A Spiritual Interpretation of the Gospels
As taught by:
Unity School for Religious Studies
Unity Village, MO 64065
I. MAJOR POINTS
- See ADDENDA
- John 14-17
- Your Hope of Glory 231-250
- From your own metaphysical understanding, how would you describe the "many mansions" in the Father's house?
- Did Jesus regard His spiritual power as something uniquely His? What does He say to us about this?
- How would you describe the kind of peace Jesus offers to share with us?
- According to the Gospel writer's words about Jesus, was He a product of "this world"? What is another possibility?
- What aspect of Jesus was strongly expressed in the garden of Gethsemane?
We have not made a list of MAJOR POINTS for this lesson because of the peculiar nature of the Bible text covered. There are no incidents or actions or symbols involved. This is all straight dialogue spoken by Jesus. We have made a selection of statements from the entire body of His farewell discourses and have simply commented on them. The teacher may find that this is an excellent opportunity for more extended class discussion, since there Is very little instructional material in this lesson.
John 14, 15, 16, 17 THE GREAT FAREWELL DISCOURSES
These chapters in John are unique in our Bible. They are a monologue, reported by the Gospel writer as spoken by Jesus, from a strange blending of the Divine Christ level and the warmly human level of His consciousness. The words apply both to His immediate followers in a warmly personal way, and to posterity in a very mystical way. These discourses cannot be comprehended if approached as ordinary conversational statements. They are really unclassifiable in any academic sense. They are best handled by simply exposing one's mind and heart to them, without attempt to intellectually "figure out" their meanings. The meanings will reveal themselves with familiarity and repeated exposure to them. They are organic words. They live and grow.
John 14:1-2 "Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms (mansions, KJV) ..."
The "Father's house" is the totality of all life; perfect, eternal life. "Many rooms or mansions" are the countless phases and degrees of individual consciousness within God's eternal life. These are all our lifetimes constituting the steps in growth and unfoldment in our eternal life.
John 14:6, 7 "... I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me."
The Father is our own inner spiritual nature, our true spiritual identity, our innate spiritual perfection. Jesus is the living symbol of spiritual awareness. No person can realize his own innate perfection except by way of growth of spiritual awareness (following Jesus Christ).
John 14:12 "... he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do. ..." (SELF EXPLANATORY!)
John 14:19:20 "Yeta little while, and the world will see me nomore, butyou will see me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you."
These words are of such poignancy that they seem to strike right into our hearts from the heart of Jesus. They transcend time and space and have living power right here and now for any who will accept them personally.
John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."
Spiritual awareness (Jesus) generates a kind of inner peace which is not to be compared to the "temporary truces" the world sometimes grants. The peace of spiritual awareness is enduring, and it grows and becomes stronger. This is because it is based on eternal Principle and not upon the passing parade of worldly matters. When one is truly experiencing the peace of spiritual awareness, one finally knows that truly, there is nothing to fear.
John 15:11 "These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full'"
Spiritual awareness generates joy. As in the case of peace, the joy of spiritual awareness is different from the type of joy the world can confer. The joy of Spirit does not need an outer cause. It wells up from an inner source. It is not fickle, turning off and on in a random manner. Also, it does not produce nervous excitement. It is a joy that contains its own kind of satisfaction (is full).
John 15:16 "...that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it you."
When we ask of the Father in the name of Jesus Christ (spiritual awareness) our requests are bound to be sane. Spiritual awareness is the highest type of sanity! Therefore, when we are praying in the name of Jesus Christ, it is always a safe and sane request. Such requests are always lawful. Such asking is bound to result in receiving.
NOTE: It is a wise practice to always be certain that our prayer requests are solidly connected to divine ideas. What we ask for is that a divine idea becomes manifest, or becomes an experience for ourself or for whomever we pray. If we cannot see the connection between what we want and a bona fide divine idea, we should reconsider the request, and perhaps make some change in our manner of asking, or in for what we are asking.
John 16:12-13 "I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth..."
It is fruitless for us to wonder and speculate about the Truth we do not know as yet. The only valid reason we do not yet know certain Truths is simply that we do not need such knowledge at this time. Even if we could gain access to those Truths, we would not comprehend them as such. There is nothing to regret in this.
However, when we really have need of any Truth knowledge, we shall be given it without fail. The main thing for all of us now is to correctly use and share the Truth knowledge we do have.
John 16:28 "I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father."
Here Jesus gives His followers something of a clue as to His strange relationship with the world into which He had incarnated. Some interpreters say that He did not come from a prior existence IN THIS WORLD, as the rest of humanity does; instead that He came from another dimension, another evolution, which He simply calls "the Father." He clearly says that He is going back to that dimension. In other places He also says that He will await us in that dimension (the Father). Others say that this statement is true of the Christ identity of each person. Either view can provide helpful insights.
John 17 is a long prayer. In orthodox Christian churches it is usually called the Intercessory Prayer. In this prayer Jesus reaches the apotheosis of all that He has been saying in these chapters in the Gospel of John. It is obvious that this prayer, even though addressed to the Father, is really very much for the benefit of His followers (and the future readers of the Gospels). Today, as we read this prayer, it is very easy to feel that Jesus had each one of us in mind as He stated these sublime words. Especially in His closing words: "... that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them."
Matt. 26:30, 36-46 IN THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE
In this incident we have an illustration of a powerful, "last-ditch" resurgence of the human nature factors in the soul of Jesus. This is expressed in some of His words. Perhaps nowhere else in the Gospels does this strictly human level of Him find such poignant expression. We can clearly see the characteristics of personal consciousness coming out in the following utterances:
- "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death ..."
- "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me..."
- "... could you not watch with me one hour?"
- "My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, thy will be done."
NOTE: If these statements do not illustrate the Christ aspect of Jesus, they most certainly do illustrate the "son of man" aspect of Him. As such, they help us understand the fears of human personality, or personal ego, in our own "crucifixion experiences." Yet the full transformation of consciousness cannot take place until our human will totally surrenders and can say, "thy will be done."
Matt. 26:47-68 THE BETRAYAL, ARREST, AND TRIAL OF JESUS
The betrayal, arrest, and trial of Jesus had all been clearly outlined by Him long before they actually manifested as events. These events are almost entirely of biographical-historical interest today, and are not really symbolic or of parable form. The actual symbolism in the Gospels resumes during the Crucifixion itself, namely in the seven statements of Jesus from the cross.