First we need to set aside the familiar expression “Jesus Christ,” at least for now:
How easily that expression rolls off our tongues! “Jesus Christ.” (Interesting that we never see that in our Gospels… It’s Paul’s invention.) It’s as if “Christ” were Jesus’ last name! No wonder we are having such a difficult time wrapping our heads around the concept of a “Cosmic Christ.” We just can’t seem to get there from here! Perhaps it’s time to recognize that it’s not even a good thing to assume that these terms were equivalent, and we can substitute “Christ” for Jesus whenever we talk. This tends to reinforce the unhelpful notion that the term “Christ” reduces itself to a single human person. (We will see that, while the Christ includes personhood, it is not a person as we understand it.) While Jesus is surely “Christ,” Christ is much more than Jesus.
See if you can catch yourself every time you use “Christ” when you mean “Jesus of Nazareth.” This is not to deny that Jesus was the “Christ” for his time, nor that through his resurrection he is part of the Cosmic Christ now and forever. To practice becoming conscious of how often we use the two terms interchangeably is to help us realize that the two terms are not equivalent. How helpful is this meditation to you? What affirms you? Distresses you?