March 23, 2016

bible study imageSubject: Resurrection and Ascension

Golden text: Romans 6:9*

We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.

Matthew 16: 13, 16-23

 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”

16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

From 21st Century Science and Health**

The disciples understood their Teacher better than other people, yet still questioned Jesus because they didn’t fully comprehend what he said.

[Jesus] appealed to his students: “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”[1] That is: Who or what is identified with driving out evils and healing the sick?

With his usual impetuosity, Simon replied for the disciples. His reply set forward a great fact: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”[2] That is: The Messiah is what you have declared—Christ, the spirit of God, of Truth, Life, and Love, which heals mentally. This answer elicited from Jesus the benediction, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven;”[3] that is, Love has shown you the way of Life!

Before this, the impulsive disciple had been called only by his common name, Simon son of Jonah; but now Jesus gave him a spiritual name in these words: “And I tell you, you are Peter [Greek, Petros—a large piece of rock], and on this rock [Greek, petra—a huge rock like Gibraltar] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (the powers of the infernal region) shall not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it.]”[4] Jesus intended to establish his society on the God-power which impelled Peter’s confession of the true Messiah. Jesus did not establish church on the personal Peter.

It was now evident to Peter that divine Life, Truth, and Love, and not a human personality, was the healer of the sick and a rock, a firm foundation in the realm of harmony.

John 19: 1-7, 16

Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.”

16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.

From 21st Century Science and Health

If the Teacher hadn’t taken a student and taught the unseen truths of God, he would not have been crucified. The determination to hold Spirit in the grasp of matter is the persecutor of Truth and Love.

Jesus represented Christ, the true idea of God. The true idea of God causes a battle to flare. Perfunctory religion and the blindness of popular belief becomes determined to kill the true idea, and the only way they know how to, is by crucifying the flesh.

Spiritually minded people testify to the divine basis of Christian Science when dire inflictions fail to destroy their bodies. Spirituality is safe from tormenters.

It takes effort not to bury the spirit of divine Science in the burial clothes of its letter. If we would open the prison doors for the sick, we must first learn to bind up the broken-hearted. If we would heal by the Spirit, we must not hide the talent of spiritual healing behind the glitz of worldly status, ritualistic activities or even somber piety. In the presence of a sick person, employ tender words and spiritual encouragement. Patiently remove all fears, without gushing theories, stereotyped clichés, and rigid arguments which are so many misrepresentations of divine Science, aflame with divine Love.

We seek Truth, Christ, not for “the loaves”[5] and fishes, and not like the Pharisees with the arrogance of professional status and display of academia.

Ever since the foundation of the world, ever since error would establish rut thinking, evil has tried to kill the Lamb, but Science is able to destroy this lie called evil.

John 21: 1-14

After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

From 21st Century Science and Health

The resurrection was necessary for Jesus’ students to be fully convinced of the truthfulness of all he taught. Before the crucifixion, the students were not sufficiently advanced to understand how to perform many wonderful works. When they finally admitted the idea of resurrection, they then were convinced of Jesus’ teachings and went on to prove their own spiritual power.

Through experience, the disciples became more spiritual and better understood what the Teacher had taught. Jesus’ resurrection was also their resurrection. The resurrection was a critical revival, for soon their dear Master would rise again in what has since been called the ascension, when Jesus was no longer heard or seen physically. Jesus’ ascension was the reward for his faithfulness. The resurrection advances individual and collective consciousness. It moves the people’s thoughts out of spiritual dullness and blind belief into the perception of infinite possibilities.

The resurrection indicates that mortal mindsets die, while spiritual mindsets live.

Those, who are willing to leave their nets,[6] or to cast them on the right side for Truth,[7] have the opportunity now, as aforetime, to learn and to practice Christ-like healing.

Act 1: 6-11

 So when they had come together, they asked Jesus, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

From 21st Century Science and Health

Christ was imperceptible to the human personal senses, whereas Jesus appeared as a bodily existence. This dualistic personality of the unseen and seen, the spiritual and physical, the eternal Christ and fleshly Jesus, continued until his ascension. The human temporal concept, or Jesus, disappeared during his ascending transformation, while the spiritual self or Christ, continues to exist in the eternal order of divine Science. Christ-spirit takes away the sins of the world, as always, even before the human Jesus was incarnate to human eyes.

At this time, Christian Scientists should strive to occupy the same place Jesus’ disciples did. Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”[8] Let us pay attention and participate in spirituality. Let us pray that this salt doesn’t lose its saltiness, and that this light is not hidden, but radiates and glows into the glory of the sun at noon.

*Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

** Text from 21st Century Science and Health,5th edition, copyrighted by Cheryl Petersen.

[1] Matt. 16:13; Mark 8:27; Luke 9:18

[2] Matt. 16:16; Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20

[3] Matt. 16:17

[4] Matt. 16:18 (Amplified)

[5] John 6:26

[6] Matt. 4:20; Mark 1:18; Luke 5:11

[7] John 21:6

[8] Matt. 5:13–14

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