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The Passion Of Christ, The Atonement,
Why Christ Had To Die On The Cross

Much has been debated about the Passion of Christ and much has been proffered from adherents of traditionalist and fundamentalist Christian thought concerning the reasons for Christ's Passion. Indeed, Christ suffered for us physically but it should be plainly stated that the suffering caused by the repudiation of His love by those He had come to save was far, far greater than the physical pain. He was Love Incarnate, and therefore His love was pure, perfect and unconditional. Having that unconditional love not only denied but also thrown back at Him with hatred, was much more painful than the horrendous physical suffering He endured, and indeed the Christ of God endures pain for suffering humanity today.

Christ Jesus came to reveal Divine Love - the love that God has for all in an individual way as well as a universal way. When talking of the Cross, if 'atonement' means suffering, then Jesus did indeed suffer for us more than we will ever be able to understand.

But who can 'atone' for the results of another? Or to put it another way, if God's scheme of things included 'atoning' for the actions performed by another by removing the consequences of those actions, then He could do it with just one thought - He wouldn’t have to perform some kind of primitive magic sacrificial ritual to Himself, and in accepting such a 'fact' a human escapes all consequences of actions. That is not the plan of redemption that God has thought out for His children, such a notion exists only in the human mind.

If it was God's plan to allow humans to completely and instantly escape the consequences of their bad deeds (sins), then it would not be necessary for a human ritual where blood is spilled in order for such a thing to happen - God is God and He need only desire it for it to happen. God Almighty does not need to be "assuaged" by a hideous human sacrifice - that is not the God Who is Love. It is a human concept - indeed, a misconception - that one becomes a perfected soul fit for the Christ Sphere or instantly 'free from sin' simply by accepting a mental concept based on a material ritual (human sacrifice). The truths of Christ as Man are simple but man has complicated them.

The love demonstrated by God is unthinkable but His love is still attacked by those who claim to speak in His Name. Instead of taking certain metaphorical statements designed to spiritually enlighten ("God made him who had no sin to be sin for us" 2 Cor.5:21), they take them in a literal sense, and in so doing they denigrate His love, the love He showed so plainly. By misinterpreting some contextual spiritually redemptive analogies, they say Christ Jesus "literally" became the sin of the world and then they say God Almighty actually turned His love from Jesus on the Cross ("My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" Matt.27:46; Mark.15:34) because God Almighty could not look on sin (iniquity). And in so doing they turn unlimited and unconditional Divine Love into conditional love.

However, Divine Love is always forthcoming and never ceases, it is given eternally and is never - can never be - withdrawn. No, it cannot be withdrawn because it is real Love, unlike that taught by the Literalist theologies. God's Love is around the most fallen soul in so great a measure that it cannot be taken in.

One of the reasons why it was necessary that Christ meet such an atrocious death was so that no man or woman could ever claim that God does not know what it is like to suffer as a human. God the almighty Father, because of His Divine Love, could never have left Jesus the Christ alone on the Cross - Divine Love poured forth unceasingly. However, it was necessary that the man Jesus should go through in the fullest measure spiritual isolation, the loneliness of the soul, so that those who followed after should never be able to say that the Christ, because of His fuller contact with the Godhead, could not understand them in their hour of loneliness and seeming desertion by man and God alike.

Unconditional Love is the only true form of love; anything called love with conditions is a misnomer, and God is Love. Therefore God's love is for all - sinner or not - and it never ceases. When teachers say that God Almighty could not look on Jesus as He was dying on the Cross because He had taken on the sin of the world, they belittle the very Passion, the very Act, the very Love that they claim is so important; in so doing they diminish the greater Divine Love. But He knew as He let out His last earthly breath that His Example would speak louder than the clever words of men.

Why Christ Had To Die On The Cross

The Cross was necessary so that He would be remembered; He even had to ask us to remember Him when we eat and drink. Human memory is short indeed. The Cross was essential so that the influence of perfect Love would have the strongest and most powerful effect possible for all generations in all spheres of life in existence or yet to exist, in order that the individual soul can save itself untold suffering through conscience, expiation and determined adherence to principles demonstrated by Jesus the Christ; there the passion of Christ finds its meaning. The mind of man has complicated the most simple and beautiful Message possible.

It is perhaps necessary to reiterate this fact because it is so simple that the human mind - which so often seeks complicated answers to profound questions - overlooks the purest simplicity which engenders realisation. It is this: If Jesus the Christ had not died on the Cross, mankind in general would be unaware of Him. If this is thought through to its conclusion it can be seen that only by the Cross could the influence of Jesus Christ have the colossal effect it has today and will have tomorrow today. It is that simple. Lay to rest the complicated theologies and theories about why Jesus the Christ died on the Cross; cast aside the tenets coming from the minds of the Traditionalists! Jesus died on the Cross to bring the power that would permit countless generations – regardless of who they were - to gain a consciousness of their loving, personal God, which in turn would bring the inner revolution necessary to spur priceless spiritual evolution, which in its turn would bring joy to the Great Divine Heart.

Before the Cross, a small Jewish following, living in fear and denial, knowing only the power of the Divine Love that emanated from the One they called Jesus – and after the Cross that same small following becoming fearless and inspired with the reappearance after physical death of their Master, the genesis of a Message that would penetrate the vast majority of the world, becoming adapted to changing cultures in an undefeatable way. Only man is to blame for the way the message has been carried, but the Message of the Christ is still young, it is only 2,000 years old and it will be a salvation to many billions for many thousands of years yet to come. The Message travels into spheres and conditions man has not even thought of - and the Message of the Christ is able to do this only because of the Cross - and the thousands and thousands of gifts it brings.

Yes, the Cross was essential so that man might even remember Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ of God made man. But the passion displayed is something man has yet to realise, even many naming themselves by the sacred Name. Christians talk of the Love of God and then often deny that Love in the next sentence by misunderstanding Him and attributing the lesser human emotions to Him because they have not understood God's unravelling of Himself throughout the Bible - the sequence of the Ruler followed by the Saviour, followed by the Holy Spirit, this has not yet been understood let alone accepted as fact. God's Love is never taken away, it is always there; humanity denies that Love over and over again, and so God's Divine passion is symbolised in the act of the Cross. This is what humanity does to God, every moment of every day that is lived without Him as Guide, Leader and Companion.

Jesus said that because He had been known and seen, then the Father had also been known and seen (John 14:7-10). Jesus the Christ displayed how man's God truly feels towards him. In the future, because of the Cross, humanity was to be prepared for the perception of a more loving and understanding God than it had then, or even as it has today. Indeed, humanity today has little or no idea of the pain caused to God simply by ignoring Him. He wants to be a part of our lives, He wants to be the Comforter and Consoler, He wants His Love returned. And we continue to cause Him pain by treating Him as anything but the Loving Parent, capable of yearning for each of His children individually. And so the Cross came, the event that would stand for all time to declare the pain His children cause Him by regarding Him as anything less than Love Itself; the event which would, one day, enable man to lay aside his doctrines of a frightening and vicious God, quick to anger and desirous of seeking revenge; the event which would bring humanity to the state where it would no longer strike pangs of suffering into the Great Heart of Love simply out of indifference.

In short, the passion of the Cross was more than a holy statement, it was a holy plea by our God to His children, that they realise what they mean to Him, each one individually; that they no longer turn from Him; that they no longer throw their lances of pain at Him; that they love Him.

There are some who claim that things have not changed over the last 2,000 years and are unable to see the huge shift in consciousness since the Crucifixion, but they are not looking at the whole picture. Today, there are virtually global laws such as the European Law of Human Rights and the Bill of Rights which afford legal rights for such things as speaking one's mind and protection from racism. Certainly the lumbering selfish nature of those with the desire to gain, maintain and wield material power for their own gratification does not adhere to the spirit of such laws, but it cannot be denied by a mind free from conditioning that today's developed societies are a far cry from a time when it was considered a wonderful entertainment to watch innocent men, women and children being savaged to death by lions. Before the Crucifixion it was not "evolution" but it was a downward trend towards that which can be called "evil" and was in fact spiritual involution. Many have failed to realise that we would not have a society as we know it today had it not been for the Passion of Christ and the profound effect it has had on this world.

Also to be considered are such things as the increasing legal protection against animal cruelty and global environmental abuse; there are workers benefits with more countries adopting minimum wage levels, widespread social security for the sick and old, and many charities functioning from altruistic motives. It is 2,000 years since the man Jesus walked the Earth and died, but this is a short time in Spirit. Given time and further development of spiritual consciousness, driven - mostly unseen and in silence - by the awesome and unthinkable influence created by the suffering and death of Jesus the Christ, that which violates universal Divine laws will not be able to gain a foothold for long enough to smother the good within humanity.

Before original Christian teachings began to be grossly corrupted with the doctrine of "everlasting hell" for the majority of mankind in the fourth and fifth centuries, Gregory of Nazianzu, an early church teacher of universal salvation wisely wrote:

"A few drops of blood renew the whole world, and become for all men that which rennet is for milk, uniting and drawing us into one". "Christ is like leaven for the entire mass, and having made that which was damned one with himself, frees the whole from damnation".

At-One-Ment: "...for uniting and drawing us into one...with himself" Gregory understood then that the future was irrevocably altered by the Cross and that this event would "in due time (Tim.2:6)" lead to the redemption of all humanity (John 12:32, 1 John 2:21).

While this article is about the passion of Christ Jesus and how it displays the passion that our God has always felt towards us and always will, it needs to be said that the Resurrection could never have come about had it not been for the Cross. There, as a promise to all who follow Him, is demonstrated a colossal and plain declaration of eternal life once the physical body has done its work. And just as profound, the promise that all that dies and decays is made alive and pure by climbing the treacherous and thorny hillside - the Christ Way. That is God's goal for each and everyone because He has given a part of Himself as their very own to nurture and to cherish.

Through the Cross we can get closer to understanding our God, we can get closer to knowing Who our God is and how He feels towards each one of us as an individual. Let us give out the real teachings of God's Love and lay to rest those superstitious theologies created by man which altered God's original Message of Divine Love brought by Jesus the Christ and which was exemplified in the Passion - for the sake of Christ.

Tony Bisson

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