I am not really an orthodox Christian but I like to think of myself as a Follower of the Way, as the early Christians were known, and I am certainly a Christian inasmuch as I believe there was something absolutely unique about Jesus Christ. I also have no doubt that the Resurrection took place as stated. For one thing it makes perfect intuitive sense, though that in itself admittedly proves nothing. But the fact that a small group of simple people of humble background, crushed and demoralised, were suddenly inspired to go out and change the world strongly suggests that they witnessed something extraordinary. Something so powerful that it raised them up from abject defeat and left them without fear or self concern of any kind as they spread their revelationary message. It is very rare for the higher world to break completely into this one but sometimes it does precisely that. The Resurrection is at the heart of Christianity, and is what marks that religion out from all the others because without it there probably would be no Christianity. It is, I think, a most glorious truth.
It is also, I think, of secondary importance. Its significance lies in the fact that it was a demonstration of the non-existence of death, and that it galvanised the disciples to spread the word and inspired potential converts to receive it. But the true point of Christianity is the word. It is not Christ’s physical resurrection but his spiritual teachings as given in the Sermon on the Mount and elsewhere. The resurrection is confirmation for us that the spiritual path is the right path, but if we wish to become like Jesus, and know what he knew, then we must tread that path, and that means we must follow his teachings. We must be Followers of the Way.
The resurrection is also a symbol, particularly when viewed as the other side of the crucifixion. The two must go together as death and rebirth always do. The crucifixion represents the complete giving up of everything that relates to this world, the absolute emptying of self. It is a real experience in the life of a disciple, the culmination of a host of lesser givings up that take place regularly along the way. We may not be called upon to suffer physical death in such a terrible manner as Jesus was, but the inner death we will have to undergo will be no less of an examination of the state of our soul at the most fundamental level. We are fortunate to have Jesus' example there to strengthen and uphold us when we face a similar initiation. We should also be thankful that we have his demonstration of the truth that after the crucifixion comes the resurrection and then, at last, the ascension which is the complete transmutation of darkness into light. The Masters told me that as you progress along the spiritual path the make up of your physical body actually changes. The ascension is the completion of that process. It is the moment when matter becomes spiritualised, when Earth is lifted up and made one with Heaven. One might speculate that this is why the bodies of some saints remain uncorrupt after death.
The Masters who spoke to me appeared to regard Jesus as the greatest of their number but they did not mention him much. However their teachings echoed his precisely, because they came from the same place. Their concern, like his, was with crucifixion and resurrection, the crucifixion of the lower self and the resurrection of the spiritual consciousness into universal life. If we have been on the path a certain number of years we have probably heard these words, or something like them, so many times that they have rather lost their meaning. But please consider them once more with me. The self that you and I identify with, that we experience as our real self, that self has to go. It isn't saved or redeemed or liberated or enlightened or made spiritual. It just has to go. This is the crucifixion but please note that the crucifixion takes place at the end of Jesus' life. Obviously, you might say, when else could it be? But there is a symbolic significance to this. In some respects, Jesus' life was a public enactment of the journey of the soul, specifically the latter stages. He had to undergo many experiences and tests, and bring his soul to perfection, before he was able to give up his spiritual life. For that is what the crucifixion is. It is not anything to do with physical death. We all go through that, and many times too, if we are believers in reincarnation. No, the crucifixion represents the death of the soul, the final abandonment of the 'me', and this is not an exchange we make as a kind of bargain hoping to gain something better. That is made very clear by Jesus' anguished prayer in the
So, at the crucifixion we must give up our soul but the moment of desolation passes and the fearful rending apart of self is seen, extraordinarily, not even to have really happened, not in the light of the new reality. This is the resurrection, the realisation that spirit is all there ever was, that the separated self we have clung to for so long was merely a shadow caused by our mind blotting out the sun. Individuality remains as God's gift to us and the fruit of our experience in the worlds of form, but it is no longer what we essentially identify ourselves with. We are now one with God, caught up into his life, and this is the resurrection.