Jesus is being persecuted
We must carefully understand what is taking place here. Jesus' body has been gruesomely nailed onto a cross. His body is being tortured and obviously in severe pain, yet he is still concerned about those he will be leaving behind as he leaves his physical body. Here is the full text from these two verses:
When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, "Woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. (John 19:27-28)So while Jesus is suffering from excruciating pain and torture at the hands of the Roman and Jewish leaders, he is still caring about those around him. So what is he saying?
Jesus is introducing his mother to one of his confidential disciples, and he is requesting the disciple take care of his mother. This is confirmed by the statement:
From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. (John 19:28)Notice also that the text describes this disciple as "whom he loved." What does this mean? Did Jesus have some sort of special relationship with this disciple?
Don't be ridiculous.
Those who have suggested this - as well as those who have suggested that Jesus and Mary had some sort of intimate relationship - have no spiritual vision. They see Jesus as an ordinary person, and suggest that his relationships were like their own - based upon lust and a self-centered identification with the physical body.
Jesus did not see those around him as physical bodies to exploit as those in the physical world do. Because we are blind to the spiritual identities of ourselves and those around us, we think that I am this body and those around us are their physical bodies.
But Jesus did not see in this way
He saw the spiritual person within. He communicated this on multiple occasions. For example, he said:
"I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him." (Luke 12:4-5)So while we might see others as physical bodies, and have self-centered desires relating to the use of those physical bodies, Jesus had no such consciousness. Jesus could see others' spiritual forms. And his love for others was purely spiritual.
This spiritual love is reflected upon in the original Greek. The phrase "he loved" is being taken from the Greek word ἀγαπάω (agapaō), which means, according to the lexicon, "to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly," and "to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing."
These indicate that Jesus was pleased with this disciple. And the love he showed towards the disciple in this respect relates to spiritual love. A love that is deeper than the physical body. A love that relates to the self - the spiritual being that is temporarily wearing a physical body.
As indicated in the last verses of the Book of John, this disciple is none other than John – the author of this Gospel.
Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is going to betray you?") When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?" Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me." Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?" This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true. (John 21:20-24)Our spiritual self has nothing to do with our physical body. It also has nothing to do with the gender of the physical body. While we do have a spiritual form - it is unrelated to the temporary physical body we are wearing.
In the same way, a rich man might get into an old beat-up car and drive it around. Or a poor person might drive a fancy car. The body is a vehicle just as a car is a vehicle. The driver has an identity independent of the vehicle.
At the same time, Jesus also cared for others' physical bodies. He saw that the mother of his physical body needed to be cared for, and he instructed one of his close disciples to care for her.
It is not as if seeing the spiritual person within should make us ignore their vehicle - their physical body. For example, if we cared about a friend of ours, we wouldn't dent up their car. We would care about their car because the car belongs to someone we care about.
In the same way, we can still care about the bodies of our family and friends. But we can still differentiate them from their spiritual identities, and know our permanent existence relates to our spiritual self. Jesus confirmed this when he said:
"For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matt. 12:50)
Why did Jesus address his mother as "woman"?
So Jesus is understanding his spiritual identity relates to his loving service to the Supreme Being. Those who also work for God's pleasure he considers his true family.
This is confirmed by the fact that Jesus addressed his mother as "woman."
Jesus also knew that his spiritual self would be leaving his physical body shortly. This is reflected in this statement:
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)This term, "gave up his spirit" (from the Greek phrase παρέδωκεν τὸ πνεῦμα) refers to the spiritual person leaving the physical body ("a human soul that has left the body" per the lexicon). This is what happens at the time of death. Each of us will leave our physical body at the time of death.
And at that point - when we leave our physical body - our physical lives are judged. This is called "judgment day." Yes, 'judgement day" has been misinterpreted by ecclesiastical teachers who have tried to suggest it relates to some end of the world scenario. Rather, the time of death is the 'end of the world' for each of us.
Jesus, however, is not like us. He is God's representative, and thus able to return to the physical world after he left his physical body in order to provide further instructions to his disciples.
But didn't Jesus' body "rise from the dead"?
No. How do we know this?
Because Jesus' close disciples, including Mary and Peter - did not recognize Jesus when he appeared to them. If he rose in his dead physical body then they would have been able to identify him immediately. Consider these verses:
At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, "Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him." (John 20:14-15)She didn't recognize Jesus because he wasn't appearing in his physical body. That body had died - and it was taken away:
This is why Mary told Simon Peter:
"They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!" (John 20:2)In other words, they took Jesus' physical body away - as the tomb his body was placed in actually belonged to someone else - Joseph of Arhimethia - so it wasn't the permanent tomb for Jesus' body. Jewish custom at the time was that a person's dead body was put into a tomb belonging to the family.
So while many sectarian institutions and their teachers have created this lavish myth of Jesus' physical body rising, we can see this isn't true because his body would have been immediately recognized. Rather, Jesus' spiritual self left the physical body, and later he reappeared to his disciples using spiritual potency.
This is the same technology used by angels. The Supreme Being gives some of His special loving servants the ability to appear to certain people in the physical world.
This is also confirmed in the ancient Nag Hammadi scripture called "The Wisdom of Jesus:"
1. After he rose from the dead body, his twelve disciples and seven women continued to follow him. They traveled to Galilee and to the mountain referred to as Devotion and Joy. After gathering together they debated about the nature of the material world and its arrangement; and the spiritual path, the power of the demigods, and all the confidential guidance the Savior had provided.2. The Savior appeared not in his earlier form, but in the ethereal spirit. His appearance was like a beautiful illuminated angel. But I cannot properly describe his appearance. No material body could bear this – only the purified spiritual body – just as he taught us about from Galilee to the mount referred to as ‘the olives.’3. Then he said, “Peace be to you – I give you my peace.” Then they were all astonished and afraid. The Savior laughed and told them, “What were you thinking? Are you confused? What do you seek?” (The Wisdom of Jesus 1-3)
Jesus' spirit rose
We can see clearly from this text that Jesus' spiritual self rose up out of that physical body that was murdered on the cross (evidenced by the guards). This confirms Jesus' other statements about them not being able to kill the soul.
This is the also the classical meaning of resurrection - the spirit-person's leaving the physical body and rising. Jesus defined this clearly:
"At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven." (Matt. 22:30)The word "resurrection" is being translated from the Greek word ἀνάστασις (anastasis) - which means "a raising up, rising (e.g. from a seat)" and "a rising from the dead" according to the lexicon.
The fact that the spirit-person - or soul - rises out of the body was clearly defined by Jesus. But he also clarified that the resurrection of the righteous - those who perfected their relationship with the Supreme Being - was rising out of the body and returning to the spiritual realm as stated above.
It is also clear from the scriptures that this is also what took place with Jesus:
They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. (Matt. 27:53)Thus we have it clearly defined from the Gospels that Jesus did indeed leave his physical body at the time of death. He "rose" - resurrected - from the physical body.
Jesus knew he was not his physical body. This is why he let his physical body be persecuted. Rather, he knew he was spiritual in essence and he was God's loving servant. This is why his mission was to serve the Supreme Being. This was his focus. This is why Jesus prayed the night before his persecution:
“Abba, Father, everything is possible for You. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:36)Jesus knew what was coming. He knew he would be gruesomely tortured until his physical body died. Being crucified is the most gruesome torture imaginable. And yet Jesus did not escape it. He did not try to avoid it. He understood this was part of his service to the Supreme Being.
Was Jesus dying for our sins?
Yes and no. No in the way ecclesiastical sectarian teachers imagine it - as though Jesus' torturous persecution somehow removes the responsibility of our actions - and all we have to do is acknowledge it. What a ridiculous assumption - that all we have to do is go to church and "accept" that Jesus died for my sins and suddenly we are not responsible for our actions? We can steal or hurt someone and we won't have to suffer the consequences?
This is a crock. Today we find the prisons full of people who once went to church and "accepted" that "Jesus died for my sins." And yet when they committed their crimes, they had to suffer the consequences like everyone else. Could they just tell the judge they "accepted that Jesus died for their sins" and they wouldn't have to go to prison? Don't be ridiculous. Jesus' dying on the cross did not pay for their sins.
The reality is that Jesus was murdered because of his teachings. And he allowed his body to be killed to illustrate the importance of his teachings. This is because his teachings have the ability to save us (if we follow them) from self-centeredness - sinfulness.
Jesus' teachings were the focus of his life. And allowing himself to be persecuted for those teachings was the ultimate sacrifice - indicating the importance of those teachings. Consider this verse:
Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. (Luke 19:47)We can see here the connection between Jesus' teachings and his being killed. He risked being killed in order to teach. And what was Jesus teaching?
“My teaching is not my own. It comes from the One who sent me." (John 7:16)Jesus was teaching the message coming from the Supreme Being, who sent Jesus. Jesus was performing loving service to the Supreme Being.
And following Jesus' teachings was of the utmost importance to Jesus:
“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples." (John 8:31)And Jesus also confirmed, that following his teachings is what will save us:
“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them." (John 14:23)This indicates what being saved is: "we will come to them and make our home with them."
It is called a loving relationship. Yes, it is a loving relationship with the Supreme Being that saves us. What does it save us from?
A loving relationship with the Supreme Being and His loving servants saves us from our self-centered hell. Even if we are still here within the physical world we can be saved if we are involved in a loving relationship with the Supreme Being. Our body might be in the worst of physical circumstances, but if we are loving and serving the Supreme Being, we are in His world. We are at "home" with the Supreme Being.
This is why Jesus' most important teaching - the teaching that will save us if we follow it - was:
“‘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)