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CHRIST, THE MEDIATOR, REVEALS MAN’S ONENESS WITH GOD
Metaphysical Application Ideas for The Christian Science Bible Lesson on

Doctrine of Atonement”
for October 10-16, 2022

by Kathy Fitzer at Lake Saint Louis, MO
kathyfitzer@gmail.com


INTRODUCTION AND GOLDEN TEXT

The doctrine of atonement teaches us about our (and everyone’s) at-one-ment with God. Even though this at-one-ment can never truly be severed, sometimes we lose sight of it. There seems to be an interruption of the harmony that is God’s law.  Gratefully, Love (another name for God) wakes us up through the light of Christ and brings thought back to see what has always been.  This awakening is known as the reconciliation (reunion or reuniting) of man to God. Recently our lessons have focused a lot on the fact that there is only one God — one reality. But, this week, this idea is expanded to include that there is also only one Christ.  A wonderful sense of the inclusivity of God’s love comes through.

The Golden Text, as translated in the Common English Bible, says, “There is one God the Father. All things come from him, and we belong to him. And there is one Lord Jesus Christ. All things exist through him, and we live through him.”  God is presented as the source of all things, and all mankind as the effect, or expression.  This expression lives and moves in response to the Source.

Thinking more about all things living through (or by) the “Lord Jesus Christ”, I reviewed (and I encourage you to do your own deep dive) into what Mary Baker writes about Christ. One description I found helpful is “… Christ expresses God’s spiritual, eternal nature. The name is synonymous with Messiah, and alludes to the spirituality which is taught, illustrated, and demonstrated in the life of which Christ Jesus was the embodiment” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 333:3).  To me, this shows that although Jesus thoroughly embodied the Christ, Christ is not limited to the person of Jesus.  More about this in Section 1.


RESPONSIVE READING

There’s a lot of hope in these verses from Isaiah.  As we express meekness (humility) and recognize our need of God, good will reign. No matter how messed up the human picture seems, we can be confident that joy will be restored, there will be no more reason for complaint, and we’ll see things clearly.

The author of Ephesians encourages Christians to move on from that which would divide them.  Historically, Jews had a hard time accepting that Gentiles (without having come from the traditions of strict Jewish law) could have equal status with them.  There literally was a wall in the temple defining a line that Gentiles could not cross (v. 14).  But, Paul breaks down those barriers of division.  He taught that anyone who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ, recognizes Jesus as the Messiah, and acknowledges the ultimate sacrifice that he made to show mankind their oneness with the Father, are “members of the “household of God”.   With this unity, there is strength.  The distinction is made in verse 21 that “God’s new people don’t gather at the temple to worship God.  They gather as the temple.  They are the building itself, and God dwells among them.  This reality is ongoing, becoming more and more effective.” (Common English Study Bible).

There’s an important lesson here as we work through the divisiveness that seems so prevalent in our world.  We need to be alert to things as subtle as judging how individuals practice Christian Science, to as blatant as judging people by the color of their skin, their political beliefs, and how (or if) they worship.  As we humbly yield to Love, and accept everyone as the precious child of the one Father, we will more clearly see God’s qualities shining through each one, and thus recognize their true identity.


SECTION 1: ONE MEDIATOR — CHRIST REVEALED BY THE HOLY GHOST

The Golden Text is expanded here.  We read, “there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (citation B5, I Timothy 2:5). I wanted to get a better understanding of “mediator.” According to the Greek, it is a go-between or a reconciler; “one who intervenes between two, either in order to make or restore peace and friendship, or form a compact, or for ratifying a covenant.”  Webster defines a mediator as a go-between, a peacemaker, or an arbitrator. It is often thought of as an individual person (perhaps a priest).

An example of such mediation was Jesus’ response in the case of the woman caught in the act of adultery.  Rather than agreeing with one “side” or the other, Jesus asked for self-examination by the Pharisees and sent the woman away with the directive to “sin no more.”  Peace was established between the two parties, but more importantly, Jesus turned each one to see their relationship to God more clearly. As a result, they were reunited to their permanent, spiritual selfhood. So, is the human Jesus the one mediator referred to in I Timothy?  There are not only differing views among Christians, but also other faith traditions don’t acknowledge Jesus at all.  So, how do we think about the idea of there being one mediator?

As I asked myself this question, it came to me that Love is universal, and powerful enough to break through every misconception.  It seems to me that thinking of God as universal Intelligence and Love, infinite Truth and all-powerful Good, as described in Christian Science, helps to unite differing views, and clarifies thought for individuals. Mary Baker Eddy defines Christ as “the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness” (citation S2, 332:4-5, 9-11). This spiritual sense of Christ is universal.

The divine message of God speaks to all mankind, and serves to enable the thought of any and all to feel connected to the peace, love, and care of the universal Father/Mother — the omnipotent power of Good — that is embracing all.  To me, this impersonal and universal Christ is the one Mediator.  And it is not dependent on the presence of an individual — whether priest, parent, or therapist.  Sometimes, it is true that an individual can help another see things clearly, but it is always the Christ that is communicating, and is not dependent on the presence (or words) of any human.

John the Baptist prepared the thought of the people of that time so they could receive the Christ, as fully expressed by Jesus. He promised that another would come who would baptize (or purify the thought of) everyone with The Holy Ghost (cit. B3, Mark 1:3,4,7-11).  The Holy Ghost is the ever-present Comforter, or Science (Truth) of God.  Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “The baptism of the Holy Ghost is the spirit of Truth cleansing from all sin; giving mortals new motives, new purposes, new affections, all pointing upward.” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 204:12–15). Elsewhere, she wrote, “Again I reiterate this cardinal point: There is but one Christ, and Christ is divine — the Holy Ghost, or spiritual idea of the divine Principle, Love. … The Holy Spirit takes of the things of God and showeth them unto the creature; …” (Message to The Mother Church for 1901, Mary Baker Eddy, pp. 8:2–4; 9:22–23).

This sense of Christ is a force of Love that isn’t dependent on a particular theology or religion.  Jesus said that his doctrine wasn’t his … but belonged to God (cit. S6, 109: 28).  This doctrine, or teaching, included the doctrine of atonement — or man’s unity with God (cit. S5, 181-9).  This unity can’t be confined to a few.  God’s will of unity “must be universally done” (cit. S7, 202:3) This is the one mediator that makes itself felt by all.


SECTION 2: RECONCILIATION THROUGH LOVE

We read in I John, fourth chapter, that God “sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins … God is love” (cit. B6, I John 4:10,16).  At the heart of Jesus’ ministry was his expression of Love.  He taught people not to judge, but to see everyone as God’s child.  He fully expressed Christ … the mediator that reconciles man to God.

The story of Zacchaeus is a classic example of Jesus reaching out to those most in need of transformation and reconciliation.  We don’t know whether Zacchaeus’ desire to see Jesus was just one of curiosity, or if he was actually longing for healing (even if he hadn’t previously taken any steps to change his behavior). It doesn’t really matter.  Jesus must have seen him as the just man of God’s creating, even while Zacchaeus was humanly behaving in a less than upright manner.  Here was an example of the Christ, “the true idea voicing good”, breaking through the mortal facade of separation from God and reuniting Zacchaeus to his birthright of honesty and uprightness.  Jesus wasn’t concerned about what others thought — those who were critical of Jesus keeping company with a sinful tax collector.  Jesus recognized his mission, which was “to seek and to save that which was lost” (cit. B7, Luke 19:1-10). That’s a great definition of mediator.

In Paul’s letter to the Galatians we find really good guidance for how to let the Christ be expressed through us! The Message puts it this way: “If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law.” (cit. B8, Galatians 6:1,2) Jesus didn’t reprimand Zacchaeus. He didn’t embarrass him. There’s no indication he even judged him.  But, just by humbly and tenderly reaching out to him, he restored him to his “permanent selfhood” — the way his Father/Mother Love made him to be.  This is a great model for how to love our fellow man by seeing their true nature so completely that those who have strayed are restored.

We find another definition of Christ here … “the real man and his relation to God.”  Jesus embodied this sense of Christ more completely than anyone before or after. He completely understood that his true nature (and the true nature of all) is inseparable from the one Creator.  We can see this Christ nature in ourselves and others, too.  This nature can be seen as one’s “permanent self”.  That’s a term shared with me by a CedarS’ counselor.  Sometimes we lose sight of that permanent self, or Christ nature.  But, it can be restored as as “we turn from sin and lose sight of mortal selfhood” (cit. S10, 316:3).  That is the reconciliation of Love!


SECTION 3:  LOVE IS THE MEDIATOR

Jesus healed by understanding that God made man “in the  image and likeness of Himself — in the image of Spirit, not matter” (cit. S13, 94:1-3).  An image cannot be separated from the original.  When you take a picture of something, the only way the photo (image) doesn’t look exactly like the original is if there is a distortion in or on the lens. The same is true of an image in a mirror. Similarly, our experience (including our health) only appears to deviate from the perfection of Spirit when the lens (or mirror) through which we are looking is distorted by mortal sense.   The lens through which Jesus viewed life — and the lens available to us, too — is the lens of the Holy Ghost or Christ which reveals the divine Principle of all being.  It is Love, “underlying, overlying, and encompassing all true being” (cit. S15, 496:15).  There is nothing outside of this divine Principle … Love reflected in loveliness.  What God sees and knows is what we can see and know.  The true image cannot be lost.

Paul understood this oneness of God and man — the unity of the original and its divine likeness — when he wrote to the Romans that nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (cit. B10, Romans 8:38, 39).  It was love that formed the basis for all that Jesus did.  When the leper came to Jesus, fully expectant of receiving healing, Jesus tenderly touched him and spoke with authority, “be thou clean” (cit. B9, Luke 5:12,13).  There was no fear or judgment on the part of Jesus — just love!  Love was (and is) the mediator, revealing man’s inherent unity with the purity of his Maker.


SECTION 4:  DIVINE APPROVAL IS SUFFICIENT

Jesus welcomed those who came seeking his message of Love.  This group often included “publicans and sinners” that were totally shunned by the religious authorities of his time (the Pharisees and scribes).  It was to these religious leaders that Jesus directed the parable of the shepherd leaving the 99 sheep to search for the one that was lost (cit. B12, Luke 15:1-5,7). The shepherd wasn’t deserting the majority of the flock.  They were safe. But he sought out the one that needed him most at that moment.  It has been said that Jesus used the parable to contrast the inclusive nature of God to the exclusivity of the Pharisees.

Jesus, by taking the stand he took, outraged the religious leaders. He understood that ultimately, he would be killed because of his beliefs, his teachings, and his actions. But Jesus didn’t care, knowing full well that his life could not be extinguished, because he was one with his Father.  It was his mission to help others realize this inseparable relationship as well … and to enable them to experience the mandatory “repentance, spiritual baptism, and regeneration” that enabled them (and us) to “put off their material beliefs and false individuality” (cit. S18, 242:1-3,9).

When we see someone in need, do we simply look for ways to help them humanly?  Or, do we respond as Jesus did … striving to see their permanent selfhood, their God’s created pure and sinless nature?  The “doctrine of Christian Science” (that Jesus demonstrated long before it was discovered by Mary Baker Eddy) is so freeing. She writes “that divine Love cannot be deprived of its manifestation, or object; that joy cannot be turned into sorrow, for sorrow is not the master of joy; that good can never produce evil; that matter can never produce mind nor life result in death.  The perfect man — governed by God, his perfect Principle — is sinless and eternal” (cit. S19, 304:9).  Understanding that this is true for all, and determining to see everyone with whom our paths cross in the light of this teaching, will bring restoration and lasting healing.  In a recent Sentinel Watch podcast, titled “Helping the Hungry,” Margaret Rogers beautifully shares what she has learned about the most effective way to help those in need, following the model Jesus established.  Here’s a link that hopefully everyone will be able to open:  https://sentinel.christianscience.com/shared/view/dqke0gl73k”?ICID=JSH Public Home|Sentinel Watch Block.

Everything Jesus did was based on the divine Principle, Love. This principle is available to all, and can be practiced today.  Seeking to please our Father, rather than other humans, we will find ways to bring healing to those most in need.


SECTION 5: JESUS LIVED HIS SONSHIP WITH GOD

When Jesus knew he was about to be crucified, his prayer was that God would “glorify [His] Son, that [His] Son also may glorify [God].”  For Jesus, it was always about God. As used here, the Greek translated “glorify” can be thought of as, “to cause the dignity and worth of some person or thing to become manifest and acknowledged.” His entire desire was for those looking at him to see God’s nature fully expressed.

Whether we are performing daily tasks, using a special gift, or simply interacting with other people, our motive should be act in such a way that will reveal the fullness of God’s being, reflected in man’s being.  In that time leading up to his crucifixion, Jesus’ prayer was not for himself, but for his current followers and for those who would become his followers in future ages.  His prayer was that they (and we) would recognize the oneness of God and His Christ — understanding the relationship Jesus (and all) share with God (cit. B14, John 17:1,6,9,20,21).

While on the cross, Jesus asked that those who were responsible for his crucifixion be forgiven.  He understood that it was their ignorance that had prompted their behavior.  One of my favorite lines in Science and Health is, “If mortal mind knew how to be better, it would be better” (p. 186:29–30).  I find it so helpful as I strive to forgive (others and myself) as Jesus forgave.

Jesus understood that because he was one with God, that oneness could not be severed.  The Psalmist glimpsed this, too, declaring that God would not leave [him] in the grave or let [his] body decay. God has “shown [him] the path to life …” (cit. B17, Psalm 16, 8, 10, 11 CEV).  Jesus understood that “God alone is man’s life.  God is at once the centre and circumference of being” (cit. S22, 203:31). There is no outside to center and circumference.  There is no interruption to man’s life as the child of God.

Even when the physical senses declare that someone has died, we can rest assured that the consciousness of that individual is untouched and their life uninterrupted.  It is only a mortal concept that has been interrupted.  The continuity of God can never be stopped, so the continuity of the expression can’t be stopped.  The oneness of God and man is illustrated by the oneness of drops of water with the ocean and rays of light with the sun (cit. S24, 361:16). Man, as the expression of Life, can’t stop living any more than a drop of water can stop being wet, or a ray of light stop shining.  That’s what Jesus demonstrated for all of us!


SECTION 6: JESUS’ RESURRECTION AND ASCENSION SERVE TO RECONCILE US TO GOD

Jesus’ resurrection and ascension prove the unbreakable continuity of life to be a reality.  Paul’s letter to the Ephesians says that “when [Jesus] ascended up on high, he led captivity captive …” (cit. B20, Ephesians 4:7,8).  To me, what Jesus has chained and imprisoned (held forever captive) is the fear of death, and the belief that man can ever be separated from God, even for a moment.  Though it looked like Jesus was dead, it was soon revealed that, that was only a mortal illusion.

Paul wrote to the Romans: “for if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (cit. B19, Romans 5: 8-11).  I always wondered what “being enemies” referred to. The description of the Hebrew word for enemies as “opposing (God) in the mind” really helped.  It occurred to me that being ignorant of (or resisting) our at-one-ment with God, might be considered an opposition to God’s nature.

Jesus’ resurrection and ascension reveals man’s oneness with God even while mortal thought argues against it. Once that oneness is understood — and reconciliation accepted — the model of how Jesus lived serves as an example of how to experience that oneness.  Mary Baker Eddy speaks of “having part in the atonement” as rising “into newness of life with regeneration” and that it comes as “the arm of the Lord” (or power of God) is revealed.

The fourth tenet of Christian Science is in this section. It took on new meaning for me as I was grateful for Jesus’ willingness to provide evidence of man’s unity with God through his selfless example (cit. S26, 497:13).

Truly Christ — God’s spiritual and eternal nature and the communication of this nature to man — has rolled away the stone of false belief that would keep us confined to a limited, mortal view.  The limitless possibilities of oneness with Life, Truth, and Love has been revealed for us to demonstrate!


GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas from COBBEY CRISLER & others should be POSTED and EMAILED by mid-week. Check the  current GEMs at CedarS INSPIRATION website, or later in your email, if you have  SUBSCRIBED on this webpage to receive this offering.


Ken Cooper is away on holiday, so do NOT expect “POETIC POSTLUDE” contributions related to this Bible Lesson.


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