A Spiritual Interpretation of the Gospels
As taught by:
Unity School for Religious Studies
Unity Village, MO 64065
I. MAJOR POINTS
- Metaphysical meaning of Jesus' teaching of what "defiles" a person.
- Jesus illustrates the difference between human opinions and spiritual Truth.
- Metaphysical significance of the transfiguration incident.
- Metaphysical symbolism in the manner in which Jesus pays the temple tax.
- Jesus teaches there are no "finalities" for evolving mankind.
- Matt. 15-18; Mark 7-9; Luke 9
- Your Hope of Glory 131-150
- What did Jesus say is the only thing that defiles a person?
- What is the Truth of each person's real identity? Is this also true of his personality? Explain.
- What is the metaphysical reason that Jesus is found standing alone at the end of the transfiguration scene?
- How did the father of the sick boy help bring forth his healing?
- What is one of the metaphysical meanings of "Leave the dead to bury their own dead"?
"And he called the people to him again, and said to them, 'Hear me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him ... What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man.'" (Mark 7:14-16, 20-23)
Jesus uses the word "defile" in a very special way. Metaphysically it means to contaminate the consciousness with negativity. In other words, SIN. Negative thoughts come to us and negative emotions arise in us, but they are not sins until we express them. This is a very subtle teaching, but a very important one.
NOTE: Harmful things which enter can hurt the body (nervous system, digestive tract, blood stream, etc.) but this type of harm, while definitely to be avoided, is not the same as the very dangerous "defilement" spoken of by Jesus. Jesus gives very much the same teaching in His words: "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matt. 10:28) This type of "hell" is, of course, useless, unnecessary suffering of any sort. Anything which can cause this is a source of "defilement" for us and should be avoided at all costs. The most common form of self-defilement is to connect one's sense of I Am with any negative emotion.
Matt. 15:21-28 HEALING OF A CANAANITE WOMAN'S DAUGHTER
The remarkable thing about this incident is found in Jesus' strange words to the woman seeking healing for her daughter, and her amazing reply. Jesus says to her, "It is not fair to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." Then her reply, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."
Jesus' ministry was primarily for the Jews. Canaanites were social and religious outcasts in the eyes of the Jews. It is as though Jesus had read into this woman's soul and recognized something in her which only needed to be awakened and quickened in order to perfect her own healing powers of consciousness. Therefore he deliberately said something to her which He knew would awaken that needed factor. So He challenges her by comparing Canaanites to dogs. Instead of becoming angry or indignant, she responds with humility based upon her love and concern for her daughter. This does it! This is the awakening of the needful factor in her own consciousness. Jesus knew it had been done, and He says to her, "'0 woman, great is your faith! Be it done FOR YOU as YOU DESIRE.' And her daughter was healed instantly."
Matt. 15:13-20 WHO SAY YE THAT I AM?
Jesus' first question to His disciples in this passage is: "Who do men say that the Son of man is?" "Son of man" simply means "human being or human nature." So the question is really asking what human beings say about other human beings. In other words, what are the human opinions of human beings about each other?
"And they said, 'Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."' (Matt. 16:14) This answer is symbolic. It stands for the wide gamut of opinions that human beings in general hold about other human beings. In the realm of human judgments and human opinions ANYTHING GOES. Jesus does not comment on this; He just lets it go.
But His next question is not asking for generalities of human opinions. His next question demands a Truth answer. "But who do you say that I am?" And for a question of this nature only one correct answer will do, and Simon Peter (faith) gives that answer: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Matt. 16:24-26 THE WORTH OF MAN'S SOUL
"Then Jesus told his disciples, 'If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life (soul, KJV)? Or what shall a man give in return for his life (soul, KJV)?'"
NOTE: In ancient Semitic languages and biblical Greek there is no distinction between the words "life" and "soul." However, "soul" has an important metaphysical meaning, and it is in this context that the teaching can be most helpful.
In this statement to His disciples, Jesus clearly reveals the value to be placed on the state of our soul. He indicates that nothing in all the world is worth more than the state of our soul. There is nothing of equal value to it as far as man is concerned. The soul is the sum total of man's inner awareness; it is his most precious possession. Jesus (spiritual awareness) knows this and gives man's soul top priority in the scale of value of existing things.
Luke 9:28-36 THE TRANSFIGURATION
The luminosity of the person of Jesus is an interesting phenomenon, but it is not the real metaphysical point of this incident. The main point is the appearance of Moses and Elijah conversing with Jesus as they "spoke of his departure, WHICH HE WAS TO ACCOMPLISH at Jerusalem." As a cloud descends and obscures the scene, a voice is heard from the cloud saying, "'This is my Son, my Chosen: listen to him!' And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone."
Moses stands for the letter of the law of cause and effect.
Elijah stands for demonstration of the power of the law of cause and effect.
Jesus stands for spiritual awareness in man which has understanding of greater dimensions of the law than just mechanical cause and effect.
Jesus (conscious awareness of higher laws) includes knowledge of the letter and know-how in demonstrating, but He transcends these levels. "Listen to him" says the voice from heaven. In other words, man has evolved to the place where he no longer needs to worship cause and effect (Moses) nor does he have to worry about how much he can prove that law (Elijah). He is now qualified to follow the guidance of his own awakened spiritual awareness in all his ways (Jesus Christ).
Mark 9:14-29 HELP MY UNBELIEF
Jesus constantly emphasizes the necessity for man to believe in the power of divine ideas. Divine ideas require man's belief in them in order for them to express their energies and powers in man's existence. Healing (life, health) is a divine idea.
Jesus says to the father of this boy, "All things are possible to him who believes."
NOTE: Jesus only says that belief creates a possibility. He does not say that mere belief will make something happen. It is important for Truth students to understand this. Otherwise one might think that Jesus is saying that you only have to believe something to make it happen. Not so. Belief is only the first step in a demonstration. It merely establishes the possibility.
The father of the boy is an example of honesty personified. He states his willingness to believe in order to create the possibility for his son's healing. Then he reveals his honesty and humility with, "help my unbelief." Obviously the help came, for the boy was healed.
Matt. 17:24-27 JESUS PAYS THE TEMPLE TAX
Jesus says to Peter, "...go to the sea and cast a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel; take that and give it to them for me and for yourself."
Jesus represents spiritual awareness. Peter represents faith. The tax collectors stand for the demands made upon us by man-made factors in life in the world. These may be just or unjust, but they come to all. Jesus here presents a highly symbolic formula for correctly meeting and fulfilling all the many demands made upon us by earthly life.
The sea here symbolizes the realm of ideas (fish), the realm of potential and possibilities (waters of the sea). The hook symbolizes an attitude of expectancy and willingness to receive. The right idea will come to us if our faith is willing to receive the idea. When the idea comes through our faith, it will contain the right guidance and right answer for us. It will result in the proper supply for the particular need we are concerned about. The tax is paid.
"Then Peter came up and said to him, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?' Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.'" (Matt. 18:21-22)
Once again, Jesus presents us with a teaching that had not been known to exist prior to His stating it. Jesus consistently presents love and forgiveness as the highest of all human efforts and the mightiest of spiritually motivated acts. Nothing can surpass love and forgiveness in human expression. Over and over Jesus repeats this theme, but over and over human beings ignore or forget it.
"Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has no where to lay his head." (Luke 9:58) Here Jesus is reminding us that human beings (Son of man) are evolving souls. As such, we have no fixed, final "resting place" in the universe. Every place we are in can be our right place, but none can be our permanent place. We are learning, growing, expanding units of consciousness. We are unfolding, evolving souls.
"Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:60) Only those who believe in the reality of death are concerned with proper burial of "the dead." Those who are in Truth do not believe in the reality of death; that is, as any sort of finality. Truth reveals that there are no "dead" that are to be buried. Only a corpse is buried; and a corpse is simply the remains of abandoned physical atoms and molecules, which is not the person.