Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Luke Chapter 4
Metaphysically Interpreting Luke 4:1-13
4:1And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led in the Spirit in the wilderness 4:2during forty days, being tempted of the devil. And he did eat nothing in those days: and when they were completed, he hungered. 4:3And the devil said unto him, if thou art the Son of God, command this stone that it become bread. 4:4And Jesus answered unto him, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone.
4:5And he led him up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.4:6And the devil said unto him, To thee will I give all this authority, and the glory of them: for it hath been delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. 4:7If thou therefore wilt worship before me, it shall all be thine. 4:8And Jesus answered and said unto him, It is written,
Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God,
and him only shalt thou serve.
4:9And he led him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou art the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: 4:10for it is written,
He shall give his angels charge concerning thee,
to guard thee:
On their hands they shall bear thee up,
Lest haply thou dash thy foot against a stone.
4:12And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not make trial of the Lord thy God.
4:13And when the devil had completed every temptation, he departed from him for a season.
January 30, 1927: Luke 4:1-13
What is the meaning, in a broad sense, of the temptations that were endured by Jesus in the wilderness? Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness symbolize the dominant attractions of sense consciousness that the developing soul has to meet.
What does the Devil or Satan represent? The Devil, or Satan, or the Adversary, represents the aggregation of independent thoughts which the soul has built up during many incarnations. The thoughts and the experiences that are associated with this state of mind are often adverse to the divine law; hence this mental state is called “the Adversary.”
What does Jesus represent? Jesus represents the developing soul that has listened to and has been taught by Spirit through many incarnations. This understanding of Truth has formed in copiousness an aggregation of true thoughts (sometimes called the spiritual soul) which are inspired by the Lord.
What is represented by the wilderness, and why does the developing soul have to experience the discords of “the wilderness”? All states of consciousness come under the dominion of man, that is, the I AM. The I AM has built up and is responsible for not only man's conscious thinking, but also his subconscious thinking. These states of mind are aptly named “the wilderness,” because they have not been harmonized with the higher law. When, in the progress of his ongoing, a person attains the understanding and the power to harmonize and lift up the sense consciousness, he is driven by Spirit into “the wilderness.”
What is represented by the forty-day fast and the hunger that succeeded it? The forty-day fast represents a complete denial of sense demands. When we keep such a fast, we are living in a thought realm above material needs. We are led up of Spirit, and our appetites and passions are so subdued that we think they never again are to trouble us, but later we return to sense consciousness (represented by the statement that Jesus afterward hungered).
What is meant by Jesus' temptation to turn a stone into bread? Jesus' temptation to turn a stone into bread symbolizes man's attempt to satisfy with materiality, the hunger of the soul for Spirit.
What is symbolized by His second temptation? His second temptation is symbolical of man's desire to dominate people personally, to rule the world.
What is the meaning of His third temptation, to cast himself down from the pinnacle of the temple? The answer to this question may be found in Jesus' words: “Thou shalt not make trial of the Lord thy God.” One who is unfolding spiritual power in soul consciousness finds that the high vibration of Divine Mind is very much greater than the physical vibration; he should gradually change from the high spiritual state of consciousness to the physical and not suddenly project himself from the former to the latter.
January 19, 1936: Luke 4:1-13
How did Jesus meet His testings? With denials and affirmations of Truth: “Man shall not live by bread alone.” “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” “Thou shalt not make trial of the Lord thy God.”
How can we prove that we are children of God? Only by remembering to think and speak the truth of God equally under adverse and favorable conditions and circumstances can we prove our divine sonship. “I, Jehovah, change not.” To prove ourselves like Him we also must be true to Principle.
What temptation first assails the student of Truth? When the student learns that his word has power to bring his desire to fulfillment, he is tempted to support himself by the spoken word divorced from physical effort. He would live in ease, leaving his work to be done by the creative word.
Is it wise thus to curtail the activity of the physical self? Man does not live by bread alone, but by energy and resourcefulness, which are signs of the abundant life to be found in the Christ consciousness. Therefore physical activity should be increased rather than curtailed.
What is the second temptation that comes to the metaphysician? That of self-exaltation and ambition, in the grip of which the metaphysician wishes to use his understanding of divine law to gain power over his fellows.
Name the most desirable form of power that man can possess. The power to control his own mind and soul and through them his body is the chief form that man needs to realize, for it is far more desirable than the power merely to change outer events or control other people.
Is there a third temptation that besets the one who embraces Truth? The temptation to make a display of one's power before others is a common one, but to yield to it puts one at the mercy of the personal consciousness in a most undesirable fashion.
How can we keep temptation out of our life? Only by means of the Christ consciousness of spiritual power can temptation be entirely overcome. “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” As long as we continue to relapse into the personal or sense consciousness at intervals, we shall continue to have tests to meet, problems to overcome.
October 27, 1940: Luke 4:4
By what does man live most fully? By the creative word of God spoken and realized by him in the power of the Christ.
Sunday, January 30, 1949: Luke 4:1-13
Of what value to the inner life is discipline? It is an absolute prerequisite to self-dominion.
Can anyone who is “full of the Holy Spirit” be “tempted of the devil”? Temptations are tests and afford one an opportunity to exercise spiritual discrimination. Anyone who is imbued with the power of the Holy Spirit may be tempted to use his power for selfish purposes. If he remains steadfast to the good and overcomes his temptations, his spiritual power becomes even greater, and he demonstrates mastery.
Why was it that Jesus ate nothing during the forty days that He was in the wilderness? When a person is intensely preoccupied with clarifying his spiritual understanding, he is scarcely conscious of the demands of the sense nature. Jesus was so absorbed in meditation and prayer that He did not feel hunger. (“I have meat to eat that ye know not.”) After the forty days were completed, he hungered.
What do we understand by the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is the abiding presence of God in, through, and around us.
What is the devil? The Devil is the mass of adverse thoughts that have been built up in man's consciousness through many generations of earthly experience and crystallized into what is termed the personal consciousness or carnal mind.
In a metaphysical sense what is the wilderness? It is the soul experience wherein the undisciplined mind undergoes Spiritual discipline.
What enables us to overcome the temptations of the personal or sense consciousness? The exercise of spiritual discernment and unselfish devotion to Truth.
Is it legitimate to use spiritual power solely to meet material needs? No. To consider material needs as paramount to spiritual ones or as the only needs worth meeting is to fall short of true understanding. Rightly used, spiritual power quickens us to see the normal way of meeting each need as it arises To make the spiritual subservient to the material is contrary to the divine plan.
Should we seek to satisfy selfish desires by spiritual means? No. To use spiritual means for selfish personal ends is to worship personal or sense consciousness, the Devil.
Should we make a display of our spiritual power in order to impress others and convert them? No. To do so puts us at the mercy of the personal consciousness, and it does, not convert others permanently. “Neither will they be persuaded, if one rise from the dead.” We are to obey the law of life in all humility and quietness.
Metaphysically Interpreting Luke 4:14-15
4:14And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and a fame went out concerning him through all the region round about. 4:15And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.
Metaphysically Interpreting Luke 4:16-30
4:16And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and he entered, as his custom was, into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up to read. 4:17And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And he opened the book, and found the place where it was written,
4:18The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
Because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor:
He hath sent me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovering of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty them that are bruised,
4:19To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
4:20And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down: and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. 4:21And he began to say unto them, To-day hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears. 4:22And all bare him witness, and wondered at the words of grace which proceeded out of his mouth: and they said, Is not this Joseph's son? 4:23And he said unto them, Doubtless ye will say unto me this parable, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done at Capernaum, do also here in thine own country. 4:24And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is acceptable in his own country. 4:25But of a truth I say unto you, There were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land; 4:26and unto none of them was Elijah sent, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. 4:27And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian. 4:28And they were all filled with wrath in the synagogue, as they heard these things;4:29and they rose up, and cast him forth out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong. 4:30But he passing through the midst of them went his way.
January 24, 1904: Luke 4:16-30
Spiritual Man (Jesus) has to demonstrate his divinity. He makes large claims in proclaiming his mission, and produces apparently meager demonstrations. He explains that he is sent to those only who in the sight of a higher power are ready for his ministry. This excites the ridicule of his people, and they reject him. This is a natural attitude of those who look to the without instead of the within.
In our individual development of this higher principle we are apt to belittle its unlimited capacity by measuring it with what we have accomplished. This is no criterion. A thousand mortal ideas of incapacity may cumber our brains, and prevent the action of this Mighty One who has all power. Instead of ridiculing his claims, and in our ignorance rejecting him, we should seek in all ways to make our minds receptive to the larger ideas which he represents. The first step in this direction is to read out of the Book of Law the prophetic description of the work which this Christ is to accomplish, and apply it to ourselves. This is what Jesus is described as doing, then he “sat down;” he rested his case in this statement of universal truth.
Whoever can see the spiritual truth of the character of man is ready to take this stand and affirm, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Whoever makes these statements, with a sincere desire to carry them out, will be inspired by the Spirit, and the ministry through him be finally accomplished.
But this ministry to the masses is to be preceded by an individual preparation. “Physician, heal thyself.” The words of the Scripture were “graciously” received, when applied in a general sense, but when the matter of personal reform is suggested, it is found that a prophet is not acceptable in his own country.
It is not necessary that a teacher or healer be perfectly wise and whole himself in order to instruct and heal others, but there must be that progressive state of mind that is day by day “overcoming.” If you have done some of the works, you have fulfilled the law. There were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, but he was sent to but one, and many lepers in the time of Elisha, but Naaman only was healed. The world is full of religious instructors who are in the dark themselves, and are making but little effort to get into the light. These are the “blind leaders of the blind.” Whoever is in this blind state will find the light by daily affirming the “gracious words which proceedeth out of his mouth.” Remember these words are true of the Man Universal, which we everyone are in Spirit.
To have a conscious realization of what we are, we have only to make an acknowledgment of the truth about ourselves. Some people think that, when they have once in a lifetime done this, and had a visitation of the Spirit, or “religious experience,” that it should suffice for all time, and they rest their case in that memory. But we know that what has been done once may be done again and again every spiritual experience; and with each repetition it will become easier and more abiding until finally it is our normal condition. Then let us daily affirm, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,” etc.
June 19, 1921: Luke 4:16-21
What is the spiritual, meaning of Jesus’ coming to Nazareth and entering into a synagogue on the Sabbath day? The spiritual meaning of Nazareth is “sanctified, or separated;” synagogue is a place of worship, and the Sabbath, a state of rest. All this means that, when we consciously separate ourselves from worldly thoughts, when we take the attitude of worship, and rest in that consciousness, we are receptive to the inspiration of the Spirit.
What does the prophet Isaiah represent? Isaiah represents that in us which discerns the reality, or the real character, of spiritual Man, and which fearlessly proclaims it.
Name some of the truths that the Isaiah spirit in us reveals? The Lord has anointed me to preach the truth about man to those who are receptive; to set free those who are in bondage to sense; to make the ignorant understand the Truth; to ameliorate hard conditions; and to make the law of God acceptable to all.
Sunday, September 14, 1924: Luke 4:16-30
What does Nazareth represent? Nazareth represents the commonplace, the everyday things of life. The town of Nazareth, the home of Jesus, was a village of no distinction, evidently inferior in every way. Nathanael said: “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”
Why did Jesus proclaim his mission in the midst of this despised state of consciousness, Nazareth? Jesus felt the quickening of the Spirit within, and accepted the prophecy of greater things, regardless of poor environment. He proclaimed his mission to be the freeing of those in bondage to the thought of inferiority.
Why did Jesus say; “Today hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears”? In Spirit all things are now fulfilled, and those who are spiritually quickened proclaim this truth regardless of appearances to the contrary. Pray believing that you have received, and you shall receive.
Why were all the people at first pleased at the “words of grace which proceeded out of his mouth”? The people were pleased because all the captives expected to be released, the blind expected to receive their sight, and they all expected the acceptable year of the Lord to be ushered in at once.
Why were they afterward filled with wrath, casting Jesus out of the city? No prophet is acceptable in his own country. It is an old adage that familiarity breeds contempt, also that a man is never a hero in the sight of his tailor. It is hard for a saint always to be a saint in the little things of everyday life, and those who are still in mortal consciousness are not always lenient in their judgment of a prophet, especially when he tells them an unwelcome truth.
Jesus called the attention of the people to the fact that in the days of Elijah only certain ones were provided for and healed. Why this apparent partiality? All people do not receive the benefits of God's abundance and healing power, because all do not comply with the conditions laid down. In order to be heard by Spirit and to touch the substance and life of Spirit, we must have faith in spiritual things. To our faith we must add understanding.
If conditions seem too hard and we rebel against them, what follows? We do just as these townspeople of Jesus' did. We cast out the higher self and it disappears from our consciousness. “But he passing through the midst of them went his way.”
January 26, 1936: Luke 4:16-30
Explain Jesus’ interpretation of verses 18 and 19 of the text. By saying that the prophecy was that day fulfilled Jesus showed that it was a statement of universal truth, which anyone entering into the Christ consciousness of service could prove for himself.
What truth is now fulfilled for us? The truth that we have taken to heart is thereby put in process of fulfillment in our experience, since out of the heart “are the issues of life.”
How do we prove our faith in truth? Accepting the demonstrations made by others is not the real test of faith. The test is whether we ourselves can demonstrate Truth.
What represents the spirit of Truth in this lesson? Jesus fills this office in the lesson for today.
What does Nazareth symbolize? Nazareth is a symbol of the commonplace or the ordinary situation.
Can the Spirit redeem the commonplace and give it significance? The Christ elevates the commonplace and gives it meaning when His word is accepted and obeyed.
How can we rid ourselves of lifelessness? By thinking and living in conformity with divine law we gain the abundant life that frees us from lifelessness and monotony.
What is implied in the question “Is not this Joseph's son?” The ordinary estimate of claims of spiritual healing and the other works of the Spirit mentioned in verses 18 and 19 is that they are the result of over-stimulated imagination (Joseph). Sense consciousness regards imagination as nothing more than the habit of the idle dreaming and exaggeration.
Does “Joseph's son” have a legitimate work to do in bringing truth into expression? The imagination creates the image of what man desires. Faith them makes the image substantial, and the Spirit of truth completes the work. The imaging faculty therefore has a legitimate work to do in the expression of Truth.
How is all permanent healing done? All permanent healing, as well as all lasting reform among men, is brought about through spiritualizing the mind. As we progress in this work, we find that Truth must permeate all phases of life, both the religious and the secular, if we are to make the work of the Holy Spirit complete in us.
November 3, 1940: Luke 4:16-30
What is the metaphysical interpretation of the verse “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and he entered, as his custom was, into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read”? The meaning is this: When we begin to awaken to the truth that we are sons of God, when we take the attitude of worship, of watching, of centering the mind's eye on the Christ Truth and rest in that consciousness, then we are receptive to the inspiration of Spirit.
What is the significance of the name Isaiah? “Isaiah” means “Jehovah is salvation.” The name signifies understanding of the truth that deliverance, abundant supply, spiritual excellence, and all other forms of good come to man through Jehovah, the I AM.
How does man justify the gift of life to him? Only by living constructively and unselfishly. The “Spirit of the Lord” is the spirit of service.
Is the Christ Spirit synonymous with the spirit of service? They are the same spirit. Jesus Christ said, “I am in the midst of you as he that serveth.”
What is the “acceptable year of the Lord”? The present year is the year in which one may accomplish things worthwhile. “Now is the acceptable time.” The present alone is within our grasp, to be shaped according to our will.
“Is not this Joseph's son?” Interpret this question metaphysically. Joseph represents the imagination. “Joseph's son” therefore represents the effect of the imagination on the thoughts of man.
Why is no prophet acceptable in his own country? Because familiar acquaintance from childhood tends to emphasize personality obscures the real man and detracts from faith in him.
What illustrations of the parable “Physician, heal thyself” did Jesus give His hearers? In illustration of His words Jesus cited two cases from the history of the Children of Israel. Through a famine, Elijah was fed by a woman in the land of Sidon, not in the land of Israel. Naaman, not an Israelite but a Syrian, was healed of leprosy.
What lesson do we find in this parable with its illustrations? It shows that in our everyday life we should take care to keep in an uplifted frame of mind, refusing to harbor discouragement or disillusionment. By idealizing the ordinary routine we lift it above the commonplace. We thus avoid living a commonplace life ourselves and at the same time surround ourselves with an atmosphere of cheer that helps others around us.
June 10, 1945: Luke 4:16-21
What is “the spirit of the Lord”? The Spirit of the Lord is perfection made manifest in life. This Spirit, which dwells within us, moves us to an enthusiasm for what is perfect, so that we become wholehearted, whole-souled, filled with love of what is true and right.
What is the work of the Spirit of the Lord or Holy Spirit? The constructive correcting of error and its effects in the life of the individual and the race. The revealing of the riches of the inner realm (preaching good tidings to the poor), the proclaiming (or affirming) of our freedom in truth (release to the captives), the affirming of illumination for those in spiritual darkness (recovery of sight to the blind), and the healing of inharmonious conditions (setting at liberty of them that are bruised), as well as the affirming that God is ever present (that now is the acceptable year of the Lord).
When is the constructive approach in order? Now and always. “Today hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears.”
Metaphysically Interpreting Luke 4:31-37
4:31And he came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the sabbath day: 4:32and they were astonished at his teaching; for his word was with authority. 4:33And in the synagogue there was a man, that had a spirit of an unclean demon; and he cried out with a loud voice, 4:34Ah! what have we to do with thee, Jesus thou Nazarene? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. 4:35And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst, he came out of him, having done him no hurt. 4:36And amazement came upon all, and they spake together, one with another, saying, What is this word? for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.4:37And there went forth a rumor concerning him into every place of the region round about.
Metaphysically Interpreting Luke 4:38-41
4:38And he rose up from the synagogue, and entered into the house of Simon. And Simon's wife's mother was holden with a great fever; and they besought him for her. 4:39And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she rose up and ministered unto them. 4:40And when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. 4:41And demons also came out from many, crying out, and saying, Thou art the Son of God. And rebuking them, he suffered them not to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.
Metaphysically Interpreting Luke 4:42-44
4:42And when it was day, he came out and went into a desert place: and the multitudes sought after him, and came unto him, and would have stayed him, that he should not go from them.4:43But he said unto them, I must preach the good tidings of the kingdom of God to the other cities also: for therefore was I sent. 4:44And he was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.
February 1, 1931: Luke 4:38-44
What is the basic principle governing the real healing of the body of man? The real healing of the body of man is based upon the understanding that man is Spirit-Mind, and always healthy at his spiritual source. When Jesus was told of the “great fever” of Simon's mother-in-law, He administered no drug to reduce her temperature. Instead, He “stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her.” Jesus knew the law of faith, and the power of the word to open the consciousness to the influx of Spirit-Mind. That power of the Highest heals all diseases, both of soul and of body.
When is spiritual healing instantaneous? When faith is sufficiently strong to dissolve all adverse obsessions and to open the mind fully to the power of God, healing is instantaneous. In the natural course of events the patient who survives a fever goes through a long, slow convalescence. Jesus Christ had no patients, although He healed many who were “sick with divers diseases.” Simon's mother-in-law rose immediately and went about her work, when Jesus denied the power of fever to hold her.
“And when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers leases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them and healed them.” Explain. Jesus healed “every one of them” that were brought to Him. Shortly before this time He had spent forty days in the wilderness in communion with God, invoking the power of the Holy Spirit, the one healing agent in the universe. After each season of healing and intensive teaching, He withdrew into a desert place or to a mountain, either alone or in company with His disciples, and there obtained a new influx of power from the Father. So the healing work went on.
What was Jesus’ real mission? Jesus' real mission was to teach man the laws governing eternal life. “This is the will of him that sent me, that of all that which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that every one that beholdeth the Son, and believeth on him, should have eternal life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” Through faithful compliance with law, the body is raised to consciousness of the eternal-life abiding in every cell and organ. “Electrons” is the modern scientific name for the life principle in every cell. Jesus, and all who follow Him in spiritual healing, are taught by the Spirit of Truth how to liberate these life “electrons.”
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 01-17-2014