I find Jesus the Christ/Yahshua the Messiah more compelling as myth, and more relevant to me as such.
If I view Christ as an historical figure named Jesus/Yahshua then the words attributed to this personage are not as alive and their meaning not as accessible to me. They were spoken thousands of years ago. They echo in the third person. The words and teachings were born from his experiences, his story — not mine.
To literalize Christ into a historical figure via Jesus/Yahshua limits the story’s reach of possibility – the possibility of being Christ – to only one person in the distant past.
To further impose the burden of limitation, the belief is handed down of the need for the vicarious sacrifice of Jesus the Christ upon the cross and professed faith in this sacrifice in order to qualify for the kingdom of heaven. This is the only way people are enabled to do good, by the way. Through professed faith in the cross one is promised the indwelling of the third personage of the triune God of Christianity, the Holy Spirit; and only by receiving God’s spirit is one enabled and able to obey the commandments.
(The idea of an organic, inborn impulse to do good does not exist in fundamentalist protestant or catholic teachings. There was always the assertion that humans were incapable of changing our inherently evil nature. We are fated to be bad).
To support this view of Jesus as the one and only Christ biblical scriptures are cited. They point to the merged natures of the divine and human through the miracle of the Immaculate Conception of the person, Jesus the Christ, as the only expression of a pure life.
In contrast, human nature is ‘fallen’, naturally inclined toward evil and in need of saving. Therefore, his spotless life and character and your belief in his death and resurrection are sufficient to atone for your ‘sins’ and ‘sinful nature’. According to this belief system, any claim to christhood by anyone but Jesus/Yahshua is a blasphemous one.
Similarly, modern day Jews look today for the ‘promised’ messiah and Muslims for their Imam Mahdi. And modern adherents to New Thought believe Jesus was a Christ (or the ‘chief’ Christ) and a historical figure but not a savior or sacrifice. He is seen by them as the Great Metaphysician, one of those rare adepts who truly ‘got it’ and reached transcendence within a Human lifetime on Earth.
These all miss the mark.
Records show a long history of the savior-god myth with similar story-lines that pre-date the one featuring Jesus of Nazareth. Osiris, Horus, Tammuz, Adonis, Attis, Dionysus, Mithra…….and Jesus. There are others, still — gods and stories that populate cultural transmission of universal teachings and principles. They are meant to convey our inherent richness and the mystique of life, not explain a literal birth of it.
To hold to the idea that all Humans are expressions of the Divine through the congenitally indwelling Christ is an absurdity to the fundamentalist. For anyone but Jesus to claim to be a Christ is blasphemy according to the mind which believes in the ‘historical’ Jesus/Yahshua of 2000 years ago as the only Christ.
In a universal context, through the vehicle of mythical construct and application, Christ/Messiah becomes an appropriate emblem of the inner, divine nature within all. As such, the words of Christ are being spoken today, this moment. As myth the words are spoken in the first person – in us, through us, by us — through the indwelling wellspring of life, imagination and inspiration. As myth, Christ becomes more real, more plausible, more personal, than as history.
The story of Jesus the Christ, the story of any savior-god-man, is the story of Humanity. It is the story of you, of us. It tells the story of our celestial origins and earthly mission and calling. It tells the story of our power, our potential, and our pathos.
If myth is to have any meaning, and, more importantly, any relevance, its heart, its spirit, its details, must remain free to reveal, in their own way and time, deeper truths of the universal self through mystery and the invitation to experiential revelation. This narrative works best when woven with threads of magical imagery and sacred imagination without being held hostage by fundamentalist ideas that leave no room for myth. The literal, historical view crucified Jesus the Christ while the mythical view expresses the living Christ within.
We don’t need a historical precedent in order to fulfill our destiny. All we need we already are.
Christ speaks in our voice, and the word becomes flesh.