Jesus did not die for our sins; he was not punished because we are bad. A loving God would not punish any of His creations or cause them to suffer, let alone die for anyone else’s so called “sins”. Jesus died and was resurrected to demonstrate that we have not sinned; therefore, we have done nothing for which to be punished.
This is part of what A Course of Miracles has to say about the Easter story, which it turns upside down–as it does with many other traditional teachings of Christianity–infusing it with a new meaning full of hope, mercy, and love.
In A Course in Miracles, the message of the crucifixion is “Teach only love, for that is what you are”. But what exactly does that mean? According to the Course, Jesus did not see himself as a body that could be hurt and did not see others as his enemies; therefore, he did not see himself as abandoned, betrayed, or persecuted. True to his own teachings of love and forgiveness, he looked beyond these appearances to the truth of who he was, and everyone else with him. He saw his apparent enemies as acting out of fear and saw that this did not deserve punishment or hatred. This truth infused his life and his teachings while he was alive; it makes sense, therefore, that they would continue to do so as he died. His whole life was a lesson in unconditional love and forgiveness; why wouldn’t his “death” be that as well?
The crucifixion and resurrection were a demonstration for us, the ultimate proof of our own holiness and sinlessness, and our own eternal true nature as equal creations of God. Easter is not only a time to honour Jesus, but also to honour the same power of goodness in all of us. We are not called to suffer, but to accept our true nature and express it with everyone–even our apparent enemies–just as Jesus did. We are called to love despite apparent attacks on us, because the truth of what we are cannot be destroyed, just as it couldn’t be in Jesus.
Jesus is not suggesting that we allow ourselves to be destroyed, but he is asking us to face the mini-crucifixions in our daily lives with the same love and forgiveness with which he faced the crucifixion of his body. How different our lives would be if we did. We can’t control the circumstances of our lives, but we can choose to see those circumstances differently and respond to them with love and forgiveness as Jesus did, because that is our true nature. Only this will bring us peace; anything less will only cause us pain and suffering.
In not fighting against his â€œenemies,â€ Jesus taught only love. In not fighting against his â€œdeath,â€ he taught that he was not a body. The true resurrection that he experienced was a restoration of his mind, a shift in perception from identifying himself as a body to identifying himself only as spirit, from believing in death to becoming aware of eternal life. It was a sign of his transcending the body in order to become pure spirit, which has unlimited life and can never be destroyed.
The Easter story is a lesson about the journey to release, reawakening, and rebirth, not only for Jesus so long ago, but also for every one of us, right now. It is a story that calls us to roll away the stones that block our awareness of love’s presence in us, as well as our expression of that love. It is a joyful message of freedom that Jesus calls us to teach with him, first by embracing it for ourselves, then by living it, and finally by teaching it to others through our thoughts, perceptions, choices, and actions. Since we are teaching all the time, why wouldn’t we choose to teach love, joy, peace, freedom, innocence, and eternal life rather than fear, pain, anger, suffering, guilt, and death?
Originally published in Tone Magazine, April, 2006