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Matthew 4 Metaphysical Bible Interpretation

Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Matthew Chapter 4

Metaphysically Interpreting Matthew 4:1-11

4:1Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 4:2And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he afterward hungered. 4:3And the tempter came and said unto him, If thou art the Son of God, command that these stones become bread. 4:4But he answered and said, It is written,
Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
4:5Then the devil taketh him into the holy city; and he set him on the pinnacle of the temple, 4:6and saith unto him, If thou art the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written,
He shall give his angels charge concerning thee:
and, On their hands they shall bear thee up,
Lest haply thou dash thy foot against a stone.
4:7Jesus said unto him, Again it is written, Thou shalt not make trial of the Lord thy God.
4:8Again, the devil taketh him unto an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 4:9and he said unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 4:10Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written,
Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God,
and him only shalt thou serve.
4:11Then the devil leaveth him; and behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
Undated: Matt. 4:1-11

Unity interprets a living BIBLE LESSON


Prepared by Mary Mae Oesch

Jesus had received full understanding of man's indwelling spiritual power, and the time had come when He must decide upon the course of His life. How could He best make use of His tremendous spiritual discoveries? He went alone into an uninhabited region. For forty days He fasted and prayed. When He was quite hungry, it occurred to Him that He could use God's power to transform the stones at His feet into bread. But Jesus was quick to reject the temptation to use spiritual power for selfish purposes, and He recalled Moses' scriptural advice that man should not live by bread alone.

Later, the thought came to Jesus that He could be divinely protected from harm, even if He were to jump from a height such as the “pinnacle of the temple.” Such a dramatic experience would command the admiration of many people. But Jesus wanted only to glorify God, not to use spiritual power for personal glory. So again He quoted the Scripture to the effect that man's higher self should not be tempted to unworthy uses of power. Next Jesus considered the fact that He could become an earthly ruler. But worldly ambition and the exaltation of personality were not a part of service to God. Thus Jesus quoted the Scripture that described His chosen mission, for He would teach and demonstrate man’s spiritual unity with God

Our Practical Application

We hardly need to be told what temptation is; we know from first-hand experience! We know, too, that, as long as there are choices and decisions to be made, temptation will be part of our daily life. What we must recognize, however, is that we must deal with temptation where it originates - within our own mind, as error thoughts, false beliefs, and unworthy desires. It is not merely “under our nose,” but in our head.

The only dependable way to overcome temptation is to follow the pattern that Jesus set for us. Jesus’ method was one of substitution. To substitute is to put one thing in place of another. Paul phrased it: “Overcome evil with good.”

But how? First we must have the desire to think and do what is right. If we sincerely want to overcome some harmful habit, we shall try to stay out of temptation's way. To purposely frequent places where we know temptation will be strong, or to seek voluntarily the company of those who encourage us in wrongdoing—this is to go along with the old joke that says, “Get thee behind me, Satan, and push harder.” It is acting before we think, and showing that we do not truly desire to change for the better. Then, if we succumb, the joke ceases to be funny.

So does it not make sense, at the first moment of temptation to substitute pure desires for unworthy ones, and good, strong thoughts of faith for weak, I-can't-help-it ones? Then we can be in the right place doing the right thing, where we do not rub shoulders with temptation so consistently.

How do we learn to desire what is best? This is where prayer enters the picture. Jesus met each temptation with a positive declaration of oneness with God. Prayer turns our attention and faith away from evil and toward God - God dwelling within us, helping us to lift up our desires, making us pure and good. Prayer strengthens our efforts at mental discipline. Every time we say no to some enticement, we are better able to say no the next time temptation taps us on the shoulder.

But denial of evil in all its guises is only a portion of our substitution program. Jesus did not stop with rejecting the lure of selfish thoughts. He turned at once to the thought of worshiping and serving only the God of love. So do we, with God's help, meet fear with courage, substitute love for resentment, replace anger with understanding forgiveness. The same process of substitution applies to any situation. Relying on God's help, we can always replace negative thoughts with positive ones, and unworthy pursuits with constructive activity.

Questions and Answers

How do we define temptation? Anything that causes us to think, feel, or act as if we were, separate and apart from God, the-All-Good.

How do we explain the “devil” referred to in Scripture? The Devil, Satan—these are simply names for evil thinking or the temptation to follow wrong paths: a state of consciousness adverse to the good sense consciousness.

How do we triumph over temptation? Through denial and affirmation; by substituting good for apparent evil. “Overcome evil with good.”

JANUARY 10, 1965: Matt. 4:1-11


Unity explains this week's International BIBLE LESSON

Tests of Faith

Questions and Answers

What example is set before us in the temptations of Jesus? Jesus’ faith in God, His and our divine Father, was so great that it met every test and enabled Him to overcome and master every human problem. Like Jesus, we are called upon to prove our faith, and we can prove it just as He proved His.

Why is it necessary for us to face tests of our faith? We must prove the faith that is in [us] to use it in ways of greater spiritual service and accomplishment.

How did Jesus meet His testings? With denials and affirmations of Truth: “Man shall not live by bread alone.” “Thou shalt not make trial of the Lord thy God.” “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” He thus established a pattern for us to follow when we meet testings or temptations.

What temptation first assails the student of Truth? When the student of Truth 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? No. Man does not live by bread alone (the recognition and assimilation of Spirit substance), but by energy and resourcefulness, which are signs of the abundant life to be found in the Christ consciousness. Therefore, physical activity should not be curtailed, but should rather be increased, under divine guidance.

What is the second temptation that comes to the student of Truth? That of self-exaltation and ambition, in the grip of which he is urged to use his understanding of divine law to gain power over his fellow men.

How should the Truth student exercise his divine power? To control his own mind and soul and through them his body. The power of self-control is far more important and far more desirable than the power merely to change outer events or control other people.

What is the third temptation that besets the student of Truth? The temptation to make a display of his power before others, to enhance his own prestige or to further his own selfish interests.

How can we best meet such a test or temptation? By denying its authority over us, and by affirming the sustaining, freeing power of the Christ.

Can we keep temptation out of our life? Only by means of the Christ consciousness of spiritual power. “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” As long as we continue to lapse into the personal or sense consciousness at intervals, we shall continue to have tests to meet, problems to overcome.

What “angels” minister to us after we have overcome temptation? The true thoughts of universal Mind, the Mind of Christ.

To Be Held in the Silence

I entrust my thoughts, words, and acts to the Spirit of the Christ within me.

Metaphysically Interpreting Matthew 4:12-17

4:12Now when he heard that John was delivered up, he withdrew into Galilee; 4:13and leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali: 4:14that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying,
4:15The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
Toward the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles,
4:16The people that sat in darkness
Saw a great light,
And to them that sat in the region and shadow of death,
To them did light spring up.
4:17From that time began Jesus to preach, and to say, Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Metaphysically Interpreting Matthew 4:18-22

4:18And walking by the sea of Galilee, he saw two brethren, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishers. 4:19And he saith unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you fishers of men. 4:20And they straightway left the nets, and followed him. 4:21And going on from thence he saw two other brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. 4:22And they straightway left the boat and their father, and followed him.

Metaphysically Interpreting Matthew 4:23-25

4:18And walking by the sea of Galilee, he saw two brethren, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishers. 4:19And he saith unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you fishers of men. 4:20And they straightway left the nets, and followed him. 4:21And going on from thence he saw two other brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. 4:22And they straightway left the boat and their father, and followed him.
JANUARY 17, 1965: 4:12-25


Unity explains this week's International BIBLE LESSON

“Follow Me.”

Questions and Answers

What does John the Baptist represent? The spiritually quickened intellect.

When this faculty is cut off from actual expression, what takes place? The spiritual I AM (Jesus) withdraws into Galilee (the consciousness of endless activity) in order to come into closer contact with God, the source of all energy.

What is the meaning of the word Capernaum? Capernaum, where Jesus went to live after John's imprisonment, means “shelter of comfort “or “covering of compassion.” Capernaum symbolizes an inner conviction of the abiding compassion and restoring power of Being.

When one enters this state of consciousness, what is the result? A healing virtue pours out of the soul and transforms all discord into harmony.

“The people that sat in darkness Saw a great light, And to them that sat in the region and shadow of death, To them did light spring up.” Explain this text. In this verse the people that sat in darkness represent one's thoughts that lack spiritual illumination. When the Christ light comes, the whole consciousness is immersed in power, love, life, and all else that the Father has. The divine light is the logos, the word of the Supreme, and has all potentiality.

When the inner man becomes illumined, what results? When the inner man becomes illumined the spiritual I AM fearlessly goes forth and proclaims to all people (all states of consciousness) the redemption of the whole being through repenting and following the Lord (applying the spiritual law).

What is it to be “fishers of men”? To be fishers of men means to draw man out of negative life thoughts into positive spiritual thoughts. This lays the foundation for spiritual power and for healing.

When the healing power of the Word is active in the whole consciousness, what is the result? When the healing power of the Word is active in consciousness, the fame of this wonderful power spreads; the multitude (multitude of thoughts) come forth from the subconscious mind, and every disease is healed.

What spiritual meaning do we perceive in the words of Jesus, “Follow me”? We are to follow Him in accepting and living Truth. We can and should always follow His example of being receptive to God's light, wisdom, peace, power, and health. Then through the I AM in us we are enabled to do mighty works in the name of Jesus Christ.

To Be Held in the Silence

I thank Thee, Father, that Thy light includes power, love, life, all Thy manifold blessings, and that Thy light shines through the Christ to all.

Live Now!

The surest method of arriving at a knowledge of God's eternal purposes about us is to be found in the right use of the present moment. Each hour comes with some little fagot of God's will fastened upon its back.— F. W. Faber.

Undated: Matt. 4:18-23; 9:9-13


Unity interprets a living BIBLE LESSON


Prepared by Mary Mae Oesch

Here we witness the occasions when five men made the most important decisions of their lives.

As Jesus walked on the shore by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers named Simon Peter and Andrew. They were fishermen and were busy at their work. The indwelling Christ wisdom directed Jesus to choose these two as the first of His apostles, and He offered them the opportunity to become “fishers of men.” The brothers already knew Jesus and believed His teachings; so when the Master called them to work with Him, they responded promptly and joyously.

Walking farther, Jesus saw two other fishermen, the brothers James and John, sons of Zebedee. They were mending nets in a boat by the shore. Again, at the Master's invitation, there was no hesitation. James and John promptly left their father and their occupation to follow Jesus.

Later James saw a tax collector named Matthew at work in his office. Probably his position was a lucrative one. But he, too, made the decision to change his life's work and to become one of Jesus’ apostles.

Later, Jesus was at dinner with Matthew and other followers, and with some others, including tax collectors. When some Pharisees criticized Jesus for eating with sinners, the Master made it plain that His mission was to teach God's Truth to those who especially needed help. Jesus explained further that He came, not to call the righteous, but to help those who needed help. He knew that a true spirit of love was of first importance.

Our Practical Application

Our destiny is determined by our own decisions and our willingness to act upon them. Accomplishment comes only through decision followed by positive action.

The men and women of this world, who cannot seem to make up their minds, experience continual frustration, confusion, disappointment, and defeat. Often their indecision is prompted not so much by ignorance as by doubts and fears: doubts regarding their own ability and fear of making a mistake or being criticized.

Usually the indecisive person is unwilling to take the responsibility that goes with taking a definite stand or following a purposeful course. Our aim is to rise above the indecisive category and form the habit of right decisions.

A logical plan in making wise decisions involves answering for ourselves questions such as these: What do I sincerely want to accomplish? What pertinent facts should be considered? Are these facts actually true in the light of Truth? What possible courses are open to me as a child of God? What plan of action will most nearly fulfill my desire? What am I willing to do about it?

We will ask any of the above questions prayerfully, bearing in mind that above all else our answers should be guided by one prime consideration: What is God's will in this situation? The same thought might be stated: What is for the highest good of all concerned? What does God want me to do?

Although it was probably not a conscious process, Matthew and the other apostles of our lesson answered all the foregoing questions before they gave up their way of life and responded to Jesus’ invitation to follow Him.

A girl who had dedicated her life to Christ was taking an examination for a university scholarship. Certain questions were meant to ascertain the applicant's philosophy of life. Various crises were cited and the question asked: “What would you do?” The girl's answers were all the same: “Pray, then do what seems best.”

The members of the examining board thought she was trying to avoid specific answers; but when discussion showed that she was giving her own truthful reaction, the wisdom of her thinking was admitted. She was awarded the scholarship, and later became a professor. Throughout a successful career, her rule of action remained: “Pray, then do what seems best.”

Questions and Answers

What is the special significance of the five men of our lesson who decided to become apostles? These five represent the faculties of faith, strength, judgment, love, and the will. We call forth these faculties in making right decisions.

Why do we especially associate Matthew with the making of decisions? He represents the will faculty in man. The will is the executive power of the mind, the directive power that determines character and action.

How can we make best use of the faculty of will? By subjecting the personal will to the divine will. When man wills to do the will of God, he exercises his individual will in wisdom, love, and spiritual understanding.

Undated: Matt. 4:18-22; 17:1-2; Mark 14:32-33, 37-38; Acts 12:1-3

Unity explains this week's International BIBLE LESSON

Tests of Divine Sonship

Questions and Answers

What significance do we perceive in the fact that Andrew and Simon Peter are brothers? Andrew represents strength and Simon Peter, faith. These spiritual qualities are closely related. Faith working by itself may be unstable or become weak, but when it is backed up by strength, it becomes undivided faith and accomplishes mighty works in the name and through the power of the Christ.

What is it to be “fishers of men”? Fishers of men draw man out of negative thoughts of life into positive spiritual thoughts. This change lays the foundation for spiritual power and for healing of mind, body, and affairs.

What is symbolized by the Transfiguration? Jesus (the I AM) took with Him His principal disciples, Peter (faith), James (judgment), and John (love), when He went “up into a high mountain” (entered the secret place of the Most High). There the disciples (uplifted and quickened faculties) beheld His face “to shine as the sun” (reveal the full glory of Spirit) and His garments become “white as the light” (the pure divine energy that inspires, heals, prospers, and makes whole and perfect).

Of what was the Transfiguration a foretaste? Of the glory of the kingdom of heaven, with spiritual consciousness supreme and clearly manifest.

What is the meaning of the name Gethsemane? The name means “oil press,” and Gethsemane signifies distress or agony. When the crisis of Jesus’ life drew near, He prayed in Gethsemane. When a crisis confronts us and in agony of spirit we feel we have reached the end of our resources, we seek reinforcement in prayer.

Are our faculties of vital use to us in a crisis? Only when they are keenly alert to the situation that we must face. Dormant faculties are of no use at such a time.

“Sit ye here, while I pray.” Is this true of all the faculties, or are certain ones needed in prayer even though they are not entirely active? Faith (Peter), judgment (James), and love (John) are needed in prayer. These faculties must be awakened and must respond to the call of spiritual man.

Jesus found the three disciples asleep the third time after He had prayed the same words. Why was this? Metaphysically it means that faith, judgment, and love, already cognizant of the Truth, were quiescent while the human self was still struggling.

Why are faith (Peter), judgment (James), and love (John) represented as having fallen asleep? In the process of transmutation from a lower to a higher plane of expression, the whole consciousness is submerged in a benumbing essence.... (Continued on page 8)

[TruthUnity editor's note: page 8 was not found with the original copies. Because this lesson has no date, we do not have an easy way to go back and look up page 8.]

Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 10-22-2013