HERETIC ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Home Sweet Home

As the saying goes, 'Home is where the heart is'. What we must ask ourselves, especially in relation to this all-too familiar & much-used phrase is, 'where is our heart?' ( understand that when I say 'heart', I mean our emotional attachment, in that sense, our 'love' ) Sometimes, we tend to 'love' a certain place more than certain people: I'm as guilty of this as anyone & sometimes its hard to blame some people when they choose the former over the latter. Those of us who are lucky enough to live in a beautiful place find it hard to leave, but when the choice is between a certain beautiful place & certain beautiful people, the choice should be clear; beautiful people are much harder to find & of much greater value, than any beautiful place one can name!

Who can find a virtuous wife?For her worth [ is ] far above rubies.
Proverbs 31:10

I made the choice, a little over 7 years ago, to leave a place which had its own beauty & certain people who had lost their beauty ( as far as I was concerned, anyway ) & re-locate to a place that has undeniably greater aesthetic appeal. Once re-located, I found what I felt to be more beautiful people than those I had left behind. I still experience those 'what if?' moments once in a great while, but over all, I do not regret my decision. In some sense, one might say I found myself here, which is the greatest beauty, for if we do not recognize beauty in ourselves, how can we hope to find it in another?!

'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder', they say! As far as it goes, this is certainly true, especially in the aesthetic sense in which it is most often used.  In the greater, true sense, though, one could say that true beauty, which is inner beauty, cannot be beheld except with the inner, or spiritual eye. Aesthetic beauty, especially in this day & age, is a huge factor in many relationships. Thanks to the internet & Mainstream Media, among other things, we have been force-fed the notion of the 'Barbie-doll figure' for so long, that we tend to look at the aesthetics of a fellow human being as their beauty or else ugliness ( again, 'mea culpa' ). Thankfully, this is not always the case, as most learn fairly quickly that, just as inner beauty manifests outwardly ( aesthetically speaking ), so inner ugliness also manifests in the same way, making one who is beautiful on the outside but ugly on the inside less attractive. So too is one who may not be that aesthetically pleasing on the outside but is beautiful on the inside; that inner beauty manifests on the outside, attracting the true seeker of beauty!

Truly blessed are those who find a help-meet with both aesthetic & Inner Beauty, for as the Scripture above says, 'her worth [ is ] far above rubies'! 'Heaven' is not a place, per se, but if we're with the one we love; wherever we are can certainly be transformed into such a place. Much as Inner Beauty transforms outer plainness, or even what some would call ugliness, when we find 'heaven' in our heart, 'Heaven' is manifest in whatever place we are, even though it may seem the lowest 'hell'. Transversely, if we don't find beauty in our hearts, even the most aesthetically beautiful place may seem to us the very opposite of 'heaven'.

It is said of some that beauty is 'only skin deep': aesthetically speaking, this is true enough, but true beauty, as we've seen, is so much more! There are many out there that most if not all people would call 'beautiful' & while they might have their own 'beauty', in a relative sense ( not everyone is everyone's cup of tea ), some people are just downright ugly. However, even that ugliness can be turned into the most beautiful flower, if given the chance to blossom. Even an ugly duckling can be revealed as a swan!

Our choices being what they are, they cannot be unmade, although, as I once advised a friend in a similar situation, 'all we can do is do better'. Once a choice is made & the action carried out, we cannot erase it, but we can return to the 'place' we call 'heaven', where we truly felt it in our hearts & thus experience 'Paradise Restored'. Where our hearts are, there is 'Heaven'. One can be in the most beautiful place on earth, but if our heart, or more precisely, what our heart is set on, is not there, we cannot truly call it 'heaven'!

Charles Haddon Shank

Monday, March 12, 2018

Universal Truth; 'The Kingdom is Within You'

According to Luke's Gospel account ( Luke 17:21 ), Jesus related this stunning truth to the Pharisees, of all people: 'the Pharisees; really Jesus?!' How in God's name could the Pharisees have the Kingdom within THEM?! But, that's what Jesus said. In our English Bible, it is even recorded that He used the Greek 'entos', meaning, pretty simply, 'within' or 'inside'. Some versions may translate this preposition 'in your midst', connoting that Jesus was equating the Kingdom with Himself, but as the case may be, Jesus very plainly told them that the Kingdom ( of God/Heaven ) was inside them. But then, we might ask ourselves; 'if Jesus told THEM that the Kingdom was within ( inside ) them, then what does that say about those today who deny the Christ today, or are simply ignorant of the Presence of Glory ( Divinity )?'

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come,
He answered them and said,
The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 
nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’
For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Many Christians today seem to think that the Kingdom of God WILL come with observation: according to this belief, the visible return of Jesus will usher in the 'Kingdom Age' ( there ARE variations on this belief ). Probably one of the main rationales for the Kingdom ( of God ) being present with us right now is the old adage that 'God will not dwell with sin'. There may be some ( biblical ) basis for such a rash statement, but if Jesus told those in the first century, even those who rejected & eventually crucified Him, that the Kingdom was within them, then who are to say that it is not present in those today who reject Him, especially our ( biblical ) version of Him. 

What if the Kingdom of God, like the Creator God, is not defined solely by the biblical record?! That's probably a startling, even heretical notion to most Christians today, but if indeed the Kingdom is within; how did it get there? Is it only when we acknowledge its presence, by our acquiescence to the Covenant, as laid out in our English Bibles, that it comes to be, or is it just there; part of our make-up, our true being? Another way of putting it might be, 'Is the Kingdom of God, like the Scriptures seem to say, something we must enter into?' One must understand the first century context of passages like this though, statements that make it sound like we must enter the Kingdom. The Scriptures were written to a first-century audience. Sure; there ARE Universal Truths contained therein ( for people of all times & places ), but to really understand WHY the writers used that kind of language ( 'entering' ), one must take into account that first-century context in which Jesus made statements like 'the kingdom of God is near' ( Luke 21:31 ). If the Kingdom of God was near in those day, even 'at the doors' ( Mark 13:29 ( James 5:9 ), then how can we say, with any authority, that it is not present with us today?

The Kingdom of God, according to the biblical record, is covenantal in nature; this cannot be denied! However, as Life itself, even biological life, is covenantal, or relational in nature, can we unequivocally say that the Kingdom is found only in the hearts of those who acknowledge & accept it? Can one be part of the Kingdom of God without manifesting this glorious truth in their lives? From a strict & woodenly literal understanding of Scripture, the answer must be a resounding 'NO! Acknowledging the context in which Scripture was written, however, with the understanding of our true nature, not as human beings, but as spirit beings, we see that, as Jesus told those Pharisees, the Kingdom is within. Admittedly, it IS only when one manifests this glorious truth through one's actions that it becomes apparent, but I daresay that it was not evident in those Pharisees either!

The implication of this Universal Truth is that the Kingdom of God is present in all of Creation, whether one accepts it or not, even if one acknowledges it or not! Human beings, being what they are, may deny the Creator, but they cannot deny who they are. We are not wholly comprised of flesh & blood ( though some may insist we are ); we are comprised of what is often termed 'soul & body', or spirit & body; though our biological body is manifest to the physical senses of those around us, that biological mess of 'flesh & blood' is motivated by the Spirit Within. We often allow our Ego to rule over us, thus denying the Spirit Within & failing to manifest the Kingdom Within, but when we remain true to ourselves, our true nature, we manifest the Kingdom of God, bringing glory to the Creator, who is the Source of all Life!

The covenantal nature of Scripture, as I have alluded to before, is not such that one must agree to it before being held ( accountable ) by it: for instance, where in Scripture is it recorded that Adam even asked for a wife to be brought to him? To be part of a Covenant, or rather, held by it, one is not required to accept it or even to acknowledge its existence, it just is; we must simply live by its terms or die! Biologically speaking, of course, without the necessary nutrients ( food, water, etc. ), Life would cease; however, the spirit remains, for the spirit, being One with the Source, never dies.

In the context of Jesus' startling statement, which is the primary focus of this blogpost, He was, in some sense, equating Himself with the Kingdom of God, though His message was that 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.' ( Mark 1:15 ) Again, if the Kingdom was 'at hand' ( Greek 'eggizō' ) in the first century, how can we not acknowledge its presence NOW?!

The Kingdom of God, like the Creator, or Source, is a Universal Truth: it just IS, whether one tries to deny it or not! The ignorance of humanity does not change this glorious fact. As entertained previously, the notion that one muster into covenant in order to BE in covenant is one that may seem to have some biblical foundation, though it is by no means crystal clear & also as proposed previously, if indeed our English Bible is not the only ( written ) Revelation of the Creator God, then it should not be heretical to imagine that the Kingdom is within us all, just waiting to be manifest, or made evident in our lives!

'Did the Kingdom of God exist before the Day when Jesus came, announcing its arrival?' Most assuredly! But, as Israel had been allowing their corporate Ego to rule them, beginning with Cain, who murdered his brother because of it, the Kingdom had not manifested, or become apparent till 'the Day of the Lord'. Jesus came to reveal the true nature of that Kingdom! As a human being, He showed his first-century proponents that one could indeed master their Ego & manifest truly the Kingdom that resides in us all. Just as He revealed the Christ Within, He proved that the Kingdom begins with the heart & only then works its way out through the finger-tips!

Charles Haddon Shank

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Universal Truth; 'I AM the Way, the Truth & the Life'

Jesus said to him,
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
John 14:6

Is Jesus, as the only ( begotten ) Son of the Father, truly the ONLY avenue through which humanity can approach the Creator God, as we have been led to believe? Jesus WAS the Messiah of Israel; there is no doubt about that, assuming one believes the Scriptures, of course, but wasn't He more than that? Jesus was a Man; that is true enough, but He was also God, this having been the subject of many councils over the ages, ever since the biblical record ended in the first century. Being a Man, but also God; Jesus was sent ( anointed ) to be the True King of the Jews: He came to 'save His people from their sins.' One question we should ask ourselves here is, 'who are His people? To whom did Jesus present Himself as Savior & King? Was it not Covenant Israel in the first century A.D.? Yes, it included both Jews & Gentiles, but the fact that the biblical record never indicates Jesus went outside the borders of & that his disciples never evangelized beyond the borders of the Roman Empire should tell us who the biblical Jews & Gentiles were!

Christian missions, since the days of Jesus & His disciples ( first century ) have expanded the borders of what is called Christendom over the entire globe! Their message was & is met with some resistance, more in some place than others, to varying degrees of success. In many places, the missionaries found themselves fighting for their lives: some still do! In other places, the Gospel message was erroneously force-fed to those they thought beneath them, uncivilized, one might say. 'In the Name of Christ' is a phrase that has been used to justify acts of murder & other atrocities. Even though many of the ways in which it was accomplished leave much to be desired when it comes to be a true follower of the Christ; the Gospel, or the Good News of Salvation has been broadcast over the entire globe since the time of Jesus!

Most modern missionaries, unfortunately, rather than endeavoring to simply share this Good News, strive ( to whatever extent ) to spread their particular religion! Since their religion, or their interpretation of the Gospel, is the only true one, it behooves them to spread that version of the Truth & no other. One must believe, in a sense, that Jesus, the King, or Messiah of the Jews, was THE Christ, the only ( begotten ) Son of the Father. Such, according to the Greek & Aramaic Scriptures, is verifiably true, although, one must almost wring this out of the Hebrew Scriptures. There are certain passages in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Prophets in particular ( Isaiah 7:13, et al ) that seem to indicate that the coming Messiah would be none other than the Creator God Himself, though embodied in humanity. One must take these words, however, in the context in which they were given!

The passage in question, Isaiah 7:13 ( 9:6 ), which reads, 'Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel', indicates, if anything, that Hezekiah was to be a forerunner of Jesus the Messiah! In fact of the matter, in some sense, anyway, Hezekiah might almost be called a Messiah of Israel. The writer of the Gospel according to Matthew later employed this passage as prophesying of Jesus. This is not a wrong application, but the original audience of this promise demands that this Messiah, born of a 'virgin', must have been the son of Ahaz, not merely a prophecy of the Christ to come!

Hezekiah was a type of the Christ, or Jesus the Messiah, one of the many we find scattered throughout the Hebrew Scriptures! By the time of Jesus the Messiah, things had progressed to the point, according to the Scriptures, that Israel, under that first [ covenant ] had proven themselves unable to faithfully govern themselves. They took the Law they had been given & forcing upon it their own interpretation, even adding to it ( Revelation 22:18 ) doctrines of men, they had set themselves & their quasi-law as the way, the truth & the life. Jesus showed through His Life Death & Resurrection that He, as God With Us, was everything they claimed to be & More!

As the Son of the Creator God, in all reality, the Creator God Himself, we understand that Jesus came to save Israel from their sins, the sin of rejecting, not only Jesus as Messiah, but all the previous messengers that had been anointed of God & sent to them when they strayed from the path. Much of modern Christianity has anachronistically brought those sins into our time, far separated from that of the original audience, laying them upon their own heads, indeed, upon the heads of all humanity!

This is not to say that people no longer sin, or miss the mark ( what mark? ), for there are obviously many who still reject the Christ Within! Jesus was 'the Way, the Truth, and the Life' for Covenant Israel, according to the Scriptures: arguably, He is Same for the entire Created Order, though not necessarily as the Christ of the Bible. As I have recently proposed in this blog, the title Christ is not one borne by Jesus alone. Being a title, it is significant of our innermost being, one which we choose, in our humanity, to manifest or not. The Manifestation of the Christ Within, or the Chrism, or Anointing is upon us all, yet some choose to squelch their innermost being. As Jesus Himself said, 'he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful' ( Matthew 13:22 ). This Word of the Creator God, or His Law, as the Scriptures also tell us, is written on our hearts ( Hebrews 8:10 ( Jeremiah 31:33 ), in other words, our innermost being. We fail to manifest the Christ Within when we allow, as in the parable Jesus related, the cares of this world to overcome that Seed that lies within us!

Again, Jesus WAS Israel's Messiah! He came to show them that it was the Manifestation or Revelation of the Christ, the Son of God, not their Law written in stone, that was 'the Way, the Truth, and the Life'! Though our English Bible holds many Universal Truths, it is by no means the only Revelation of the Son of God! We hold these Truths to be self-evident, though we do not always manifest them. It is when we set our Ego aside that we realize in our Innermost Being, who we really are & who God is; THEN we understand the truth of what the Psalmist wrote: 'Be still, and know that I [ am ] God;  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!' ( Psalm 46:10 )

Charles Haddon Shank

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Law of ( Peaceful ) Resistance

Although this statement, by all accounts, was written during a time of war & great upheaval, it must not necessarily mean active rebellion or violent opposition. Peaceful resistance, although not natural to humanity, has been practiced over the millennia by a select few people, including Jesus & Gandhi. It is hard to say, sometimes, that it is wrong to execute those who persevere in wrong-doing, returning evil for evil upon their heads, but these two men, among others, showed that it is possible to bring positive change without returning blood-shed for blood-shed, 'an eye for an eye', so to speak!

Maybe Jesus showed it best when He prayed, 'Father forgive them, for they know not what they do'. According to Scripture, He spoke these words as He gave up His life on the cross. Before His final unselfish act, the life of Jesus had been a sacrificial one as well, resisting the injustice that was happening all around Him, even though He knew it would mean His own persecution; eventually, it led to His death. Gandhi too, though some may disagree, led a life of peaceful resistance. At first, he sought justice through the Law, but when the Law proved unjust, he relied on unlawful, though peaceful & just means.

'It is the duty of all good men ( people ) to resist injustice'! Whether through peaceful or violent resistance, one that truly believes that some things are right & others are wrong must resist, either passively or actively, that which is wrong, while practicing that which is right. Sometimes it seems that the only way to answer violence is with more violence, fighting fire with fire, in other words ( it often seems that's the only language some people understand ), but though it means sacrifice of whatever sort, even to the point of death, non-violent opposition proves, in the long run, to be the best!

'How can we change things unless we get rid of the opposition?', one might ask: that's a good question! When we look at 'the opposition' from a personal standpoint, like 'the personification of evil', for instance, we tend to think that if we remove that person from the picture, we can get rid of 'the opposition'. The problem is, from that action, whether one wants to call it murder or execution, is engendered only more personal opposition. In place of the one just removed from the equation pop up, like weeds ( usually family or loved ones ), more opposition. No, the only real way to 'get rid of the opposition' is to change the heart of the opposing one. History has shown that this cannot be done by violence, though, for a time, mostly through fear, a peace of sorts may transpire through violent means.

War often has been the answer of 'good men' to The Problem of Evil! The peace that these wars has brought has been a troublesome one at best. Through fear of reprisal ( law ), a peace of sorts settles in for a time, though there is always an element of resistance. Violence seems to be the readiest answer when it comes to the question of resisting injustice, especially if the injustice itself is backed by violence, but as numerous peaceful resistors have shown, it is bettered by a peaceful opposition. Hatred only engender more hatred; murder only begets murder, but if, rather than returning evil for evil, one person decides not to fight fire with fire & chooses instead the more difficult path, that of forgiveness, then that one may effect a wondrous change in his or her opponent!

Sacrifice, particularly in this modern age of selfish ambition, does not come easily to most, in fact, one might be hard-pressed to find a good example in the daily news! However, there are those out there & the numbers seem to be on the rise, that have taken the high road & though almost grudgingly sometimes, are willing to lay down their lives, if necessary, that others might live, or at least have a better life. The cases may be far & few between at the moment, but some people, it would seem, have noted well where a life of violence leads & how non-violent resistance can stymie the opposition far better than violence opposition ever could!

Though peaceful resistance may mean the loss of life of the one who opposes violence thusly, it will have a far better effect in the long run. For one thing, when violence is faced with more violence, only more violence results; for another, the human psyche being what it is, when violence is brought to bear, the user tends to get even more violent! If, however, the one opposed by violence, though resisting injustice, chooses the way of peace, rather than war, by sacrificing their own life that others might live, the buck stops with them; they have championed the right, good & just: their sacrifice will not be forgotten!

A wise man ( no, NOT Gandhi ) once said, 'An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind'. There is a kind of wisdom that would say that one who lost his or her eye would be more than justified in taking the others eye, metaphorically speaking of course, but is it right? The concept of forgiveness seems to be foreign to many people, especially those in authority, in this day & age, though forgiveness would go a long way in ending much of the unnecessary suffering in this world. Unfortunately, for all too many people, fighting fire with fire, or violent opposition, seems to be the only answer when we are faced with violence. Though non-violent, or peaceful resistance is slowly gaining a foothold, it will be some time before the world, with its History of Violence, begins to feel the healing effect of peaceful resistance!

To this end,
Charles Haddon Shank

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Jesus; the Lost Years

 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. 
Luke 2:42

Other than this little snippet from the Gospel of Luke & 'The Slaughter of the Infants' we read about in Matthew's account, Scripture really offers no real glimpse into the life of Jesus before He was baptized by John at the age of 30. What follows, then, is purely a work of fiction, although it is based, in part, on a limited knowledge of what life was like in those days & expressly, in that ancient culture & corner of the world. I must apologize beforehand if I offend anyone's sensibilities, but the only recourse I can offer is, 'STOP HERE: go no further, if you are easily offended!'


Jesus was born under some very difficult circumstances; not only was his legitimacy questionable at birth ( His mother was pregnant out of wedlock ), but the land of His birth, Palestine, was under Roman occupation! How Mary ended up in this messy situation was somewhat enigmatic, although she insisted that the Holy Spirit of God had impregnated her: her betrothed seemed to keep up the façade too. The case being what it was, Joseph chose to marry his betrothed anyway & even traveled quite some distance soon thereafter, when she was nearing the end of her pregnancy. There was talk going on around their little village that one of the Roman occupiers had taken a shine, so to speak, to this young woman, although there was no actual proof, other than Mary's pregnancy itself, so Joseph wasn't too anxious about leaving town for awhile; he had a good excuse, being required by law to present himself for census in a city some several days journey away.

By all accounts, Jesus' humble beginnings followed Him throughout most of His life! His adoptive father, Joseph, who was quite a bit older than Mary, was a stonemason. Not much more than a day-laborer, Joseph was used to breaking his back to put food on the table for his growing family. As his family grew, Joseph had to work harder & longer just to survive. Thus, it wasn't too long after Jesus became a full-fledged teenager, that He was bereft of His adoptive father. According to Jewish law, or Hebrew law, more correctly, Joseph's somewhat younger brother married Joseph's wife & fathered 
several more children. Although he was a bit younger than his brother, he died after some time, leaving Jesus with the responsibility, not only of fulfilling the duty of the eldest son, but of raising his younger brothers & sisters. Needless to say; Jesus, having learned masonry as a trade from his adoptive father, went to work in earnest!

In those days, the king of His small country, or region, really, was embroiled in many building projects. One of those just happened to be a fairly short distance from where Jesus lived with His relatively small family. Being a fairly experienced stonemason & even somewhat notable Himself, aside from Joseph's good reputation, Jesus found work fairly easily. In time, His stonework came to be highly prized & He, with His family, was able to breathe a small sigh of relief. As near as they were to the Sea of Galilee, Jesus' younger brothers were also making a name for themselves as fishermen; His sisters, along with their mother ( who wasn't young anymore, relatively speaking ) were augmenting their livelihood by their considerable effort in the growing textile industry.

At the ripe old age of 25, Jesus had a pretty decent list of accomplishments under His belt! A mason of note, as well as a sailor & accomplished fisherman, Jesus decided to take a break & see the world. Having, in His previous travels, explored the desert region south of Jerusalem & met with its intriguing inhabitants there, He decided to expand His horizons a bit more, taking several years in traversing both the Jordan & the mighty Euphrates Rivers ( several times ) in His search for Purpose. What He found in His travels was akin to Divinity; those Teachers with whom He communed in the Far East taught Him many of the principles He would employ in His own ministry, later in life!

During His sojourn there, Jesus learned much about Himself & His own Divinity, much of which He had known previously, but not really had time to explore to a great extent. These Teachings, while somewhat different than the traditions Jesus had been brought up in, were essentially not too far removed from these traditions. He might even have conjectured that these Teachings seemed to form the basis, more or less, for what He had been taught. The more He traveled in those distant lands, the more Jesus became convinced of His own Divinity & the stories that His mother & adoptive father had related finally made sense! He had always known that He had been born for a special Purpose; now He knew what that Purpose was & Jesus returned to the Land of His Nativity to fulfill that Purpose!

All in all, Jesus' Journey had consumed the better part of 5 years! It was as He was nearing the exalted age of 30 that Jesus once again set foot in the Land of His Nativity. His first stop, of course, was  in the region of the Galilee to check in on his family. Finding them as well as could be expected, Jesus moved on to renew acquaintance with His cousin John, but found that John, in his own Journey of Discovery, had left his home & family to take up residency in the wilderness south of Jerusalem. Although Jesus decided not to extend His search at that time; He & His cousin were soon to cross paths again, anyway!

In His absence, many of the building projects that Jesus Himself had worked on were nearing completion, while some had been finished while He was away & yet others had begun. The population had thus been growing as well, yet even though Jesus found Himself in the midst of a growing metropolis, the stigma that had followed Him all His life had not lessened one bit; if anything, it had grown right along with the population. Taking up the reins once more, Jesus took His mother, brothers & sisters, moving further toward the holy city, Jerusalem, not only to escape the wagging tongues, but to lessen the stress of the yearly journey.

The Return of Jesus had sparked some controversy, as was to be expected! Born of a questionable union ( although, if His detractors cared to remember, so had more than a few of their exalted ancestors been! ), He faced, not only that stigma, but also shouldered His newly-found Purpose. He knew what He had to do; He also knew that it was likely to go over like a ton of bricks, so to speak! With this Purpose in mind, after making sure His family was well cared for, Jesus set about His Father's purpose; He went looking for His cousin.


This is a work of almost pure fiction. While the last three years of Jesus' life are chronicled, to some extent, in what we now call the New Testament, the point of the words above is to possibly give a bit of insight into how Jesus might have gotten to the point of His meeting with John the Baptizer at the Jordan River. In no way whatsoever is this meant to be a historical account, just an attempt to explain, with the aid of what we can glean from history itself, some of the events that transpired in the Life of Jesus as we know it. To this end, I now invite any constructive criticism or discussion engendered by this endeavor!

Charles Haddon Shank

Monday, February 19, 2018

Saving Faith; Our Faith, Our Salvation?

Jesus said to the woman, 'Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction'. As in at least one other place in our modern Bible, we have an instance here of 'who done it?'; did Jesus heal her, or did she, through faith in Him, heal herself? Well, obviously, the answer is 'YES'! This is plainly a 'both and' scenario: Jesus recognized that her faith had done the job, so to speak & then, just like His Father in the beginning, He pronounced it done ( one might say, 'He verified it' ). One could argue till they're 'blue in the face' ( been there done that ) that this famous passage in Paul's Letter to the Church at Ephesus ( Ephesians 2:8 & 9 ) 'For by grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast', clearly states that our faith itself comes from God, not from ourselves. In the greatest sense this is true, but, if I remember my grammar rules correctly, 'grace' being the subject ( not 'faith' ), 'that' would point to the subject, 'grace'. As well, the context seems to demand a first-century audience, the Jews & Gentiles who were being saved from the so-called 'Old Covenant' economy.

In this New Age ( Jesus called it 'the age to come'-Luke 18:30, Luke 20:34-36 ) we should note that, as Jesus said, we are like 'the angels'; in essence, that we have become aware of our Essence, our Oneness with Him ( 'God' ); therefore, we cannot die ( I realize that I'm traversing dangerous ground here, but bear with me! ). Orthodoxy tells us that it is only those who confess their sins ( I John 1:9 ) & turn to Him in repentance who receive the aforementioned 'grace', thus inheriting eternal life. This is not entirely wrong, but neither is it altogether correct! The context of the promises of Scripture demand a first-century fulfillment! From beginning to end, the promises were to Israel: those promises to Israel were fulfilled in Jesus, the Messiah of Israel. ( In Greek, this translates to 'the Christ' ) While many of the passages of Scripture hold universal truth, there are some that hold true for Israel alone & were fulfilled in Jesus. In the greatest sense, one might say that they are being fulfilled yet today, in & through us!

Jesus, as has been discussed recently in this blog, was the Messiah of Israel, the Son of Man who came to save His people from their sins ( Matthew 1:21 ) & thus was revealed as the very Son of God. ( I realize that I failed to mention 'only begotten' ) As such, Jesus did die a very painful death for those sins, a death which was pictured throughout the Hebrew Scriptures. The sins of Israel required a blood sacrifice, something which many people today, Christian & non-Christian alike, cringe at. One thing that most fail to realize, though, is the culture that these Scriptures came from. Thanks to traditional Christianity itself, the Scriptures have been widely interpreted from a Western viewpoint; thankfully, this is under review, almost as widely. The culture from which the Scriptures come was not only much different than our Western culture; it was also ancient! There is a joke that goes something like this; 'Jesus won't come back for fear He'd be mistaken for a terrorist'. But I digress: the point is that, the Ancient Near Eastern culture that we read about in the Bible was one of Death. Its pagan, idolatrous ( just read the Hebrew Scriptures! ) beginnings should tell us much about why their 'sins' called for a blood sacrifice.

The reason Jesus was called the Lamb of God was because He was the fulfillment of all those innocent lambs whose blood was shed under that first ( covenant ). ( I'm sure there could be other reasons.......... ) Things don't work quite the same way, here in the West, although I'm sure that if one cared to research our own pagan, idolatrous roots, some very interesting, maybe similar, results might be revealed! The ancient beginnings of Western culture were very bloody as well, as I understand it. Even until recently ( 500 years or so ), Western culture has been a bloody mess, with some less-bloody, even glorious, intervals. Without a better grasp of Ancient Western history ( prior to the Vikings even ) I hesitate to venture much further in a revelation of Ancient Western culture, but, correct me if I'm wrong, about the only similarity between the two ( ANE & AW ) was that both were very bloody!

Just like in the Ancient Near East, religion factored rather heavily in the Ancient West; the gods were just as numerous, maybe even moreso! Like in the West, too, the gods of the Ancient Near East were based, however loosely, upon human manifestations. As well, much of what the Hebrews witnessed, which they correctly ascribed to the One True God, seen through the lenses of modern science, are now ascribed to the Forces of Nature, rather than being a supernatural event ( both are true ). These two factors, by the way ( blood & religion ), are related, though maybe not in quite the way in which we prefer to think!

Lest we stray too far from our topic, as previously stated, Jesus was known as the Lamb of God because He fulfilled all the types from that first ( covenant ). He became the truest blood sacrifice for the sins of His people from of old. It could be argued, as it has been from time immemorial, that He was our Messiah as well, but ( keep your shirt on ) He was simply Israel's Messiah, the Christ who took away the sins of that 'world'! There are many today, most if not all, really, who say that as the Christ, Jesus shed His precious blood for the whole world, everyone who ever lived or will ever live. These truly are not far wrong; they're very nearly right! Jesus was the Christ to Israel, in that generation ( not to belabor the point ), but as He made perfectly clear in the Scriptures ( if one is open to the concept ), we are ( to be ) the Christ in our generation. Now, it can be argued, as it has been before, quite vociferously, that Jesus was not just a human being ( according to most accounts ); He was also ( the Son of ) God. Well, whether one wants to attach the capital letter or not, so are we! This is not to say that we all act worth of the appellation, but as spiritual beings having a human experience, we are essentially on the same level as Jesus was ( GASP )!

So, is the phrase, 'Saving Faith' valid today, particularly in our  ( modern ) Western culture? Depending upon where that faith is placed, 'Most certainly!' Many simply have faith in themselves, without truly understanding their own nature, thus setting themselves up for a fall: while they may persevere for a time, they will often succumb to outside forces that convince them they must look outside themselves for salvation. Sometimes with a simple faith in a 'God' somewhere out there, it is possible to lead a glorious, even heavenly life, but even there, most are simply spinning their wheels in a never-ending rut, looking for a final salvation that will never come!

In conclusion then, just as Jesus said to the woman with an issue ( of blood-?? ), it is our faith that saves us, though it is ultimately the God Within ( or the Christ Within, if you prefer ) that 'saves' us, whether it be from a horrible wreck in our vehicle, a life of depravity, or simply a bad diet! Our Western concept of 'salvation', like it or not, however loosely, is based on the Hebrew ( Greek ) Scriptures. That Salvation was fulfilled by the Messiah, or Christ, of Israel. That Salvation was ultimately from the so-called Old Covenant economy, or as it is called at least one in Scripture, 'the ministry of death' ( II Corinthians 3:7 ). While it might be noted that the world seems sometimes, to be under the thrall of a different 'ministry of death', it is not to the Messiah of Israel that we must look for its salvation; it is to the Christ Within that we must look for the salvation, first of our own ( little ) 'world': the rest of the ( larger ) world will, in time, follow!

Charles Haddon Shank

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Universal Truth; 'In the World But Not of the World'

A favorite saying of some, used  ( or misused ) by most to say that though we must live on this earth, we must not live as many others on this earth do. From a Futurist ( Christian ) point of view, of course, they understand the concept expressed above, 'in the world but not of the world' ( based on passages like Jesus' prayer in John 17, the apostle Paul's letter to the Romans ( 12:2 ) & the apostle John's words in I John 2:15-17 ) as referring to their perception of Jesus' world. According to this view ( not entirely wrong ), rather than simply referring to the Jewish economy of Jesus' Day, 'the world' that He & the apostles warned against extends far into the future, going on 2,000 years now: again, this is not altogether wrong!

One might as well say that while we live in a conventional world, we do not have to live according to those conventions! I'm not advocating throwing the baby out with the bathwater ( IE, resisting convention for convention's sake-some conventions are not all bad ), just that some conventions need not be observed. Another way of putting it is that while we must live in the Person, we must not live from the Person: in essence, because we, at present, are in this biology, we really have no choice but to live as the person ( ? ), but, even there, we don't have to live according to the selfish wants & needs of this biology.

This may be an unfamiliar concept to some, but the notion that we are spirits ( energy? ) having a physical ( biological ) experience is by no means a modern one! In this world-view, there are basically two ways to live; one can live according to the conventions of this world, from the Person, so to speak, or one can live from the ( higher ) Self, letting things be what they are, focusing on the fact that we are all of the same Essence. The former way of life, especially in this world, is much easier in the short run on the Person, but the latter is much healthier, according to a growing number of people!

The heart of the issue, as some have realized & more are recognizing, is that much of this world's problems, if not all of them, stem from living from the Person. Wars are begun because one Person, or group of People, believe that they have the right to subjugate another Person or group of People. Babies are murdered by the dumpster-full every day because one Person decides that another just won't fit into their selfish plans. On the other hand, living from the Self would bring peace, in the long run, maybe not the short, because when one realizes that there truly is no Other, but that we are Essentially the Same & then accepts things as they are, without processing how they think things should be, then wars would cease; murder would become less & less of an option: despite personal differences, people would accept each other & Love would rule the day!

As Utopian as that statement sounds, it CAN happen; those who have chosen to manifest the Self rather than the Person ( Jesus, for example ) may not live long in this world, but they have definitely left their mark on it! When one chooses to live non-conventionally in a conventional world, one often ( usually ) faces tribulation, sometimes death; Gandhi, for instance, was deprived of his personal existence for this reason. Many others have been persecuted, even to death, for not following the conventions of the day; the story of Martin Luther King & the whole civil rights movement of the 50s & 60s has opened many a blind eye!

It has been proven that those, including the Jesus of the Bible, who have chosen to live from the Self, not from the Person, have made history, for the better! It truly cannot be argued that, even with the advance of the Gospel, such as it is, the world, especially Western Civilization, has declined to whatever decree because of the tendency to live from the Person. Reports are coming in, however, for those with ears to hear, from all over the world, that it is becoming a growing trend to live from the Self & though this usually means persecution, more & more people are finding it a healthier option, a better way of life!

Wars, whether on a national or local ( personal ) level are unavoidable; abortion is a sad fact, at least to those living from the Person: 'I' will not stand here silent, while that Other Person tramples all over 'MY' rights!' Isn't that just the opposite of what Jesus did? In fact, Jesus castigated His own disciples for trying to defend His physical Person! Jesus even prayed for those who persecuted & eventually sentenced Him to death because He was focused on the Self, the good of all men & women, not on His own Person!

Some conventions are useful: Time, for instance; when someone tells us they will be there in a certain amount of Time, if we have a timepiece of our own, we can know that given a certain amount of trust, they will be there when we expect. Others, not so much; though the marriage license ( as with any license ) can be useful, especially when it comes to living IN the Person ( if you would avoid persecution ), it is by no means necessary ( except for matters of legality ) to the union itself. In fact, the convention of a man & woman standing before a minister or J.P. is questionable as to its necessity!

It's probably clearer to some atheists than to some Christians that the 'world' to which Jesus & the apostles referred was the Jewish economy, which was about to pass away ( John 12:31, John 16:8 & 11, I Corinthians 7:31, Hebrews 9:26 ), but it should be noted that the statement made in the beginning of this blogpost stands as a universal truth. Just as we are spirits having a physical experience, so the earth itself, or the 'world', if you will, is a biological body. We, in the Self, are not of this earth, or this 'world'. In the Person, however we are of this world & as such we tend overmuch to focus on what we, in the Person, perceive as Reality; the Self, however, sees things as they are, not as the Person thinks or believes they are, or should be.

So, the 'world' of Jesus' Day passed away, just like ( when-thank God for Time ) He said it would, but we still, personally speaking, live in the world. Living as 'of the world' ( kinda like, 'I'm an American!' ) just causes trouble & not in a good way! Wars have been started for less! 'It's MY right; how dare you try to take it!': instead, we should be sharing this 'world' as a Gift from God ( the Source, Creator, etc. ). There ARE some things that we should NOT share, but that's a different subject for a different day ( or maybe I'll just leave it to my readers! ).

As a wise women once, said, 'Our lives are not our own; cradle to grave, we are bound to others, past and present. And by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.'      

Charles Haddon Shank

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Universal Truth; 'You are Gods'!

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1

Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil.
Genesis 3:22

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”’?
John 10:34 ( Psalm 82:6 )

First things first; 'who/what is 'God?' According to the Hebrew ( 'elohiym ) & Greek ( theos) the word refers to 'mighty ones' or 'a deity'. Looking into the etymology of the Hebrew word, one might even find that it has reference to a certain 'El'. Although this was simply an ancient ( Proto-Semitic ) word, meaning 'god', or 'deity', it was also used by an assortment of gods, including a Canaanite deity. This may be where the Hebrew usage stemmed from ( very likely, in fact ), with names like Samuel, Daniel, even Israel. As the Hebrew Scriptures morphed with the Greek, we may note that the meaning remains essentially the same & interestingly enough, both instances ( Greek & Hebrew ) employ the same word in referring to both 'God' & 'man' ( on the Land )!

Speaking of 'man on the Land', this in itself should be noted as a reference to the genesis of the Hebrews as a special nation. The second quote above, from John 10:34 ( Psalm 82:6 ), then, in context, is speaking primarily of the religious leaders of the Hebrews ( broadly 'Jews' ), although it may be noted as being a universal truth, in essence, that even though it may have referred in the first case to certain Hebrews, it applies to people of all times & nations. The Scriptures, both Greek & Hebrew, because they were written to a people long ago & far away, were written primarily for their instruction, thus applying ONLY to them & their current situation ( audience relevance ), still hold certain universal truths that apply to all humanity.

One of these universal truths, as we've discussed before on this blog, is found in probably THE most-quoted verse in the Bible, John 3:16. 'For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.' In other words, one might say, the Creator God, the Source of all Life, took upon Himself, biblically speaking, humanity, not so much as one ancient theologian stated, 'that man might become God', but that man ( kind-humanity ) might realize they are, in essence, in their innermost BEing, God ( A 'god', if that makes it easier to digest )!

This is not to say that we ARE the Creator God, though we ARE creators ( on a much smaller scale )! We ARE, however, from the same Source ( Essence ) as Jesus! As Jesus was the Christ ( Anointed or Sent One ), so WE are the Christ to our 'world'. As we are creators, we also, to some extent, create our 'worlds', just as we are ( to be ) the Christ to them. Not only do we create our 'world' through the choices we make ( thus our God-hood ), but we ourselves, through what we call 'procreation' ( Seed ) in this sense cause the formation of human beings. All this, of course, is based solidly on the fact that there is one Supreme Being, one ( common? ) Source of all Life, the Energy that motivates us all!

It is common, among Christians especially, to refer to the Energy that motivates us as Spirit, in particular, the Holy Spirit. Biblically speaking, however, we differentiate between what some call 'covenant life' &merely biological life. These interpret the formation of man ( Adam ) in 'the Image of God' as indicative of 'covenant life', whereas others simply read this passage as a record of the creation of the human race. Maybe it's not 'either or', but 'both and'! Rather than being just a record of the Creator God's dealings with Israel ( as some have supposed  ), it is indicative of the genesis of humanity, as retold through Hebraic lenses!

The Spirit of a Man ( I Corinthians 2:11 ) is not only a biblical phrase, but one which is universally familiar. We often, almost haphazardly refer to this Spirit ( 'spirit', if that goes down easier ) as that which 'drives' a person; it is back of all ones decisions, though some choose to allow their biology to rule over their Spirit. A biblical example of this is Cain, who allowed his fleshly passions to override the Spirit Within & murdered his brother because of his own jealousy. Modern examples include, from relatively recent history, Charles Lindbergh's famous flight in 'The Spirit of St. Louis'. Although it was just a plane, to Lindbergh it embodied a certain Spirit; among others, no doubt, the Spirit of Freedom, It is the Spirit Within, our Godhood if you will, that motivates & so, it is by our choices that we show, or prove, that Godhood!

Terms like 'theosis' & 'deification' have long been a rather taboo subject among most Christians, although it is by no means a modern concept. In fact, it is a very biblical concept, if one reads certain Scriptures honestly & openly ( without bias )! The very fact that a mere Man could be God as well was outrageously shocking to many of the Hebrews ( Jews ); today is no different: most if not all Christians today will immediately, metaphorically or otherwise, employ the Sign of the Cross when faced with the absurd notion that mere humanity could be God. BEing God, however, simply means, according to the Scriptures, our ability to choose, to judge for ourselves. The choices we make however, determine, not our deification, but the manifestation, or revelation of our deification!

Charles Haddon Shank

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Living Acoss Dimensions

From a purely biblical POV ( point of view ), probably the clearest example of another dimension, or other dimensions is found in  II Kings 6:14-17. In this passage, we read an instance of a man's eyes being opened to this other, what might be called, 'the heavenly dimension'. Although one might just as well, or easily explain it as that his perception was widened ( there might be a Hebrew idiom at work here, too ), there can be no doubt that these dimensions, if there be several unseen, exist right alongside the three or four that most of us can perceive & indeed, interact with them!

Scientifically speaking, these extra dimensions, even called 'parallel universes', exist only in theory; FOR NOW! Although these theories, for there are several differing ones, are getting more & more attention; scientists believe they are getting closer & closer all the Time to finding  ( 'Eureka!' ) 'The Theory of Everything'. In short, such a theory would explain everything that has ever happened or might ever happen, ever so far as the Genesis of Life itself! All, of course, without the necessity of an Intelligent Designer, especially the God of the Bible, althougb there are some scientists who have reached & acknowledged this inescapable conclusion.

Faith tells us that the God of the Bible is this Intelligent Designer, although it should be clear to anyone with eyes to see ( ? ) that the beauty that surrounds us, as perceived in the four readily observable dimensions, is obviously the work of such a Designer! As a Christian, I must aver that the God of the Bible is descriptive, in part at least, of the Creator & Unfolder ( 'Revealer'? ) of the Universe ( s? ). As One who tends to explore Beyond Christianity, though, it is apparent to me that this Intelligent Designer is infinitely more!

Not to wonder too far off track; the perception of this blogger is that the Bible we are used to reading is comprised ( primarily ) of the Hebrew Scriptures. As such, the Story of Scripture is the History of Israel, a peculiar people who lived long ago, in a place far away from our own, although maybe not so far removed, in the theory of quantum physics. The point is, the Scriptures, or our Bible, is simply the Hebraic perception of the Creator God. This, again, is not to say that it is necessarily false or untrue in our Day & Age, just that there is so much more that we can learn about the Source of All ( biological ) Life, than just from the Hebrew & Greek Scriptures.

'Living inter-dimensionally; what a concept!' One might wonder why we should even conceptualize such a thing; 'why complicate things like that? Just live in the Here & Now; stop worrying us with these far-fetched notions!' We should live in the Here & Now, yes, but it helps to realize that, though our perception determines 'our reality' ( to some extent ), Reality itself is not determined by our perception. Elisha's servant, going back to our Scriptural example, did not perceive that the city was surrounded by a heavenly host ( 'inter-dimensional beings', one might say ), but when the scales were lifted from his eyes, so to speak ( however momentarily ), his perception was altered & he realized that, though they were surrounded by their enemies, their enemies were themselves 'surrounded'!

The modern concept of inter-dimensional travel, for instance, has so far been limited  ( for the most part ) to traveling in Time, either backwards or forwards, or Space, as in, one 'place' to another. The whole notion, really, of manifold dimensions, to the perceptive mind of this blogger, anyway, is predicated itself on the notion that these 'dimensions' are not so much 'parallel universes' ( 'Marvel' at that, if you will ), as they are the Reality that IS & not the reality that we perceive, though our perceptions may comprise the Whole. The world-view that we glean from our reading of Scripture, therefore, in its manifold interpretations, is based simply on the Hebraic perception of that Reality. Again, this is not to say that their perception was NOT Reality, just that it was simply their perception & NOT the Whole of Reality!

The Truth of the Matter is that, whether we perceive it or not, we ARE living in a dimensional world, inter-dimensionally, one might say! A strong statement, perhaps, but the very fact that there are things beyond our current perception ( most call them 'supernatural' ) should tell us that our 'reality' isn't necessarily what IS; in other words, though our 'reality' isn't necessarily wrong, Reality itself is more than what we perceive; Reality itself is inter-dimensional! Not that Reality travels through Time, though that may be our perception, but that it transcends Time, across the spectrum, so to speak.

Our Faith, as Christians, directs us in how to live across dimensions: though we do not see the 'heavenly dimension' with our physical eyes, we may, with the eyes of faith ( some call it 'the third eye' ) see this other dimension, or the Reality That IS! While we have to do with what we perceive with our ( physical ) senses, we do not have to live according to what we perceive with those senses alone. With the aid of this 'third eye', our spiritual senses are awakened & our perception itself is altered: then, we begin to see Reality as it IS, not just as we have perceived it. This, of course, is predicated on our acceptance of Who We Are!

Charles Haddon Shank

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Metaphorical Jesus

Call it faith! In order to assert that Jesus the son of Mary ever walked the Earth, one must take it on faith that the few references to Jesus extant in ancient writings, such as the Greek & Aramaic Scriptures, Josephus, etc., are unbiased & verifiably true. One may also finds bits & pieces of archeological evidence that a certain Man named Jesus, or Yeshua ( Joshua ) once existed, but other than that, one must simply take their word for it, since we weren't there. The Christian faith, or religion, is based wholly upon the facts, as evidenced in the Hebrew, Greek & Aramaic Scriptures, that, not only did the Man Jesus exist, but that He was God Incarnate, more than just a Man!

The Scriptures, as theologians have known for centuries, are full of metaphor! In the Greek & Aramaic Scriptures, for instance, the Gospel accounts, interestingly enough, of just Matthew & Mark ( chapters 8 & 5, respectively ), tell a story of a herd of swine that, after a demon enters them, run headlong off a cliff & drown in the sea. Modern critical studies show that this wasn't necessarily a herd of pigs that drowned, but was actually more of a metaphor for unfaithful Israel who were swallowed up by the Sea, which itself is a well-known & accepted metaphor for the Gentiles. A metaphor is not always related as non-literally; for instance, the story of Sampson & the Lion, as related in Judges 14, is told as a factual event, but it also relates a deeper spiritual truth, that Israel according to the flesh was becoming a dead carcass herself & must die that the sweetness of the Spirit might be revealed!

Mysticism should be noted as having been practiced well before the time of Christ! Christian Mysticism, in its many different forms, of course, is based on the Revelation of Jesus the Christ: the notion that the Creator God Himself bore the Body of a Man ( Hebrews 10:5 ( Psalm 40:6 ) in order that Man might better understand his relationship to the Creator is one that is not foreign. In his famous 4th-century work, 'On the Incarnation of the Word', Athanasius made this amazing, almost heretical statement; '“God Became Man that Man Might Become God”'. In today's theological landscape, this might better be rendered as 'God became man, that man might be revealed as ( One with ) God'. Of course, such a statement would very likely land you in as much or more hot water as the previous one, but, as the case may be.......

The very notion that a Man could be God is one that ultimately got Jesus  killed! Yes, it had been prophesied throughout the Hebrew Scriptures that One would come, like Moses, that would bear the sins of His people, but it never said, in so many words, anyway, that He would be God Himself ( Isaiah 7:14 should have been a clue ). When Jesus made the claim that He was equal with the Creator God, being the Son of God, the unbelieving Jews were so enraged that they handed Him over to the Roman authorities, claiming He was a political insurrectionist. Well, things kinda went downhill from there ( you probably know the old, old story ): Jesus ended up being crucified, according to Plan, of course & was revealed as exactly who He claimed to be, the Very Son of God!

Jesus was/is the Son of God ( according to some, Jesus still inhabits His biological Body ); if one believes the Scriptures, there can be no doubt about that! As the Son of God, the unbelieving, as well as believing, Jews noted that Jesus was claiming equality with the Creator God. This was not necessarily the case, although the apostle John himself wrote, 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God' ( John 1:1 ). Jesus Himself never claimed to be the Creator God, though He DID claim to be the Son of God. Like most Christians today, though, the Jews of Jesus' day assumed that for a Man to make that assertion meant He claimed equality with the Creator God. But such was not the case with Jesus; He only said ( truly ) that He was the Son of God.

Metaphorically speaking, then, the historical ( Scriptural ) Jesus showed us that a Man could indeed be God! Jesus had the Holy Spirit, yes, like certain men of old ( Moses, Sampson, even Saul & then David): the prophets even had a direct connection with the Creator God. But some may insist that Jesus had more; 'He was the Second Person of the Trinity, or 'Godhead': eschatologically & Scripturally speaking, He WAS that, as far as that goes, but did He indeed ( have more )? Yes, as He said, recorded in John 8, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.', thus, in their eyes, anyway, affirming that He was indeed God in the flesh, for this was how the Creator God had introduced Himself to Moses ( Exodus 3:14 ). Jesus was 'God with us' ( Matthew 1:22 ( Isaiah 7:14 ), but He yet deferred to His Father; though He WAS the Creator God, or at least, One with Him from the Beginning, He acknowledged that He was not the Supreme Deity, but simply a Channel!

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

The above prayer, of course, is attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, who understood that it is by unselfishly serving others, by manifesting the Christ, that we find our salvation! Not salvation, maybe, in a strictly Scriptural sense, for that was accomplished in the 1st century A.D., but in the sense of the prayer above, that it is by metaphorically laying down our lives, that we take them up ( Matthew 10:39 ). As instruments, or channels of the Creator God, we may pray along with the Man from Assisi that we might be channels of His blessing, that we might sow Love instead of Fear, Peace instead of War. But more than that, we need to purpose in our own hearts to BE that Channel, those Instruments!

The Jews of Jesus' Day were called to have faith in Jesus, just as their forefathers had exercised faith in Him whom they could not see ( Hebrews 11 ( Luke 2:25-33 ). Today, whether or not one takes it on faith that Jesus was a historical figure, we understand, as Christians especially, that the teachings He laid down in the Scriptures can be our salvation as well, but only if we practice them from a pure heart. 
Charles Haddon Shank