What is Jesus saying?
Sectarian institutions and their teachers will have us believe that Jesus is talking* about his body's upcoming murder at the hands of the Romans, and how this crucifixion will save humankind because he "died for our sins."
The Roman Catholic Church and the many sects that followed their interpretations have arrived at the conclusion that all we have to do is "accept that Jesus died for our sins" and we will be "saved." So now we have a collection of various sects around the world who are led by professional (paid with salaries) teachers, trying to get us to join their church (and pay their salaries) so they can "save us" by getting us to stare at the cross and proclaim "Jesus died for my sins and now I am saved!"
Does this really make sense? Is it consistent with Jesus' teachings? And why does this "Jesus died for my sins" teaching virtually ignore Jesus' actual teachings?
And more importantly, if it were true, why did Jesus even bother teaching anything? Why didn't he simply teach, "just accept that I will die for your sins and you will be saved"?
If this "Jesus died for my sins" teaching is true, then this means that Jesus was wrong when he taught:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matt. 7:21)Those who are teaching and those who are practicing this "Jesus died for my sins" teaching fall under this category of people who are saying "Lord, Lord" in the above verse. They are proclaiming Jesus as Lord without doing what he is instructing them to do. And what is that? "only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven:" serving the Supreme Being, in other words.
Jesus goes on to say:
"Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" (Matt. 7:21-23)Isn't this precisely what the sects of today are doing in Jesus' name... prophesizing in Jesus' name, performing miracles and driving out demons in Jesus' name? Yet Jesus is calling them "evildoers," saying "Away from me." Why? Because they didn't follow his instructions, which was to serve the Supreme Being ("does the will of my Father who is in heaven.")
They are doing precisely what Jesus taught not to do
So now that we can see that these sects are doing almost precisely what Jesus warns us not to do, should we believe their teaching that all we have to do is "accept Jesus into my heart" and "Jesus died for my sins"? All the while ignoring Jesus' real teachings?
This "Jesus died for my sins" is the teaching that the Roman government promoted because it supported their ability to control the Christian world with one doctrine that could be consistent with their continued materialism.
Remember that it was the Romans - the same government who murdered Jesus and many of his followers, and the same government who murdered hundreds of thousands of Jews in the first century - who governed the process of selecting (and editing) the books of the Bible. It was the early Roman Catholic Church - organized by Constantine in the early fourth century - who dictated the meaning of Jesus' teachings. Meanwhile, they de-emphasized Jesus' actual teachings, and those direct disciples who were passing on those teachings.
Jesus' real teachings instructed us that in order to return to the spiritual world, we would have to change. Jesus strictly applied the teachings of David, Moses, Abraham, Samuel and others, who emphasized that we need to learn to love God and dedicate our lives to the Supreme Being. This means changing our consciousness from being self-centered to being God-centered. This is supported by every teacher from the Old Testament, and the instructions by Moses, who summed up the meaning of God's commandments with this single instruction:
"Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." (Deut. 6:4)But sectarian teachers would have us believe that we don't have to change our consciousness. They want us to continue to love ourselves. Some even teach us that we must love ourselves before we can love others. This is diametrically opposed to Jesus' and Moses' teachings, that state we must love the Supreme Being above all else, and then we will be able to truly love others - who are all God's children.
These sectarian teachers teach that we can still focus on our self-centered dreams and ambitions, and simply come into church once a week and wipe off our sins on Jesus and we're clean and pure again. They even go further to say that we can turn to Jesus and ask him to help us achieve our self-centered desires, like getting rich or winning a football game. So Jesus is not simply our doormat to wipe our sins off on, but also our waiter: We just order up what we want and he gives it to us.
Praying for stuff
Some sectarian teachers go to the extent that they will help us ask for the "stuff" we need. We can write up a prayer-wish and send it to the preacher, and the preacher will "pray on it" to help us get what we want. So people are praying to get into good schools, or win football games or whatever, and the ecclesiastical teachers are supporting this by offering to "pray on it" for us. Is this what Jesus taught?
Certainly not. Rather, these activities are part of what Jesus is describing here as "the prince of this world".
So who is "the prince of this world"? Is it some horned character with a pitchfork who lives underground in fiery-hot caves? Is it someone who sits on our shoulder tempting us? These characterizations are not only fictitious: They are comical.
"This world" is being translated from the Greek word κόσμος (kosmos), which means, according to Thayer's lexicon, "universe" or "world", but also, "world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly; a) the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc."
If we accept this meaning, we can understand that "this world" isn't simply a place: Jesus was talking about the consciousness that pervades this material world: A consciousness of greed and desire.
And the use of the word "prince" is being translated from the Greek word ἄρχων (archōn), which means, according to the lexicon, "ruler, commander, chief, leader." So just who is leading or ruling this consciousness of greed and desire that pervades the physical world?
What is the 'prince of this world'?
"The prince of this world" that Jesus is discussing is self-centeredness. This is the root cause of greed, envy and sin. Being self-centered is putting ourselves at the center. Being self-centered is "loving ourselves." Being self-centered is putting ourselves first and everyone else last - including God if we even believe in His existence.
Self-centeredness is the "prince of this world" because this is the opposite consciousness that Jesus was teaching about. Jesus was teaching us to be God-centered, while self-centeredness is opposed to Jesus' teachings.
So why is Jesus saying that "Now is the time for judgment on this world" and "now the prince of this world will be driven out"? What was happening at that moment in time that would refer to this? Ecclesiastical teachers insist Jesus is talking about his dying removing everyone's sins because in the next verse, he mentions, "when I am lifted up from the earth."
This fails to include what preceded Jesus' statement: That was God's voice, saying "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again." after Jesus asked God, "Father, glorify your name!" and Jesus stating after God spoke, "This voice was for your benefit, not mine" directly afterward. (John 12:28-30)
So the word "now" is the key word, coming from the Greek word, νῦν (nyn) which means "at this time, the present, now," according to the lexicon.
Jesus was not dying on the cross "at this time" and in "the present." Rather, Jesus was teaching a crowd that surrounded him by the temple in Jerusalem, and they had just heard God speaking to them, and God glorified His Name. That is what was happening "now."
God glorifying His Holy Name brings "judgement on this world" because the consciousness of "this world" - this physical dimension - is self-centeredness and glorifying God is the opposite consciousness of that. This creates a contrasting moment, dividing those who are self-centered from those who are God-centered. Those who are God-centered were marveling and giving thanks at hearing from God, while those who were self-centered were not. They - such as the Pharisees and priests who were observing - were envious - saying "See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!" (John 12:19)
So why do ecclesiastical sectarian teachers not see this meaning within the texts? They would rather ignore the meaning of these verses, precisely because of why Jesus said it. That glorifying God and focusing upon God brings judgment upon their teachings - notably because their teachings do not glorify God, but rather, are focused upon maintaining doctrines meant to attract followers and maintain their professional positions and salaries. This is diametrically opposed to Jesus' teachings, which instructed us to devote ourselves to the Supreme Being:
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)
*Here is the translation of Jesus' statement according to the Gospels of Jesus:
"Now this material world is condemned; and the chief of this world will be cast out.” (John 12:31)