April 10, 2019

bible study imageSubject: Spiritual reward

Golden text: Proverbs 2: 9-15*

So now you can pick out what’s true and fair, find all the good trails! Lady Wisdom will be your close friend, and Brother Knowledge your pleasant companion. Good Sense will scout ahead for danger, Insight will keep an eye out for you. They’ll keep you from making wrong turns, or following the bad directions Of those who are lost themselves and can’t tell a trail from a tumbleweed, These losers who make a game of evil and throw parties to celebrate perversity, Traveling paths that go nowhere, wandering in a maze of detours and dead ends.

John 18:1-9

Jesus, having prayed this prayer, left with his disciples and crossed over the brook Kidron at a place where there was a garden. He and his disciples entered it.

2-4 Judas, his betrayer, knew the place because Jesus and his disciples went there often. So Judas led the way to the garden, and the Roman soldiers and police sent by the high priests and Pharisees followed. They arrived there with lanterns and torches and swords. Jesus, knowing by now everything that was coming down on him, went out and met them. He said, “Who are you after?”

They answered, “Jesus the Nazarene.”

5-6 He said, “That’s me.” The soldiers recoiled, totally taken aback. Judas, his betrayer, stood out like a sore thumb.

Jesus asked again, “Who are you after?”

They answered, “Jesus the Nazarene.”

8-9 “I told you,” said Jesus, “that’s me. I’m the one. So if it’s me you’re after, let these others go.” (This validated the words in his prayer, “I didn’t lose one of those you gave.”)

21st Century Science and Health**

Divine Science adjusts the circumstances as Jesus adjusted them. While there is sin, there is penalty. Science removes the penalty only by first removing the sin that incurs the penalty. My interpretation of divine pardon is that God destroys sin. It is foolish to think our own sins will be less sinful if we attack someone else who we believe is sinful. Did the excommunication of Martin Luther[1] make the hypocrisy of his enemies less criminal?

Was it fair for Jesus to suffer? No, but it was inevitable; otherwise he could not have shown us the way and the power of Truth. Remember though, another person’s suffering can’t lessen our own liability. If a career as great and good as that of Jesus could not avoid a felon’s fate, then students of Truth must endure without complaining. Rejoice, and enter into companionship with Christ through the triumphal arc of Truth and Love.

Our heavenly Parent, divine Love, did not demand us to worship the personality of Jesus. The phrase “serving the Lord” doesn’t mean public worship. Serving the Lord means work, but God is not authoritarian. It is joyously essential to follow the example of the Teacher and his apostles.

John 18: 12-14

12-14 Then the Roman soldiers under their commander, joined by the Jewish police, seized Jesus and tied him up. They took him first to Annas, father-in-law of Caiaphas. Caiaphas was the Chief Priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it was to their advantage that one man die for the people.

21st Century Science and Health

Saints make their own heaven by engaging Life, Truth, and Love. Wrongdoers make their own hell by doing things which avoid Life, Truth, and Love. Wrongdoers are self-deceived; they believe they are happier when being slothful or negative, and this is evil aiding evil. They believe they are saints when they are hypocrites, and this is selfishness aiding selfishness. Do not be deceived by twisted human conclusions.

Would life without friends be empty? Then the time will come when you will feel alone, without sympathy, but this vacuum is filled with divine Love. Even if you cling to a sense of personal joys, spiritual Love will force you to accept what best promotes your spiritual growth. Friends will betray and enemies will slander until the lesson is learned and you are exalted; for “man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.”[2] I speak from experience. We are learning to lay down our fleshliness and gain spirituality by ridding our self of a mortal identity. Universal Love is the divine way.

John 18: 19-21

19-21 Annas interrogated Jesus regarding his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered, “I’ve spoken openly in public. I’ve taught regularly in meeting places and the Temple, where the Jews all come together. Everything has been out in the open. I’ve said nothing in secret. So why are you treating me like a conspirator? Question those who have been listening to me. They know well what I have said. My teachings have all been aboveboard.”

John 19: 6

When the high priests and police saw him, they shouted in a frenzy, “Crucify! Crucify!”

Pilate told them, “You take him. You crucify him. I find nothing wrong with him.”

21st Century Science and Health

Universal facts naturally trigger anything false to work against its self, bringing error out from under cover. It requires courage to voice truth. The higher Truth’s voice is lifted, the louder error will scream until its inarticulate noise is forever silenced in oblivion.

As changeable knowledge diminishes and spiritual understanding increases, real objects will be comprehended mentally instead of materially. As this consummation draws closer, those who have shaped their course in accordance with divine Science will endure to the end.

During this final conflict, nefarious minds will endeavor to find means by which to accomplish more evil. People who discern divine reality will hold crime in check, help banish error, maintain law and order, and cheerfully serve the certainty of completions.

John 19:23-24

When they crucified [Jesus], the Roman soldiers took his clothes and divided them up four ways, to each soldier a fourth. But his robe was seamless, a single piece of weaving, so they said to each other, “Let’s not tear it up. Let’s throw dice to see who gets it.” This confirmed the Scripture that said, “They divided up my clothes among them and threw dice for my coat.” (The soldiers validated the Scriptures!)

24-27 While the soldiers were looking after themselves, Jesus’ mother, his aunt, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood at the foot of the cross. Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her. He said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that moment the disciple accepted her as his own mother.

21st Century Science and Health

The God-inspired walk calmly on though with aching feet. Pampered hypocrites may ride on easy street here, but they can’t forever break the Golden Rule[3] and escape the penalty due. We reap what we sow.

Jesus’ earthly mission was fulfilled with proofs of Truth, Life, and Love, by driving out error and healing the sick. Unfortunately, in the Christian church, the demonstration of divine healing was lost about three centuries after Jesus’ resurrection. Ancient and modern schools of philosophy, medicine, and theology don’t teach or demonstrate the healing of divine Science.

Jesus foresaw that the Science of Truth would be disregarded before it was understood. His foreknowing wasn’t an obstacle. He completed his God-mission and then sat down at the right hand of God. Jesus’ apostles still went about, moving from city to city doing good deeds although they were envied, hated, and stoned. Jesus’s teachings were scoffed by religious elders because the teachings demanded more than the officials were willing to practice. It was enough for the elders to believe in a deity they could monopolize; but that belief, from their time to ours, has never made a disciple who could cast out evils and heal the sick.

From divine and scientific points of view, Jesus proved God is Love. The opposite insistence that God is a mighty potentate who loves and hates is the theology of a dualistic God, which gives no hint of the unchanging love of God.

The prevalent belief in death has no advantage. It is unable to make Life or Truth apparent. Death will eventually be found to be a human dream, which comes in darkness and disappears with light.

The “man of sorrows”[4] was in no danger because he lacked salary or popularity. Though entitled to honor, and endorsed by God’s approval, Jesus’ brief triumphal entry into Jerusalem was followed by the desertion of everyone except a handful of friends who sadly followed him to the foot of the cross.

Jesus’ example was all-inclusive; not only was his life’s work carried out to the end for himself, but his demonstration also shows us how to work out our own deliverance. We must do what he did and what he taught us to do. His purpose in healing was not just to restore human health, but to demonstrate his divine Principle. He was inspired by God, by Truth and Love, in all that he said and did. His persecutors were motivated by arrogance, envy, cruelty, and vengeance, inflicted on the physical Jesus, but aimed at the divine Principle, Love—the same Love that rebuked their unspiritual mindsets.

The nature of spirituality is peaceful and blessed. To enter the realm of Spirit, our anchor of hope must be thrown past the veil of matter into the Shekinah that Jesus showed us. This advance beyond superficial thinking comes through the joys and triumphs of the righteous as well as through their sorrows and afflictions. We must leave mortal impressions of fleshly being and advance into immortal impressions of spiritual being.

Spirituality is again demonstrating the Life that is Truth, and the Truth that is Life by the apostolic work of defeating error and healing the sick. Earth has no repayment for the persecutions which attend a new step in Christianity. The spiritual recompense of the persecuted is assured in the elevation of existence above the disorder, and in the gift of divine Love.

*Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

**Text from 21st Century Science and Health can’t be reproduced in part or as a whole without the written permission of Healing Science Today

[1] Martin Luther, (1483–1546) Christian theologian and Augustinian monk whose teachings inspired the Reformation and influenced the culture of the Lutheran and Protestant traditions.

[2] Quote attributed to John Flavel, (1627–1691) English Presbyterian.

[3] Matt. 7:12 “Do to others what you would have them do to you.”

[4] Isa. 53:3

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