ON THE SUNDAY just before Christmas in 1888, a sermon written by Mary Baker Eddy was given in Boston's Chickering Hall. See Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, pp. 161–168 . Her subject was "The Corporeal and Incorporeal Saviour." Her text was Isaiah's: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given ...." Isa. 9:6. The sermon was eloquent, incisive—and utterly revolutionary. Nothing ever before or since has so boldly and effectively cut through centuries of scholasticism and confusion about Christ Jesus in the way this did.
It was as though the sermon was freed to take flight and soar from the impetus of an entirely new premise: Christ Jesus was able to do what he did, not because he was both God and man, but because he was fully conscious of something extraordinary about God and man that every human being must ultimately come to know. Jesus knew that not only was he the Son of God—and all his intelligence, goodness, and capacity to heal were, in fact, God's own direct expressing—but that all of us were to find this out about ourselves. It was the true idea of God, or the Christ, Mrs. Eddy said, that uniquely illumined and empowered the human Jesus.
Here was a new, enlarged vision of the dimensions of Christ Jesus' meaning for the whole of humanity. It had an assurance and immediacy that must have been breathtaking to those listening. It still does. It shows us why and how we can actually be disciples or followers in Christ Jesus' footsteps—not simply by loving and assisting our neighbor or committing to a religious creed, but through living what is essentially a new life in Christ.