On the one hand, it is silly to talk about the changelessness of Jesus. You only have to spend five minutes looking around to see that there is no consensus at all on who Jesus was, what his message was, and what it means for us today. Catholics see it one way, Baptists another. Even students of A Course in Miracles. And the shifting nature of Jesus’ identity has been at play ever since he started teaching. Even at the personal level, our relationship with Jesus evolves so that what makes sense one day may not make any sense the next.
In that light, Jesus is not changeless so much as changing – constantly.
Yet it is still possible to make contact with Jesus in a way that relates us to what is eternal and unchanging. We need to see that we are always using Jesus as a symbol – a deeply personal symbol. We might say he is a symbol of love, or awakening, or eternal freedom, or what have you. When we turn our thoughts consistently and with willingness in the direction of that symbol, our thoughts are transformed because they come into contact with something in us that is deeper and more consistent than the shifting fabric of our consciousness.
That’s a tricky phrase, of course, and maybe fancier than it needs to be. A Course in Miracles, like many spiritual paths and practices, teaches us that we are not these bodies in this world. Or perhaps a better way to say it is that it teaches us that we are love and love is not our bodies.
It is only the awareness of the body that makes love seem limited. For the body is a limit on love (T-18.VIII.1:1-2).
The problem is not the body – it is our awareness of, and identification with, the body. The body is time-bound – it is born, it ages, it dies. Along the way it has all these desires and hungers and needs. Thus, it doesn’t exist apart from the past and the future. But we don’t have to do anything about this, other than shift our awareness away from the body and all its apparent activity.
And we can do that – if we want to, if it is helpful – by focusing on the symbol of Jesus. When we say that we have a personal relationship with Jesus, we are really saying that we are entering into a deeper communion with the love of which we are truly comprised. We are moving our awareness from the body – with all its problems, its stories, its ailments, its worries and so forth – to an awareness of love.
This experience happens in time – and you will experience it first in your body and as your self. That is why Jesus is so helpful – we can identify with him as a man who had a similar experience and wants to share it with us in order that we might know that abiding and peaceful joy. He lived in the illusion and he woke up from it and he said, “you can do it, too.”
You have reached the end of an ancient journey, not realizing yet that it is over. You are still worn and tired, and the desert’s dust still seems to cloud your eyes and keep you sightless. Yet He Who you welcomed has come to you, and would welcome you (T-18.VIII.13:1-3).
What is changeless about Jesus is not the man of two thousand years ago and not the symbolism made of him ever since – those will always move and evolve according to culture and history and psychology and so forth. In the world of the body, Jesus is as transient and impermanent as everything else. But what he points to – the impersonal eternal love that is the our ground – never changes. We are simply accepting Jesus as a temporary guide as we slip through the layers of self, undoing the ego, in order to arrive at what is, at I am.