"Remember where we started. Nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus say that he is God. Specifically, he rebukes one who calls him good, saying that only God is good. He prays to God, who is both our Father and his Father. Jesus is adopted as God's faithful son, as his emissary. He is a man who is subordinate to but also one with God, filled with God's spirit. In his life, death, and resurrection Jesus' followers saw God fully revealed. We begin with the scriptures here. We end up with Jesus dwelling in heaven before his birth and coming down to take on a human form. High Christology won. If you doubt this, just look at what is suspect as heresy even now. To say that Jesus was a man who was one with and transparent to God is to invite raised eyebrows in some quarters of the church. But to say that Jesus is God and to pray to him as such is commonplace. This would never be called heresy.
"And so the church evolved in its view of Jesus during those formative centuries. We are left with the legacy. Why did this evolution take place, and why is this legacy perpetuated even today? Mainstream theologians tell us that the Holy Spirit, over those four hundred years, lead the church into a fuller understanding of Christ's nature, even fuller than Jesus' own understanding during his lifetime! I think that there is a more basic, human reason for the victory of high Christology: we put Jesus on a pedestal in order to keep him safely at a distance. It is easier to worship Jesus than to follow him.
"Jesus knew his own unity with God, without a doubt. He was beyond dualism. Jesus said that his unity, and the extraordinary things he did, were possible for those with faith. He prayed that we would be one with God even as he was. He asked that we know the fullness of joy and glory in God that he knew. But it is easier for us to see ourselves as forever separate and sinful.
"To see our unity with God would mean that we would learn to move through our sins, our relative separateness, with the confidence of those who know who they really are. It is easier to worry, to be weak, and to lean on the rescuing power of God. To see our unity with God necessitates that we practice a form of prayer that gives us an experience of that unity. It is easier to ask God for help, to have a conversation. To see our oneness means that we revere God's presence in all our feelings, actions, bodily sensations, and thoughts. It is easier to make Jesus into the only place we need to look for God.
"Jesus called us to see the immediacy, the incarnation of God in this life. He pointed to God's kingdom everywhere. Jesus called his followers to see the beauty and challenge of this incarnation in their everyday lives. But it is easier for us not to rise to this challenge. It is easier to make Jesus the alpha and omega of God's kingdom. It is easier to make Jesus the only Incarnation of God.
"Jesus also called us to die with him. Referring to his own inevitable arrest and crucifixion (which he knew would only be a matter of time), Jesus said that we have to take up our cross daily and follow him if we are to be his disciples. It is easier to make Jesus' death on the cross a pietistic wonder. Lost in our sins, rescued by the precious blood of his sacrifice, we are grateful. We may be grateful, but are we willing to pick up our own cross daily? To do so means that we must learn how to die daily to our fears and self-centered ambitions, our aversions and attractions. To take up our cross daily means that we enter the emptiness of our heart and die there, like Jesus did. It is easier to glorify the cross of Christ. It is easier to believe in the cross than to take it up."