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Matthew 16 Metaphysical Bible Interpretation

Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Matthew Chapter 16

Metaphysically Interpreting Matthew 16:1-4

16:1And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and trying him asked him to show them a sign from heaven. 16:2But he answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the heaven is red. 16:3And in the morning, It will be foul weather to-day: for the heaven is red and lowering. Ye know how to discern the face of the heaven; but ye cannot discern the signs of the times. 16:4An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of Jonah. And he left them, and departed.

Metaphysically Interpreting Matthew 16:5-12

16:5And the disciples came to the other side and forgot to take bread. 16:6And Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. 16:7And they reasoned among themselves, saying, We took no bread. 16:8And Jesus perceiving it said, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have no bread? 16:9Do ye not yet perceive, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 16:10Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 16:11How is it that ye do not perceive that I spake not to you concerning bread? But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. 16:12Then understood they that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
FEBRUARY 21, 1965: Matt. 16:1-12


Unity's Interpretation of the International Sunday School Lesson

Questions and Answers

In Scriptural symbology, who are the Pharisees and the Sadducees? The Pharisees and the Sadducees symbolize those who have intellectual understanding but lack spiritual understanding. Such individuals place their faith in outward signs and symbols.

What is intellectual understanding? It is understanding gained from teachers and books or from some outer source.

What is spiritual understanding? It is understanding that comes from the quickening of the Spirit of truth within man.

Is intellectual understanding always false? No. It may be true to a degree, but because it follows the letter and not the spirit, it does not grasp Truth in the universal, and therefore has no quickening power.

Why is only “the sign of Jonah” given to “an evil and adulterous generation”? The “evil and adulterous generation” here refers to those who have no spiritual discernment, and believe only in the literal outworking of the law of cause and effect in the intellectual or manifest realm. Such persons have no understanding of the higher law, the law of grace, love, and mercy. To them is given “the sign of Jonah,” the fulfillment of their belief that sinful man can expect only failure, bad luck, and ill conditions in body or affairs.

Explain the inner meaning of “ye have no bread.” When the faculties of the mind (disciples) are still in an undeveloped state, they see only the outer manifestation of substance (bread). When no such manifestation is visible, they become concerned because of the appearance of lack.

How does the Christ quicken the mind faculties? By revealing to them that spiritual things must be spiritually discerned, and that true understanding does not depend on and is not limited by outward signs. Truth is supreme; It comes into expression in the consciousness through spiritual understanding (the leaven of bread), and not through outward signs and intellectual understanding (the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees).

To Be Held in the Silence

In thought, feeling, word, and deed I am moved by the Spirit of the Christ.

Unless otherwise specified, the Bible text used in this lesson is taken from the American Standard Version of the Bible, copyright. 1929, by the International Council of Religious Education, and is used by permission.

Metaphysically Interpreting Matthew 16:13-20

16:13Now when Jesus came into the parts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Who do men say that the Son of man is? 16:14And they said, Some say John the Baptist; some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. 16:15He saith unto them, But who say ye that I am? 16:16And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 16:17And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jonah: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven. 16:18And I also say unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 16:19I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 16:20Then charged he the disciples that they should tell no man that he was the Christ.

Metaphysically Interpreting Matthew 16:21-23

16:21From that time began Jesus to show unto his disciples, that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up. 16:22And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall never be unto thee. 16:23But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art a stumbling-block unto me: for thou mindest not the things of God, but the things of men.

Metaphysically Interpreting Matthew 16:24-28

16:24Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 16:25For whosoever would save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it. 16:26For what shall a man be profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and forfeit his life? or what shall a man give in exchange for his life? 16:27For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then shall he render unto every man according to his deeds. 16:28Verily I say unto you, there are some of them that stand here, who shall in no wise taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
February 21, 1965: Matt. 16:13-26

WEEKLY UNITY - Inheritance and Possession

Unity explains this week's International BIBLE LESSON

Questions and Answers

What is the I AM? The I AM is God's name in man.” I AM hath sent me unto you.” Every person uses the words “I am” to express his identity. He identifies himself thus with his will, his faith, his works, his intentions, hopes, aspirations, desires, and fears. The I AM is the universal symbol of consciousness, and we who are conscious beings make use of it

How may we put the question of Jesus, “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” in the form of a statement? I AM the Son of man, and I AM, the Son of God. Each of us thus affirms that he is the perfect idea of man in expression.

In what respect does everyone without exception assert his belief in God? Inasmuch as everyone uses the I AM, which Jehovah gave as His name to Moses, everyone not only asserts his belief in God but identifies himself with the divine each time he speaks the words “I am.”

How do we come by the divine nature? It is our Creator's free gift to us. Each of us inherits it by virtue of being one with God and an expression of the one life.

How do we enter into our inheritance and possess it? By expressing the divine in our inner nature and in our deeds. Our nature is an inner endowment, and through its expression we take possession of our innate powers and possibilities.

Can the race mind comprehend the divine? Not until it awakens to consciousness of the divine. Until it is awakened, the race mind deals with the divine only through guesswork. “Some say John the Baptist; some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”

After commending Peter as a rock, and by implication recognizing faith as the foundation of the Christ life, Jesus shortly afterward called him a “stumbling-block” or stone in His path. Why was this? Peter had said that Jesus should never be crucified, implying that material means could be employed to save Him. Jesus thereupon rebuked Peter for looking at the question from the materialistic instead of the divine point of view. When our faith is in Spirit, it is a “rock” and invincible; when it is in materiality, it is “a stumbling-block” and ineffectual.

What is meant by denying oneself and taking up one's cross, and following Jesus Christ? All who wish to prove the divinity of their true nature must follow the way laid down by Jesus; that is, deny the personal self, take up whatever handicap stands in the way over which they are as yet unable to demonstrate, and follow the rules of Truth, affirming that they are sons of God and claiming their divine nature by word and act.

To Be Held in the Silence

Through faith I perceive that I share the divine nature.

March 2, 1969: Matt. 16:13-26


Unity interprets a living BIBLE LESSON

Prepared by Mary Mae Oesch

When Jesus asked His apostles who men thought He was, they replied that some people thought He was John the Baptist returned to life. Others thought He might be Elijah, the prophet. Some felt that He was the reincarnation of Jeremiah.

When Jesus asked the apostles directly who they themselves thought He was, Peter, the apostle of faith, acknowledged Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God.

Jesus told Peter, in effect, that his answer had been prompted by the wisdom which comes only from man's inner self. He had named Peter appropriately, for Peter means “rock” and represents faith in God. Upon such faith is the church of Christ (spiritual consciousness) built.

Jesus assured Peter that the “keys of the kingdom of heaven” were his, and we understand, are available to all men of faith. By denying the appearance of evil and affirming that which is true of God, men can free themselves from all error.

From that time on, Jesus tried to prepare His apostles for His coming death and the Resurrection; but they did not understand. Jesus taught that all who wanted to follow Him in the Christ consciousness must deny personal limitations and willingly express God's Spirit. He taught that selfish persons who lived solely for their own pleasure would lose life's truly worthwhile joys and that those who gave themselves wholly to God would find lasting happiness. Nothing in the world is worthy to be exchanged for the true joy of finding and following the Christ.

Our Practical Application

The pursuit of happiness leads men down varied paths. Some seek material wealth, some trivial pleasures, some personal power or fame or worldly success. Yet of themselves these goals are blind alleys, except when they can be used to help our progress toward the one supreme goal. Sooner or later the seeking soul must learn that spiritual mastery alone is the answer to his quest. This is not always easy to understand, since spiritual mastery requires a complete surrender of the personal self to God. But when we learn the true nature of God and understand the Father-son relationship, we find rich satisfaction in growing more and more like the Father.

The first step in spiritual mastery is a recognition by our faith of our spiritual identity, just as Peter acknowledged the Christ in Jesus. This is a step that must be taken by faith, since human understanding alone is insufficient to reveal the divine potential of the Christ within us. Of course, it is all too evident that we are not perfect in the sense that Jesus Christ achieved perfection. Yet we must acknowledge—repeatedly and consistently—that God's Spirit dwells within us, that we are spiritual beings having the same God qualities that found expression through Jesus. We are potentially what Jesus was in expression. We are children of the living God.

We develop our divine potential through acceptance and right use of the “keys of the kingdom” to which Jesus referred. The “keys” that God has made available to us are constructive thoughts and words. These thoughts and words are affirmations and denials which guide, guard, direct, and develop our faculties, such as faith, love, wisdom, and strength.

Through affirmations and denials we can loose ourselves from personal limitations and set free within us the power to accomplish all good. We can deny the power and reality of all that seems evil and affirm the presence and power of God. We can eliminate harmful emotions, such as fear, resentment, and jealousy, and replace them with love, faith, and understanding. Thus, through faithful prayer and daily right use of the powers God has given us, we can open the door to greater happiness and higher attainment than we have ever before known.

Questions and Answers

Explain the difference in meaning between Christ and Jesus. Christ is the perfect word, the idea of God, the divine man. Jesus is an individual expression of the Christ idea. Christ abides in each person as his potential perfection.

What is the church of God? Spiritual consciousness—first individual, then collective.

Define the kingdom of heaven. The realm of divine ideas, producing their expression, perfect harmony. It is within man.

What are the keys of the kingdom to which Jesus referred? Affirmation and denial, which are the means of loosing that which binds us.

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith “A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all: nor be afraid!”

— Robert Browning.

Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 10-19-2013