means the crossing out in consciousness of certain errors that have become fixed states of mind. There comes a time in the life of every man when the old pleasures grow pale and insipid and he begins to long for something better. Many people, when they reach this place, think they must die and go to heaven to find happiness, so they begin to look forward to a future place. This is not the teaching of Jesus Christ. We must begin to live here and now. You must face this question sooner or later. Instead of retiring from life or going away somewhere, you will find your satisfaction by entering into a deeper consciousness. You may seem to let go of the world and in a measure to retire, but you are really living a deeper, fuller, larger life than when you seemed more active in a worldly way. When you are through with the world’s way it all seems as child’s play, and you see that the real object of life is to attain spiritual life.
By divine right you have dominion, and it is only attained through mind. It is an inner consciousness. The great Universal Spirit shows us step by step how to enter into dominion and the overcomer’s joy. We do this through dealing with states of mind, constantly holding to the highest aspirations of the soul and eliminating by denial all that opposes the high ideal. In order to reach the goal, we must day by day let go of the old and take hold of the new. This is the crossing out of error, replacing it with Truth. It is often a crucifixion.
Every time you take a definite stand for the attainment of a certain thing you set up opposition in consciousness. That is, the old states of mind try to go on exercising dominion as they have been accustomed to doing, and they meet the new thoughts and ideas which have become active in the mind. The result is a conflict, which ends only with the complete crossing out of the errors. These are the devils which are to be cast out. They are simply states of mind that are adverse to Truth. They are your own creations. By your word you have formed them and given them a certain degree of life and intelligence. If you speak to them in the understanding of your Christ dominion and authority you can cast them out. But you must speak the word. When you know that I Am is your real seat of power, you can be in absolute dominion over every thought.
This work is not child’s play. The crucifixion has been called a tragedy, but it need not come all at once. We are passing through the crucifixion every day, and if we are faithful in all of the steps as they come we will hardly know when we take the final one, in such order will the transformation take place.
You have a spiritual center, and when you declare, “All power is given unto me in mind and in body,” you bring all thoughts to the center. There you are linked with the Universal Consciousness. To declare that you are the “king of the Jews” may bring you a crown of thorns. I would not tell you that the way is always easy, but you will be the victor if you go forward. The natural man is intrenched in the intellect, and there is where the crucifixion takes place. The name Golgotha, meaning skull, is significant in this connection. Everything takes place in mind, and all the crucifixions are in the intellect.
Jesus uttered but few words on the cross. He was working within. The best overcomers are those who are quiet and silent outwardly in the midst of the crucifixion, but active in the inner consciousness.
Never criticise another when he is being crucified. The same man of the flesh is in every one to be overcome, and if you have not yet arrived at the hour of his crucifixion, you will arrive.
Some one has said that the greatest issue before the people is how to attain health. This issue involves a consideration of eternal life, therefore the lesson we have this morning has a direct bearing upon health.
Instead of “The Resurrection,” the original meaning of this lesson is “The Risen Life.” It does not refer especially to the man Jesus, but to the raising of all life to the Divine consciousness. This is an important subject to the race and to every individual. It has been a matter for thought by men in all times, and is the foundation of the Christian faith. “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain.” If the resurrection of this one man did not take place, then we have but little hope. The demonstration was necessary to the race.
This matter of the resurrection of Jesus, and the possible overcoming of death by all men, has been warped and misunderstood by religious teachers until but a vestige of the original truth is taught. Christian literature is dark with the death of Jesus and his going to a far-away heaven, right in the face of his declaration, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” The fact clearly brought out in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus is that man has power to overcome death, and that Jesus’ experience was a demonstration and example for all. Jesus did not give up his body and leave it to the worms, but he put new life into it after the old had been crossed out. So Jesus did not die, and should never be referred to in the same category with those who fall asleep in the Adam dream.
The body is self-perpetuating, self-renewing; and this alone should give a hint of the importance of a right understanding of man’s organism, and the power over it attained by Jesus. Through false reasoning all kinds of wrong conclusions have been reached and taught for truth. One of these errors is that death is a part of the great original plan. Scripture has been quoted again and again to sustain this idea, but it should be remembered that “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” is said of the mortal man, who dies because he falls short of obedience to the Divine Law. There is another man, the true man, the Christ of God, who never fails to measure up to the Divine standard, and eternal life is his reward. So we should put away all theories about dying, and study life as it is in Spirit and as it is manifest in spiritual man. Then we shall arrive at the right understanding.
Again and again cases are cited of those who went into a comatose condition and have afterwards returned to consciousness; and some people have claimed that there is no difference between such an occurrence and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But this is not true. His resurrection was far more than these temporary awakenings. He resurrected his body through a law which is set forth in the Scriptures under many symbols.
Certain discords produce certain effects. Anger, jealousy, fear, lust, etc., are the causes of the ills of the body. The sum total of these error thoughts is called in Scripture “carnal mind.” This is an adverse state of consciousness, and it is this that causes the death of the body.
Then the first step in the resurrection is to do away with “carnal mind.” This crossing out or crucifixion of error takes place daily in those who are following Jesus. Paul said, “I die daily.” Unless the second step, the resurrection, also follows daily, the demonstration of life cannot be made.
So we find as we analyze the situation that the body is not responsible for all the errors manifest in it, nor for its material appearance. The mortal ego makes pictures that are untrue, and builds them by thought into the muscles and blood and bones.
The difference between the resurrection of Jesus Christ and all temporary resurrections is that he did away with error and wiped it completely out of his consciousness, and brought his mind and body into their spiritual perfection. He took on himself the “likeness of sinful flesh,” that he might do this great overcoming work for the race and show all men how they might oyercome death through taking the same mental steps that he took.
The body he raised was the same body that was crucified. This is beyond question. He not only appeared to his disciples, but showed them the marks of the nails in his hands and of the spear in his side. The crucifixion on Calvary was the final step in a work which had been going on in him for thirty-three years, and when he arose he was entirely free from the carnal mind with all its limitations. He had overcome, put entirely out of consciousness, all that carnal mind which he had taken on that he might free the race from its bondage. His body was no longer subject to the disintegrating effects of that mind; and this was the difference between his resurrection and that of other men. He raised Lazarus and many others; but they had not overcome the carnal mind, and the same old errors again produced the same results. The body is destroyed by sin and ignorance, and made alive in Christ through understanding and righteousness.
Jesus Christ was an overcomer, and all of his experiences tend to this one thing. The greatest work man can do is to follow him in this overcoming life. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” A throne is a seat of dominion. Jesus Christ’s throne is within every man who will follow him all the way to the overcoming of death.