YouTube: The Way
For many of us, one of the most memorable and assuring passages in the Gospels is when Jesus prompted his audience to observe the wildflowers, how they do not labor but are still cared for and clothed in natural beauty (Luke 12:27). The assurance comes from the idea that God, our spiritual source, has a beautiful and natural way of expressing through us as the fulfillment of our daily bread (needs).
The Way can be thought of as the natural consequence of the realization of our oneness with God. In the above passage, Jesus is pointing to a spiritual order, a flow that has been acknowledged by mystical traditions of all ages. This order is grounded in the understanding of the omnipresence of God as Spirit and the soul as the expressed image and likeness of this Spirit. We can momentarily forget but we can never be separated from unity with this omnipresence. Jesus made it his life’s mission to bear witness to, or to remind people of this truth.
Statements that embody one or all of these principles are, in my opinion, prime candidates for being considered as original teachings of Jesus. They often contradict the mainstream narrative of Jesus as the only son of God. For example, “Call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven” (Matthew 23:9). In this instance, he acknowledges that all people are sons and daughters (expressions) of God. In another place he says, “… he who believes in me [believes what I am saying] will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father” (John 14:12). The practical and appealing aspect of the Way is that it places Jesus and his listener on equal spiritual ground.
We should always bear in mind that the Gospel accounts are not a communication from Jesus to his audience. They are a communication from the writers to their respective audiences, long after the death of Jesus. The teachings of Jesus (the Way), become the teachings about Jesus (Christian dogma). The Way is transformed from a body of teachings to a movement.
The popularity of Jesus among the common people can in all likelihood be attributed to the practical nature of his teachings. He was helping people improve their lives with a working understanding of the omnipresence of God as a constant, all-providing companion through the experience of day-to-day living.