The Jesus Process

One way to describe the tremendous action and results of Jesus’ resurrection is to say that Jesus set in motion the Jesus Process. What is the Jesus Process?  First, let us make these observations. If we don’t appreciate the significance of Jesus’ resurrection, we will think of Jesus’ life on earth, his resurrection and the sending of the Spirit at Pentecost as separate historical events. These events become an endless loop within Jesus’ life which we will celebrate but without any apparent relevance for us. However, the reality is that the Risen Christ has ushered in a whole new spiritual reality by transforming these historical events into an ongoing process—the Jesus Process, a term I coined to capture this reality.

Jesus’ lived experience on earth is the core element driving the Jesus Process. Second element is Jesus as the Risen Christ, no longer limited by time or geography, who transforms Jesus’ historical experience on earth into a power source, present here and now in the 21st Century. Out of this power source, the Risen Christ gifts us with his Spirit who empowers us to live lives of deeper faith, stronger hope and greater love of Jesus.

Further, it is only fitting that the Jesus Process which began with the historical Jesus should find its completion in the historical Jesus, since he is the image and mirror of God. For this reason, the goal of the spiritual life is a greater love of Jesus. And when we talk of greater love of Jesus, we cannot omit greater love of our sisters and brothers in Jesus, since Jesus has made us all members of the Body of Christ.

What should the concept of the Jesus Process do to our perception of the historical Jesus? It should transport the historical Jesus into the present moment for us. It frees him from being locked into past history. It removes all bounds of time and space so that we can relate intimately to Jesus here and now in our lifetimes. It is as if we can meet Jesus for the first time in history, walking the roads of Galilee and Judea, and Jesus turning his face toward us and asking: “What do you want of me?”

St. Teresa of Avila called the historical Jesus the anchor in her spiritual life. For someone in the upper reaches of the spiritual life, she needed the historical Jesus to hold her to reality. That is good spiritual psychology. But an anchor is a dead weight. The concept of the Jesus Process turns the historical Jesus into someone who is alive and present, and who is an activist: his lived experience is the core element driving the Jesus Process, driving the dynamics of our spiritual life.

While great classics in the spiritual life have promoted the imitation of the historical Jesus, the reality of the Jesus Process reveals that it is not a matter of imitating Jesus’ past life. Rather it is a matter of uniting ourselves with the very presence and life of Jesus and letting that presence and life plunge us here and now into the Jesus Process, unleashing the power of the Risen Christ in our lives.

Jesus’ power still goes out from him 2000 years later through the Jesus Process. However, to get in touch with his power, we must practice union with Jesus in everything we do. Let Jesus drive the Jesus Process and the dynamics of our spiritual life!

The Jesus Process explains why we need an integration of three spiritualities—the historical Jesus-centered spirituality, the Risen Christ-centered spirituality and the Spirit-centered spirituality. There is more at stake here than good spiritual psychology. We are talking about a spiritual reality. The three spiritualities comprise a dynamic process, which we are calling the “Jesus Process.”