Subject: God of the living
Golden text: Deuteronomy 18:21-22*
And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’— 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.
[Moses said] “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— 16 just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ 17 And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. 20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ 21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’— 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.
[Jesus and his disciples] went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.
14 King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “He is Elijah.” And others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.”
How did Jesus heal the sick? The same question is asked today. Jesus answered the question but his answer was rejected. He appealed to his students: “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” That is: Who or what is identified with driving out evils and healing the sick? They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Yet those prophets were dead and so their reply indicates their belief that Jesus was a medium, controlled by the spirit of John or Elijah.
King Herod repeated the superstitious thinking and construed, “John, the man I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!” That a wicked king and corrupt husband should have no appreciation of divine Science and the great work of the Master was not a shocker. How could a sinner comprehend what the disciples did not fully understand?
The disciples understood their Teacher better than other people, yet they still questioned Jesus because they didn’t fully comprehend what he meant. Jesus patiently persisted in teaching and demonstrating the truth of being.
Longing to be understood and rejecting their first answer, Jesus repeated, “Who do you say I am?” The renewed inquiry meant: Who or what is it that is able to do the work so mysterious to the popular human mind? He discarded the narrow-minded opinions or rumors about himself.
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.” 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;” that is, Love has shown you the way of Life!
And Sadducees came to [Jesus], who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying, 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother. 20 There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring. 21 And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise. 22 And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died. 23 In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.”
24 Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not God of the dead, but of the living.”
21st Century Science and Health
“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” Love and Truth make free, whereas evil and error lead into captivity.
Divine Science raises the standard of freedom and says: “Follow me! Escape from the control of sick, sinful, and dying knowledge!” Jesus designated the way. Citizens of the world, accept the “glorious freedom of the children of God,” and be free! This is your divine right. The self-deluded idolatrous views, not divine law, has captivated you, made you arthritic, made you a procrastinator, weakened your body, and ruined your reputation.
Because you can’t walk on the water and raise the dead, you have no right to question the great might of divine Science in these directions. Be thankful that Jesus, who was the true demonstrator of Science, did these things and left his example for us. In Science we can use only what we understand. We must prove our faith by demonstration.
People should not linger in the storm if the body is freezing, nor should they remain in devouring flames. Until you are able to prevent bad results, it is best to avoid adverse situations. To be discouraged is to resemble a student who is at an elementary level of mathematics and yet attempts to solve a problem of Euclid, only to deny the rule of the problem because the first effort brought failure.
There is no hypocrisy in Science. Principle is imperative. You can’t mock it by human will. Science is a divine demand, not human.
And when [Jesus and his disciples] had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 27 And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ 28 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 29 Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” 30 And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” 31 But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.
32 And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. 34 And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” 35 And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
21st Century Science and Health
When the human element in him resisted the divine, Jesus surrendered: “Not my will, but yours be done”—that is, let not the flesh but the Spirit be represented in me. This is the new understanding of spiritual Love. It gives all for Christ, Truth. It blesses its enemies, heals the sick, drives out wrongdoing, raises the dead from trespasses, and preaches the good news to humble hearts.
Jesus represented Christ, the true idea of God. The true idea of God causes a battle to flare when up against perfunctory religion and the blindness of popular belief, determined to kill the true idea by crucifying the flesh. Spiritual clear-sightedness wins the battle. The Christ-like character takes on greater heights and proves that Truth is the master of dying beliefs. Christ presents the indestructible person, whom Spirit forms, constitutes, and governs. Identifying our self with God, we feel our dominion to overcome worldliness.
The spiritual idea of God as presented by Jesus was scourged in person and its Principle was rejected. Jesus was misinterpreted, even considered a criminal, yet he proved God’s divine power by healing the sick, driving out evils, and spiritualizing consciousness. He also raised the dead—those dead in trespasses and sins, those satisfied with the flesh. When resting on the sands of fluxing elements, we are blind to the possibilities of Spirit and its truths.
Jesus brought to humanity’s attention things, “hidden since the creation of the world”—since material knowledge overstepped the creative divine Principle. We learn from him that we don’t have to buy into material knowledge which insists on the might of matter, the force of falsity, and the anthropomorphism of God.
While declaring the power of divine Spirit, we will feel haunted by a resistance to Truth. People who follow Christ will run up against the hatred of sinners, until “wisdom is proved right by her actions.” We can take to heart the blessed benedictions attributed to Jesus: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first;” “Surely I am with you always”—that is, not only in all time, but in all ways and conditions.
To relinquish all faith in death and the fear of its sting, would raise the standard of health and morals far beyond its present elevation, and enable us to hold the banner of Christianity with unflinching faith in God. Sin and the neglect of spirituality brought death, and death will disappear with the disappearance of sin. Physical bodies don’t really die because they never had a life to surrender. The human concepts, named material bodies, are all that can be destroyed.
If it is true that we live, this fact can never change in Science to the opposite belief that we die. Life is the law of Soul, even the law of the spirit of Truth, and Soul is never without its representative. Our individual spirituality can no more die nor disappear in unconsciousness than can Soul, for both are immortal.
*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, 6th edition, copyrighted by Cheryl Petersen.
 Matt. 16:13; Mark 8:27; Luke 9:18
 Matt. 16:14; Mark 8:28; Luke 9:19
 Matt. 14:2; Mark 6:16; Luke 9:9
 Matt. 16:15; Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20
 Matt. 16:16; Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20
 Matt. 16:17
 II Cor. 3:17
 Rom. 8:21
 Matt. 26:39; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42
 Matt. 13:35
 Matt. 11:19
 John 15:18
 Matt. 28:20
 I Cor. 15:55