Heart of the Matter
I’ve spent the past twenty-five years trying to understand, live, and teach the message of Jesus from an Eastern, Hebrew perspective. Unfortunately not always in that order—it’s still a work in progress that has created reactions ranging from relief to consternation to outright hostility, which has always amazed me considering the heart of the matter of Jesus’ message that I have been trying to convey.
Can I be certain that the reconstruction of Jesus’ Aramaic message I’ve been teaching is “right?” Matches Jesus’ original intent? Of course not. And neither can anyone else.
But a growing chorus of scholars are leading in this direction, and more importantly, in any language, any time, Jesus is all about love. That much is obvious. Not a fuzzy, sentimental love, but a love that is absolute, muscular, will take us to shocking places if we are willing to follow to its radical conclusion.
The heart of the matter for Jesus is that if God is love, and that love is perfectly indiscriminate, falling on everyone equally, then it can never be even a little bit performance-based. You can’t be a little bit pregnant: if there remains the tiniest bit of performance-based thinking, that we need to earn the right to God’s love, we will always be wondering if we have, always living in the fear that we are ultimately alone. Jesus’ descending way is the only way to the Father because it produces the experience of the truth that makes us free…of the wondering.
The sum of our life experience creates unconscious beliefs that take us one of two directions: to deeply believe that we are worthy of connection and love or not—on a sliding scale of course. But whatever side of that divide our beliefs fall determine whether we can afford the risk of becoming vulnerable enough to live connected to others and ultimately God.
And that is the heart of the matter. To engage the only way, the descent that strips off the sum of all our beliefs, unconscious and conscious, so we can again see the truth: we are already worthy and in possession of all the acceptance and connection, the love that we haven’t earned. And never could.