QUESTION: As a new seeker to the Unity church ... I am still trying to understand the Unity perspective of the Christ and how that compares to the perspective of the conventional Christian Church, which sees him as uniquely divine and necessary for human salvation. I am thinking that the interpretation of this verse might help me to understand the differences and similarities a little better.
PASSAGE: “Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me’” (John 14:5-6).
COMMENT: There are many people who believe that this passage means everyone who is not a Christian is going to hell. It has been—and is today—the accepted understanding among traditional and conservative Christians. But is such a belief really possible within the ministry of infinite love that Jesus taught and demonstrated? His ministry touched and embraced people of all faiths and no particular faith—Jews, Samaritans, Greeks, Romans. He dissolved every judgmental barrier, eating and socializing with those considered “sinners” by the religious establishment, sharing his teachings with women who would never have been considered acceptable spiritual students in that time.
It's essential to remember, anytime we find ourselves in the Gospel of John, that Jesus is almost always speaking, not as the human being Jesus of Nazareth, but as Jesus Christ—the full embodiment of the Presence and Power of God, the creative and eternal Word of God, with which imagery the gospel opens. He has become that Word in expression by completely surrendering to the Christ—his true spiritual nature, the Presence of God expressing through him. He calls us to find, and surrender to, that same Christ energy within ourselves—to follow his example. His great “I am” statements in the Gospel of John are descriptions of the Christ—the indwelling Presence we will find in ourselves when we surrender our resistance and turn within. It is the Christ that is the way, and the truth, and the life. And the only path to God is through believing in, embracing and fully expressing our own unique and eternal spiritual energy. Our innate and eternal Oneness with all that God is constitutes a universal spiritual truth. There are many paths to discovering and embracing that Oneness; Jesus offers one clear path, Buddha another, Mohammed another, etc. What's essential is the universal spiritual truth itself; the path we choose to follow to reach that essential awareness is up to us. (Even those who consider themselves to be agnostic or atheistic are on a spiritual path toward Christ awareness, whatever their opinions of specific religions may be!)