What is the mind of Jesus?

May 13th, 2012

During many years when I joined other Christian Scientists in promising to “watch, and pray for that Mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus,” the full meaning of that Sixth Tenet reference to Philippians 2:5 never came through to me. I simply took it as one more way of describing the metaphysical work that Mrs. Eddy asked of us: knowing the truth, denying error, claiming dominion, reflecting God’s intelligence.

Only after coming to the Cross did I realize that Paul in this passage is not talking about such common, human efforts at self-salvation. Not at all. He’s talking about the uniquely divine combination of self-emptying (“Thy will, not mine”) and self-proclaimed authority (“you will see the Son of Man seated on the right hand of power”) that Jesus alone, as God incarnate, could have manifested and then made available to you and me.

“That mind which was also in Christ Jesus” isn’t truly understood unless we take in the whole context of Philippians 2:1-11, especially verses 6-8: “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

I don’t ever remember seeing those explanatory lines about Jesus’ attitude, mentality, or state of mind – or the next three verses about the Father’s consequent exaltation of the Son, and the worship we therefore owe him – in a Christian Science lesson-sermon or periodical. Ever. (Checking the Bible my wife used for over 20 years to study the lesson, marked with blue chalk, I found this confirmed. The faint blue haze that remains on a passage marked even once, was not there. That part of the page is pristine white.) Nor are these six verses quoted anywhere in Mary Baker Eddy’s published writings.

And no wonder, since the Scientists’ contention that Jesus was not God – a contention seen even in the fuzzy wording of Tenets 2, 4, and 5, just ahead of the vow to “watch and pray” in Tenet 6 – is directly contradicted by Philippians 2:6-11. The passage must go unmentioned. It wouldn’t do to start Mrs. Eddy’s followers wondering why her church disregards the command that “every knee should bow” and “every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”

I am grateful that now as his unreserved disciple, my knee and my tongue are joyfully under that discipline. And you?

The author can be reached at andrewsjk@aol.com

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