5 of Christ’s Most Powerful Teachings – The Wisdom of Jesus
It struck me recently that in the modern West you can go through Christmas and never hear a word said about Jesus Christ, believe in him or not, it does seem odd that the eponymous figure of Christmas is so overlooked, which is why this piece looks at 5 of Christ’s most powerful teachings.
In our age of hyperconsumerism, rigid materialist realism and distance from the spiritual, Jesus has become severely distanced from our culture.
This situation has arguably been made even worse by religious dogmatists and the abuses of the church, further compounding a sense that the teachings of Christianity are obsolete.
Yet, as I’ve explored before, with addiction, suicide and mental health issues through the roof in the West, as well as a rampant sense of despair affecting millions, when we remove the framework of the soul that gives us transcendental meaning we may be losing more than we’re aware of.
Now, at Recovering Man we’re not trying to convince you of anything, the above is just an observation borne out by years of speaking and working with others with the aforementioned issues, as well as experiencing them myself.
This is why this piece looks to explore 5 of Christ’s most powerful teachings in a way that creates a distance between our egocentric sense of self and an innate higher purpose that is a contingent, if tacit, part of life itself.
1: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Here Christ teaches the distinction between the essence of the human ego and the human soul.
The ego, that which governs us in our unawakened state, sees only the wants of the world, which Jesus conceptualizes here as ‘treasures’.
This notion of the desire for worldly things as the root of corruption is at the core of many spiritual traditions, perhaps most notably Buddhism, yet it remains a core truth through many of our favourite stories and tales – perhaps Gollum in Lord of the Rings is a more modern example.
While treasures on earth may give us power, status and ego-gratification in the short-term, they cause decay in the long-term, turning us into addicted, greedy creatures who have lost a soulful connection to the other – the predicate of disharmony.
This teaching points us towards a greater, eternal reality ‘Heaven’, where things cannot be stolen because they are immaterial, foundationed deep in the soul and exist in harmony.
What these treasures exactly are is down to your own soulful reasoning, but notions such as truthfulness, charity, self-discipline and courage come to mind here – the sort of qualities that better your own life conditions, the conditions of those around you, and please God, the karmic master of all.
Finally, Christ ends the teaching by stating that the state of our heart (which is what we call the subconscious nowadays) depends upon which path we choose – pick worldly things and expect disharmony, pick metaphysical principles of justice, truth and love and expect peace.
2: “No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
On first inspection, this teaching reads more like a Zen aphorism than anything else, carrying a sense of illogic that can only be penetrated when we grasp the spiritual dimension.
While some see this teaching as a direct metaphor regarding one’s commitment to the Christian path (i.e. you won’t get far if you keep equivocating) for me this carries a more transcendental message regarding the nature of time and consciousness.
It is a spiritual axiom that there really is no such thing as past and future, as both of these are fundamental constructs of the mind, and all that exists is in the eternal now.
This is a teaching found across all major religions and spiritual traditions, yet has been made more famous to the modern man via the work of spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle and his seminal book The Power of Now.
Henceforth, in this teaching, Jesus is showing that if we keep living in the past, we are trapped in mental identification and cannot penetrate the reality of life which is only accessible right now in pure thoughtless experience.
To further the metaphor, we must go about our daily tilling of the soil, not becoming overburdened with the memories of the past.
While the teaching utilizes the past as the key dimension, Jesus also made this same point regarding the future, famously stating “Take no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself,” making the same point, albeit the other way around.
3: “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”
Jesus often talks of ‘watching’ throughout the gospel, and while we often associate this with simply looking, in spiritual terms ‘watching’ means to be in a state of awareness in the here and now, impervious to the temptations of the world.
Again, spiritual traditions throughout the ages have had some manner of articulating this message, whether it is referred to as mindfulness, presence, meditation, or contemplation, the notion here isn’t so much to see oneself as a watcher watching, but rather grasp that pure awareness is our true state of being.
Therefore, in a state of watchfulness, we can be in sync with our spiritual dimension, aware of potential pitfalls and guarded against the temptation of ego, craving and emotionality.
4: “That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us.”
This teaching takes us to the apex of the realization begun in the prior two teachings and with this we get to the essence of Christ’s role in the world – to unite man in spirit with divinity.
Now while it’s well-known in Christianity that man has been built in the image of God, what Jesus is saying here is one step further in that we are built in the image of God’s spirit and too share that soul.
This is a practical as well as highly metaphysical teaching.
It is metaphysically true in that we are all fundamentally spirit, after all, our bones grow and renew, our skin sheds, and our hair refreshes itself – everything about us physically is an illusion, as it is all in a state of flux.
Even the very ideas about who we are change, so these too have nothing unchanging and fundamental about them.
When this is realized we see the only thing left is the nothingness, the formless awareness of life itself, and this is our unfathomable spiritual nature that underpins all.
Similarly, the illusion of physicality can be traced back and back and back until we see humans share the same root as the universe itself, inside of us then is the very power of life itself enacted in human form.
In this teaching, Jesus is teaching us of our innate divinity that we can and do share with him and God, should we stay ‘watching’ and aware.
5: “The kingdom of God will not come with observable signs. Nor will people say ‘Look, here it is,’ or ‘There it is.’ For you see, the Kingdom of God is in your midst.”
The final of 5 of Christ’s most powerful teachings is one of Jesus’ most famous teachings, that God is not external, He is not even physical form, but He is inside of us at our very core, in pure spirit, and beyond thought.
This most core of teachings has sat at the core of Christian masters and mystics down the centuries, and one can hear its influence in the spiritual revelations of many of the greats.
St Francis of Assisi echoes this teaching in his famous adage “What we’re looking for is what we’re looking from.”
Leo Tolstoy, who is often credited with writing the finest novel ever in War & Peace, wrote his treatise ‘The Kingdom of God is Within You’ on nonviolent resistance, also drew heavily from the teaching.
What Jesus is saying in this teaching is of huge magnitude, that we are an innate part of God, and that if we realize that the ‘Kingdom of God’ is at hand.
If you enjoyed 5 of Christ’s most powerful teachings, why not consider downloading the free Recovering Man e-Book, ‘Recovery Hacks: 6 Lessons to Take You from Pain to Presence.’