A Spiritual Interpretation of the Gospels
As taught by:
Unity School for Religious Studies
Unity Village, MO 64065
I. MAJOR POINTS
- Metaphysical meaning of man being "under authority" to do spiritual works.
- Man's worth being measured according to his willingness to love and to forgive sins.
- Metaphysical meaning of the "unforgivable" sin or blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
- Metaphysical parables on the meaning of the kingdom of heaven.
- Matt. 8:12-13; Mark 4; Luke 7
- Your Hope of Glory 99-112
- Metaphysical Bible Dictionary under "heaven"
- What does it mean to be "under authority" in the sense that the centurion speaks of it to Jesus?
- Under spiritual evaluation, what is it that most determines a person's value and worth to the universe?
- What constitutes sin or blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?
- Metaphysically, what is the kingdom of heaven?
Matt. 8:5-13 HEALING OF A CENTURION'S SERVANT
This healing incident is of remarkable metaphysical interest for a special reason. It is found in the words the centurion speaks to Jesus when Jesus offers to come to his house in order to heal a sick servant. The centurion says "'... Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only SAY THE WORD, and my servant will be healed. For I AM A MAN UNDER AUTHORITY, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, "Go", and he goes, and to another, "Come", and he comes, and to my slave, "Do this", and he does it.' When Jesus heard him, HE MARVELED, and said to those who followed him, 'Truly I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith ... Go; be it done for you as you have believed.' And the servant was healed at that yery moment."
This centurion is an extraordinary example of a person who had an insight into an aspect of metaphysical Truth which was almost unheard of in those days. He understood the LAW OF THE WORD which can be fulfilled by a person of sufficient consciousness. He recognized in Jesus one who had the sufficient consciousness.
The Law of the Word is much better understood today. Much emphasis is given to it in the Unity teachings. The law of the Word is fulfilled in manifestation. In the case of this incident, it would be fulfilled as healing for the servant.
The thing which caused Jesus' admiration of the centurion's faith was the centurion's comparison of Jesus' divine authority with his own authority in the Roman army. He was under authority of the Roman government. And as he accepted his role under authority, so he had those under his authority who would carry out his word of command (soldiers, servants).
So it was with Jesus, and so it is with any of us who make a commitment to Spirit. We place ourselves under divine authority. We are willing to serve God in any way He directs. We are directly under the authority of Spirit when we are totally willing to carry out the work of Spirit. When we do this, truly and willingly, we then discover we have powers and forces which work UNDER OUR AUTHORITY, and they go to work to carry out the fulfillment of our word.
You and I do not HEAL. But we are under authority to work to bring forth healing. Under divine authority we can speak the words of Truth concerning healing. Then the powers and forces that are part of the healing principle and processes (soldiers, servants, angels, etc.) are quickened and activated in the whole wonderful pattern.
Man is not the Source. But he can place himself under the authority of the One Source, God. Then he has dominion and power. Then he can do the works which Jesus did, and eventually even greater works than those recorded in the Gospels.
One of Jesus' most beautiful and meaningful statements to us is: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matt. 11:28-30)
This statement of Jesus might best be taken fully into our understanding if we regard His references to Himself as referring to that which Jesus stands for in all of us: awakened and active spiritual awareness. When we rely upon our growing spiritual awareness and follow the guidance that comes through such awareness we find that we really do have a source of comfort and reassurance always with us.
There will always be "yokes and burdens" for each of us. But these need not be too unpleasant or heavy. Jesus knew that the character of our troubles is mostly determined by our attitude toward them. When we are functioning in quickened spiritual awareness we discover we have much more freedom to choose our attitudes than we ever realized we had. We find we really are able to give our problems "the light touch," and thus find that solutions are comparatively easy.
LUKE 7:36-50 Love and Forgiveness of Sins
In this incident we read of the actions of a woman designated as sinful. She annoints Jesus' feet with ointment and her tears, and she dries His feet with her hair. When the Pharisee whom Jesus was visiting at that time comments on the woman's sinfulness, Jesus makes this reply: "'Therefore I tell you, her sins, WHICH ARE MANY, are forgiven, for SHE LOVED MUCH... . ' And he said to her, 'Your sins are forgiven.' Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, 'Who is this, who EVEN FORGIVES SINS?' And he said to the woman, 'Your faith has saved you; go in peace.'"
This incident has at least two important metaphysical points. The first is a repetition of something Jesus has already taught: human beings on Earth have the power and authority to forgive sins. In fact, only human beings can forgive sins because only human beings can commit sins! One person can forgive another person's sins.
The second point brought out here is the supremacy of love on the spiritual scale of values. No single factor is of more worth than love. This woman represents errant human nature in general (her sins were many). But the redeeming factor was the love in her heart as expressed toward Jesus. Love is the supreme redeeming factor in all human nature.
If you were to ask the mind of the universe itself, "Of what value and of what worth am I in this universe?" The reply of the Universal Mind would be, "You are valuable in the exact degree you are loving. You are worth as much as you are loving. The more loving you are, the more you are worth to the universe. The less loving you are, the less you are worth to the universe."
Jesus will repeat this idea many times in different ways throughout His ministry.
Matt. 12:31-32 THE "UNFORGIVABLE" SIN
"Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. And whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit it will not be forgiven, neither in this age or in the age to come."
Here we have the words which have become the basis for the frightening doctrine of "unforgivable sin." How many persons worry and torment themselves with the thought of possibly having committed it? This requires metaphysical thinking. Sin and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit means to contradict or reject or believe lies about the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the name of the human concept of God's good, active in a person's life. Anything a person thinks, says, or does which contradicts or rejects the activity of God's good in his life is blaspheming against his own good or the Holy Spirit.
Jesus' use of the word forgiven or "not be forgiven" is what causes much confusion in regard to this teaching. What is really meant is that a person who is rejecting his own highest good (Holy Spirit) is in a state of consciousness in which he cannot receive that good, since God does not force blessings upon anyone. The person himself has made himself someone who cannot be GIVEN the good, simply because he is rejecting (blaspheming, sinning against) the coming of his good (Holy Spirit).
But the "unforgiven" state lasts only as long as the sin or blasphemy lasts When the attitude of mind is changed (repentance) the sin ceases, and the "unforgiven" state changes. When the blasphemy (rejection) stops, then the "unforgiveness" stops. Then all is forgiven and a new phase of development begins in that person. Later Paul gives the solution in a nutshell: "... be transformed by the renewal of your mind... ." (Rom. 12:2)
PARABLES ON THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
Jesus talks a great deal about the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God. He always does so in the form of parables. Jesus does not make too much distinction between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God, but when the symbolism of the parables is understood, it is seen that there is a distinction. The kingdom of God is said to be "within you." The kingdom of heaven is said to be "at hand." The kingdom of God is an absolute. The kingdom of heaven is relative.
The kingdom of God is omnipresence. It is absolute, changeless. It is within, but it is also everywhere. It is God transcendent.
The kingdom of heaven is relative. It is not an absolute, but rather an evolving something. When the parables of Jesus are studied carefully, an unmistakable pattern emerges which reveals the definition of the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven refers to the process of a growing, unfolding, expansion of consciousness of God and Truth WITHIN AN INDIVIDUAL.
Put this definition to the test by using this definition when reading a kingdom of heaven parable. You will see that the definition holds up. The mustard seed, the treasure hidden in a field, the pearl of great price, the little leaven in the dough. All these symbolize a person's growing and expanding consciousness of God and Truth; the kingdom of heaven.
NOTE: The instructor should discuss as many of these parables in class as time permits, illustrating the idea of expansion and growth in consciousness.