Chapter 27: Judgment

Down the Rabbit HoleBringing the perception to his fellow human beings, in a way that they can embrace it, was the greatest challenge and existential problem for Jesus; and he may have been well aware of a certain duality in his ministry. He did not put on the mask of the philosopher or the psychologist in an attempt to plainly explain the Landscape by indulging the linear mind; rather, he was compelled to become the voice of the Landscape by inflaming the heart. No amount of explanation will give the listener or disciple the full experience, despite the fact that intellectually he may agree with or understand the message. Most religious people of all faiths can be thought of as belonging to this camp whereby they live by concepts, not experience. It is like putting the cart before the horse, as the saying goes. The only way to bring about the experience is by evoking it or awakening it in some way, but it cannot be done through effort. Jesus spoke in parables that arrested the deeper mind. He was driven by a supreme Intoxication, or The Father, to speak from the perspective of that Landscape. In doing so, an element of mystery is conjured up. Jesus represents one who is completely intoxicated, drunk with the Spirit of God. He did not attempt to sing the Song. He was the Song. He did not speak from a perspective of one who describes the mechanics of the journey, as separate from it. “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”, he said in John 14:6. He was driven to deliver his message in the most powerful way possible by shattering the conceptual reality of the listener and revealing the full possibilities of the here-and-now. He put his finger on something very intimate and vaguely familiar, shrouded in the bittersweet nature of life. Like many supreme artists, Jesus came walking across vast oceans and against mighty winds to step onto the shores of that island of alienation that is in all of us, to calm the winds of our souls, and to whisper in our ears that we are not alone, thereby restoring our innocence and making us whole again. It would have been counterproductive for Jesus to take a “time-out” from his poetic and powerful words and parables at every occasion to plainly explain their meaning. Doing so would rob them of their intoxicating power and would deprive the situation from its mystery and radiance. While theology speaks of a perception of the Divine, perception or experience breathes It. Jesus' life and ministry grew out of an organic process that began with his seeing the state of things as they are, not as he wanted them to be. Through this process, he took off his personal mask and discovered that his face reflects the Christ in all of Creation.

There is one other very important idea that is presented in Matthew 7:6 which in my view is a cornerstone of Jesus' vision. This is the idea of judgment. Jesus saw that the world was filled with philosophers and teachers, all wishing to teach or demonstrate their way of seeing. One must think to himself: "Who am I that I should judge my viewpoint to be more righteous than that of others, that everyone should listen to me and adopt my point of view? Why should my experience or realization be more true or of more value than any other’s?" History has shown us that a righteous path for one generation may become a desolate and despicable road for another. The solution to this problem points to the symbol of the cross. As mentioned previously, the cross is a symbol of Jesus taking responsibility for the world as it is. Judgment and blame are not directed outwardly to the world; rather, they are understood as a function of the one who judges. Through his crucifixion, Jesus bypassed those elements in the human being that are preoccupied with the notions of right and wrong, left and right, and good and evil. Jesus was interested in a mind-shattering, transformative vision of life, beyond concepts, thoughts and forms. Compassion, awakened through his crucifixion, evokes his message. Through compassion, that piercing of the heart, people come of their own volition, openly and passionately to Jesus' vision. Jesus puts the notion of judgment in the hands of something that everyone can experience and that is greater than any individual, namely compassion. Compassion itself testifies of Jesus' message.

In John 5:30, he says: "I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not deemed true. There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true… For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me." In this passage, Jesus urges us to look within ourselves and in doing so we will find his words affirmed. In other words, the Father bears witness of him because this perception is universal. The last sentence in the passage clearly indicates that eternal life is not to be found in any book or anything in the outer world, but in a living experience of Christ, who is born with compassion within the heart. Clearly though, in these passages, we can sense Jesus' struggle with how best to communicate this Conviction that was within him and that consumed him.

In John 12:44 Jesus cries out: “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” The orthodox interpretation of this passage puts an accent on the authority of Jesus, the man, given to him by God; however, if we interpret this passage in context with a life-altering experience, we see that Jesus is speaking of a universal experience or perception that is inescapable. That is to say, whosoever wishes to examine his life more closely will come to the same realization as Jesus and will affirm, with great conviction, the words of Jesus, beyond what the world has to say. The one who rejects Jesus' words is simply one who is lost in darkness or in ignorance – not because he is going against Jesus as an authority but because he does not come to the knowledge of himself and of the processes and “laws” that govern the human psyche.

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