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' visit with Martha and Mary.
- Bad results of expressing one's negative states instead of correctly denying them.
- Warning against addiction to aquisitiveness.
- The wisdom of maintaining spiritual humility.
- Metaphysical meaning of the parable of the prodigal son.
- Metaphysical meaning of the parable of the unrighteous steward.
- Luke 11-15
- Your Hope of Glory 167-181
- Metaphysical Bible Dictionary under headings Martha; Mary; son, prodigal
- What is one of the main metaphysical lessons in the story of Jesus' visit with Martha and Mary?
- What is the difference between correctly denying (letting go) of negativity and actively expressing it (sending it out from one's self)? What are the results of each?
- What is the difference between attaining prosperity and becoming addicted to acquisitiveness?
- Metaphysically, why is a lack of true humility a dangerous state for a person?
- Give an important metaphysical point to be found in the parable of the prodigal son.
- What was the "wise" thing the "unwise" steward did after he was found out? Why does this make etaphysical sense?
Luke 10:38-42 JESUS, MARTHA, AND MARY
Although this appears as just a minor domestic incident in the life of Jesus, it actually contains an important metaphysical lesson. Jesus stands for spiritual understanding of Truth. Mary and Martha stand for two aspects of our intuitive and feeling nature. Martha stands for that aspect of our feeling nature filled with concern for the doing of things properly in outer life. Mary stands for that aspect of our feeling nature more concerned with receptivity and reflection on the truths governing all of life, more especially our inner life.
Mary and Martha are good friends of Jesus, signifying that what each stands for metaphysically is good and right for our over-all development. But Martha's complaint to Jesus about Mary not helping her indicates that the Martha factor can be prone toward negativeness. Is this not true of that part of our feeling nature which gets all concerned over what is going on "out there," or what is not going on "out there"?
Jesus says, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about MANY THINGS; ONE THING is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her." These words show that Jesus valued the concern for our inner life as much better than anxiety about the outer details. He calls the treasures of our inner life "the good portion", and he says that these inner realizations are a permanent blessing to our consciousness (shall not be taken away from her).
What is this "one thing is needful" which Jesus mentions? He does not specify, but it would appear to be BALANCE--balance between outer business and inner realizations. Both are good, but balance and control are necessary to keep them good. Otherwise outer concern can turn into negative anxiety. This is a lesson we seem to have to learn over and over again.
Luke 11:24-26 "When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest; and finding none he says, 'I will return TO MY HOUSE from which I came.1 And when he comes he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first."
This is a very symbolic analysis by Jesus on the subject of negative states or negative emotions in consciousness. A person can do one of two things in regard to a negative emotion that has entered him. He can correctly deny (separate, reject, renounce) it by refusing to connect his sense of I Am to it. Or he can connect his sense of I Am to it. If he does this, he is sure to eventually express it (it "goes out from him" as himself). If this occurs, Jesus says that the negativity will not "rest", but will return to its "house" (the sense of I Am it is connected with). It has also increased its energy of negativity, and thus causes the person who expressed it to experience greater distress than before. Another important corollary lesson here is that denial is just half of the necessary work. Once the consciousness is "swept and put in order", it must be refurnished with strong, affirmative statements of Truth. Then there is "no room" for negativity to reestablish itself.
Luke 12:15 "... Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." Jesus continues with the parable of the man who devotes his whole life to the accumulating of possessions. Then Jesus concludes: "But God said to him, 'Fooli This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (Luke 12:20-21)
One of the greatest obstacles to spiritual unfoldment is addiction to material acquisitiveness, especially when done for its own sake, or for the purpose of passing things on to one's offspring. To become possessed by one's possessions is a thing which can happen to anyone who is not spiritually awake. The only possession REALLY WORTH DOING EVERYTHING to acquire is a greater consciousness of God. All else can become clutter. When a person "dies" that is all he can take with him. What a person leaves behind materially never constitutes true prosperity for his heirs. You cannot give prosperity through a will or a bequest. You can only give "things." What is not gained by a person by means of the laws of consciousness cannot be that person's true prosperity, but will become clutter, or sometimes even a curse.
Luke 13:1-9 JESUS COMMENTS ON TWO CURRENT TRAGEDIES
For many readers this commentary is puzzling and disturbing. Jesus refers to the question that is in people's minds as to why certain accidents and tragedies involve certain persons rather than others. Jesus indicates that in cases of physical misfortune in this world, the question really is not WHY some persons and not others, but rather why ANY persons. Accidents and catastrophes are products of many negative factors, most of which are beyond what we would consider rational explanation. Nothing is really gained by analyzing fate's choosing of victims. Jesus says that what is really required is "repentance." Repentance is a strange word which is almost always misunderstood by modern man. It is defined as "remorse, regret, a sense of guilt." This is not the meaning Jesus had in mind. His use of the word repentance has to do with a complete change in one's thinking. It is only by making an effort to raise our level of thinking that we experience a rise in our level of being. We can rise in consciousness to a level above that in which accidents, tragedies, and injustices are possibilities for all Who remain on that level. "... Unless you REPENT (change your thinking) you will all likewise perish." (Luke 13:5)
NOTE: The student will benefit here by looking up the word "metanoia" in any large unabridged dictionary. "Metanoia" is the actual Greek word that is translated "repent" or "repentance" in the New Testament.
Luke 14:7-11 PARABLE ON THE VALUE OF TRUE HUMILITY
Only a person who has gained spiritual awareness can appreciate the value of true humility. Humility is a factor little understood for the most part. Jesus realized its value in spiritual unfoldment and He strongly emphasizes its value here. What is true humility, in the metaphysical sense? Basically it consists of willing sacrifice of vanity in a manner that is helpful to others. There are many ways this can be done, and Jesus' parable illustrates one of those many ways.
A person who has spiritual awareness does not find it at all painful to sacrifice vanity or selfishness to help others feel better. He knows there is no loss in doing so, only gain. But not a gain of egotism, rather a gain of greater consciousness. This particular teaching probably cannot be understood theoretically—it must be tested by putting into actual practice. But one who has proved its validity needs no further convincing. Remember-- vanity is a NEGATIVE EMOTION. ALL negative emotions inhibit spiritual growth.
Luke 15:11-32 THE PRODIGAL SON
This parable tells us that we are all free to claim our divine inheritance from our Father and use it any way that we choose. Our divine inheritance consists of all the divine ideas in the Mind of God that pertain to man. Basically, they are our twelve spiritual faculties, which originate as divine ideas.
One son chooses to squander his inheritance in a "far country." This symbolizes any areas in life which are lacking any sort of spiritual interests or spiritual commitment. This is the realm of gross materiality and sensuality. Jesus often refers to this as simply "this world." But this world leads to depletion, futility, and exhaustion. The son experienced a type of "famine,1 which symbolizes any person who is in the predicament of not being able to receive any real soul nourishment from things in his outer world. Most persons sooner or later come to this type of dead end in their existence if they have no spiritual interests or spiritual commitment.
The return of the son to the father's house is a masterpiece of metaphysical symbolism. The father holds no grudges, asks no questions, demands no apology, makes no accusations. He simply joyfully welcomes him home. This is pure Truth. God is our Father, and we are often His wayward child. But when we choose to return to Him in consciousness we receive only a total, loving welcome.
The resentful, older brother is an interesting symbol. He stands for hidden guilt and resentment. There is a bit of this in everybody, and it needs to be understood as well as overcome. The father does not scold or blame the resentful brother, he only tells him that he has the same rights as the prodigal son and that they are still all one family. So it is that God's love responds to every part of our human nature.
Luke 16:1-8 PARABLE OF THE STEWARD
The meaning of this parable is one of metaphysical logic. We are all stewards of God's good. Nothing belongs to us, everything belongs only to God. But we have access to all that the Father has. Our true role is not "ownership," but stewardship.
We all make mistakes and we all misuse the Father's goods. In the parable Jesus depicts the steward as admitting his mistakes, and then taking steps to rescue as much good as he can from the debtors to his master. When the master learns of these efforts, instead of scolding or punishing the steward for the mistakes, he commends the steward and calls him shrewd (wise, KJV).
If we realize we have done wrong in our life, it is best to admit it. Don't try to cover-up or justify. Don't wallow in guilt or remorse. Face up to the mistake. The parable then indicates that we can look for SOME GOOD TO BE DERIVED even from the mistakes. But we must make the effort to look for it. Whether we find the good or not is beside the point. It is the effort that counts. This is what our indwelling Lord will respond to. We can be blessed as a result of what we do when we have realized our own "unwise stewardship."