We are a little over a week away from the beginning of Personal Development Week (formerly S.E.E. Week) at UCOH. For those of you who are not familiar with it, S.E.E. stands for Spiritual Education and Enrichment, and is part of Unity’s Personal Development curriculum. Classes can be taken for credit on the path towards becoming a Licensed Unity Teacher, or just for your own spiritual education purposes.
I took my first S.E.E. class in 2008, completed that curriculum in 2012, and then went on to the Leadership curriculum and became a Licensed Unity Teacher in 2015. Since becoming an LUT, I have taught many of the classes in the S.E.E. curriculum, including Eric Butterworth’s Discover The Power Within You, some of the Metaphysics classes, and classes on Bible interpretation. This time around, I will be teaching the class on “The Christ.” It is my first time to teach this particular class, but I am excited about it, because it was among my favorite classes when I was an S.E.E. student.
Christ Is Not Jesus’ Last Name
I can tell you that before I took S.E.E. classes on my way to becoming a Licensed Unity Teacher, I had a much different understanding of what the “Christ” is. Like many, I had grown up thinking “Christ” was Jesus’ last name. I now understand this is a common misunderstanding, mainly because many Christian traditions commonly refer to Jesus as Jesus Christ, and do not make the effort to suss out the nuanced differences between the two.
I began studying A Course In Miracles in 1997, and that was the beginning of refining my understanding, but it wasn’t until I took “The Christ” class from Mary Bolen around 2009 that I actually untangled the differences between Jesus and Christ. Not only did I learn the difference between those two, but I also learned what is meant by the two different combinations, Jesus Christ and Christ Jesus. Untangling my understanding of the nuanced differences among these four, spiritually empowered me in a way that my earlier Catholic and Protestant education had failed to do. What follows is just a quick overview of the differences, and I hope that it will serve to pique your own spiritual curiosity to go deeper.
Who Is Jesus?
“Jesus” is the Anglicized name of the historical person, whose story is the foundation of the New Testament portion of The Bible. Jesus, or Yeshua, is the man who was born in Bethlehem, lived in Nazareth and ultimately became the inspiration for the Christian faith worldwide. Jesus had a body and a personality just like you and me and the rest of humanity. The great spiritual discovery that Jesus brought to humankind was the awareness of the Christ Nature within the realm of human consciousness. Jesus referred to this “consciousness” as the Father.
Metaphysically speaking, Jesus represents the inner dimension within each one of us that realizes or intuits that we are more than just a body or a personality. Jesus discerned that his “True Nature” was not merely human, but that there was an inner dimension founded upon a creative, spiritual principle.
Tapping into the power of the “Christ Principle” within, Jesus was the first historical figure to demonstrate or express the “Christ Nature” of which we are all capable. Jesus taught that within each one of us, there is a creative energy, wisdom and understanding completely capable of individually manifesting and expressing our Christ Potential. This is why he taught, “What I can do, you can do.”
What Is Christ?
Notice the header asks, “what” is Christ, not “who” is Christ. This is because “Christ” is not a person. In his metaphysical classic, Discover the Power Within You, Eric Butterworth points out that Jesus is not Christ, but rather that “Christ” is a “degree of stature that Jesus attained.” Going further, Butterworth illuminates the truth that Jesus was not the “great exception,” but rather the “great example” for all of us to know that this “degree of potential stature” resides within every one of us.
As a spiritual principle, “Christ” is a creative pattern, a “Divine Idea in Divine Mind for the Spiritual Human.” Stated another way, Christ is the divine idea that contains all divine ideas. “Christ” is the name we assign to the “Perfect Pattern of Wholeness that is present in everything.” The “Christ within consciousness” is the “presence of Divine Mind” within individual consciousness. In short, “Christ is What we really are,” not Jesus’ last name.
Then Who, or What, Is Jesus Christ?
Simply stated, “Jesus Christ” is the composite union of Jesus, the historical man, and Christ, the spiritual principle. As Charles Fillmore states in The Revealing Word, “Jesus Christ” represents both the “idea and the expression” of our potential. In other words, “Jesus Christ” is the name for the “perfect human demonstrated.”
Jesus perfectly understood and fully demonstrated his Divine Nature as “Christ.” In Unity, when we say “Jesus Christ,” we are referring to the historical person who “revealed Christ through a human form and a human existence.” Once again, as our teacher and Way Shower, Jesus taught through his “words and works” that each one of us has the same capacity and potential to “manifest our own Christ Potential.”
What About Christ Jesus?
So, let’s summarize. Jesus is the historical man who discovered and perfectly expressed the “Christ Principle.” Christ is the “principle” or divine idea of the perfect potential of humankind. Jesus Christ is the name we commonly use to refer to the “man of Galilee who demonstrated perfection.” Then who, or what, is Christ Jesus?
In The Revealing Word, Charles Fillmore defines “Christ Jesus” as the “idea that is being expressed by individuals as the result of their faith in and understanding of Truth.” In other words, “Christ Jesus” is you and me and everyone else … in potential. “Christ Jesus” represents the idea of the “Christ within individual consciousness,” our “True Essence, our Divine Nature.” It is “Divine Mind individualized” at the point of you and me.
In his book, Heart Centered Metaphysics, Paul Hasselbeck states it this way: “We metaphysically and metaphorically ‘become’ Christ Jesus when we free ourselves from personality and live exclusively from the Christ Consciousness that we have always been in potential.” We do have a potentially unlimited creative power within our being. However, we must engage with this potential. It does not express automatically. Expressing and demonstrating our potential to be “Christ Jesus” requires our engagement with the Christ Principle, and consistently practicing it. Will we ever do it perfectly? Maybe, maybe not. But one thing is for sure: We can always express more of it than we may believe is possible.
If you want to dive deeper into your own potential to express “the Christ within” your individual being, then I encourage you to join me during Personal Development week for “The Christ” class. We will be meeting Monday-Friday, August 20-24 from 5-7 p.m. each day. I promise that the time you spend will pay huge dividends in your life. Hope to see you there. Peace …