Volumes have been written about the divinity of Jesus Christ and His miraculous birth. Many different opinions and interpretations have been given about how His birth took place. Opinions range from Mary becoming pregnant through “natural” causes of procreation, albeit with a Divine Being, to the conception of Christ by the Holy Ghost, to a complete misunderstanding of the word “virgin,” which can simply be translated as handmaiden, which could mean Jesus was born just like everyone else. The Immaculate Conception, or virgin birth that I want to write about is the birth of Jesus Christ in each of us.
Throughout the ages, people of various religions, movements, and groups have spoken of something divine in each of us. It has been called the divine spark, the God within, the Christ seed, and many other things, but it has been recognized by countless people from all over the world, from every tradition, since the beginning of time as we know it. Today new-age thinkers use affirmations like “I am that I am,” and speak about being Gods as if the affirmation alone raises their outlook and perspective, and gives them sublime understanding that people of the old school religions lack.
Some Eastern philosophies teach us to look within ourselves, to our own spirit for truth and direction, and that we alone are responsible for the growth and progression of our own soul. “We cannot ultimately look to others for assistance in the journey,” they teach. At the same time people of many Western faiths teach us to look exclusively outside of ourselves for grace and progression, pointing out that our own spirit has no power to save.
Somewhere in the midst of all of these teachings the truth can be found, perhaps ultimately not too far from any of the above teachings, as contradictory as some of them might seem at first. During the atonement Jesus became the Master Sower. He sowed a portion of His spirit in each of us, or in other words, gave a certain amount of talents to each of us, to abide in us until His coming. Through His beautiful plan He patiently nourishes the seeds, allowing time for the seeds within us to sprout and grow if we will give space for them within us. With that in mind, perhaps we can read Isaiah 53 with a slightly different perspective, and understand some of the beautiful imagery Isaiah tried to convey.
Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
WE ALL PLAYED A PART
When we really begin to understand the reality that a portion of Jesus is within each of us, and has resided in us through it all, we begin to see that we have denied Him, hid our faces from Him, given Him grief, pain, sorrow, and punishment because of our own selfishness and love of sin. Yet through all of this He loves us, and He constantly and soothingly encourages us to accept the light, to turn from our wicked ways, and find the balm of Gilead that dwells in our midst.
The design of the tabernacle, and many temples, points us toward the center, or the Holy of Holies, where the Glory and Presence of the Lord can be found. This all is symbolic of finding His presence and glory, which dwells to one degree or another, in each of us. Then we can begin to nourish this glory as it grows. If we are patient and faithful, the mustard seed will become a great tree, even a tree springing up unto everlasting life.
Recently I read the Gospel of Thomas, and found it to be a spiritual feast. The text is said to have been written by the Thomas who some have come to know as “doubting Thomas.” The text begins with the bold declaration that “Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not experience death.” Sounds like something worth investigating! While many of the verses can be found in the four gospels of the New Testament that we are most familiar with, I would like to share some of the verses that are unique.
WORDS FROM THE MASTER?
15) Jesus said, “When you see one who was not born of woman, prostrate yourselves on your faces and worship him. That one is your Father.”
22)…..Jesus said to them, “When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then will you enter [the Kingdom].”
24) His disciples said to Him, “Show us the place where You are, since it is necessary for us to seek it.” He said to them, “Whoever has ears, let him hear. There is light within a man of light, and he (or “it”) lights up the whole world. If he (or “it”) does not shine, he (or “it”) is darkness.”
28) Jesus said, “I took my place in the midst of the world, and I appeared to them in the flesh. I found all of them intoxicated; I found none of them thirsty. And My soul became afflicted for the sons of men, because they are blind in their hearts and do not have sight; for empty they came into the world, and empty too they seek to leave the world. But for the moment they are intoxicated. When they shake off their wine, then they will repent.”
48) Jesus said, “If two make peace with each other in this one house, they will say to the mountain, ‘Move Away,’ and it will move away.”
70) Jesus said, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”
I am hoping that there is no need to interpret the above verses, based on the content of this post. Find the Christ within yourself. There is not a lot of time left before the great harvest. We must be immersed, baptized, unified with the Spirit of Christ, and it is totally possible!
10) Jesus said, “I have cast fire upon the world, and see, I am guarding it until it blazes.”
We are never alone. Jesus is always there, to be called upon, to be found. He is there. I know it. Most of the world seeks authority and direction from a voice without. There are countless voices beckoning, calling, vying for attention. It is a little reminiscent of “lo here, and lo there!” Where can the truth be found? Interestingly enough, the apostles asked Jesus something similar….
12) The disciples said to Jesus, “We know that You will depart from us. Who is to be our leader?” Jesus said to them, “Wherever you are, you are to go to James the righteous, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being.”
Now what could this verse mean?! Who is James the righteous? In another version of the gospel of Thomas the verse reads, “…you are to look to James the great,..” This has led some to believe Jesus was talking about James the Great, son of Zebedee, or James the Just, son of Alphaeus, but like many of His sayings there is something deeper.
The meaning of the name James is “supplanter,” or “one who grasps the heel.” It is the same name as the Hebrew version of Jacob. We all have heard the story of Jacob and Esau. There is beautiful symbolism there that will make more sense with a little understanding. Most readers have already put it together that Jesus Christ is the Great Supplanter. The greatest virgin birth that has happened is the birth of His spirit in each of us. We must make way for the King, who dwells in our midst. Look to Him for authority and leadership. Look to Him as your Prophet, President, Apostle, Priest and King. Always look to James the Righteous!