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Ed Rabel - Earliest Words of Jesus

Unity School for Religious Studies presents the Reverend Ed Rabel with Words of Jesus. A six lesson series exploring the metaphysical meaning of some of the significant teachings of Jesus Christ. The first segment concerns the earliest word, beginning of the Galilean ministry.

Segments for this talk

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1. My Father's business

Luke 2:49 (00:00). “I must be about my father’s business.” This passage has two “metaphysical landmarks.” (1) This is the first time that Jesus speaks about God as being “our father.” (2) Jesus states why he is here, or what is “our father’s business”: teaching, healing, perfection.

The first recorded words we have as spoken by Jesus are, logically enough, spoken to his own mother at the age of 12.

You will recall the incident where he is left behind at the temple they had been visiting. His loss is discovered, Mary returns and finds him and asks him why he had done this. She said, “Your father and I sought you sorrowing,” and the first recorded words in our gospels spoken by Jesus are to his mother where he says, “How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my father’s business?”

This brief statement contains two metaphysical landmarks given to us by Jesus. The first is this is the first time in our Bible that God is referred to as, “father.” Up until now God has not been spoken of by any character as being our father. The nearest that comes to this is when it talks about the God of our fathers, but Jesus is the first one to bring us this name of a relationship with God, Father, and from now on it’s father all through the New Testament, but this is where we get started. The first mention of God as being our father.

The second is the statement made by Jesus as to why he was here, what his purpose was, in incarnating into our life wave at that time and he puts it as simple as anybody could put it and yet gets right to the point, “I must be about my father’s business.” That’s what it’s all about from now on in our gospels. What is our father’s business? Well Jesus doesn’t tell us in advance, but when we look back over Jesus’ ministry in the Gospels it’s very clear what he meant by our father’s business, “My father’s business,” our father’s business. It’s simply this, it boils down to three things. Teaching, healing, perfecting. That’s our father’s business. Teaching, healing, perfecting.

Some of you might think loving should be in there, but that’s part of healing, isn’t it? Isn’t it? When we love we are doing a healing work and so in his first words Jesus brings us this innovation of seeing and speaking of God as Father and our lives being about our father’s business. Teaching, healing, loving, perfecting.

2. Baptism of John

Matt. 3:15 (03:49). “Suffer it now.” Why Jesus “entered into the ministry of John the Baptist.”

The second recorded words of Jesus is in something he says to John the Baptist. John the Baptist is conducting a water baptism ministry symbolizing the cleansing of sins. The purifying of consciousness through repentance and Jesus joins the crowd who are participating in the water baptism and he takes his turn along with the others and approaches John. John, who knew Jesus, realized, “This above all persons does not need water baptism,” and John objects. He said, “I baptize you? You should baptize me,” because he recognized that Jesus did not have sins to be washed away through a religious rite, but Jesus’ words to him, which are Jesus’ second recorded words is simply, “Suffer it now, for thus it become of us to fulfill all righteousness.”

Translated into modern English, it would go something like this, “Let’s do it.” “Suffer it now,” let’s do it because it’s the right thing to do. This is the right time and the right place for this. This is your work. I had entered into your work as an observer and now a participant. I am not going to steal the spotlight away from you because this is your ministry. And so even though Jesus knew as John did that he did not need water baptism he submitted to it, for whose sake? His own?

For John’s sake and the ministry’s sake and you all know what happened after he comes up out of the water. A voice is heard from the heavens, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” I’d let myself get dunked any day to hear those words, wouldn’t you?

3. Temptation

Matt. 4:4 (06:02). “Man shall not live by bread alone.” Unity is a ministry of the word. Matthew 4:7. “Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God.” Don’t try to play games with Spirit. Matthew 4:10. “Get thee hence, Satan.” The way to decline the “satanic level of human nature or consciousness.”

Now the next group of words recorded as being spoken by Jesus is quoting the Bible. Deuteronomy, to be exact, and guess what character in our Bible is the first person Jesus quotes the Bible at? Satan. Wasn’t that a good choice? I mean, if you had to pick one person in this whole universe to start quoting the Bible at who better than Satan? He needs it the most, doesn’t he?

And so Jesus does quote scripture at him. This is during the temptations in the wilderness. You all know that story, Jesus goes out into the wilderness and fasts and prays for 40 days and at the end of that time Satan, or the devil as different translations name it, comes to him and offers him three temptations. Now the devil does not annoy Jesus, he doesn’t pressure Jesus, he doesn’t try to harm him in any way. He just presents Jesus with opportunities for choice. That’s what temptation really is.

Jesus chooses in this freedom of choice and what he chooses to do is not what Satan suggests, but what Scripture says and in Deuteronomy, Jesus quotes these words, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Here he is referring to his ministry of words. Unity is a ministry of the word. Jesus said we all should live by what proceeding out of the mouth of God? Words. Words of truth, divine ideas.

Second, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” Another way of saying that today would be, “Don’t try to play games with spirit.” Don’t think you’re ever pulling anything over on God or Spirit. “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”

And then the last one, “Get the hence, Satan, for it is written, ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve.’” These quotes from Deuteronomy are simply Jesus’ method of declining the temptations offered by the say satanic level of human nature, which is what the Devil or Satan is a symbol of. The Devil or Satan is a symbol, not an entity, a symbol of the satanic level of human nature and human consciousness.

4. Follow me

John 1:39 (08:49). Three simple and breathtaking statements: “What seek thee?” “Come and thee shall see.” “Follow me.”

The next words Jesus speaks are three very, very brief statements, which draw to him his disciples. Not all 12 at first, just a few of them, but these become the nucleus for the eventual 12 disciples. As I read his words spoken to them try to realize that these words were all that he needed to immediately convince these men to leave what they had been doing all their lives and follow him and they became our unforgettable disciples. Notice the almost breathtaking simplicity and directness of these words of Jesus. Only three of them, “What seek ye? Come and ye shall see. Follow me.” That’s all he had to say to start the nucleus for what would be his 12 magnificent disciples. Don’t you wish you could draw your good to you with just short words like that? “What seek ye? Come and you shall see. Follow me.”

5. Water into wine

John 2:7-8 (10:08). Jesus does not touch the water, but rather just makes three statements: “Fill the water pots with water,” “Draw out now,” and “Take to the ruler of the feast.”

The next words he speaks are at the wedding in Cana of Galilee wherein he becomes instrumental in causing a replenishing of wine that had run out at this wedding. It was called to his attention by his mother and he has a little bit of conversation with her, but she very interestingly turns to the servants and says, “Whatsoever he tells you to do, do it,” and they weren’t even her servants. She was just a guest, but they obeyed and so Jesus says only one thing to these servants, which results in the success of the wedding on a literal level but a much greater success on a metaphysical level, spiritual level.

Now, I want you to notice that this is the only thing he does at the wedding. He doesn’t get near the wine, he doesn’t do anything, he doesn’t put on any kind of an exhibition whatsoever. These are the only things he says at that wedding and the miracle is performed.

“Fill the water pots with water. Draw out now and bear unto the ruler of the feast,” that’s all. He says nothing else to anybody else but just the servants, “Fill the water pots with water. Draw out now and take unto the ruler of the feast.” So friends it is wrong to say that he did something to that water. He didn’t get near that water. Who were the only ones who did get near the water? The servants! And they took this these water pots to the ruler of the feast. Jesus hadn’t lifted a finger. He did not have a magic wand under his robe as I’ve heard somebody say. He was just there. His consciousness was there and the only words he spoke were, “Get those water pots over to the guy whose responsibility this is,” and it became ...

Wine. New wine. Of course, we all know there is a very deep and beautiful metaphysical lesson here that we cannot go into at this time, but we will sometime soon.

6. Nicodemus

John 3:3 (12:37). “Ye must be born anew.” Jesus tells Nicodemus how to enter into higher levels of consciousness.

Now, the next words spoken by Jesus are to a character named Nicodemus who we are told is a ruler of the Jews, a very important person. This person comes to Jesus by night and starts the conversation with a barrage of compliments. Just flattery all over the place. “We know that our art a teacher come from God! No man can do the works that you do except God sent him,” and probably said a lot more than that and very interestingly Jesus does not reply to all the compliments. Could you when I do that?

Don’t ask me not to respond to any compliments you want to give me. I’ll love them and dwell on them, but Jesus brushes off all these compliments because he knows they’re meaningless he reads into the minds and the hearts of these characters and he doesn’t care what their lips are saying, he cares what their minds and hearts are saying and so he tells this flattering man what this man really wants to know and really needs to know. How to enter higher levels of consciousness. The kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, and so Jesus gives him what he really needs. These very brief instructions, “Except a man be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” and then again and again, “Ye must be born anew.”

Today we would say you must have this born anew, new birth experience, to enter the New Age level of religious thinking, of spiritual awareness. And what is it what is to be born anew? Jesus gives us many hints through his ministry among the most potent, I think, are, “Unless ye come as a little child ye shall in no wise enter the kingdom.” To be born anew would, among other meanings, would certainly mean to be willing to adopt an entirely new attitude about who and what you really are.

No matter what you and I have been thinking about ourselves all these years and all these incarnations we are all ready for an entirely, completely, new birth. Become a completely new and different person attitudinally from what you might have been in the past no matter how good. Be willing to take a whole new approach to your future. A whole new memory bank as to your past and a whole new attitude toward your present and put this all under the guidance and direction of Christ within and you will become a new person. You will become born anew and will progress into higher and higher levels of spiritual consciousness.

7. Reaping and sowing

John 4:36-37 (15:45). “He that reaps receives wages.” We are all either sowing or reaping in life, but the field in which we sow may not be the field in which we reap. Thank you, Ed Rabel, for explaining why we do ministry.

A little further on, Jesus is making a statement to his disciples and within that statement he makes this comment, “He that reapeth receive the wages and gathereth fruit unto life eternal that he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.” Rejoice together unto life eternal. We are all either sowing or reaping in the various fields of our life. “To sow,” means to make effort. To invest yourself. To do something productive or useful. “To reap,” means to meet the results of what you have sown and the fields are the various areas of interest and activity in our lives and many of our fields interlap and many of our fields separate and many of our fields adjoin one another, don’t they? And in our fields we travel around a lot and we are either contributing to that field, making an effort, or receiving from that field meeting the results.

Now, so far so good, but Jesus recognized one problem here. Many people who believe, “As I sow, so shall I reap,” assume it’s got to always be in the same field and there’s where the trouble lies, because you may be able to reap in the same field that you sowed but maybe not. Sometimes we have to move away from certain fields and get involved in other things and sometimes other people enter the fields we had sown in and they do some reaping. But it’s not one sided because many times you and I find ourselves entering a field where others have done the sowing and we’re doing the reaping. Do you think there is injustice here?

No, there is divine justice here because we will reap as we have sown but maybe in different fields. But Jesus has an unmistakable comment about this. He says, in effect, “Whether you are the sower in this situation, or whether you are the reaper in this situation, let him who sows and him who reaps rejoice together unto life eternal.” Somebody is getting good out of some work you’ve done. How do you feel about that? Rejoice! And you are getting some good from work someone else has done. How should you feel about it? Rejoice. We rejoice together unto life eternal.

8. Healing of the little boy

John 4:48 (18:43). Jesus elicits the “healing consciousness” in the official who’s son was dying.

Jesus’ next words accompany his first healing miracle. A father of a young boy makes a long journey to seek out Jesus and begs him to come and heal his little boy who is dying who is expected to die at any moment. Jesus makes one statement to this father and the boy is healed. Notice how strange it is. Has nothing to do with the boy, it has nothing to do with the sickness, it has nothing to do with healing. It has everything to do only with this father who is making the request. Jesus only says this, “Except ye see signs and wonders ye will in no wise believe,” that’s all. Who’s he talking to? The Father. “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will in no wise believe.” Update that, he is saying, “Are you one of these, ‘Seeing is believing,’ people? Do you have to be given proof in advance before you believe in things spiritual?”

And the father doesn’t argue. The father simply says, “Sir, come down before my son dies,” and you know what Jesus says next? “Go thy way. Thy son liveth.” Who do you think healed that boy? The father. Jesus set up the connection for him. Jesus indicated, “There’s one thing you need papa, you need to believe before you see.” And so the father proved that he was willing to believe before he saw by repeating his request to Jesus and Jesus knew then, “That’s it. The healing consciousness has the right connection. Go home.” What? “Your son liveth.” And he did. He was well.

9. Forgiving sin

Mark 2:10 (20:45). Human beings on earth have been given power to forgive sins. Until now, the only response to sin had been punishment. Jacob Bohme: “The true spirit of Jesus Christ is continuous forgiveness of sin.”

Next Jesus aims his next statement at 20th Century Man, you and me, where he says, “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins.” He is giving us a commission here. Son of Man on Earth simply means human beings alive on the planet. Son of Man, human being, on earth, on this planet. We have been given power on earth to forgive sins. This is an amazing statement, friends, for our Bible because up until this statement The Bible tells you there is only one thing that can happen when there has been sins, punishment. This is what the Bible says all the way up until now that sin equals punishment. Here Jesus throws a bombshell into that belief. Here he says, “You, human being, Son of Man on earth, you have the power ... “ To do what with sins? To forgive them. Not to insist on punishment. Captain Karma will take care of that, what we want to insist on is forgiveness. Forgiveness, forgiveness, followed by repentance.

The great German mystic, Jacob Boehme, in the Middle Ages wrote this statement that we should never forget. Down the centuries these words have lived in our religious literature, “The true spirit of Jesus Christ is continuous forgiveness of sins.” Jacob Boehme, 16 Century. “The true spirit of Jesus Christ is continuous forgiveness of sins.” How frequent?

Continuous? Not if and when and but, but ongoing. Continuous! We’ll have more to say about that in a future lesson.

10. New wine and new skins

Matt. 9:17 (22:54). Don’t stuff new metaphysical teachings on top of an old belief system. Put new spiritual wine into new wineskins.

Now the final statement by Jesus we’ll deal with in this first lesson is Jesus teaching about his own teachings, which he hasn’t really given very much yet, but is preparing his followers and listeners to hear. Receive, but he’s giving them an admonition about something that they must be sure about in their receptivity before they are exposed to these teachings and one of the excerpts from that discourse is this, “Neither do men put new wine in old wine skins or else the Skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins perish but they put new wine into fresh wine skins and both are preserved.”

In order for what we call New Age truth or Kingdom of Heaven teachings or The Esoteric Teachings of Jesus Christ to really fit into us properly and become integrated in our consciousness properly and produce the wonderful, rich, fruits of the Spirit for us properly, we have to make sure that we are not trying to stuff these new teachings into our old hat belief systems and attitudes. In other words, if I’ve been acting cranky, negative, and half goofy all my life and getting away with it I better not try to stuff the metaphysical truth of Jesus Christ on top of all that because it’ll tear me apart. What I’ve got to do is clean out the wine skin or better yet get a whole new one. Get born anew. See if I’m going to be born anew than I deserve a new wine skin, don’t I?

Or any kind of skin. And then with this new attitude of a combination of humility and confidence. Of pride and yet humbleness, of complete willingness and flexibility to be taught things I’ve never been taught before this causes my consciousness to be like a brand new wine skin, ready for whatever teaching or a principle or divine idea will generate the energy I need for New Age existence. And we do this, of course, by becoming still, as who told us to do? Jesus. Turning within and coming face to face with the father who dwelleth within, in secret, and opening the mind and heart and be willing to accept any, any new light that comes from Divine mine.

This new light Jesus equates to wine. New wine. Remember his first miracle?

New wine. Now he’s talking about new wine entering us and this new wine will not cause the skins to burst but will start to regenerate our whole being. Leading us ever and ever into higher and finer states of being. The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth and this completes our first lesson on the earliest words of Jesus.

Personal Use Study Questions

  1. How would you explain your relationship with God in the light of Jesus’ understanding of God as our Father? How can this understanding help you determine “the Father’s business” or purpose for your life?
  2. What, in your own words, is a definition of temptation? In what ways can the “Satan level of thinking” tempt you away from your Real purpose? How can the words spoken by Jesus to Satan help you deal with your “Satan level of thinking”?
  3. How would you explain the metaphysical meaning of “calling the disciples”? (Review Charles Fillmore TM/Ch. 1, p. 15-24) How can you call forth your disciples?
  4. Explain the difference between physical birth and being “born anew.” How can being “born anew” be helpful to you in solving your own problems?
  5. In your own words, what does it mean to sow and to reap? (John 4:36-37) Why do we sometimes reap where we have not sown, and sow where we do not reap? What specific thoughts can you hold in your mind that will help you cooperate with the sowing and reaping process in your life?
  6. Write, in your own words, the significance of “human beings having the power to forgive sins.” Of what practical use is the quote from Jacob Bohme in our efforts to forgive and be forgiven?
  7. Explain why the need to “see” before we “believe” breaks our connection with the healing consciousness of the Christ within. Write three affirmations that state your willingness to “believe” before you “see.” How can these affirmations re-establish your connection to the healing consciousness of the Christ within?
  8. How would you describe the “new wine” and the “new wineskin?” Describe, also, how we stuff our “new wine” into “old wineskins.” What three suggestions does Ed Rabel give for keeping our “new understanding” in a “new wineskin?”