August 3, 2016

bible study imageSubject: Sacrifice

Golden text: Matthew 3:8*

Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

Mark 14: 3-9

 And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as [Jesus] was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

From 21st Century Science and Health**

Jesus’ history made a new calendar, which we call the Christian era, but he established no ceremonial worship. He knew that people can be baptized, take sacrament, support the ministry, study Bible lessons, make long prayers, and yet be corrupt and unspiritual.

It is right to say that the educated class of scientists and medical doctors are great people. They are more scientific than are false claimants to Christian Science. There is much that yet remains to be said and done before all humankind is saved and all the mental microbes of sin and disease thought-germs are exterminated. Also, bear in mind, all human systems based on temporal premises lack the anointing of divine Science.

Our motives and inclinations are paramount in religion. However, when rituals and ceremonies are the crux of religion, the motives and inclinations of a person are concealed by formal procedures and human routines. Jesus, as modest as he was mighty, rebuked this hypocrisy. Hypocrisy offers long petitions for blessings on physical rituals, but veils the crime, latent in thought, which is ready to spring into action and crucify God’s anointed.

Burial. Corporeality and physical sense put out of sight and hearing; annihilation. Submergence in Spirit; immortality brought to light.

Mark 14: 22-25

 And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

From 21st Century Science and Health

Are you drinking his cup? Have you shared the persecutions that attend a new and higher understanding of God? Are you willing to take up the cross and leave all for the Christ-principle? Are you eating bread and drinking wine to honor Jesus, or just to remember him for a few minutes? Why assign the inspiration of Eucharist to an anesthetic ritual?

The Pharisees claimed to know and to teach the divine will, but they only hindered the success of Jesus’ mission. Even many of his students were obstacles. 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.

In conscience, we can’t stay in a mindset we have outgrown.

Every prick of conscience, every twinge of agony, every effort to reform, every improved attitude and undertaking will help us understand Jesus’ atonement and promote its usefulness. Mortals, asleep at the wheel of spiritual progress, can’t habitually pray and repent and still feel included in the atonement—in the at-one-ment with God. Repentance is needed and repentance is more than feeling really bad. Contrition must be lived out with sincerity. Effective repentance reforms thinking and enables human beings to do the will of wisdom. We feel secure in God’s goodness when we try to demonstrate, even a little bit at a time, the divine Principle of the teachings and practice of the Teacher.

Hebrews 9: 11-14

But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

From 21st Century Science and Health

Science is a divine demand, not human. Always right, its divine Principle never repents, but maintains the claims of Truth by quenching error.

Our baptism is purification from all error. Our church is built on the divine Principle, Love. We can unite with this church only as we are newborn of Spirit. The Eucharist is spiritual communion with the one God. Our bread, “that comes down from heaven,”[1] is Truth.

Through repentance, spiritual baptism, and reformation, humanity advances past beliefs and false individuality. It is only a question of time when “they will all know me [God], from the least of them to the greatest.”[2] Denying the claims of matter/energy is an important step to take toward the joys of Spirit, toward human freedom and the final triumph over the body.

The correct concept of person, as the reflection of the invisible God, is as incomprehensible to the limited senses as is infinite Principle. The visible universes and mortal persons are the poor counterfeits of the invisible universe and spiritual person reflected in infinite individuality. Eternal things are God’s thoughts as they exist in the spiritual realm of the real. Temporal things are the thoughts of human beings and are unreal, being the opposite of the real or the spiritual and eternal.

Hebrews 9: 22-28

 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. 23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

From 21st Century Science and Health

The spiritual meaning of blood is sacrifice. The substance of Jesus’ sacrifice is infinitely greater than can be expressed by our sense of human blood. The physical blood of Jesus, before or after being shed on the cross, had no power to cleanse from sin. His sacrifice was to remain in his Father’s business. God was his life. To eat Jesus’ flesh and drink his blood is to participate in divine Life.

The hormones, blood, heart, lungs, brain, etc., can’t do anything to Life, God. Every function is controlled by the divine intelligence. The human mind has no power to kill or to cure, and it has no control over God’s child. The divine Mind that made us, maintains us.

Ontology is defined as “the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being,”[3] and reinforces all mental practice. Our system of Mind-healing is supported by the understanding of the nature and essence of all being—by the divine Mind and Love’s essential qualities. Its pharmacy is moral, and its medicine is intellectual and spiritual, though used for physical healing. Yet this most fundamental part of metaphysics is the most difficult to understand and demonstrate, for to the flesh and blood mindset all is material, until such thought is rectified by Spirit.

In divine Science you must spare no effort to purify thought before and after death.

Matthew 3:2

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

From 21st Century Science and Health

If prayer feeds the thinking that human beings are made better merely by praying, prayer is an evil. Those who imagine that prayer can be used to excuse wrongdoing, will worsen. Repentance is needed. New thoughts are needed.

We are secured by God, Spirit, and by nothing else. God’s being is infinity, freedom, balance, and boundless happiness. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”[4] Like the archpriests of long ago, we are free “to enter the Most Holy Place”[5]—the realm of God.

The effects of spiritual Science are not so much seen as felt. It is the, “gentle whisper,”[6] of Truth expressing itself. We are either neglecting this expression or we are attentive to it and being improved by it. Willingness to become as little children[7] and to leave the old for the new, prepares thought to receive the advanced idea. To cheerfully leave behind the false imprints, and contentedly let them disappear, is the attitude that helps to precipitate the ultimate harmony. The purification of feelings and intent is a proof of progress. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”[8]

 *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] John 6:33, 50

[2] Jer, 31:34; Heb. 8:11 (Brackets added by Mary Baker Eddy)

[3] The Oxford American Dictionary and Language Guide, edited by Abate. F. s.v. “Ontology.” New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. By permission of Oxford University Press, Inc. Recent edition. Copyright © 2007

[4] II Cor. 3:17

[5] Heb. 10:19

[6] I Kings 19:12

[7] Matt. 18:3–4

[8] Matt. 5:8

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