While Jesus did not offer any spiritual ‘techniques’ per se, without a doubt the disciplines of the spiritual life were commonplace for him. He prayed in deserted places, he fasted, he fought with demons, he heared directly from the Father. The Sermon on the Mount is perhaps the most sublime of his spiritual teachings.
We must remember that Jesus was a Middle Eastern man and that Christianity was birthed in the East, not the West.
6 thoughts on “Christ the Spiritual Master”
The RCs sure know how to foul up the sacred art of iconography. When I look @ this particular “Sacred Heart” icon, I begin to hear Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” in my head. How’s that for “visual theology.” Geez. I once saw in an Ignatius Press catalogue (I think) a RC modern version of the famous Vladimir. It was truly horrifying. Made me want to puke. They need to stick to what they know. Uh huh, yeah, I know what some of you are thinking and saying, “…and just what is that??”
As someone who spent thirty plus years looking for “the” spiritual techniques that would get me over the line, I can say without equivocation that the technique Jesus offered was the one He offers us: the animating presence of the Holy Spirit. But, and this is key, you can only have Him if you give up everything else for Him. He that would have his life must lose it. You’ve got your ticket. Don’t go chasing wild geese. Use your ticket. Give it up.
My answer in the form of a mediation hypothesis I am poising to my self.
Jesus gave us commands as to what to do. I am not sure he gave us any techniques as the term is used in western culture. By his actions he gave us examples, but he was God and sinless. Therefore for us sinners who sometimes think we are a god, these examples may not be the best technique.
More plain English thoughts
Actions and techniques used by Jesus may or may not be the best technique for our lives or ministries. The good Father already pointed out the different culture which is a very valid point. I am not the Son of God. I am not sinless. Therefore, what worked for Jesus may not work for me. On the other hand if the Son of God did do it, it is worth consideration.
In short, I do not have an answer to the question.
What make ye of the Orthodox tradition of θέοσις? In a sense, isn’t our goal as Christians to live in the example of Christ and become so full of Him that we are divinized? (ie, become realized saints?) Sure, most never get there. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try earnestly.
“Therefore, what worked for Jesus may not work for me.”
I seriously doubt this. God’s purpose in becoming man was to bring us to Him, to show us how to live. From the sermon on the mount (“When you pray” and “when you fast” (not ‘if’), etcetera ) to “take up your cross” the things He explicitly asks us to do are the same things He did.
And that is why Matthew 25 scares the hell out of me.
I was commenting narrowly on the idea of techniques. I was not thinking alone the line of sanctification. I was thinking about techniques for ministry. I do not know why but this is how I read the good father’s question.
Is the question “what would Jesus do?” or is the question “what would Jesus have me do?”
“I was not thinking alone the line of sanctification… I was thinking about techniques for ministry.”
I can’t figure how this dichotomy isn’t a false one. If you seek santification, and hopefully actually walk down the path, isn’t ministry a combination of love and healing (i.e. things we are supposed to do as we come closer to being sanctified) and then helping others down the path of santification? How can you do one without the other? I don’t get it.