I. The Message of the Crucifixion 1-5
- For learning purposes, let us consider the crucifixion again. I did not dwell on it before because of the fearful connotations you may associate with it. The only emphasis laid up on it so far has been that it was not a form of punishment. Nothing, however, can be explained in negative terms only. There is a positive interpretation of the crucifixion that is wholly devoid of fear, and therefore wholly benign in what it teaches, if it is properly understood.
- The crucifixion is nothing more than an extreme example. Its value, like the value of any teaching device, lies solely in the kind of learning it facilitates. It can be, and has been, misunderstood. This is only because the fearful are apt to perceive fearfully. I have already told you that you can always call on me to share my decision, and thus make it stronger. I have also told you that the crucifixion was the last useless journey the Sonship need take and that it represents release from fear to anyone who understands it. While I emphasized only the resurrection before, the purpose of the crucifixion and how it actually led to the resurrection was not clarified then. Nevertheless, it has a definite contribution to make to your own life, and if you will consider it without fear, it will help you understand your own role as a teacher.
- You have probably reacted for years as if you were being crucified. This is a marked tendency of the separated, who always refuse to consider what they have done to themselves. Projection means anger, anger fosters assault, and assault promotes fear. The real meaning of the crucifixion lies in the apparent intensity of the assault of some of the Sons of God upon another. This, of course, is impossible, and must be fully understood as impossible. Otherwise, I cannot serve as a model for learning.
- Assault can ultimately be made only on the body. There is little doubt that one body can assault another and can even destroy it. Yet if destruction itself is impossible, anything that is destructible cannot be real. Its destruction, therefore, does not justify anger. To the extent to which you believe that it does, you are accepting false premises and teaching them to others. The message the crucifixion was intended to teach was that it is not necessary to perceive any form of assault and persecution, because you cannot be persecuted. If you respond with anger, you must be equating yourself with the destructible, and are therefore regarding yourself insanely.
- I have made it perfectly clear that I am like you and you are like me, but our fundamental equality can be demonstrated only through joint decision. You are free to perceive yourself as persecuted if you choose. When you do choose to react that way, however, you might remember that I was persecuted as the world judges and did not share this evaluation for myself. And because I did not share, I did not strengthen it. I therefore offered a different interpretation of attack, and one which I want to share with you. If you will believe it, you will help me teach it.
In today’s text reading, Jesus assures us of the positive message we are to take from the crucifixion – the only message we are to take from the crucifixion. We are to see the crucifixion of Christ as the last useless journey. When we understand what the crucifixion of Christ really means, we are released from fear. We come to understand our role as a teacher, for how we live, the choices we make in our human form, how we understand the crucifixion, will determine how we teach and what others will learn from our lives.
Obviously, bodies can hurt each other. The crucifixion is an extreme example of what we go through each and every day our lives here in the hellish, separated, ego realm. Jesus is not condemning us for painting ourselves as the victims of persecution, but He is certainly not condoning the fact that our walks with the Lord have often been tainted by thinking of ourselves as victims. As humans we adore other people to hear our tales of woe. We pour out our hearts to anyone who will listen to us about what others have put us through – our parents, our teachers, our husbands, our children, the government, our classmates. We act as if we are the ones being crucified, Jesus says. It is a rare bunny that considers what we do to ourselves – the choices we make, the things we say, the insane thinking and doing that wreak havoc upon our state of being. When we blame others for our unhappiness, our sense of separation, loneliness, and despair instead of taking responsibility to find the real culprit, we project. When we project all the blame to others, we get angry, we lash out, and by lashing out we do not promote love, peace, and goodwill, we promote fear, we promote conflict, we promote ill will.
Jesus tells us that the only way in which He can serve as a model for our learning is if we come to the true understanding of the message of the crucifixion. The crucifixion is an extreme example of what the Sons of God would inflict upon one another if it were possible for this to happen. It is extremely significant that we understand that it is absolutely impossible for a Son of God to assault another Son of God. Our identity is in Being, and only in Being can Jesus serve as a model for us.
As long as our identity is in crisis and we still cling to our humanity, the crucifixion will distress us, will make us feel guilty, will fill us with sorrow, shame, and a sense of contriteness. We will feel we owe Jesus something and may even go to ridiculous measures in our efforts to “pay Him back” for suffering for us. We may give up things that we enjoy, be extra “good,” put more money in the collection plates, wear sackcloth and bloody our knees in hopes of relieving the agony of His time on the cross. In our right minds we would know that this would not work, but the ego is not sane and will tell us all kinds of things about the crucifixion which derange our minds.
However, when we know who and what we really are, Jesus serves as a model for us. Not as a model to be crucified, but as a model of giving up our humanity in exchange for our divinity.
Only egos can batter, assault, and destroy other egos; only flesh can war upon other flesh. As an extreme example of this, the humiliation, bloodshed, scorn, mockery, suffering and torment of the Crucifixion of Christ serves as a model that there is nothing that can happen to us in the flesh and in our egos that will deny us our divine and holy Sonship. Jesus could not serve as a model of this if He had died peacefully in sleep as an old man. If the angels of God had delivered Him from the torment that was to come, we would have been denied the resurrection. It was the Cross that showed us who and what we really are – not the vulnerable flesh body of ego, but the divine and everlasting Son of God Who is beyond reach to the meanest and most vile assault of the ego-enchanted.
Jesus serves as our model of learning only when He convinces us that whatever another person does to us in this realm – to our bodies, to our “boundaries,” to the ideas we have about ourselves, our possessions, and so forth – cannot really hurt the real and everlasting “Us.” Who we really are is beyond anything at all that can possibly happen to us in this realm, and if we do not understand this, we do not get the teachings of Christ. To be like Jesus, to have the mind of Christ formed in us, to undo the ego in our minds, is to recognize and fully understand that what happens in the flesh does not matter unless we make it matter. And if we make it matter, Christ is not our model of learning. We are living in the insane realm of that which can be destroyed rather than the creative realm of that which is forever.
This is an entire stepping out of this world’s system of protecting the body and living for the body. Jesus asks us to live and care about, and only live and care about the Sonship of God, the Brotherhood of Christ.
As long as we want to identify with ego’s insane world, we can go on accusing this one, pointing our finger at that one, blaming our parents, our sister, our brother, get all worked up over lack of respect, the dangers we face on the street, the conflicts we have with our coworkers, the grudges we have toward our government officials. We can say we are persecuted. We can grouse. We can take up arms. We can go to war, call ourselves Christian soldiers, and name our battles holy. But Jesus is not our model for learning. We have confused the issue. We think of ourselves as flesh; we think that the ego and ego world should play “nice,” we have missed the message of the crucifixion. We hold our humanity dear to us, we love our flesh and hold out false hope for flesh and blood, and because we love our flesh we do not know our spirits and we cannot know God.
Jesus assures us that He is like us, but we must choose to be like Him. We can take as long as we want. I can continue to see myself as a victim of my mother, of my sister, of my brother, my teachers, my ex-lovers and first husband. I can continue to see myself as not being respected by this one or appreciated by that one. Whatever my ego tries to make me feel, I can continue to perceive myself as a victim, as persecuted, but Jesus went through the crucifixion. Jesus, holy Son of God, went through far worse than I can ever imagine going through and He did not see Himself as anybody’s victim. His followers failed to get the message; the apostles failed to teach the true message of the cross. It became mythologized; His blood was made into a magic potion, His stripes into a sacrifice but only when we understand what the Crucifixion was meant to teach us, can we be like Him and be the miracle workers He calls us to be.
This is all we will cover for today. In your daily devotional practice, ask the Lord to illuminate this passage to your mind and heart. Pray that you learn the true meaning of the Crucifixion, to remove all fear, guilt, shame, and sense of sacrifice from our consciousness, for the Crucifixion is a lesson of love. I want to make a special note of thanks to Linda R. from www.i-choose-love.com for prayerfully reading this passage with me and discussing its meaning as we devoted our afternoon to studying The Message of the Crucifixion in its entirety. We are called to walk this path not by ourselves alone for we cannot learn the truth of God alone. And for this we are utterly thankful!
 A Course in Miracles. Chapter Six The lessons of love. I. The message of the crucifixion 1-5. Foundation for Inner Peace, Second Edition (1992).
For daily 2021 Workbook lessons visit www.i-choose-love.com
Audio credit: www.eckiefriar.com