METAPHYSICAL INTERPRETATION OF JOHN CHAPTER 5
JERUSALEM IS the spiritual center in consciousness. A feast in Jerusalem is a receptive state of mind toward all spiritual good, and the appropriation of that good for future use. Jerusalem means "city of peace." When we get deep down into the silent recesses of our soul we realize a stillness and sweetness beyond expression. There is a great peace there, the "peace of God, which passeth all understanding," and a welling up of an indescribable substance that fills the whole consciousness at the point where the inflow of original substance takes place.
5:2Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porches. 5:3In these lay a multitude of them that were sick, blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.5:4for an angel of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the waters stepped in was made whole, with whatsoever disease he was holden.5:5And a certain man was there, who had been thirty and eight years in his infirmity. 5:6When Jesus saw him lying, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wouldest thou be made whole? 5:7The sick man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. 5:8Jesus saith unto him, Arise, take up thy bed, and walk. 5:9And straightway the man was made whole, and took up his bed and walked.
Sheep are the most harmless and innocent of all animals, and they represent the natural life that flows into man's consciousness from Spirit. It is pure, innocent, guileless; and when we open our mind to this realization of Spirit life we open the gate by the sheep market.
Here is a pool called Bethesda (meaning "house of mercy" or "place of receiving and caring for the sick"). There are also five porches or covered colonnades. This "pool" represents the realization in consciousness that our life is being constantly purified, healed, and made new by the activity of mind. Physically this is expressed in the purification and upbuilding of the blood by coming in contact with the oxygen of the air in the lungs. The ebb and flow of the waters of the pool is constant, and when our mind is active all the depleted blood corpuscles are purified and renewed.
This great multitude of "sick folk" (depleted life corpuscles) lies near this pool, under the "five porches" (five senses). The "five-sense" consciousness does not realize the power of the I AM to quicken these inner functions of man's organism; it lets weak, depleted life cells accumulate and burden its system, when a thought of the activity of life would, through the divine law, set them free from their helplessness.
It is not necessary that all the purification and renewing of the depleted corpuscles take place through the lungs when man understands the power of the I AM to declare the word of activity. Jesus, the I AM of Spirit, did not tell the man to go down
into the pool and be healed, but said, "Arise, take up thy bed, and walk." Thus we see that the work of the Spirit is not confined to physical activities, although it does not ignore them. If your lung capacity is not equal to the purification of your blood, increase it by declaring the law of active life. Anemic blood may be made vigorous and virile by daily centering the attention in the lungs and affirming them to be spiritual, and under the perpetual inflow of new life and the outflow of old life the lungs will do your will.
Do not be limited by so-called established laws of nature, or by man's mortal thought that if you have reached the age of "thirty-eight" the life current is beginning to wane, that your "sabbath" or day of rest is setting in. It is "lawful" in Spirit to declare the perpetual activity of life anywhere, at any time, and under all circumstances. Divine life takes no cognizance of the laws that the intellect has set up for governing it. Life is ever active. It is constantly present in all its fullness and power, and it has no day of rest or "sabbath."
Now it was the sabbath on that day. 5:10So the Jews said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for thee to take up thy bed. 5:11But he answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. 5:12They asked him, Who is the man that said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? 5:13But he that was healed knew not who it was; for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in the place. 5:14Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing befall thee. 5:15The man went away, and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him whole. 5:16And for this cause the Jews persecuted Jesus, because he did these things on the sabbath. 5:17But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh even until now, and I work. 5:18For this cause therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only brake the sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
These particular Jews had no understanding of the real "sabbath," which is a state of consciousness attained through meditation and the realization that the law is fulfilled in both thought and act.
The "sabbath of the Lord" has nothing to do with any day of the week. God did not name days and weeks, nor has He darkened His clear concepts of Truth by the time element.1
Therefore, it is during the period of rest known as the "sabbath" that the demonstrations come forth, the state of consciousness in which the man that was sick let go of all false appearances and took up his bed and walked.
Many times much outer discord is avoided by the Christ's seemingly withdrawing from the outer until the quibbling intellect has somewhat spent its fury. ("Jesus had conveyed himself away.") Then the Christ reappears and reveals to the demonstrating thought added light: "Sin no more, lest a worse thing befall thee."
God-Mind is the living power back of all nature, causing the flowers to bud and to bloom and the grass to spring up. Jesus explained the outer working of this law in a very few words when He said,
"My Father worketh even until now, and I work." This divine creative power works continually one day just the same as any other day. Metaphysically we realize that this great creative force is God-Mind in action, and that it can not only create but also re-create. Therefore when Jesus spoke the word for him the sick man through this redeeming agency was instantly made whole. As all sickness is the result of sin, he who was healed was admonished to refrain from again breaking the law lest a worse sickness befall him.
Jesus was introducing into the consciousness of man the new truth that God is indeed the loving Father of all. But the intellectualists (represented by the Pharisees) could not receive it.
"He not only brake the sabbath [from the viewpoint of the Pharisees], but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God." Here again the Jews thought it blasphemy even to consider spiritualizing their nature until they knew in deed and in truth that God was their Father and that all that the Father had was theirs.
5:19Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father doing: for what things soever he doeth, these the Son also doeth in like manner. 5:20For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him all things that himself doeth: and greater works than these will he show him, that ye may marvel. 5:21For as the Father raiseth the dead and giveth them life, even so the Son also giveth life to whom he will. 5:22For neither doth the Father judge any man, but he hath given all judgment unto the Son; 5:23that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father that sent him. 5:24Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth him that sent me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life.
5:25Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live. 5:26For as the Father hath life in himself, even so gave he to the Son also to have life in himself: 5:27and he gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is a son of man. 5:28Marvel not at this: for the hour cometh, in which all that are in the tombs shall hear his voice, 5:29and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.
The Father is the great source of all light and all understanding, and the Son is the idea that expresses the light and the wisdom of God.
The Son is the idea of God-Mind, of man in his perfection. Under divine law man makes manifest what God has in His mind.
The divine idea, the Christ, has been given eternal life and has the power to impart it to the Adam man. In addition to this He has been given judgment: He determines how the life shall be made manifest. The Father of life is a great river in the Garden of Eden, which represents man's innate capacity ready to obtain expression in all wisdom and understanding.
We honor the Christ when we recognize it as having the authority of God. In its life-giving capacity
it is equal to God and has the power of God. When that is enthroned in us which possesses spiritual identity we have the realization that we are speaking the word right from the Father. Jesus in this state of unfoldment proclaimed: "The words that I say unto you I speak not from myself: but the Father abiding in me doeth his works."
In this way God is most fully manifest in His "divine idea" or Son, the Christ in man.
What men need above all else in this day is more wisdom, more discretion, in the use of the life they have. More life accompanied by the same old destructive ignorance in using it would but add to their misery. Thus God does not dictate what shall be man's choice with respect to this or any other act. If man discovers the law through which life is made manifest in his consciousness, he may use it blindly and ignorantly if he so elects. But he must also abide by the results of his choosing, and this is where man sets up his wail of sorrow: he does not like to reap his sowing.
Death came into our world through the ignorant use of life, and death can be put out only by a wise use of life. Death is the result of a wrong conception of life and its use. In the beginning of man's experiments with the powers of Being, he had no conception of death. His consciousness was intact and his unfoldment in wisdom was gradual and orderly. But his desire to experiment predominated. Sensation was sweet and enticing; it absorbed so much of his attention that he forgot wisdom--he "hid" from his Lord, and the result was separation from his
Eden, the divine harmony of the law of spiritual unfoldment.
In raising the dead there are then two factors to deal with. The thought of the reality of death and the fear of death have both played destructive roles in the race consciousness, and they must be taken up and dissolved. The total unreality of death must be portrayed to the deluded consciousness. The omnipresence and the omnipotence of life are beyond dispute, and there can be no question that death is a condition set up in human consciousness. God is not dead; He does not recognize or countenance death. Neither does man when freed from its delusion. Jesus said: "Follow me . . . Leave the dead to bury their own dead."
The first step in demonstrating over death is to get the belief entirely out of the mind that it is God-ordained or is of force or effect anywhere in the realm of pure Being.
The next step is to live so harmoniously that the whole consciousness will be not only resurrected from its belief in death but so vivified and energized with the idea of undying life that it cannot be dissolved or separated from its vehicle, the body.
If our thoughts are good they work for good in our life, and if they are bad they are objects of redemption.
5:31If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. 5:32It is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. 5:33Ye have sent unto John, and he hath borne witness unto the truth. 5:34But the witness which I receive is not from man: howbeit I say these things, that ye may be saved. 5:35He was the lamp that burneth and shineth; and ye were willing to rejoice for a season in his light. 5:36But the witness which I have is greater than that of John; for the works which the Father hath given me to accomplish, the very works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. 5:37And the Father that sent me, he hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his form. 5:38And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he sent, him ye believe not.
5:39Ye search the scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of me; 5:40and ye will not come to me, that ye may have life. 5:41I receive not glory from men. 5:42But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in yourselves. 5:43I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. 5:44How can ye believe, who receive glory one of another, and the glory that cometh from the only God ye seek not? 5:45Think not that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, on whom ye have set your hope. 5:46For if ye believed Moses, ye would believe me; for he wrote of me. 5:47But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?
The Christ is the perfect God idea, which is ever in touch with its source. The Christ therefore realizes always that it can of itself do nothing, and places all judgment in the law. The laws of God are unchangeable. Man neither makes nor creates anything of permanence; he discerns what God has created and conforms to it in thought and act.
Judgment, when expressed on the mortal plane of consciousness, often is the expression of a critical and backbiting disposition. Man's safety lies in recognizing his need and balancing his judgment faculty with love. Then there will spring forth a new conquering power, which will express itself in righteousness and justice without condemnation.
The substitution of the Scriptures for the living Word of God is undoubtedly one of the reasons why the promise of Jesus to His followers of the ability to do mighty works has not been fulfilled. The Jews of Jesus' time had done this very thing: they had substituted the Book of Moses for the living Word and had so materialized their minds and their religion that they did not know the Messiah when He came. Jesus accused them of this, saying: "Ye search the scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of me; and ye will not come to me, that ye may have life."
The Scriptures alone are not sufficient to impart spiritual understanding. The Pharisees were inveterate students of the Hebrew Scriptures, but Jesus accused them repeatedly of lack of understanding. The Bible is a sealed book to one whose own spiritual understanding has not been quickened by the living Word. "The word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it." Jesus so identified Himself with the living Word that His words became, like it, creative. He submerged His personality in God-Mind until He became the expression of that Mind, the idea clothed in
flesh. "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us." Then instead of memorizing whole chapters of the Bible let us quicken our mind and our body with the creative word and thereby escape death. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my word, he shall never see death."
The Pharisaical mind thinks that salvation lies in the Scripture itself, when in fact the Scripture simply bears witness of the Saviour. The need is not to concentrate on the letter of the law but to live the Truth and let the divine principles find expression through the soul. Thus man learns to travel the path that leads to light and peace and satisfaction.
There is no necessity of accusing our brother. The law itself works everything out in perfect justice. In fact Moses symbolizes this progressive or "drawing-out" process, which in the individual works from within upward, and in the universe appears as the upward trend of all things.
The idea that the Bible is the living Word of God has diverted the attention of Christians from the one creative Word ever since the original translators dropped the little word "ye" from the sentence (in John 5:39) in which Jesus criticized the Jews for their much study of the Scriptures and thereby made their study a command. Modern translators have corrected this attempt to make Jesus an indorser of the printed word, and it is now made clear that overstudy of the letter may prevent one from making unity with the Word of God manifest, Jesus the Christ.
- The 1946 edition adds "Time is an invention of the human."