Text, Chapter 6, Section I: The Message of the Crucifixion
1. For learning purposes, let us consider the crucifixion again. Jesus did not dwell on it before because of the fearful connotations you may associate with it. The only emphasis laid upon it so far has been that it was not a form of punishment. Nothing, however, can be explained in negative terms only. There is a positive interpretation of the crucifixion that is wholly devoid of fear, and therefore wholly benign in what it teaches if it is properly understood.
2. The crucifixion is nothing more than an extreme example. Its value, like the value of any teaching device, lies solely in the kind of learning it facilitates. It can be, and has been, misunderstood. This is only because the fearful are apt to perceive fearfully. Jesus already told you that you can always call on him to share his decision, and thus make it stronger. He has also told you that crucifixion was the last useless journey the Sonship need take, and that it represents release from fear to anyone who understands it. While he emphasized only the resurrection before, the purpose of the crucifixion and how it actually led to the resurrection was not clarified then. Nevertheless, it has a definite contribution to make to your own life, and if you will consider it without fear, it will help you understand your own role as a teacher.
3. You have probably reacted for years as if you were being crucified. This is a marked tendency of the separated, who always refuse to consider what they have done to themselves. Projection means anger, anger fosters assault, and assault promotes fear. The real meaning of the crucifixion lies in the apparent intensity of the assault of some of the Sons of God upon another. This, of course, is impossible, and must be fully understood as impossible. Otherwise, Jesus cannot serve as a model for learning.
4. Assault can ultimately be made only on the body. There is little doubt that one body can assault another and can even destroy it. Yet if destruction itself is impossible, anything that is destructible cannot be real. Its destruction, therefore, does not justify anger. To the extent to which you believe that it does, you are accepting false premises and teaching them to others. The message the crucifixion was intended to teach was that it is not necessary to perceive any form of assault in persecution, because you cannot be persecuted. If you respond with anger, you must be equating yourself with the destructible, and are therefore regarding yourself insanely.
5. Jesus has made it perfectly clear that he is like you and you are like him, but our fundamental equality can be demonstrated only through joint decision. You are free to perceive yourself as persecuted if you choose. When you do choose to react that way, however, you might remember that Jesus was persecuted as the world judges and did not share this evaluation for himself. And because he did not share it, he did not strengthen it. He therefore offered a different interpretation on attack, and one which he wants to share with you. If you will believe it, you will help him teach it.
6. As Jesus has said before, "As you teach so shall you learn." If you react as if you are persecuted, you are teaching persecution. This is not a lesson a Son of God should want to teach if he is to realize his own salvation. Rather, teach your own perfect immunity, which is the truth in you, and realize that it cannot be assailed. Do not try to protect it yourself, or you are believing that it is assailable. You are not asked to be crucified, which was part of Jesus' own teaching contribution. You are merely asked to follow his example in the face of much less extreme temptations to misperceive, and not to accept them as false justifications for anger. There can be no justification for the unjustfiable. Do not believe there is, and do not teach that there is. Remember always that what you believe you will teach. Believe with Jesus, and we will become equal as teachers.
7. Your resurrection is your reawakening. Jesus is the model for rebirth but rebirth itself is merely the dawning on your mind of what is already in it. God placed it there Himself, and so it is true forever. Jesus believed in it, and therefore accepted it as true for himself. Help him to teach it to our brothers in the name of the Kingdom of God, but first believe that it is true for you, or you will teach amiss. Jesus' brothers slept during the so-called "agony in the garden," but he could not be angry with them because he knew he could not be abandoned.
8. Jesus is sorry when his brothers do not share his decision to hear only one Voice, because it weakens them as teachers and as learners. Yet he knows they cannot really betray themselves or Jesus, and that it is still on them that Jesus must build his church. There is no choice in this, because only you can be the foundation of God's church. A church is where an altar is, and the presence of the altar is what makes the church holy. A church that does not inspire love has a hidden altar that is not serving the purpose for which God intended it. He must found His church on you, because those who accept him as a model are literally his disciples. Disciples are followers, and if the model they follow has chosen to save them pain in all respects, they are unwise not to follow him.
9. Jesus elected, for your sake and his, to demonstrate that the most outrageous assault, as judged by the ego, does not matter. As the world judges these things, but not as God knows them, Jesus was betrayed, abandoned, beaten, torn, and finally killed. It was clear that this was only because of the projection of others onto him, since he had not harmed anyone and had healed many.
10. We are still equal as learners, although we do not need to have equal experiences. The Holy Spirit is glad when you can learn from Jesus' experiences and be reawakened by them. That is their only purpose, and that is the only way in which Jesus can be perceived as the way, the truth and the life. When you hear only one Voice you are never called on to sacrifice. On the contrary, by being able to hear the Holy Spirit in others you can learn from their experiences and can gain from them without experiencing then directly yourself. That is because the Holy Spirit is one, and anyone who listens is inevitably led to demonstrate His way for all.
11. You are not persecuted, nor was Jesus. You are not asked to repeat Jesus' experiences because the Holy Spirit, Whom we share, makes this unnecessary. To use Jesus' experiences constructively, however, you must still follow his example in how to perceive them. His brothers and yours are constantly engaged in justifying the unjustifiable. Jesus' one lesson, which he must teach as he learned it, is that no perception that is out of accord with the judgment of the Holy Spirit can be justified. He undertook to show this was true in an extreme case, merely because it would serve as a good teaching aid to those whose temptation to give in to anger and assault would not be so extreme. Jesus wills with God that none of His Sons should suffer.
12. The crucifixion cannot be shared because it is the symbol of projection, but the resurrection is the symbol of sharing because the reawakening of every Son of God is necessary to enable the Sonship to know its wholeness. Only this is knowledge.
13. the message of the crucifixion is perfectly clear:
Teach only love, for that is what you are.
14. If you interpret the crucifixion in any other way, you are using it as a weapon for assault rather than as the call for peace for which it was intended. The Apostles often misunderstood it, and for the same reason that anyone misunderstands it. Their own imperfect love made them vulnerable to projection, and out of their own fear they spoke of the "wrath of God" as His retaliatory weapon. Nor could they speak of the crucifixion entirely without anger, because their sense of guilt had made them angry.
15. These are some of the examples of upside-down thinking in the New Testament, although its gospel is really only the message of love. If the Apostles had not felt guilty, they never could have quoted Jesus as saying "I came not to bring peace but a sword." This is clearly the opposite of everything Jesus taught. Nor could they have described his reactions to Judas as they did. If they had really understood Jesus, he could not have said, "Betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?" unless he believed in betrayal. The whole message of the crucifixion was simply that he did not. The punishment Jesus was said to have called forth upon Judas was a similar mistake. Judas was Jesus' brother and A Son of God as much a part of the Sonship as himself. Was it likely that he would condemn him when he was ready to demonstrate that condemnation is impossible?
16. As you read the teachings of the Apostles, remember that Jesus told them himself that because they were not wholly ready to follow him at the time. He does not want you to allow any fear to enter into the thought system toward which he is guiding you. Jesus does not call for martyrs but for teachers. No one is punished for sins, and the Sons of God are not sinners. Any concept of punishment involves the projection of blame, and reinforces the idea that blame is justified. The result is a lesson in blame, for all behavior teaches the beliefs that motivate it. The crucifixion is the result of clearly opposed thought systems, the perfect symbol of the "conflict" between the ego and the Son of God. This conflict seems just as real now, and the lessons must be learned now as well as then.
17. Jesus does not need gratitude, but you need to develop your weakened ability to be grateful, or you cannot appreciate God. He does not need your appreciation, but you do. You cannot love what you do not appreciate, for fear makes appreciation impossible. When you are afraid of what you are you do not appreciate it and will therefore reject it. As a result, you will teach rejection.
18. The power of the Sons of God is present all the time, because they were created as creators. Their influence on each other is without limi, and must be used for their joint salvation. Each one must learn to teach that all forms of rejection are meaningless. The separation is the notion of rejection. As long as you teach this you will believe it. This is not as God thinks, and you must think as He thinks if you are to know Him again.
19. Remember that the Holy Spirit is the communication link between God the Father and His separated Sons. If you will listen to his Voice you will know that you cannot either hurt or be hurt, and that many need your blessing to help them hear this for themselves. When you perceive only this need in them, and do not respond to any other, you will have learned of Jesus and will be as eager to share your learning as he is.
(Continue to C6, SII: The Alternative to Projection)