Reflections upon the meditation writing prompts from the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises.  As follows:

 

(All of these essays have been collected from writings composed starting on Saturday 9/29/18, and continuing on up into the present, and this study is currently ongoing daily.  All essays from before 12/14/18 have yet to be added to this collection in type-written form, and they will be included at a later date.)

Ignatian Spiritual Exercises: 12/14/18-4/12/19

Friday 12/14/18

Second Week/ 1: Day 7 (writing prompt from day 3)

Prompt: “Hebrews 2:5-13.” (day 3 again) Jesus considers us all His brothers and sisters and hopes we will be His companions in His life’s work, which is the salvific work of reconciliation—Can I accept His hope and work with Him?

 

God is not ashamed of His creation as He shares in our sin and shame to bring us to Him, in God as Christ made flesh.

 

“For it became Him, in Whom and by Whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through suffering.”  The message I get here (in Hebrews 2) is, that He is not ashamed, despite being God, Son of Man, to call us, lowly, wretched, sinful, mortal humans, His brethren, for, “He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one.”

I believe we are called, not to try to make our understanding and vision of God so elevated and glorious and far-reaching that it is unattainable and not worth reaching for, but rather, we should see the grasp of the heart and mind upon God as being well within the range of His will for us, and fully attainable.  As He condescends to lower Himself to the lowest of the low, to mankind, sinners, tax collectors, criminals, a scornful death, upon a cross no less, merely to call us to Him, to an understanding and vision of Him, as God, to see Him as a relatable figure, yet also as our Creator—not so far from man as to ever be apart from us in our mortal sufferings, and not beyond extending His mercy and consolation to us “as empathy,” and in a very human condition.

God so loved man that He sacrificed to us Christ, in symbolic irony of our cruel ways and as a demonstration of His all-enduring, never-forsaking love of us as we repeatedly forsake Him.  When will we turn from being gods of this world to the true God of our hearts, souls and spirits, in obedience to His will by the understanding of the lengths He will go to show us the way to true life, with Him, eternal in the wellspring of his loving desire for us, His beloved children.

 

Saturday 12/15/18
Second Week/2:Day 1

“Contemplating the Incarnation.” God in His great love sends humanity a savior.

Turning the tides of Adam back to God, in a just and equitable manner.

 

The incarnation of Christ here on Earth was absolutely necessary.  For since the dawning of man, the evil human nature that we chose, by following after the voice of temptation (the devil, or snake), and of man and human and corruptible friendship (Eve), instead of obeying what God in all his perfect goodness had commanded His child (Adam) to do, this turning away from God had necessitated the coming of a Savior.

“The devil will strike at the heel of our seed, as we strike at his head.”  This passage paraphrased from Genesis foreshadows a turning of the tables—for all things came from God, despite the dust and ash of our material form and flesh, and so back to God, in His good will as our Creator, all things must return, be they as souls of pure gold, or as chaff for the furnace.

Adam went the wrong way, against God’s will.  God will never forsake His creation, and will remain ever open to us as a loving Father, but it pains Him to see His children living so wretchedly—it hurts His feelings.  So, not merely out of good will to save us, but also to try to get us to see it His way (which truly is best for us), and to show us empathy, as the effect visually and viscerally upon His heart of that rejection, YHWH sends down the Word made flesh, Christ Son of God, to be born Son of Man by Mary, so that as by man we descended into sin, in a balance of justice, by man, Christ Immanuel, we may ascend back up to God.

 

Theme:  Adam’s rejection of God, and Christ crucified: Teaching and empathy—the open heart of God generously provides visual aids, for the “hard-hearted” of hearing.

 

Sunday 12/16/18

Second Week/2: Day 2

“Luke 1:26-38.” The angel calls Mary to bring Jesus into the world in the flesh, and she becomes the model of discipleship.  As a disciple, what does God call me to enflesh?

 

We are all called to bring forth Jesus, but each in a different way.

 

I believe that this call, to bring Jesus into the world, is the same call that is sent out to all of us, though we may each be called to carry it out in a different and unique way, according to God’s individualized and special gifts to each of us, and His plans for our lives.

To bring Jesus into manifestation in this world is the call of each and every Christian.  Mary was called to carry Him in the flesh by giving birth to a Son, but I feel like I am called to carry forth the Word made flesh merely by imitating Him, as any true disciple knows to do.

Each and Every time I respond with kindness to a strike upon the cheek, that is Christ being born and borne within me, carrying out a will to love within my heart, and making good on God’s promise of a Savior, by providing me the grace with which to do the right thing—in obedience to God’s will, to the 10 Commandments of righteous living, and to the dictates of my own conscience, clean within my heart.

To choose what is good and right and God, is my duty and obligation, but the power that manifests that choice to uphold what is good and righteous and holy, and bring it to fruition—that is from God, and is only ever made possible through God, in the form of Christ Jesus.  To obey God and conform to Christ, we must take up our cross daily and follow Him, and in this will to love through an act of self-sacrifice (sacrificing self in favor of God), all the fruits of pious contemplation and mystic wisdom are revealed within the soul, His secret home hidden deep within my heart, as unto the obedient children who put no stake in their own lives, but put all their trust in God; and in this way, all things of Truth, are made evident.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday 1/5/19

Second week/5: Day 1

Matthew 3:1-17.  The baptism of Jesus.  John points the way to Jesus.  The Holy Spirit affirms who Jesus is.

 

The Holy Spirit within my soul tells me immediately when the Lord is present, and when I am acting in Him, or as St. Paul had said, “walking in the Spirit of God.”  When it is not immediately evident, as God’s and Christ’s Spirits are truly unmistakable, then I know that any spirit I may perceive to be at work is not that of God, and so whether it is a good spirit or a bad spirit is irrelevant to me—if it is not God, then it might as well be the evil one, in my eyes, for I shall settle for nothing short of the “only one that is good, and that one is God”  (Luke 18:19).

When Jesus was baptized by John, straightway He went up out of the water and the heavens were opened unto Him, and “He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: and lo a voice from heaven,” sounded, declaring Him to be the Son of God.  With all the certainty that I have of seeing an external and awe-inspiring sight such as this, this is the same certainty that I have when it is God’s Holy Spirit at work in me, even if His manifestation may be purely inward and much more subtle in nature.

When Christ is at work in these imbued waters of my heart and fountain of my soul, there is no mistaking it, for the effects are evident and the results are sure.  The sheep know their Shepherd, those who seek God in truth by faith and love, and they will follow none other but the true Master, Lord God and Christ Jesus, for They are one.  As John rebukes the Pharisees and Sadducees to bring forth ”fruits meet for repentance,” for John shall baptize with water unto repentance, such that we shall be humbled and sorrowed and softened of heart with guilt over our sins, Christ shall baptize with fire, as to quicken and strengthen in spirit these soft and repentant souls with that burning ardor of zeal for righteousness (as only God is righteous), and spark of God’s divine love within.

You shall know a tree by its fruits, whether it brings forth good or evil fruits, or by evil or good deeds, and as John says, “every tree which bringeth forth not good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire…. He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  If a tree, or the soul of a man, does not produce fruits tender of feeling, of repentance and guilt and sorrow over sins and wrongs committed, because this is the truth indwelling deep within all of mankind such as ordained by Original Sin, then that self-righteous fruit of contempt for God’s mercy and the evil of deceit, is cast as a hard and brittle heart, fit to be shattered like a potter’s vessel by Christ’s baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost, meant to anoint us as children of God and coheirs with Him as His brethren.  When our hearts are softened, however, by the sorrows of our guilt as we mourn our wrongdoings, shortfalls, and sins, we are not shattered by Christ’s baptism, but rather strengthened, reinforced, and fortified as strong and readied seafaring souls and vessels, fit for this maiden voyage of God’s Spirit, which is an unquenchable fire, burning bright with the fervor of the eternal flame and God’s divine love.

 

Sunday 1/6/19

Second Week/5: Day 2

Matthew 4:1-11.  The three temptations.  Jesus is tempted with riches, honors, and pride.  Note how the devil attempts to persuade Him.

 

In this passage, it is critical to notice that Jesus was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness explicitly to be tempted of the devil.  All of the most loyal and devout souls must be tried and tested, to determine the quality of their faith, and to strengthen and fortify them in God against any such temptations.  The devil tempted Christ with food after His fast, to try to show His divinity by having angels save Him from jumping off a pinnacle, and by offering Him all the kingdoms of the world and earthly glory by worshipping him.

In each instance, Jesus is tempted with pride and selfishness, to prove Himself to be of God, thereby defending His own honor, instead of humbling Himself in God.

In each case, Jesus rebukes him with scriptures.  What is most notable here, is that Jesus defends Himself against temptation the same way that the angel Michael contends with Satan, as referenced in the Book of Jude—He utters not a word of His own, nor offers any wordy arguments, but quotes only what is written in the Scriptures.  For Michael retorts, “My God rebuke thee,” to the temptations of the devil, and so Jesus also relies not on His own power or wisdom or divine abilities, nor even on His virtues and spiritual strengths, to defend Himself against the evil one.  Neither does He use His own arguments or skills of debate.

Jesus simply defers to the Word of the Lord and quotes a passage from the Scriptures to contend with temptation.  It is in His knowledge of the Word of God and in His understanding of the Scriptures that He is able to triumph over temptation.

Here He gives us a testimony of hope, for He did not resort to the powers of God, nor to works of miracles to win a victory over sin, but rather, used these God-given resources that are equally given to all of mankind and just as available to all of us as they were to Him.

He simply used His knowledge and understanding of God’s holy Word, acquired through the human powers of learning and diligent study, to offer the appropriate passage as a swift blow and firm rebuttal to the devil’s ploys.  He relied not on His own craftiness and cunning, nor quick thinking, nor vain displays of power, but merely used these same resources that God gave to all of mankind, to be made equally available to all of our human race, to show that we all already have everything we need to triumph over sin.  When we study and learn and read the Word of God in His holy Scriptures, as He had commanded, to learn of His will and to know His ways, we have all we need to prevail in Him.

From studying His Word and gaining knowledge of Him, we are always fully equipped in any circumstance that we may encounter to speak the will of God and show our holy obedience to His Word, just as is expected of any good and loyal subjects of the Lord; and, just as we study our subjects, of these Books of the Bible, so shall we pass His tests.

 

Monday 1/7/19

Second Week/5: Day 3

“Two Standards.”  How do I see the two “camps” today, especially in my own life?

 

In my own life, I can relate to the notion that “evil wants to elicit evil,” and spread it like a contagious virus, while also, in turn, good wants to elicit good, and spread it also to propagate itself.  These two forces are naturally in opposition and dialectically opposed, as it were, in just the same way that the world and the Spirit, the human nature and the divine, are naturally opposed, and always exerting a sort of tension, or a natural and coexisting innate duality, to the quality and nature of existence, both in God’s creation, and also at a personal level, within my own self and soul.

I see the crucial moment as that wherein I choose my side, God or self (man), Spirit or sin, and I proclaim my faith and loyalty to my side of Christ and my cause of the Gospel.  Then, I humbly accept, that so long as I am alive in the world, even though I may be of God and not of the world, I am resigned to a human life of hardship and suffering, and I take comfort in knowing that peace does not belong to the world, but is only to be found by God’s grace in the life to come.

While I am alive, I take up my Cross of hardship and suffering, toil and tribulation, and I bear it willingly, and herein resides my peace—that I choose this path “willingly,” and that it is not imposed upon me.  I see God’s will and purposes for me, because I have studied His Word in my heart and in the Scriptures.  I see that in forsaking the world (and being thus mutually hated of the world, as this is a natural consequence of choosing God and being beloved by God in this natural duality of competing forces), I find peace within—the only true peace, as that which is not of the world, but of the Spirit and in God.

I walk a fine line and hold a delicate balance within my self and my soul, not denying nor resisting evil, for it is real and true in this temporal realm of life on earth, but I hold fast nevertheless to God within me on that other end, aligning in Christ and clinging closely to that Great Equalizer and our Almighty Creator to neutralize the effect of the opposition to His goodness, thereby creating an ever so gently held and most delicately maintained internal atmosphere of serenity, and a carefully controlled spiritual state of harmony, equilibrium, and holy homeostasis within my soul.

This state of deep recollection of my soul into God’s Spirit, and this meditative and contemplative state of prayerful centeredness, is the sublime peak and holy pinnacle of the human experience—and encompasses the totality of truth in this reality, of God and the world existing side by side—of which I am blessed to partake, to the extent that I choose God as my will, accept evil as my lot, and allow both substances to comingle in my soul in this divine union of God and man, and divine hypostasis of our two natures both existing, as like marvelous mystery, in just one body.

 

Tuesday 1/8/19

Second Week/5: Day 4

John 1:35-42.  Jesus asks the disciples, “What are you looking for?”  What would I answer?  What about Jesus would I like to “come and see?”  What strikes me about Him?  What touches me?

 

“He saith unto them, what seek ye?… They said unto Him… Where dwellest thou?”

 

I seek you, my Lord.  Now I have found You, allow me to remain and be of service to Thee.

 

I believe that to meet the Son of God in the flesh, and to be asked of Him, “What sleekest Thou,” truly nothing on my part could remain in me to be said.  The search, the ultimate quest in the heart and life of any (Christian) man, is to come to the knowledge and understanding and vision of God.  At last alighting upon that final goal and treasure of life’s quest, the only answer that could be given Him, when He asks, “What are you looking for,” would be, “Well… You, Master!”  The disciples quite naturally proceeded to follow Him to where He was residing, and continued on in service of Him for the remainder of their time here on earth.

When at once one has come to a place wherein God is found, be it in one’s heart or here on earth, the only further search to be made then is how to best serve Him, and, rather than ask Him for what one seeks of Him, one might instead ask Him only how one might serve Him.  When come face to face with one’s Christ, Lord, and Master, nothing really remains to be asked or said, short of an empty sigh of deep gratitude, for He Himself is that long-sought-after answer.  When faced with God, only to make a pledge of one’s undying loyalty and eternal service could ever possible suffice.

 

Wednesday 1/9/19

Second Week/5: Day 5

Luke 4:14-21.  Jesus proclaims His mission.  Where do I fit in?  I consider my own experience of not having my needs met: Being a victim of injustice, being dismissed and discounted, being marginalized and voiceless.  I consider my experience of having what I need and possibly more, having my rights respected, being in a nurturing relationship, speaking and being heard.  I bring these experiences to Jesus.  How do they relate to Jesus’s mission?

 

“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.”
I can most relate to Jesus’s mission wherein He describes it as “deliverance to the captives,” and “liberty for them that are bruised.”  I feel as though my natural human condition is one of broken-heartedness, slavery, infirmity, and captivity, because without this light of Christ in my heart to bring me the illumination that is knowledge of God, residing through Him and His Holy Spirit within my soul, I am but a slave to my self, and an incomplete being, for only in God am I as He would have me, “with Him,” as according to His will, and therefore, complete.  I feel that Jesus does not necessarily release us from any earthly bondage of slavery or imprisonment, but rather, His purposes adhere to a much more sublime and absolute higher reality (to which we are blind), as that of eternal life in the spiritual sense, not mortal life here in the body and on earth.

Jesus frees me from the delusion that I am alone and apart from God, and liberates me from sin and the prison of self-will through His teachings of righteousness, truth, and the upright ways of the Lord, which will bring me into His great truth and ultimate reality of spiritual freedom, by finding and residing in Him, by His will, at the holiest peak of my immortal soul.

As I cling to God’s truth and spiritual reality whilst rejecting the selfishness, and misguided values, and crooked ways of the outside material world, I know what it means to love and be loved, for God is love, and to be in the world, but not of the world.

For God is of the Spirit, and not of the merely temporal and material matter of this world, which is destined to death and decay as so much dust and ash.

I adhere to God within, and I know truth and eternal life.  As we remain in unitive peace in His Holy Spirit, the tie that binds us as one, I receive the promise and fulfillment of Jesus’s mission, and thus, this lost sheep has come home.

 

Thursday 1/10/19

Second Week/5: Day 6

Tetlow’s “Power and Love.”  Out of which do I act?

 

I think that at some point or another, we will all act out of both of these motivations, power and love, however, it is impossible if one is truly invested in love, to act out of power in dealing with others and with relationships.

When one chooses love, one will still struggle with that give and take of when to let go and when to hold on, when to strive and struggle and exert one’s will towards a greater good, progress, growth, and positive change, and when to abide in rest and stillness, and in God, so that He can respond to our strivings with His own exertion of will to use us as channels of His grace.

In our relationship with God, the self will always have some mortification to endure as it dies to itself in its grasp for control, and is ultimately subdued by God in the proper hierarchy of order in His system, and so is brought into a peaceful union and prayerful harmony with His will and His control over us.

However, apart from dealing with oneself, in dealing with our external relationships, there is no room for both love and power, and as we humbly submit to God to conquer self, first and foremost in the foundation of our heart, all that follows with others, as we engage with them in this proper order, placing God first, falls into line with His unitive grace and divine harmony.  We may struggle with self-control in this quest to be under the control of God, but we never struggle with power over others, because we wish first to be under God, and second, to be under His or any power and never over it, so that we may therefore be ever with Him, and under the protective shield of His undefeatable love.

 

Friday 1/11/19

Second Week/5: Day 7

Matthew 3:1-17 (Day 1).  The Baptist points the way to Jesus.  The Holy Spirit affirms who Jesus is.

 

“For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Isaias, saying, The voice of the one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.”

 

John the Baptist points the way to Jesus, and “all were baptized of Him in Jordan, confessing their sins.”  What strikes me most about this passage is the very active role of John and those coming to him in being baptized.  They do not merely wish to be absolved and then go back about their business, to their old ways, thinking nothing of it.  They “confess their sins,” and are urged to “bring fruits meet for repentance,” to flee the wrath to come.

These people know that the time of the Messiah is at hand, and they themselves take an active role in changing, repenting, and following the straight and honest path to be acceptable to Christ as He comes.

John prepares the way of the Lord, and makes His paths straight, so that the people know what to expect of Jesus, urging them to do justice in their actions, to act with righteousness, and not to lie, to defraud, to steal, or to kill unnecessarily (as per his advice to soldiers and tax collectors).  As the paths are made straight and the crooked ways of treachery, deceit, and double-dealing are condemned, we can meet Christ in truth and with a meek, pure, and contrite heart, humbly ready to be healed and saved by Him, in spirit and in ways that we did not even know that we were dead and lost to Him.
For all men had strayed far from God in their hearts by following after the customs, and pursuits, and glory or esteem of men, and all men had need of the Christ, though many were blind and deaf of heart, and understood it not that they were so far from God’s grace.

The Spirit descended like a dove upon Christ, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.”  This descent of the Spirit to upon Christ is reminiscent of the dove alighting upon the ark of Noah with an olive branch after finding dry land, and foreshadows what this Christ is meant to be for “those bearing fruits meet for repentance,” and true in humility to our human nature and original exile from God, due to the disobedience of Original Sin.

This Christ is a new land upon which to be found our right understanding of God, of the holy Scriptures, and of our home in the Kingdom of Heaven, which He proclaims to be at hand.  As we leave behind our earthly ways and errors of living, many of which we knew not, we build firmly upon this new ground of faith, and find it to be far more solid than any material land could ever be, for this land is of the eternal Heaven, and of God.  We find our new home and our true home, as after the great flood of repentance to drown us of our old ways, and abide in this new promise and new arrival, of an olive branch set in Christ.

 

Saturday 1/12/19

Second Week/6: Day 1

Matthew 4:18-22.  The call of the disciples to share Jesus’s work.

“Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.”

 

“Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.  And they straightway left their nets and followed Him.”

 

The call of the disciples to share in Jesus’s work is an injunction by God and a command of the Master.  As it says in the Gospel of John, “the sheep know their Shepherd, and heed His call.”  Those who respond to the call do so because they are truly of God, and so when they are called out by God to serve Him, they know the sound of their true Master’s voice, and they will obey no other as they do their God.  The Spirit of truth is in them to know that this is truly God.

When one is a child of God, and not a worker of iniquity, there is no hesitation.  Those who are of God are always awaiting their Master, and they all share this defining quality—they know the value of God and what a golden opportunity this is—truly one not to be missed for all the treasures of the world, and so, they all drop everything “immediately” to follow their God.  They follow Him at a moment’s notice and on the turn of a dime respond to the bidding of the Almighty God.  His Word and Spirit dwells in them and the force of His command is felt within their souls.  These true children of God and of the light could hardly disobey this calling, for as He commands, so it is—for His Word is not without power, and it will not return to Him empty, but with the fulfillment of His command.

When one is of God, one could no less disobey Him than a horse could fail to follow the pull of His rider’s reins.  This is his job, the job of a child of God, to follow wheresoever his Master may lead, without ever considering the possibility that to neglect His call or to disobey God’s reign is even an option.  These children are servants in truth, for they walk in love and with God, and as they obey the commands of the Lord, the Lord is with them to bring them to His fulfillment in Heaven.

In a similar story, to illustrate the contrast between a true disciple and a scoffer and scorner, the “Parable of the Rich Young Ruler” describes a man who is similarly called, but will not leave his riches, and so neglects to follow.  If the knowledge and love of God were in him, He would have known his God when he heard Him, and he would have dropped everything for a mere moment with Him, rather than testing Him with the condescending impunity of a child of temptation.  Rather, this non-believer must suffer to be rebuked of his unrecognized God, as Jesus taunts back, “Why call me good?  Only God is good.”  One must hope, that the gift of Christ’s love would inspire a conversion of heart within the soul of such a sinner, after time spent apart for deeper reflection.  If one would not drop everything and instantly follow our God upon His calling, then one is clearly not a child of God—for there is no mistaking the value of our heavenly Father and we always follow Him to our Home.

 

Sunday 1/13/19

Second Week:6/ Day 2

Matthew 4:23-25.  The call of the sick to be healed.

 

“…Preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.”

 

This passage reminds me of the scene where Christ forgives someone’s sins, and the people mock Him for it, saying that He is a madman.  He rebukes them, and goes on to heal that person’s physical illness, just to prove that He does have the power to forgive sins.

The healing forgiveness for sins is what we actually need, for it is “God’s grace,” and by offering a visible demonstration of His power to do this, cleanse us of our sins, He heals the blind, sick, crippled, lepers, and all with physical ailments, so that this outward and physical recovery and healing can be visibly observed, as a sign and a miracle to the eyes of any casual onlooker.

In demonstrating His power to forgive us for our sins, and bring us into God’s Kingdom by grace and His previously prophesied sacrifice, He heals this temporal vestment of infirmity that is our mortal human flesh.  As we can trust in Him to heal what we can see, so can we trust in Him to heal what we cannot see, as our immortal souls and eternal houses to be preserved in Heaven.

As we give ourselves over to His healing grace, by this good faith token and display of His earthly miracles, in the goodness of faith we grow stronger, and now inwardly-turned, we learn to see, not with the mortal eyes of the flesh, but with the immortal eyes of the soul, the sins in our hearts, and the glorious love of God offered freely by grace to melt them away.

For Christ is come in both the fulfillment of His Word, and in the power of God, and as He says it, so shall we be, as healed and saved.  As we trust in His good will, to save us from ourselves and our sins, all is granted to us according to the mercy and tenderness of His heart, which we uphold by our belief.  If our heart gives us comfort, then we know we are in Him, and if our heart condemns us, we know that He is greater than our hearts, and so we cling to Him to save us, and to provide for us the grace and goodness that we cannot provide for ourselves.

Whether good or bad at the heart of our souls, and by our deeds, and works, and thoughts of our hearts, we cling to Him by our belief in His great mercy and salvation, and by faith alone, as all of our works perish with our mortal bodies, in the end, we are saved.

 

Monday 1/14/19

Second Week/6: Day 3

Matthew 5:1-16.  The call of ordinary people to live according to Jesus’s value system.  “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?”

 

“Ye are the salt of the earth: But if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?  It is thenceforth good for nothing…. Ye are the light of the world… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in Heaven.”

 

This passage comes directly after the Beatitudes, and Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount.  He explains this new value system, upholding mercy and the righteousness of being persecuted wrongly for His sake, and that of the Gospel, as the way of God and of holiness, in a revolutionary overturning of the value system that was then in place, wherein justice and punishment took moral precedence, as in accord with the “eye for an eye” standard of law and of conduct.

 

Christ goes on to urge us, after extolling the grace and goodness of the meek, the downtrodden who do not strike back, and the pure in heart, not to lose this savour of the salt, or the visibility of this light of Christ.  He tells His disciples that they are the salt of the earth, and the light of Christ, but if they fail to fan into flame the spark of God within them, through their actions and their own personal living examples, in performing with zeal the zealous acts of faith, and voicing with unction the reproofs of discipleship that is required of them, then the light of God is not in them, and as salt with no savour, it is good for nothing, but to be cast out.

 

The light of the divine and the fervor of faith is alive and glowing to the extent that we stir and stoke and enkindle it within ourselves, in truth, with our words and our deeds, thus bringing to life the full manifestation of that Spirit of God and of holiness within us.

 

As we adhere to the works of faith in this new value system of Christ, wherein the meek shall inherit the earth, returning not evil for evil, but offering mercy and forgiveness while preaching repentance for sins and wrongdoing, so we keep the savour of that salt intact, by remaining true to His word and containing in our souls the passionate fervor and life of His teachings.

 

We are not slack in maintaining adherence to the Gospel’s unction and instruction, and as we uphold it by living up to it, in truth, as with our words and actions, so it retains the savour of truth and of God in our lives, and therefore is the light of God within us, in the full force of His unhindered grace and with all effectiveness in transmitting the Word and seed of faith to others, thus bringing in more disciples to God and to Christ through a conversion of heart, for His Word is lived in truth and in Spirit, and in all honesty, by these, Christ’s true disciples.

 

Tuesday 1/15/19

Second Week/6: Day 4

“Three Types of Persons.”  Here are people struggling to reconcile the fruits of their success with their service of God.  What would I do?

 

“I pray, begging God the Lord to make me want to cling first to Him.  And then with quiet spirit, go about finding my true desires” (Tetlow, “Thoughts About Making Choices”).

This article, about three types of persons, seems to demonstrate to me not just three different people, but the expected progression of spiritual maturity as one grows away from culture and transitions, by three stages, into a place of God.  The first stage is about good intentions, but with no follow-through, the second is about good actions, but only to deflect away from hidden attachments that truly require change and attention, and the third stage is wherein God’s will is the person’s true desire, and they can let things come or go with indifference for they are only used as a means by which to better serve God, and not as the ends in themselves.

This meditation probes the reader to examine commitments and life choices to assess the goodness of the motivating factors, and to determine how to best proceed if poor motives or emotional disruption was at play when the choices were being made.

I like the idea that no matter what the motivating factor of our life choices may have been, though surely, it should only ever be to do God’s will and serve Him to the best of our abilities at the time, we can always commit ourselves anew to our past choices with a fresh dedication and a new motivation.  If at first we acted our of selfish reasons, now let us now reaffirm our loyalty to the Lord and not to ourselves, and stay true to our calling to abide the will of God.  We can perform all of our actions with grace as we devote our innermost souls to the Lord.

As we rededicate ourselves with good intentions, to good choices made for bad reasons, we may remedy the error of our ways and reclaim the Kingdom of our souls, by bringing our hearts back up to speed with our minds and actions, thereby strengthening and fortifying the unity of Spirit that is God’s harmony within us, and the ideal of balance within each man.

As we reflect upon our choices, if the Spirit leads us to question them, we do so, not only in heart first, but then also in mind and action, carrying out the natural progression of change fully and wholeheartedly, to bring about to the fullness of completion in our actual lives those changes that we perceive we ought to make.

As we stay true to the Spirit of God, we will never be led astray, as our own mortal hearts may deceive us, but God’s mirror held up to our hearts shows us the truth of His path for us.  We rectify the mistakes and errors of past actions or motivations, and we learn to seek God alone to show us our true selves and desires, for the heart of man is a fickle and fallible fire, and it is tamed only by the inner guidance and loving hand of God.

 

Wednesday 1/16/19

Second Week/6: Day 5

John 2:1-11.  Jesus heeds His own call, accepting the mission His Father sent Him to accomplish.

 

“The governor of the feast called the bridegroom, and saith unto him, every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine: and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.”

 

This wedding feast at Cana marks the beginning of the miracles that Jesus is to perform, manifesting the glory of the Father as He sets forth in His ministry, of the mission that His Father sent Him to accomplish.

He tells His mother, as she urges Him that they need more wine, that, “His hour is not yet come,” but He is given from her authority over the servants that they may provide the means by which He provides the new wine.  As He obeys the imposition of His mother, it seems that His hour has indeed come upon Him, as He turns six vats of water, ceremonial vessels for Jewish cleansing, into new wine to accommodate the guests at this wedding feast.

The governor portentously remarks that it is unusual to have saved the good wine for last, rather than to have brought it out first, and at once this reader is reminded of the long foretold of and long-awaited coming of the Son of Man, the Word made Flesh, after all the obscure prophecies and symbolic rituals commanded of the Father as He heralded the Christ, even at the very beginning of the Old Testament.  In providing commands, prophecies, and miracles for centuries, why has He waited until now to bring forth the Good Wine of this New Son, this Child of Christ, made manifest finally to illumine and reveal the mysteries, misunderstood ways, and hidden meanings which the Father had all along hoped to convey to this stiff-necked and hardhearted people of the human race.

We are patiently taught of the deeper significance of this symbolic occurrence by Jesus’s own words in His ministry to come, as He warns us, “one does not put new wine in old wineskins, nor old wine in new ones,” for the wineskins will burst and fray in the disharmony of a cacophony as our sinful hearts are unable to contain His great new mystery of the Wine of Christ in their present state of discord, waywardness, and a lack of understanding.

As we ready our “selves,” and our hearts and minds, for His new explanations of God’s will and ultimate intent for us, we let go of false and pretentious preconceived notions of the Father’s meaning in His ministry of old, and thus, with the “metanoia,” or repentance that is openmindedness to new ideas concerning our old ways, that is required of us for Him to correct the errors or shortcomings of our ways, we receive this New Wine, kept back for centuries, sost that these properly cleansed and newly confessed ceremonial vessels, of our “unitively” harmonious hearts, minds, bodies, and souls, might be made ready for the baptism of Christ, to actually and effectively receive Him, in all the burning passion of the Father’s love, and the enkindled glory of the eternal God.

 

Thursday 1/17/19

Second Week/6: Day 6

Tetlow’s “Thoughts About Making Choices.”  How do I feel about the choices I have made?  Am I aware of why I made them?  If a choice no longer seems right, what can I do about it?  Where is God in my situation?

 

“When it comes to any serious decision about my life, I intend first to serve God and to love God—and then I will figure out what else to intend.”

 

“Putting some creature first is not Jesus’ way and not mine.”  I feel like many of the decisions we make in life are meant to bring us to a place wherein we first feel acceptable to ourselves, like having a good career, or an esteemed position in society or among our friends, a solid marriage, or in some regard, a position of security which is founded upon me and my sense of myself, in my own eyes or through the lens of my culture.  The problem with this method, is that one will never arrive to that place of security.  When one is engaged, then one needs marriage, when one is hired, then one needs tenure, and one never actually arrives upon a solid place of security—this continual grasp for personal security is not just elusive, it is actually illusory.

This common practice, of developing a sense of self-based worth, security, or some sort of personal “merit,” to have in place before coming to God to seek Him in prayer, or the idea that once we attain some externally-based position of material or societal or vocational security, then we can finally relax and be happy, is one of the greatest follies and illusions of our day.

This practice, of trying to attain worth before coming to a place of God or of happiness, is quite impossible, impractical, and completely misses the point expounded upon by our Christian and religious teachings.

Serenity and peace reside only in this speck of eternity that is the present moment, and never at a future point in time, and they are not dependent upon external or personal factors.  If we try to derive peace within from sources without, we are doomed to fail in an endless cycle of toil and tribulation as our castles of sand continually crumble into the dust and ash of which they were built.  And yet, here we are trying to salvage and restore and redeem the wreckage of that fateful destiny bequeathed to Adam and Eve.

As we proceed once again, in obedience, and in the proper order and sequence of things, we let go of the mistaken and illusory idea that we will ever be “good enough,” or have worth or merit of our own right, and we let go of this requirement and prerequisite that we have imposed upon our happiness, effectively barring us off from it entirely.

Happiness is only ever found in God, whether we can acknowledge that it is Him or not.  As we let our sense of self be what it truly is, worthless and without merit, we as our egos and the bluster of vanity crumble and drift away like a cloud, to reveal a prized jewel of our belief and the Rock of our faith and salvation within.  From this source, from God, we are now filled with grace, His love and favor, freely given, and without merit.

“Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” as has been said repeatedly in the Bible, and as our selfishness departs, through our faith, only our God within remains, this precious jewel and pearl of great price, beyond value, this mustard seed of faith hidden in the secret place of our soul.  Herein is wisdom, for herein is our God, and as we found our trust and truth and hopes upon Him and this Kingdom within, all that we might seek after the fact, once we are solidly founded upon and in and with Him, is added unto us, for His glory, in providing appropriately for His loyal children and faithful servants.  Only God provides, and so, as both prudently rational and spiritually devout creatures, we serve God.

 

Friday 1/18/19

Second Week/6: Day 7

Matthew 5:1-16 (Day 3).  The call of ordinary people to live according to Jesus’s value system.  “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?”

 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven…Blessed are them which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

 

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in Heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

 

What most strikes me in this reading of the Beatitudes, is that the Kingdom of Heaven is said to be the reward of two types of blessedness—it is to belong to both the poor in spirit, and to them which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, while the other types of blessedness are described to receive other types of rewards.  This commonality between the first and the last types of blessedness, between the two containing all the virtue of man and the corresponding glory of God, is that they both describe the humility, mortification, and diminishing of self.

To be poor in spirit, is to allow the necessary openness of heart and space within the soul to allow the light and Spirit of Christ, rather than that of self, to reside there.  As the apostle Peter mentioned in his epistles, “If needs be that ye suffer, see to it that it be for righteousness’ sake, and that ye be persecuted wrongly—for if ye suffer for wrongdoing, what recompense of goodness can you expect in Heaven?  Suffering for wickedness is not a sacrifice for Christ, but a just punishment for wrongdoing.”

God rains down evil and suffering upon the good and the bad alike, and without distinction, for this is the lot of mankind here on earth—we receive goodness or evil in life not according to merit, as in Heaven, but in mysterious ways and according to reasons which we know not.  We must therefore see to it that when we receive our allotted share of the wickedness that is inherent in this life on earth, it is not deserved, and due to wickedness on our part, and therefore a just recompense.  We must ensure rather, that for goodness and righteousness we suffer wrongly, as with patience and kindness receiving misfortune as an injustice; and therefore we may accept such suffering as a gift—as a Cross to take up in the name of Christ.

For all men are equally mortal, and all men are equally “not God,” and only God is good, and only God is righteous.  Therefore, suffering is the best and only true source of merit, as weak a semblance of merit that it is, that we can muster up on our part, in return for His grace, which grace truly is His love given despite our utter lack of any sort of merit; but nevertheless, as we receive this grace we do wish to repay Him for this gift beyond measure and beyond our ability to pay back, and so our acceptance of suffering for His sake, is our best source of some sort of merit, if piled atop our doing of goodness and righteousness in our words, thoughts, and deeds: for that goodness is not us, but is God acting through us.

Our suffering in the refiner’s fire and crucible of this world, is imposed upon us to test our hearts and affirm our faith, and our performance here will determine our place in the perfection that is His Kingdom of Heaven.  Suffering wrongly for righteousness’ sake, is like an added challenge to those deemed worthy of such persecution, for it gives our acts of virtue more worth and value in God’s eyes, and so great indeed is our place in Heaven, when we suffer for Him.

 

Saturday 1/19/19

Second Week/7: Day 1

John 9.  The healing of the man born blind.  “I do believe, Lord.”  Do I?

 

“Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”

 

“Lord, I believe… and Jesus said, for judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind… some of the Pharisees which were with Him heard these words, and said unto Him, are we blind also?  Jesus said unto them, if ye were blind., ye should have no sin: but now ye say, we see; therefore your sin remaineth.”

 

This passage about the man born blind says a lot about the state of the world as Jesus came to it and His mission as He describes it, held in contrast with the mistaken beliefs and misunderstood notions to which the Pharisees adhered—both regarding their religion and the Christ.

The love of God is clearly long-departed from their hearts, as they, grasping tightly onto cold hard justice and false judgements, while letting mercy drown in the mud, inquire only of the blind man—who sinned?  Who shall we blame for his infirmity, him or his parents?  As if the Book of Job had not adequately described these wicked friends of misfortune, this passage goes on to describe that they had already decided amongst themselves that whoever claimed Jesus to be the Christ would be cast out of the synagogue.  There they are, face to face with their Savior, and their main concern is not to receive His grace and salvation, and to spread His healing to all in need, but rather, to hide this fact, to refuse to admit it, to refuse to accept Him into their company, to cover up His existence, and to deny that this is God, so that they may maintain their positions of power and the habits of sin and corruption to which they are slaves.

The man born blind, indeed suffering from the rain that falls equally, “upon the just and the unjust alike,” blind through no fault of his own, nor with any sin to speak of, has perfect vision when ascertaining the truth of the Lord and of righteousness in dealings, while the Pharisees, though with physical sight intact, are utterly blind and ignorant to their true infirmity of sin through a will oriented towards deception, as the healed blind man says to them of the Jesus the Christ, “…I have told you already and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again?  Will ye also be His disciples?”

These men, despite being confronted with the truth and with irrefutable facts, in their stubbornness, hardheartedness, and arrogant impudence, revile it; rejecting both the Christ and the healed man alike, they cast the healed man out from their synagogue.  He had reasoned with them, “If this man were not of God, He could do nothing.  They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us?  And they cast him out.”

Jesus tries to convey to them the true nature of sin, as they are misguided by the false guides of their own pride and vanity, and led into the path of perdition by their own blind guides of “unclean consciences” and corrupt leaders.  Those who perceive the truth and follow it, not speaking deceit, nor plotting the misfortune of those who stand to illumine the darkness and defilement of their ways, can truly be said to see, as they see the will of God and so do it.  This blind man could yet see with his heart and the eyes of his soul—perceiving and understanding spiritual truths and the meaning of God’s Word, while these shifty-eyed Pharisees, seeing in all sharpness and meanness only that which they covet with the eyes of the flesh, are utterly deaf, dumb, and blind, both of heart, and in their capacity for reason and the apprehension of truth and sound logic.

These men seek not the truth, which is the light of Christ, and as He is the Light which will reform the ways of which they will not to let go, they seek to conceal and deny and cover over His truth; indeed, they plot to kill Him because they are of the darkness that abhors the light.  Just as these men are blind to love, to mercy, to pity, to tenderness in dealings and judgments with others, so are they blind in wisdom and logic and rationality, for all truth and knowledge and wisdom is of God, and proceeds forth from love of Him.

These men, the Pharisees, are lost to Christ in the darkness and treachery of their ways, whilst those they cast out are truly of God, destined to shine a light of illuminating truth upon their sins and errors, thus leaving the final judgment of this matter to the integrity of their own blackened, neglected, smothered, and snuffed-out spirits.  The weight and honesty of their conscience is revealed as they are left to discern on their own their sin, when shown in the starkness of contrast in black and white, and to decide of their own free will whether they will admit and confess that sin, or have that sin yet remain.  As these men contend with the hardness of their own hearts and the powerlessness of their own intellects against a God greater even than their purported patriarch Moses, the blind man they mistakenly blame as a sinner, enjoys the “blindingly brilliant” vision of the true God, God the Father through Christ Jesus, in a beatific vision of glory as transcendent as if of the “Sermon on the Mount” upon Mount Tabor, and this healed blind man remains with Him, in truth, in love, and finally, in Heaven.

 

Sunday 1/20/19

Second Week/ 7: Day 2

Luke 5:17-26.  The cure of the paralytic.  “Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?”  Which is more important to me?

 

“And when He saw their faith, He said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, who is this which speaketh blasphemies?  Who can forgive sins, but God alone?”

“… But that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (He saith unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.”

 

What most strikes me about this passage is not just that Jesus says, “thy sins are forgiven,” but that He says this only after it is described that, “He saw their faith.”  It has been evidenced, by several epistles of the New Testament, that there had been much controversy at the time when they were written, wherein the apostles attempted to reconcile this great debate between the value of works, or the adherence to righteousness and Hebrew or Mosaic Law, versus the value of faith, wherein one believes that one is justified by God alone, and not at all by the deeds of man, through grace and the belief in Christ Jesus.

This passage is elucidative to me in that Jesus “saw their faith,” not merely the “reasoning of their hearts,” wherein the Pharisees thought Him a blasphemer, and in actuality not only doubted Him, but truly intended to condemn Him entirely.  But in their actions, these men carrying the paralytic, believed with such spiritual finality and firmness of faith, in true devotion of heart, that Jesus would heal their friend, that they climbed up upon His housetop, and let the palsied invalid down into the house through the tiling of the roof, just to set his couch before Jesus.

He saw their faith not through their impotent and unrealized resolutions, resting in mere vanity and bluster and nonreality through a lack of follow-through in carrying them out, but in these tangible actions and real-life deeds.

I believe that there is a common misconception regarding faith today, wherein it is held that faith is simply a quality of belief, and is separate from, or to be contrasted with, action.  However, realistically, as was expounded upon in the Book of James, faith is demonstrated by one’s actions, and is shown by one’s works.  Just as in the case of this palsied man, had his friends not “sinned” and broken into Jesus’s house, and in the steadfastness of their conviction that Jesus could and would heal him if they could only get close enough to Him, the palsied man would not have been healed—in just this way, “faith without works, is dead.”

Learning from this example, we keep our eye on the one true prize as we seek the salvation and healing of our Christ, and we reside not in the comforts and securities of our “selves” and our earthly homes, thinking that He will come to us in the world and in sin, but rather, we take an active role to instigate His response.  We prove our hearts and our faith in following after Him, in truth and in spirit, and we bring our “selves” with our sins to Him and meet Him in His spiritual reality and on His terms, on His path and by His way—for wheresoever God is, so there is peace, and redemption, and restoration from all of our sins and from all of the evils of the world.

We do not dwell in this false safety or illusory security, of our egos and personal achievements, or of our wealth and accumulated riches in material comforts, but rather, we take heart and take courage, and guided by the hope of Christ that is the goal of our Faith, we live out that faith, and reach out, branch out as it were, from this root of God’s love.

In one single shoot, as with purity of heart and singleness of vision from the stump of Jesse recounted in the Book of Isaiah, we reach out through these works and labors of love, which are required as the true sacrifice of self and of personally-derived security expected of any true servant of the Lord.  As we reach out in spirit to spirit through works, we are destined by the truth of our Faith to land upon our God, and with the grasping in faith of our hearts, to this one Man Who with outstretched arms can and will grasp us right back, we are held secure, both in the Eternal Kingdom, and in His eternal heart.

In faith and in spirit we seek the transcendent light of God, despite the corruptibility that is this vesture of our mortal flesh, and as manifesting in kind and in truth, the imminent Lord present in all things, grasps us by the hand, in Person, to receive us into Him, and to grant us His light.

 

Monday 1/21/19

Second Week/ 7: Day 3

Luke 8:26-39.  The demons recognized Jesus and feared Him.  Are there parts of me that fear Jesus?

 

A Persuasion Piece.

 

“(For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man.  For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.) …Then the devils went out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked.”

 

“Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.”

 

The most remarkable part of this passage, is not that the devils caught up in this man “Legion” were fearful of the Christ, and pleaded that He would not cast them out into the deep, but rather into a nearby herd of swine.  The most remarkable part of this passage, is that the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes were “taken with great fear,” and besought Jesus to depart from them.

The strangest thing about people, is that they cling to what they know, however aversive it may be, because it is “familiar;” and not because it is good, but merely because it is familiar, recognized, and well-known, it is accepted and experienced as comfortable, despite however harmful or detrimental to the health of the person or to the community it may be.  These people were more welcoming of the man “Legion,” so named because he was possessed by a “legion of demons” as it were, than they were of Jesus the Christ, who cast the demons out of the man, thereby both restoring his health, and ensuring the safety of the community around him.  Legion they accepted, but the Christ they sought to cast out.

This is the irony of the human condition, that until it gets its first introductory taste of the goodness of God, it shall always hold Him at an arm’s length at best, and most often, in cruel contempt.

This crucial moment of the conversion, wherein one welcomes in the new wine of Christ into a new heart through faith, through the changing of one’s mind over to new ideas from prior misconceptions, and being open to this new experience of God, is truly “the Rubicon,” or the point of no return as it were, and it is the most fear-inspiring moment of the human experience.  This moment of conversion, of accepting into one’s heart and life the vast infinitude of God, is that point at which one decides whether to open up and let in that overwhelming and overpowering, admittedly fearsome, Almighty God, with His astounding and amazing healing mercy, or to settle for this condition of complacency, spiritual regression, mediocrity, and human infirmity, paralyzed as we are by the fear of change, and indeed, of the unknown.

The description of the natural human mentality that one can derive from this passage is, “the devil you know is better than the God you don’t know;” but is this what we should accept as our final state?  Should we not rather accept, in humility and with cool-headed patience, this state as merely a diagnostic description, so that we may then go on to apply the proper prescription to this verifiable malady, thereby substituting in the prescriptive of what should be for the descriptive of what is?  We ought to reflect upon this state of affairs in a non-judgmental way, to take in the full effect of its consequences and ascertain all the contributing factors lending their influence to this reprehensible and reprobate state of being, and indeed rectifiable human condition, and then assess for ourselves what the evidence of learning and of true wisdom would advise for this sad state of things, so that history might not repeat itself, both to our detriment, and to our shame.

Ought we really to succumb to the “devil we know,” merely out of fear of that “unknown God,” who yet knows us better than even we know ourselves?  An inspired change is a gift of grace for which we ought to pray, and an instigation of reverence from the Holy Spirit, and we can choose to rename our motivations to turn fear into love, so that rather than running from that which we fear, if only for its awesome power, we can now run towards that which we love, if only, for its awesome power.

 

Tuesday 1/22/19

Second Week/7: Day 4

Fleming’s “Three Kinds of Humility.”  Where do I see myself now?  Where would I like to be?

 

In this article describing three kinds of humility, it sets them out upon a spectrum as a progression.  At the first end, I would wish to do nothing that would cut me off from God.  As one progresses to the second stage of the spectrum, “the only real principle of choice in my life is to seek out and to do the will of God my Father,” such that a balance over worldly or selfish inclinations is maintained.  In the third type of humility, at the far end of the spectrum, worldly inclinations are wholeheartedly rejected, as I would sooner choose poverty over riches, and rejection and insults over esteem or worldly honors, only in order to be closer to Christ, and to be brought ever deeper into this, “the most intimate union possible.”

As the article begins, “Humility lies in the acceptance of Jesus Christ as the fullness of what it means to be human,” and the closer I draw near to Jesus, living as He did, the greater the realization becomes of this fulfillment, of living as a human being, in the way that God intended.  Furthermore, “to live as close to the truth as possible,” is the essence of humility that constrains our spirits to within the conformity of Christ in our souls, rather than to leave us outside of His Spirit in that errant nonsense or vacuous vanity of pride, ego, and all the dust and ash that is merely “self” and not God.

As we seek to dwell ever closer to God in our hearts, we learn to reject the base and banal things of the world that would draw us out from our souls and our true selves (destined as we are to be in Christ) and into the dust and ash that is the “pride of life,” and the rat-race of mankind for what we mistakenly believe to be goodness or riches.  As God is desired and strived towards, such that we are unwilling to sin so that we might not lose or offend Him in turning our backs to His virtue in our transgressions, we then go on to wish to take more initiative, and to take positive actions to answer His call—not only in refraining from sin, but more so, in taking an active role in doing the good works that please Him.  Overall, we strive in practicing the virtues inwardly in our hearts and motivations, and outwardly in the works of self-mortification or self-sacrifice, and mercy and kindness, with sincere efforts exerted towards goodly doings, aiming towards positive, productive, helpful, and objectively beneficial actions in all of our endeavors.

Finally, as we have achieved a good balance of temperance, moderation, and self-control over our vices as we work in God’s will towards a greater good than just ourselves, we desire evermore so this goodness that is God, and are willing not only to hold in check with moderation our worldly inclinations, but are willing rather to give them up altogether, and desire to endure suffering rather that to experience comfort and worldly security, because in this sacrifice the presence of God burns forth in our hearts even more ardently for our increased reliance upon Him, and the more of self and satisfactions that we give up for Him, the more that He Himself replaces those false desires or dependences in our hearts and lives in such a way that we could never “choose” to have them back, even if we did indeed possess them.  For now the truth and life of Christ is so alive and awakened within us, and that Kingdom of God in our souls is so firmly founded and built up and expanded upon, and elaborately constructed and catered to, in our prayers and in our deeds, that as we dwell here with all of our heartfelt and spiritual entirety, to depart from this internal state of grace and deeply held recollection to God within, would be as to depart from Heaven itself.

As we are drawn (infinitely) into this deepest union possible, we hold God as the only true reality, as that of spiritual substance and the only enduring life, and eventually we can hardly claim to acknowledge even an awareness of the things of the world, as to whether we have them or not, for we have realized our full potential in staking a claim in the Kingdom of Heaven.  Furthermore, as this Kingdom within our soul is God’s truth, as we cling to Him in utter sacrifice and devotion, all else virtually vanishes from before our eyes, as we see now with the eyes of the soul and not with the eyes of the flesh, and though living nonetheless as we are in the world, we are truly no longer of the world, as yet, somehow, we are dwelling already in that Kingdom to come: And this, is “divine union.”

 

Wednesday 1/23/19

Second Week /7: Day 5

Luke 19:1-10.  Jesus and Zacchaeus.  Zacchaeus got rich working for the Romans, but he recognized Jesus and was ready to adopt standards of fairness.  Despite society’s opinion of him, Jesus says to him, “Today salvation has come to this house.”  How much is Jesus asking of me?

 

I believe that the entire message of Jesus’s ministry can be summed up in the main point of this story, which the people with Him had missed entirely.  Jesus came preaching mercy, forgiveness, repentance for sins, and a conversion of heart through the changing of one’s ways.  Jesus says Himself, “For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”  The people with Him were more content to gossip and murmur among themselves, “That He was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner,” than to encourage that sinner towards change, or to call back the purported “sons of Abraham” to the faith which imputed righteousness unto Abraham in the first place.  So many of these, factually, “sons of perdition,” had lost sight of the goodness of God completely in a vain power struggle over the control of others, through issuing out wholesale condemnation for not obeying every detail and every letter of the Law of Moses.  For though “through the letter one receives death, through the faith one receives life.”

This story is notable, in that it portrays one of Jesus’s true success stories: A sinner who has been converted, and has effectively changed his ways, begins to lead a life of righteousness.  The people, however, derived more pleasure and glory to their own egos, although they were only slightly less defiled as sinners themselves, in condemning him as a “sinner,” as if that were an eternal sentence and change were not possible.  Change indeed is possible—but more so, it is both the will of God, and the entire purpose of the ministry of Jesus, that we do change!  Shall we sit ourselves in high places of self-smugness, to issue scorn and exclusion out unto people whom we might, either for good reason, or just arbitrarily, or more precisely, due to slanderous gossip caused by envy… wish to reject from our presence in calling “sinners?”

Jesus Himself was rejected in just this way, as through no fault of His own, but only due to the sins of His so-called brethren.  “Who is His brother or His mother,” He had asked?  “He who knows the will of God, and then so does it.”  And as it is stated in the Second Epistle of Peter, “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all may come to repentance.”  He came not to reform the righteous, for their inheritance is already set in the Kingdom of God.  He has come to call back the sinners, so that all may know the truth and love and glory of God.

We do not condemn our brothers who are sinners, but rather, we ourselves as God’s true children turn to God, lest we be driven to sin by removing our hearts from Him, in setting our sights upon driving out others as we ourselves “play God.”  In ourselves turning to God first rather than away from Him to the reviling of others, we live up to this preaching of repentance and a “beatific” lifestyle, as after the fashion of the Beatitudes, in praying for their conversion and realization of God within as well, such that we may all turn inward and unto God, to receive His healing grace, and infinite blessings.

 

Thursday 1/24/19

Second Week /7: Day 6

Luke 5:17-26 (Day 2 again).  The cure of the paralytic.  “Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?”  Which is more important to me?

 

“And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, who is this which speaketh blasphemies?  Who can forgive sins, but God alone?  But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts?  Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?  But that ye may know that the Son of Man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.  And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.  And they were all amazed, and they glorified God…”

 

This passage is remarkable in that it follows true to form the traditional layout of a standard conversion story, with the skeptics, or the non-believers, coming to a place of belief, and then fulfilling the final purpose of that belief in glorifying God.  When I read this passage, I am at once reminded of that other story in the Bible of the ten sick men, all of whom Christ healed of their physical infirmities, but only one of whom then returned to Christ and to the Temple to praise and glorify God.  As Christ had pointed out to him, “Were there not ten of you?  Where then are the other nine?” with His question signifying that despite the healing of the body of all ten men, salvation of the soul had only come to that one, because that man had returned to praise and worship and glorify God.

This story of the paralytic man, whose sins are forgiven first, before he is then physically healed, is helpful in illustrating what salvation has meant to us, and how it has truly differed from what salvation means to Christ.  Indeed He was misunderstood, and truly one can see how easily He would have been “despised and rejected of men,” despite being our very Messiah.  Salvation to Christ consisted almost not at all in physical healing—although He did wish to alleviate suffering in His mercy and compassion—but to stop here would be selling ourselves short in the grand scheme of things that God had in store for us, not just for these inherently and permanently dead and dying bodies, but for our inherently and eternally alive and living souls.

All of these hardhearted men whom Jesus admonished in this story, wished not for miracles as demonstrations by which to believe in things greater than the limitations of the corporeal and temporal flesh can behold and comprehend, whereby to come to the one true Faith, in spirit, set forth by God.  Rather, these were the sort of men who sought the miracle of the loaves and fishes, but only just for the bread and the satiety of the body; they sought the miracle of His healing, but only just for the alleviation of physical discomfort, or to remove the public reproach which leprosy or any other such illness brought upon them; and so in like manner, they sought His signs and wonders of miracles, but not to come to true belief in the One True God like His real disciples, but merely for the spectacle of an entertaining show, being men of no less depravity than those pouring into see the violent displays of the games held at the Roman Colosseum for their motives in desiring to behold the Son of Man at work, as like an exhibit at a circus, destined for Nero’s sideshow though Christ’s own party may have been.

But in this passage, where He makes clear and explicit His reasons for healing this dying and necessarily impermanent body, as it is of the world and not of the spirit in God’s order of succession and importance and preeminence, Jesus heals the body, which they can see, precisely just to bring about their belief in the soul, and the healing thereof, which they cannot see.

The Israelites in general, in focusing so much upon that which was visible to mortal sight, despite it being utterly irrelevant and immaterial in the eyes of God, completely ignored the quality of their “inward Man,” or of their spirits and consciences, as they overlooked the immortality given by God to within their very souls through these piercing sins of greed and covetousness, which are always the inevitable result of refusing to be satisfied and sated with a pure and spiritually-derived, essentially and initially immaterial God, and with that which one already has, if one will but seek Him within and “see.”

Just as on their pilgrimage through the desert in the Book of Exodus, when the Lord YHWH fed them manna and partridges, their mouths were still full as they were greedily looking about for their next meal, refusing as they were the Lord to be their fill, and to put their trust and dependence upon Him rather than in their own depleted, exhausted, and empty resources.  The point of this reliance upon God, through Whom one receives food, and not upon the food itself, or upon oneself even, in being able to catch sight of the food and thereby receive temporally-derived reassurance, was not to receive the bread that would sustain the body, but to learn to trust in Him to provide what was truly needed to His people, as God truly does provide in His love.

At the day of one’s death, we shall not know what we need, nor how to proceed into this realm of Heaven and of the henceforth unknown, of which only God Himself knows so well.  Shall we trust upon the world or upon what we can see, as our senses and our resources fail us, even as we yet have recourse to them, though our body cannot receive them, dying as we are?  Or, shall we trust in God alone to provide for our immortal souls, as when we die, we have recourse not to any of His provisions, but only to Him, and His salvific grace through faith, bestowed so freely to all of us as we trust in Him?

 

Friday 1/25/19

Second Week /7: Day 7

John 9 (Day 1 again.)  The healing of the man born blind.  “I do believe, Lord.”  Do I?

 

“Expository and Illuminative: A Creative Synthesis of Three Stories”

 

“I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh when no man can work.  As long as I am in the world I am the light of the world.  When He had thus spoken, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.)  He went his way, therefore, and washed, and came seeing.”

“Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.  He answered and said, Whether He be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”

“The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvelous thing, that ye know not from whence He is, and yet He hath opened mine eyes.  Now we know that God heareth not sinners:  but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth His will, him He heareth.  Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.”

 

This story, of the healing of the man born blind, is curiously reminiscent of the healing of the leper Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, by the prophet under the king of Israel, Elisha.  Naaman had come to be healed after hearing of the prophet in Israel, and was commanded, not even by Elisha himself, but merely by his servant, to go dip himself seven times in the Jordan to be healed: and behold, “his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.”

Jesus had commanded, now not the Lord God YHWH Himself, but His Son and obedient servant Jesus, had commanded that this man born blind be washed in the pool of Siloam (which means “Sent,” just as the word “apostle,” means “one who is sent” on a mission, as he is anointed to the task).  The blind man washes in the pool, and just like the leper Naaman, both men are miraculously healed.  Now Elisha himself had not seen the leper directly, and YHWH Himself had not seen the blind man directly, but in each case, their messengers, or “sent apostles,” in being anointed and “sent” as it were to the task, had seen the sick men and proceeded to do the will of God, and, in the words of Jesus, “work the works of Him who sent Me.”

Now, when the story of the blind man is recounted in the New Testament, as a testimony which somewhat resembles and closely parallels this tale of Elisha in 2 Kings 5, there is one major point with which we are to come away, in order to have a better understanding of the will of God as expressed in these Old and New Testament stories, which may also in turn be even better expressed by yet another story, as that of Jesus’s encounter with another man of war, the centurion, as retold in Matthew 8.  When this centurion asks Jesus to heal his servant sick with palsy, Jesus says that He will come to heal him directly—that is, not through a sent messenger, but He Himself will come directly.  But, as the centurion responds to Jesus, He rather cleaves to his faith, and in these most humble words, professes, “Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.”  The centurion then goes on to explain, that when he commands his soldiers and his servants, they do so immediately obey exactly as they are commanded.  Jesus marveled, saying, “Verily, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”  And just as this centurion, or the Roman soldier, so believed, thus so it was that his servant was healed, and in that very same hour at that!  And in exactly this manner, the centurion himself has now become as like a “sent apostle,” or a channel and messenger of the Lord, being just a little further down the line in this chain of command, that is the Lord God YHWH’s command.

So, in this retelling of the story of the centurion too, the Lord Jesus Himself even does not directly heal the centurion’s servant, but through His command to the centurion, and thus the centurion’s belief in the power of His Word, the centurion’s servant is then healed immediately.  This is the blessedness of faithful obedience and of unquestioning belief: For as Jesus then goes on to teach them in Matthew 8, many shall arrive in the Kingdom of Heaven, but “shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  It is here almost as though Jesus is describing the fate of those who may truly merit Heaven by their works and by their doings of good deeds, as according to the Hebrew or Mosaic Law, but yet still do not have that crucial and necessary faith within; this faith being as like an internal spiritual strength, or a sort of integrity within their souls, to which to cling and upon which to cleave, and which is truly required of one in order to effectively dwell, abide, and remain in steadfast and glorious unity with God in His eternal Kingdom of Heaven after death.

Now in all three of these stories, not only is the healing of different types of infirmity described, but also set forth are the consequences of “darkness” that occur for the reviling of the goodness of the Faith.  In 2 Kings 5, Elisha’s servant tries to extort riches from Naaman, pretending, as under false pretenses, that Elisha requires them (when in fact he had previously flatly refused any such gifts, for it is a sin to accept material payment for the mercy of God).  This disobedient, and lying, and greedily conniving servant Gehazi, however, had received almost without delay the devastating consequences of his sin.  Elisha rebukes him swiftly, saying, “Went not mine heart with thee, when the man [Naaman] turned again from his chariot to meet thee?  Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?  The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever.  And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.”

In this way, in lying to falsely receive payment for the miracle of God as performed by His servant Elisha, that which the miracle was meant to heal, redounded right back upon the head of this lying man, and the justice of retribution was returned directly to him, in a just and equitable, although admittedly horrifying, manner.

In a similar way too, the sins and unrighteousness of the Pharisees described in John 9 are revisited back upon them in the form of just consequences, as those befitting of their actions, and in a form similar to that of the sins which they committed.  As the Old Testament dealt primarily with material significance, with these spiritual truths displayed and demonstrated outwardly through allegorical parables that had yet to be explained and revealed (by the expected coming of the prophesied Messiah), or through symbolic rituals which were merely meant to act out a deeper, and as of yet, hidden meaning, so in a like manner the New Testament deals primarily with the elucidation and illumination of these symbolic references.  The New Testament, and the Gospel of Christ, sets about in explaining, edifying, expounding upon, and elaborating on into the core and center that is the deeper spiritual meaning, indeed the very heart, of these ostensibly obscure Old Testament acts.  The teachings of Christ, are what God had ultimately, and indeed all along, intended to convey through the Hebrew Law, as it was issued through His servant Moses, if not at first, then at least eventually, in time.  All of these elaborate Laws and physical demonstrations of rules, and rituals, and rites, are meant to be seen and understood as, an acting out of, and the natural and eventual physical development first stemming out from, the “unseen,” or secret and mystical, internal processes; collectively, these rituals are correctly interpreted as the living out of the “hidden activities,” and “unseen spiritual doings,” which are the ultimate truths at work beneath our outwardly manifested lives, and are veritably the most essential underpinnings of our one true Faith.

We are to seek to act our way back into the Spirit of our God from the outward physicality of our bodies, just as God our Creator, and the ultimate Source of all of our thoughts and actions, both sets us out from Him, and also Himself seeks to set out to us to reclaim us back into Him, through our thoughts and our actions, and to pull us through His Spirit back inward and away from our external bodies, so that me may live as one through Him, and from Him, and in Him, He Himself being the single fundamental essence eternally indwelling at the very root and utmost peak of our immortal souls.

We meet our God halfway, and in this “hypostatic union” that is the enjoining of our own separate souls into one, we are thus united in this delicate balance, of a gentle, hovering, and inwardly levitating faith, which is essentially a deeply centered internal state, of the recollection of all of the parts of the soul to back within this sphere of God; to somewhere between Heaven and earth, between what is God and what is man, between what is Divine and immortal, and what is human and mortal, and into an established presence within this collaborative cooperation of an eternal relationship, and thus, into a fully-manifested, living, breathing, co-creation of an elaborate and fully-realized eternal ecosystem.  This realization of truth, is the Kingdom within, and it is the fruitful evidence of years upon years spent patiently and painstakingly developing, and nurturing, and caring for, and catering to, and carefully crafting out from within, a truly engendered and creatively cultivated prayer garden of peace, given as a gift of blessedness back unto our God, rapt as it were, in truest love.

And so, in revisiting the Gospel of John, in accordance with and in conformity to this general format and organizational layout illustrating the spiritual content of, and relationship between, the Old and the New Testaments, describing the manner in which God’s message was originally conveyed in the Bible, the consequences of the Pharisees in John 9 are not experienced physically, as they were so manifested materially and immediately for Gehazi in 2 Kings 5.  Rather, the consequences held in store for the Pharisees as described in the New Testament, are to be felt in a form much closer to God’s perspective of reality and His ultimate intended meaning for us and for what we are to understand of Him and His ways.  The Pharisees were destined to reap the rewards of what they had sown, as just deserts experienced not in the body, but in the soul, and so this devastation will not be felt in the present time, but indeed will instead become as a “darkness” in the Life to come.  And so, as Jesus describes of these men in John 9, although the blind man, who yet had righteousness and the true vision of faith, had his physical sight restored, the Pharisees, who professed to see and yet sinned against Him (or rather, more precisely against “Him,” Him being “YHWH,” Who is the One “Unseen”), were then spiritually blinded, as by the deceit and treachery which was thus dwelling in their own hearts and souls.  As Jesus went on to rebuke them, “For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and they which see might be made blind.”  Indeed, Jesus in truth relays the message of the Lord God YHWH, in saying that, “…If ye were blind, ye should have so sin: but now ye say, we see; therefore your sin remaineth.”

 

Saturday 1/26/19

Second Week/8: Day 1

Matthew 7:24-29.  Do I distinguish what is built on rock and what is built on sand in my own life?

24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:”

 

“An Ode to Peter”

 

This passage from Matthew 7 elucidates to me what is the final word and most vehemently phrased summation of Jesus’s teachings.  He exhorts His disciples, with the starkly cutting boldness of true authority on the matter, in this Way that is the Path of the utmost perfection, and finishes this discourse by further revealing one end note on the matter.  No matter how diligently they may work wonders, or prophesy, or “cast out devils,” in whatsoever form they may appear, particularly in the modern times of this day and age—if they seek not to do “the will of my Father which is in Heaven… then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Jesus puts it as clearly as if in black and white as He tells His disciples, here in Matthew 7, what is acceptable and what is human error, leaving no room for mistakes nor for any disputation in such discernment.  He then goes on to elaborate in describing the “fruits by which ye shall know them,” as to whether any such purported followers of Him are truly doers of the will of God, or merely workers of iniquity, as He details the practical results and real effects which will come about from following these practices that He sets forth as standards of conduct, versus neglecting to follow-through in adhering to these precepts.

One example of what it means to be like “a wise man, which built his house upon a rock,” so that when the rains and storms of trial and tribulation beat down upon him, his house fell not, not even in the midst of inner turmoil and the distress of most personal grief, nor with the outward persecution of a world turned truly upon its head in its madness for violence and destruction, with its own inhabitants embracing this deviance as they fled far from God, far from virtue, and far from all practices with any remote semblance of reasonable practicality or good purpose and productivity, without even the least bit of a toughened and condescending pity to be extracted from the most blessed tears of tenderness, through a begrudgingly made acknowledgment of some merciful goodness existing somewhere—one example of such a wise man is found in Jesus’s foremost disciple, Saint Peter.

As is recounted in Matthew 18, Jesus proclaims Peter to be such a man as is reliable and dependable, not through any particular virtue of his own, other than this one crucial foundation of honesty, which he expresses openly when he admits to Jesus, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”  This one fundamental part of life, that Jesus is the Christ and Son of the Living God, come to save us from our sins and bring us into the redeeming grace of God our Father as we follow Him in all of His ways and teachings, in holy imitation of this Heaven-sent ensample and gift to the world; this one fact of God in Christ Jesus, is truly the rock upon which a house, or a pious soul rather, may be built, to stand firm and devout and true in God’s Kingdom of Heaven.  Truly, a great house is to be built of the rock of Christ, as “in my Father’s house are many mansions,” just exactly as He describes in John 14, and He means to prepare in Him a place for us.

Jesus responds to Peter, after Peter so openly confesses Him to be the Christ, despite the fears that so naturally find a place in the human heart which would lead us astray, and despite the risk of doing so amidst the persecution threatened by the contempt and contention of the Pharisees, and so Jesus says to him of his confession, “upon this rock I will build my Church; and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”  This simple proclamation of Peter’s good faith, that Jesus is Christ, for Jesus truly is God in being the Son of God, is all that is needed to have a rock for a foundation of living, truly the “head stone of the corner, which the builders refused,” as He was so rejected by so many men, but yet is truly imperative in order to have a house in Heaven that will stand imperial with God in the splendor of His majesty, for He is of God, and rooted in God, and truly is God.

And just as Jesus professes unto them who seek not to do the Father’s will, “depart from me, ye that work iniquity,” as if to say, “Leave me, I never knew you,” so too will He confess the goodness of His true followers and those who truly know Him, as not just in the emptiness of vanity that it is to profess Him only in name, but in the “actuality” of truth and in the fullness of meaning that it is to profess Him in action and deed; as not just through founding their house upon Him, but then also through proceeding on into the Faith by living honestly and in holy imitation of Him, according to God’s will.

In this way, He responds to Peter, “Thou art Peter,” for Peter He knows insofar as Peter knows Him and confesses Him, and not only in the face of destruction, as was set forth through the intimation of the Pharisees against any such confession of Jesus being the Christ, as at the risk of being rejected and cast out from the Synagogue, but in word and deed also, as Peter most eagerly and earnestly follows after Jesus even to the blessed end of following in a holy martyr’s example after Him, flinging himself headlong unto his God and Master, in this most enthusiastic death of humble grace, just like Jesus, upon a Cross.  Yet nevertheless, the Cross of Saint Peter, is ever right-side up, as it is rather the world that is turned upside-down, and upon its own head, in this martyrdom of our Rock.

 

Sunday 1/27/19

Second Week/8: Day 2

Tetlow’s “Decisions and Choices.”  Do I let God guide me in making decisions?

 

“Strategic and Tactical: Practical Decision-Making Processes Made Spiritual!”

(Alternate Title: “A ‘Sophie’s Choice’ Scenario Finds a ‘Loophole’ in the Holy Trinity!”)

 

This article by Tetlow is very enlightening concerning the ways that one may know if one has acted according to the love of God, or for self-love, and is very clear in outlining three different types of decision-making processes, typifying them by the forces at play in influencing the choice that is ultimately made.  In short, one may most easily determine whether one has adhered to the will of God in coming to a decision by the results of that choice: when one is acting in line with God’s will, one will feel a greater sense of peace in doing so, while when one is acting as a free agent and according to one’s own selfishness, one will not experience this peace in finally coming to a firm resolution upon the matter.

An inwardly-experienced sense of peace and a calm state of deeply felt spiritual acceptance, as brought about through a deeply felt personal resignation of self-will in any strivings, or first movements, within one’s own will, as calmly refraining from exerting any influence over the outcome, is always the result of personal congruity of one’s own will with God’s will, in succumbing to His Own purposes for us.  This result of peace is always to be expected, even and especially when the final decision arrived upon may entail even more work, even greater challenges and difficulties, and much more strenuous struggles and efforts required of us on our part, in order to overcome these new obstacles and challenges that God may in fact will for us, in order that we may learn from them and that they may strengthen us.  This peace will result even from choosing the path of greatest difficulty, if that path is God’s will for us, because the peace to be found from any such decision making, does not come from the “correctness” of finally settling upon the “right” and correct choice, but rather, the peace results from our conforming, with unity, to the will of God itself, through this process of discernment in the matter.

In the first type of decision described in this article, the decision flows seamlessly and easily, with no shred of doubt ever even entering into one’s mind about the choice that one is making.  This choice flows naturally from God and is best considered to be a gift of the Holy Spirit.

In this example of the second type of decision described in the article, one works through difficult emotions, affective reactions to various factors, and must push through confusion, various competing desires or external influences, and different types of hopes, in order to eventually break through the impasse presented through this decision, and command a decisive grasp upon the best course of action by which to proceed.

This second type of decision—when one feels as though one is pushed and pulled around by many competing forces at play, requires careful consideration, serious focus, and most prudent consideration, with cautious discretion and coolheaded consultation of other, more qualified or better-informed, individuals and advisors on the matter than us, before one can expect to come to a balanced and well-reasoned, fully-informed decision.  In such a reasonable, rational, and knowledgeable mind-state, carefully weighing out all the logistics of each possible course, one is actually in the ideal position to make the best possible decision, even in the face of any of these various challenges, as that decision which will lead to the best possible outcome—which is to say, one will have all the skills and resources necessary to make the choice that will best fall in line with the will of God.

In a third type of decision, one will come to realize the decision to be made from a place of quiet and calmness, and one’s peace is not perturbed in considering and thinking through what this choice might entail, no matter how stressful or seemingly important and weighty the matter at hand may be.  Indeed, even at certain times when truly a great much is at stake, or in as grave a matter as it could be, as far as human concerns may go, this inner peace knows no distress nor disruption, and its soundness of mind and emotional balance remains intact throughout the duration of this decision-making process.  This state of calmness is maintained and regulated, despite the momentous gravity of the matter, as even in the midst of a crisis or in the trenches of an ominously looming calamity, it endures, unscathed; this is because it has been placed under “the light of faith and hope,” and we choose only for the love of God, such that it is this love of God itself calling the shots, and directing our every move, towards His Own desired outcome.  This is working in God and with God, from a state of grace; or rather, to be more exacting and to make these words more precise, this is God working in and through us, by placing us in that state of grace.

Now, back to the second type of decision; there are times when one may feel, as I have (as I am here actually describing my own experience on the matter), pulled about in every which way, and yanked around in every which direction, by God’s will even, as it were, yet for the very sake of actually removing these unwelcome and yet lingering, extraneous and external, inordinate and unseemly attachments.  The only force, influence, or motivating factor that ought to be at work in my life is the love of God, and the desire that I conform to His will and to literally “nothing else.”  When I feel pulled about in various directions, this is Him allowing me to see what, in fact (other than Him), does have a hold on me, and is exerting its unwanted influence upon these desires in my heart, which really should not be there at all, by pulling them about with my heartstrings to their external objects of these unwanted desires.  When I see what truly is influencing me, by being pulled from one side to another in trying to come to one single and firm decision, then I may with this new clarity cast those desires or motives out from my heart, after first coming to realize that they have made a place for themselves there, and then I may proceed in greater certainty, and with a less of an encumbrance holding my will back from conforming to that of God.

God will allow me to be pulled about like a puppet (or a marionette, really) by all these various threads, until I am so thrown about in all directions and to such an extent that they all must simply snap, and break off, and fall away, until only one is left, with this one now being my one truest desire (and the only “true” desire in fact), which is that desire (held now properly and according to His will, as in “singleness of vision”), for “God alone,” and to live in the fulfillment of His will always.  I will indeed be tossed about like a ship at sea until His solid and single string, to which I ought to cling with singleness of vision and perfect exclusivity of desire, is the only one that remains, as all the other unwanted attachments and threads that had been pulling upon me have now been severed, and scattered apart, and broken away, indeed by this very turmoil itself, of being pulled about as like in an emotional whirlwind.  I am torn apart from clinging first to one flailing about and hopeless decision, then to the next, in its alternative form or opposite option, as they are all yet equally unfulfilling and ultimately useless to me, for my purposes, in providing any relief with the resultant decision.  Any and all such choices that I could ever make, are all equally wretched, and worthless, and inherently unsatisfying, until at last they are all lost to me, save for One.  Thus, now, with indeed “all” the longing of my heart, I can finally be at rest, as I rest now singly, which is to say safely and securely, in this one decision, of choosing “God alone.”   And so it is, “God alone,” that is to be my heart, my hope, my destination, my death, and my One desire, in all of its unified and Trinitarian perfection of grace, as I seek only “His will,” and to serve Him, with all of my love, and in all matters of my life.

The truth be told, in many cases, the dissatisfaction and lack of fulfillment that may arise upon coming to a decision, arises in coming to many decisions which are both correct and good in being the most valid and viable choices.  One may often feel unfulfilled with a certain decision, not at all because it was a poor choice (when in fact it may have been the most excellent choice), but rather, because the origin of that goodness has been overlooked, and the goodness that was indeed “God’s role in it” has been left unrecognized, and remains as yet, unnoticed.  The desired outcome of any choice, is not even meant to be that solid outcome that comes from arriving upon a final decision in the matter at hand, whatever that matter may be; but rather, the result of the decision, ought to be this freedom that is God’s embrace.  The desired result of any decision-making process, is to emerge from that process so disencumbered that one may be freed from all attachments, any of which may draw me in any other direction such that they may all be, universally and unequivocally, categorized as, “away from God Himself and His will.”  It is in this way, that ultimately, the only desire in my heart and attachment to which I may claim a hold upon, or rather, that may claim a hold upon me, is God alone, and His will and preference; and it is to this that I cling but for love of Him, and at that, not even because I so love Him, but rather, because it was He first, Who has so truly loved me.

 

Monday 1/28/19

Second Week/8: Day 3

Brackley’s “Bias.”  What biases can I recognize within myself?  How do they hamper me in saying yes to God as I would like?

 

The idea of “unmasking the unconscious ignorance, falsehoods, and half-truths that stand between us and reality” really speaks to me.  I certainly see how it truly does require more than just “reason and conscious awareness,” or knowledge of self, to come to a solution that will resolve our errors in living, and dispel or correct the unconscious biases and false assumptions that underlie, and skew, and lead to errors, in our thinking.

The basic assumptions of our culture and society both envelop and become entangled within our own intelligence and imagination, such that the predispositions for erroneous prejudice that are instilled in our external cultures, are added upon our own personal and internal inclinations towards false assumptions, or biases upon a matter.  In order to disentangle ourselves from this “tangled web we weave,” of lies and deceit and inculcated sin, truly more than just a reasonable and rational mind is needed, for many of these harmful human biases and false presumptions have taken root in, and therefore have come to be constituent elements of, that very human mind.  One must search deeply within oneself, much more deeply than in just this one faculty of the intellect; one must go more deeply even than just a bit further on, into the visual imagination; one must go straight into the depths of the memory, of one’s deepest heart and spiritual soul, clamped tight through the power of the will, and find an opening and a place there in which the hope of God and faith resides, in order to discover, dispel, and root out all the weeds, and thorns, and thistle of any such biases—as any such predilections or predispositions towards error or injustice in judgment and discernment within us, indeed any such coloring of preference or prejudice within out mind-states, will ultimately keep us veiled over, hidden away, and barred off from God’s light of truth.  For God is “colorblind,” such that He works with justice and without bias.  God, in His dealings, expresses no favoritism, for as it is said of Him in 2 Chronicles 19:7, “…there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.”

These biases within our hearts, are presumptions and preconceived notions deeply embedded in our sense of personals identity, and so to question and uproot our biases and mistaken assumptions, feels to us as if to shake our very sense of self, and our sense of being, and indeed all of the security in life that we have hitherto known and experienced.  To question our fundamental and heavily value-laden judgments, of all of our “opinions” about other people, and the world, and our place in it, will lead us to feel as if a veritable and earth-shattering earthquake has shaken and shattered our very lives, in our foundations of being, and a sense of self; in both our understandings of our personal and human state of being, and our ultimate place in existence.

This rippling shake and jolting shock of fear, sent shooting and shivering down our spines, is sent as if upon realizing a mistaken identity within our “selves” that changes our entire worldview and internal schema of existence, as of how things work in the world, and of the true nature of our predetermined roles in the universe; yet this jarring internal quake must be experienced, with courage in God and with humility in self, as with steadfastness of heart we undergo this necessary and inevitable part of this process of life, and of self-discovery, and of learning, in God’s universe.  We undergo this process of personal change in order, ultimately, to reorder our disordered lives and our disordered selves, into this proper sequence, within a “surprisingly parsimonious and coherently logical,” hierarchical system of newly realized priorities, such that now God Himself takes the central role in our hearts and in our souls, and in this map of an internally-derived schema, outlining and organizing our orbit, that we project onto the outside world.

Upon this reordering of our lives in accordance with God’s plan, the pivotal “conversion of heart,” that truly depends upon change and personal transformation, can now begin to take place, and His unmistakable and healing gift of “agape” love, may now take effect.  We now swallow that lump of our souls, all choked up and caught up in our throat and in our hearts, and we allow God’s transcendent love to seep in and become absorbed within us—as like a gift of ardent and fiery faithful loving trust, reminiscent of manna and of the Eucharist, and which we truly need in order to complete our mission, and empower us for the arduous journey ahead.  This spiritual pilgrimage, of the journey from our exile here on earth to our divine hope of God in Heaven, is that of letting God define us and our worlds, as we let go of the idea that we could ever have been able to… “define ourselves.”

“…As, first and foremost, I am a child of God…”

 

Tuesday 1/29/19

Second Week/8: Day 4

Luke 9:12-17.  Jesus tells the disciples to feed the crowd.  They think they lack the resources but He shows them that with faith it can be done.  Have I experienced the power of faith to provide resources?

 

In this telling of the miracle of the loaves and fishes in the Gospel of Luke, about 5,000 men have gathered to see Christ, and “He received them, and spake unto them of the Kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.”  As the day draws to its end, His apostles suggest that they send the multitude away, to get lodging and food.

Jesus, however, tells His apostles to give them food.  The apostles only had five loaves of bread and two fishes, but regardless, they obey Christ and have the people sit down in groups of fifty, in the midst of this desert place to where they had come.  Looking up to Heaven, Jesus blessed the food and brake the bread, and gave these meager portions to the disciples to distribute among the multitude.  All the company of men and those present did eat, and all were filled, “and there was taken up fragments that remained to them 12 baskets.”  Almost as if to represent the 12 apostles who were willing and able to distribute, through faithful obedience, these pitifully insufficient resources to such a vast multitude of men, twelve delivery baskets returned, to glorify and praise the Lord, and the apostles too continued on in praise of Him, in returning to Him, remaining with Him, and being followers of Him (and in so doing, obeying Him just as He said).

The telling of this story is one of the most significant miracles contained in the Bible, if not just for the vast number of people who are present with Jesus to witness the miracle.  The actions of the apostles are indeed here grounded in faith, and not at all in the “leaven of the Pharisees,” of which they are told to beware, which is the power (or lack of power, really) of man.  The power of man would thus say, that with only five loaves and two fishes, 5,000 men could never be fed, and so the multitude must depart.  The power of faith (and of obedience not to one’s own thinking, but to the command of God), conversely, consists in obeying Christ and not the seeming reality of the temporal and corporeal world, because truly, as is described by Paul in Philippians 4:13, “as Christ strengthens us, all things are possible.”

All through the years recounted in these true stories of the Bible, there have always been people who have scoffed, and scorned, and laughed at that which God said He would have happen, but these apostles, now finally with the Christ in His thoughts and His teachings, obey Him (that is to say, God), directly, rather than obey the reasoning of their own limited mortal minds and merely human capacities.  As one example, Sarah, the wife of Abraham, laughed when she was told that she would bear a child in her old age, as is described in Genesis 18:13-14,

13 And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?  14 Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.

Indeed Zacharias also was struck mute by the angel Gabriel, for his disobedience to the belief of the angel’s words in saying that his wife would be with child at her advanced age, as is told in Luke 1:20,

20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.

Mary, meanwhile, in only inquiring as to “how” she as a virgin should come to bear a child, is told by this same angel, in Luke 1:37, that, “37 For with God nothing shall be impossible,” as if to echo the words of Saint Paul, or rather foreshadow them as it were, in the passage from Philippians.

Added unto these few instances of human unbelief coupled with the power of God, are centuries upon centuries worth of the works of God’s prophets, who were generally, categorically cast out, with disdain from the people as their messages were rejected, due not to the people’s scorn of prophets themselves, but due to the people’s scorn of that very Word of God which they were meant to deliver.  Indeed, also with Moses, and then later on with Samuel, God had to console His servants, for as it is described in 1 Samuel 8:7,

And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

And so there has truly been a very long history of God being rejected by His people, until at last His Son and the Word incarnate should finally claim us as His Own, and deliver us, like a message and like a newborn, as a gift back up to Him.

So Now, at last, as is described in Luke 9, with the Word made flesh having been delivered by the faithful obedience of Mary, Jesus dwells among His people, to be with them firsthand and in their same human form, to convey His message and teachings in as like and similar a manner as possible to those whom He would have receive Him—to truly connect, as seeing eye to eye and speaking heart to heart, with His creation, with no middleman to speak of who would come between this God and His people.  Yet, this finality of God’s presence, still does not ensure their obedience to God, rather than to their mistaken beliefs about how the world works, as Jesus goes on to explain as He warns His disciples not to proclaim Him to be Christ, in Luke 9:20-22,

20 He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God. 21 And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing; 22 Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.

Christ did indeed suffer many things, yet He came not to die, but to deliver “us,” as it were, to life, so that we may have it more fully; because as much as we had failed to understand God and keep up with Him in the past, so had we also been left behind as we forged ahead during Christ’s ministry, and on into the present times even, we are still left in the dark, as it is in the “leaven of the Pharisees,” and not in the power, and presence, and belief of God, that we (both current populations and his past apostles) have continued on, falling back rather into the dominion of the powers and principalities of the world, through our lacking of faith.  This quick regression of the apostles back into the world, as they are made absent from their faith, is recounted in this passage from Matthew 16:6-9,

Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?

Christ came, not to deliver a message, or even to break bread, but to break His back with tireless labor, suffering, and persecution; He came not to die, but to live in us, and to “deliver us” as His message of love and redemption to the Father, as a gift, of sacrifice and mercy, back up to “Him from whom all blessings come.”  In this gift of mankind, given from God the Son back to God the Father, we are redeemed in the sanctification of His Own blood and consecrated embrace of us through a willing martyrdom: and thus are we are made acceptable for the Father to receive, with pleasure and gratitude even, for the only gift worthy of being given to God, is that of God Himself.

And so Christ wraps up mankind into Himself, through the will of His gentle embrace, as we are enfolded into Him to be given as a gift of Himself, in all His holy completeness, to God—not because we are in ourselves any great gift to be given, but rather, because He in His loving goodness so desires to bestow a befitting gift upon God, in appreciation for His great goodness.  For this reason, most simply stated, “for the love and goodness of God,” we are now newly absorbed and immersed in Him through Christ.  Only in God, as Christ claims us not because we are worthy of being claimed, but merely so that He might have a suitable gift to offer up to the Lord God, both for His (YHWH’s) goodness and in His (Jesus’s) goodness—only in God, may we be seen as “good enough” and acceptable to be delivered to this great goodness that is the Father.

As all things come from God, out of His great generosity and most gracious goodness, we, as a display of gratitude and sincere humility, in expressing our desire to please Him (which is the true gift that He desires of us, just our own desire to please Him), give ourselves (in Christ) back to God, as “God” is the only gift worthy of being made acceptable as an offering to Him.  God is truly great, and only God Himself will suffice, as a pleasing sacrifice and sin offering, as the gift to be delivered back up to Him.  And so, we nurture His gift of Christ in our hearts, so that we may give it right back to Him (YHWH), to show our love and to express our praise; and because this is the example, that Christ first, has so set for us.  And so, as far as we are in Christ, in heart, mind, word, and deed, in being imitators of Him, thus are we in God, and so are we also with Him (Christ) in being destined to return that favor of God, back to God, in truth, in spirit, in love, and finally, in Heaven.

 

Wednesday 1/30/10

Second Week/8: Day 5

Luke 13:6-9. Jesus wants us to be fruitful.  He gives us another chance hoping we will respond to His care.  Recall Matthew 5:13-16: we bear fruit for others.

 

“16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

“8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: and if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.” (Luke 13:8-9)

 

In the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree, Jesus teaches us, or warns us rather, to be fruitful, just as He also does in John 15:5-6,

“5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”

Just as Jesus says that we are the salt of the earth, salt without savor cannot then be salted—it is good for nothing and ought to be cast out and trodden underfoot, like so much dust and ash.  If a man, as we are all human, has not that salt and spark of life, that is God embodied through Christ indwelling within the soul, then how shall he yet receive the teachings of God, of go on the perform the will of God, seeing as the power of God is not in him, in that he refuses to abide in the goodness of God?

The soul of such a man is like salt that has lost its savor, and it cannot then perform the function that it was meant to fulfill, namely to glorify the Father in Heaven through accepting and abiding in Christ (through imitation of His teachings), and being redeemed by Him in then going on in righteousness to perform good deeds, in truthfulness of heart, mind, and spirit.

The fire of the heart is the action of the soul (or, to be more precise, it is the action of God’s Holy Spirit, dwelling at the holiest and uppermost peak of the human soul), as it clutches tenderly to this spark and love of God, enkindling it gently with devotion, persistence, and honesty in all good works done with uprightness of spirit and moral integrity of character.

As with the salt that yet retains its savor, this it has because it abides in Christ, and like the fig tree given a second chance before it is to be cut down, like the malign soul of a man, so that it “cumbereth not the ground” where other goodly souls might very will bear fruit, if it can yet graft itself to upon the “true vine,” that is the honesty and goodwill engendered by and taught though, in all the fullness of perfection, Christ our Lord, then it may yet escape the threshing floor, wherein the useless and wretched chaff is to be burned in the unquenchable fire of God.

This chaff, and dross, and tarnish of earthly filth, which would encumber and conceal the glimmer and light of Christ, if it is merely grime and residue that has grown upon a good tree however, or upon a heart and soul of pure gold, it is merely burned away to the greater glory of that God within, who is the light of that soul, and so the soul yet remains, even while immersed in this very same unquenchable fire, which is the flame of God’s eternal and empyrean Holy Spirit.

When a soul abides outside of the goodness of God, it is naught but that very dross, whereas conversely, when a soul abides in the goodness of God through Christ, it is pure gold, be it covered with dross or not, and that dross and grime of self and of sin may yet perish, but not to that soul’s destruction or damnation; for that very soul will yet, all through the fire, remain intact, just to reveal this greater glory of God through the peeling away of such a husk of dross, in order to display in all its brightness, this most highly sought-after prize of “the glory of God.”  God shines in His gifts to us through each kernel of virtue that has taken shape upon this solid gold sheath of good fruit that is the soul beneath, and such fruit is much desired by Him, and is to be harvested by God and kept with Him, for it is His and it is of Him, and so this golden soul is to continue on with Him in abiding, just as it did on earth, in the Heaven to come.

A goodly soul shines brightly with the light and life of Christ, like a lamp set rightly upon a nightstand, for all to see, for it has nothing to hide.  The souls that are sown, not of the seeds of God, but of human vice and sinful avarice, are known to be the children of sin and not of God, because they themselves do the deeds and sow the seeds of sin and avarice, in so endeavoring to hide such a light as this that is of God, or to knock it down, and they work not to the Father’s glory, which is after all, what this little light of a goodly soul is actually meant to display in the first place!  As a soul abides in Christ, in heart, deed, and spirit, it has this “light within” that is freedom from sin.

If a tree or a soul, such as in the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree, be given a second chance, with more time, more unhindered solitude and personal space for internal and uninterrupted growth, and the good food of true nourishment that is fertilized soil, and yet still cannot graft itself onto the honesty and goodwill of a loving spirit, which is what dwells at the heart of Christ, then it is a soul that has lost its love, and “salt that has lost its savor;” it is good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden underfoot, in order to make room for new trees to be let in, who might, in their uprightness of nature, even while in the midst of this looming fear that is the threat of the threshing floor (and the prematurely-felt, most painful and palpable premonition of the visceral and purgative anguish that is associated with this fate), or rather due to the virtue of longanimity that is the most highly-prized and sought-after result of the knowledge of this “threshing floor,” produce longstanding and long-abiding, goodness of fruit.

 

 

Thursday 1/31/19

Second Week/8: Day 6

Matthew 7:24-29 (Day 1 again).  Do I distinguish what is built on rock and what is built on sand in my own life?

 

Jesus makes clear in this passage from Matthew 7, that, “24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:”

He speaks decisively, “as one having authority,” so to speak, in that He is not speculating nor conjecturing nor opening His statements up to debate or rebuttal, but speaking straight truths with which no man of good sense could dare to argue.

As He also declares in Matthew 7:18-20, “18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”  He speaks to His followers with the pure simplicity and parsimony of straightforward logic, both easy to comprehend in its natural quantitative formula, of predicates and consequents, and yet “mystically veiled,” as it were, with the content of a veritable parable.  These are straight truths, as like the good and wise Proverbs of Solomon, by which one may live to attain to that goodness of wisdom, as one sets his heart, and the watch of his prayerful vigil, by them, and yet the contents of these formulas of reasoning, set forth by Jesus, remains elusive and obscure, and only “obliquely” perceived, as if by peripheral vision, by even the most astute of these learned men of the Synagogue.  For these Pharisees, who stand by in the shadows to watch Him with sullen contempt as they fuel their own private fires of envy (for who had not wished to be that much-glorified and long-prophesied-of, “heir to the throne of David?’), cannot yet fully understand the wisdom of His teachings, because though their minds may be sharp, they are yet dulled and blunted through the waxy coating on their hearts, filled in and covered over like eternal graves, as by neglect and self-deceit as they fail to rise above themselves and their prideful egos to abide in God’s love and goodwill, and thus adhere to a clean and clear conscience through their motives and in their actual deeds.

As pertaining to this first lesson in Matthew 7, one must first refer back to Matthew 6:21-23, wherein it is said, that, “21 for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!”  This eye to which Christ refers, is the eye of the soul (or the eye of the heart, and the mind’s eye, which most naturally beholds that which one most truly desires), by which spiritual understanding may be reached; this eye is to be held in contrast to the eyes of the flesh, whereby things of the material world and sensible objects (those beheld by the senses) may be perceived.

This eye of the mind, heart, and soul, is a necessary means by which to fulfill the most crucial commandment, issued in Deuteronomy 6:5, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”  This is that very same “Great Commandment” which is retold by Jesus as the means by which one may hope to gain eternal life, and which He also reiterates in Matthew 22:26-40, in describing it as the “Great Commandment,” in response to this ignorant and pernicious questioning, “36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

It is indeed, this love of God, that cleanses and purifies our hearts and motives to bless us with goodness in our intentions and clarity in our consciences, as we are made clean through our desire for God, which desire (particularly when held in this most blessed state of “singleness of vision,” as held free and apart from any and all other desires), itself is the very gift of “wisdom,” which is granted by God’s Holy Spirit, to each of our own, individual and unique, immortal souls.

Now, with this background knowledge describing the essence of “this eye” of which Jesus speaks, and what is needed in order to achieve a pure and clean eye (through singleness of vision towards God), be it admittedly no easy task to master, as this is in fact the undertaking of the saints towards God’s preferred “unblemished” holiness in Christ, we now may properly dissect and interpret Christ’s first lesson, in Matthew 7:1-5, as follows:

“7 Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

This “beam” that Jesus describes, or this splintering off from the focus upon God in singleness and purity, is the deviation of sin.  Each man may be differentially burdened by the various sins most common to his own unique nature and station in life, as each of us bears our own Cross, and no two are ever quite alike.  As one views with the eye of the soul when it is still cluttered with the stray hairs of deviation, as into the temptation of impure thoughts, which may for these purposes (of achieving “divine union” with God), be analogous to sin, one is effectively blinded by those very same tendencies toward those particular sins when undertaking to form a sound judgment of another.  This dynamic, may be understood to be the very underlying essence of “bias.”

Just as “you spot it, you got it,” may be a plebian phrasing, we tend most often to see the flaws that we ourselves hold in our own hearts, as those flaws which most readily appear to us as the sins we see in others.  This sin, or “mote,” or “beam” and splinter, is a glare and a smudge in the lens and upon the windshield, so to speak, of the soul, and we will suffer to see it wheresoever we shall look until we find the courage to look within, confess it as our own, and pray for the grace and the diligence of effort to remove it.

Just as one with a predisposition towards laziness will unconsciously create an internal assumption, by which one will automatically see all others as being lazy also, whether they are or not, or a hedonist will assume that all others also wish for sensory pleasure to a fault, whether they do or not, until the sins of, as in these instances, laziness and worldly pleasure-seeking, are removed as desires from within one’s own heart and soul, one will not until then be able to behold so clearly what is true of one’s brethren, verses what is true merely of oneself.

In psychological terms, until we first receive healing for our own sins, we will quite naturally “project” these sins, as these flaws, these deviances, or these “issues,” perhaps rather unfairly, onto others.  Thus, in attaining to the “perfection” that awaits us on this path towards union with God, for only God is perfect, and He is so by virtue of His most perfect love, we must first take inventory of our “self” in order to get a good account of our own personal proclivities and tendencies to err, and thus see the true limits of our natural competencies, before we could ever hope to effectually advise or heal any other—lest we improperly prescribe for them, that treatment which would only ever be properly indicated, for our very own sins.

 

Friday 2/1/19

Second Week/8: Day 7

Luke 9:12-17.  Jesus tells the disciples to feed the crowd.  They think they lack the resources but He shows them that with faith it can be done.  Have I experienced the power of faith to provide resources?

 

“Grace and Sacrifice: The Wedding Supper of the Lamb”

 

Luke 9:17

17 And they did eat, and were all filled: and there was taken up of fragments that remained to them twelve baskets.

 

In this passage from Luke 9, I am most struck by the idea of the fragments that remained, after feeding the multitude, being taken up to them in twelve baskets, even though there had only been five loaves of bread and two fishes in the beginning.  This phrasing closely parallels not only the story of the cleansing of the ten lepers from Luke 17:12-19, of which only one of whom returns to glorify God and thereby receive his real salvation, but also the taking up of Elijah unto God, in a whirlwind of fire, as it is told in 2 Kings 2:29-31.  Jesus goes on to elicit a reference of this Old Testament figure of Elijah (who soon after actually appears together with Moses, in Jesus’s transfiguration upon Mount Tabor, as described in Luke 9:29-31), as he inquires of his twelve disciples, whom the people say that He is, versus whom they know Him to be, as follows in Luke 9:18-21.

The meaning that I extract when I read into all three of these instances taken together, of the returning of the twelve baskets, the return of only one of the healed lepers to glorify God, and the taking up of Elijah into Heaven, is, ultimately, the idea of grace combined with sacrifice.

The relationship between these two concepts, of grace and sacrifice, Jesus then goes on to demonstrate, in all its sublimity and divine perfection, thus containing within His one final sacrifice all the significance and symbology held within the Old Testament, to both foreshadow and prefigure His coming, and to represent His ultimate purpose, as both our glorified and heavenly High Priest, and the unblemished sacrificial lamb brought to slaughter.

As Jesus goes on to describe in Luke 9:23-24, “23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it, ” He is setting as Himself the example of sacrifice for us to follow, in laying down this corruption and mortality of our humanness, to then be taken up with Him, as in His resurrection from the death that is the sin inherent in human life.

As we, like the disciples, trust not in earthly resources, as in the logic that five loaves could not possibly feed 5,000 people, but rather reject this inferior reality that a mortal mind would apprehend, with merely human understanding and vision through the eyes and workings of the flesh, we then go on to deny our selves, as we in just this way truly are insufficient in grace and in merit to be sacrifices worthy of salvation.

As we lay down our selves and our own meagre resources of merely sin-ridden mortality, or just five loaves and two fishes, as it were—which surely could not feed such a multitude—and put instead our faith and our lives and our souls and our hope in Christ, for salvation and sufficiency, in feeding such a multitude or in being acceptable to “merit” (as by grace) entry into the arms and Kingdom of the Father; truly as we trust not in ourselves but in the example and sacrifice and belief in Christ as being that one true sacrifice, that envelops us, gathering us up into Him so that He may bring us in Himself to the Father, enrobed in the red charity of His own worthiness (as in being God the Son, He is naught but worthy); as we do so lay down our lives and our faith in ourselves, to be taken up in Him, thus are we as such: “Saved.”

In this way, through His ultimate priestly sacrifice of a perfect lamb, for it is truly God being sacrificed in Christ’s offering, the grace of belief in Him, is meant not for us as a gift to our own selves, but rather, this grace of belief, is meant for us to give as a gift back to the Father.  This grace is to be used in such a way that we may continue on in confidence through Him to Heaven after death, and in patience through humility for the remainder of our wretched life here on earth, to bring this gift of grace, that empowers us to do all such marvelous things, back up to the Father at the time of our departure from the exile that is our life here, upon this fleeting and temporal world.

Thus, through grace, we shall not be left shamefaced, emptyhanded, and dismantled in our eventual return to Him Who made us; but rather, as a goodly Church of His children and as a worthy bride in Spirit, we may return back to the Bridegroom our God, with the very gift that He bestowed upon us to bring to Him for this very purpose—that we shall present “Him” to Himself, as our “true merit.”

We as ourselves may both be, and come back to Him bearing, just this—the dowry of perfection.  For it is God in Christ that we bring back to Him as this offering of perfection, so that we may not feel naked, but rather, that we might be given the Light to experience ourselves in such a manner that we might actually “feel worthy” of His most ultimate and sublime presence, and so actually enjoy it.  We proceed in His gift to us of grace, so that we may present Him back up to Himself, with truth and joy, and as a gift for that “glorious union” that is to be expected in Heaven, whereby we shall all receive eternal happiness in Him as we share in this “Wedding Supper of the Lamb,” that is our heavenly altar of the eternal communion to come.

 

(Resources and Reference List:)

Luke 9:18-21

18 And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am? 19 They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again. 20 He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God. 21 And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing.”

Luke 9:29-31

29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. 30 And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: 31 who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.

Luke 17:12-19

12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: 13 and they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. 14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. 15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. 17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. 19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

2 Kings 2:29-31

11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

 

Saturday 2/2/19

Second Week/9: Day 1

Luke 10:25-37.  The Good Samaritan.  “Who is my neighbor?”

 

Luke 10:36-37

“36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.”

 

Matthew 12:46-50

46 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. 47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. 48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? 49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! 50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

 

“The Good Samaritan”

 

This parable of the Good Samaritan is reminiscent to me of the passage from Matthew 12:46-50, wherein Jesus rather rebukes His disciples when He is told that His mother and brethren wish to interrupt Him, and thus retorts, “Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?”  Truly, Christ is the Son of God, and so, as He reminds them of His purpose, which is not to placate and appease the crowds, nor either to refrain from teaching, so that the quickly-gathering multitudes might just as quickly disperse (as would be much to the relief of His rather unsettled and markedly ashamed family, who blush with embarrassment at His fast-approaching renown and rather wish for the discontinuance of His preaching).  But rather, His purpose, as the Son of God, is to do the will of the Father, and moreover to publicly proclaim God’s will, and the path to salvation and the Kingdom of Heaven, in His openly-held teachings, and so He continues on and says, “…whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”  For, after all, as He would later indicate in Matthew 13:57, “57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.”

In this parable of the Good Samaritan, wherein He describes “who is His neighbor,” as in the elaboration that He gives in Matthew 12:46-50 upon the question of, “who is my mother and brethren,” the answer that He gives to both questions, although worded differently, is yet one and the same.  His neighbor is, “he that showed mercy,” and His brethren is “he that does the will of God.”  This somewhat seemingly obvious distinction upon the matter, was in fact actually pivotal, and indeed rather revolutionary, because of the tightly-held conformity to tradition that was so commonplace, and indeed extremely prevalent, at that time.

In the time of Christ’s ministry, the vain appearance of possessing merely “group membership” in that land, was held to have almost the same level of prestige as possessing actual and internal religious “virtuosity,’ and the claim to this “false virtue” (of being an Israelite and a “son of Abraham”), was entirely dependent upon belonging to the tribe of Israel, or to a particular sect within this close-knit clan of people, regardless of personal character or goodness of spirit.  All prestige, or “merit,” or esteem or personal worth, or even public acclaim, was based first solely upon this superficial fact of tribe-membership, and then further, upon outward, ostensible, and artificial appearances, rather than upon any truth in real and spiritual virtue, or “grace,” or any other means by which “real merit” and value, and not just empty pride and vacuous, blustery vanity, could be attained.

The Samaritans, as an example, were looked down upon with undue bias and unrighteous prejudice, as without any good reason based upon sound rationality and just judgment, but merely because they were not a part of the Israelite’s “in-crowd.”  Jesus casts shame and doubt upon this system of bigotry that was long-held as a “tradition” (a tradition of man, however, and not a tradition of God), by the Israelites, in thus giving His disciples this parable of the “Good Samaritan.”  This parable contains an example of a priest, and of a Levite, embraced members of the “in-crowd,” both of whom however, fail to do the will of God.  These instances He then contrasts with this example of a Samaritan, truly a shunned and rejected “outcast” member of their notoriously exclusive society, as belonging to the “out-group” of the Samaritan people, yet who does the will of God.  The will of God is love, and to show mercy, and so this “Good Samaritan,” whom they would have wished to reject, is yet at heart truly more their neighbor and their brethren than their own “factually” blood-born relatives.

For we have many instructors, and masters, and earthly relations, or “dads and step-fathers” if you will, but we have only one true “Father,” who is our ultimate Creator and Father in Heaven.  As now we cling to our one true Father, all of our previously-held as “factual” beliefs, yet which were in truth only “factually” vain and discriminatory views, as biases, prideful errors, and mistaken beliefs based upon false assumptions, all of which were generated from this vanity of conceit and elitism and the errant and erroneous striving for “group membership” or belongingness, even at the risk of forsaking an adherence to God’s good will—all of these views are all quickly shattered, and shaken, and dispelled, and ultimately (yet now with good reason), rejected.

Our understanding of what true family is, based now first upon this one fact of who our true Father is, is thus newly beheld, as like in the lightbulb flash of that much-besought “eureka moment” of an internal revelation, and so by the truth of God, new Light is shed upon this age-old question: What is family, and what is the will of God?

“Catholic,” means, most simply put, “Universal,” and so whoever resides in this spirit of “universality” and most ultimate inclusivity, desiring not that elitism and prestige of “favor” (or “favoritism,” more aptly put), that is only held at such value by virtue of it being bestowed only to upon a certain and select chosen few; but rather, one who so desires that all people receive this same gift and “favor,” in the spirit of true felicity that is the tender love and mercy of God’s grace, such that “none be left behind” from His great and all-encompassing, boundless, merciful compassion; truly such a one is an actual and verifiable child of God, for this divine embrace of most heavenly universality, thus so embodies the truth of the will of God.

God’s will, of perfect love, and ultimately, forgiveness for sins, bestowed freely and without discrimination nor “regard for persons,” to all of His creation and children here on earth, as “universally”—is what ought to be the will of any true “Catholic,” be those children the offspring of the Catholic Faith, or the products of any other such Christian denomination, or even the children of some strange and, as yet, undiscovered faith, in themselves claiming only “a lack-thereof.”

Truly, whosoever embodies this spirit of universal inclusiveness, embracing the truth that is the boundlessness of God’s omnipotent love, and desires that all of God’s children be called back unto Him and into a state of grace, is of one of God’s family, for thus so does He do the will of God.  Shrugging off that air of exclusivity and prestige (that is actually just the sin of pride or vanity) that was so marked in the tone of the Israelites, Jesus rather teaches us, that anyone showing mercy to any of this “Church,” that is the assembly of all of God’s children here on earth, so does the will of God; and such a one as this, truly is His brother’s keeper, and in truth is a child of God, and is most veritably, a member of this Church, that is the “body of Christ.”

 

Sunday 2/3/19

Second Week/9: Day 2

Luke 10:38-42.  Martha and Mary.  Priorities and balance—I consider my own.

 

Luke 10:40-42

“40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

 

Matthew 6:31-34

“31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

 

“Our Daily Bread”

 

This passage from Luke 10:38-42, is a useful illustration, held up to contrast the activity of Martha, with that of Mary.  Martha is much caught up in the mundane hassles and earthly busyness of everyday life, truly, being trapped and blind in the hustle and bustle of merely human affairs, through her preoccupation with “much serving.”  Mary, on the other hand, in a manner starkly symbolic of a monastic or contemplative lifestyle, chooses rather to sit at the feet of Jesus, in order to hear His Word.

When Martha sees that Mary is attentive to the Christ in the hearing of His Word and in His ministry of teaching and preaching, she implores the Lord to bid Mary to help her with the serving, in these worldly tasks of kitchen work and household duties.  Christ, however, true to His nature, rather admonishes Martha for being so deceived by the world as to be distracted from the Word of God, and so overly caught up in these trivialities that may provide for the body, but can offer no nourishment nor sustenance for the soul.  For as it is written in Deuteronomy 8:3 and reiterated in Matthew 4:4, “…Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

Truly, the anxieties, and troubles, and doubts, and vexations, and inconsequential fleeting little fears of this life are but foolishness to Christ, who possesses all faith in God.  Indeed, Christ also had in a like manner been so taken aback by the doubt, fear, anxiety, and sorrow of His mother, in the episode of the “Finding in the Temple.”  “Why were you worried, for where else could I have been?”  This precocious little twelve-year-old Christ child, and rather comedically-aged “teacher-in-training,” had wondered over the seeming lack of faith indicated by the genuine concern of His truly frantic and frazzled, worried mother.

The worries and cares of this world, are seen in the light of faith and through the eyes of this God, the Son, as being an endless and fruitless path down the road of temptation and deviation from things spiritual.  This work and worry of catering to the “cares of the world,” breeds those thorns and briars that choke out the Word, whether it be planted in the good soil, of the soul within the heart, or not.  Likewise, in Matthew 6:31-35, Jesus rebukes us for worrying after what we shall eat, and what we shall wear, and any manner of like frivolities and useless concerns that may branch out and away from God in this manner of thinking, into the fruit (or fruitlessness, more aptly put) of doubt, fear, anxiety, and deception, that is the “bad fruit” of a mind devoid of faith and instead devoted to inane material cares and immature earthly desires.

Jesus, is not, however, without empathy for our wayward minds, and He is not ignorant of the tasks inherent in survival, custom, and civility in this life here on earth, and the service due also to man, after that which is due to God.

“One thing is needful.”  This is the truth of a statement put forth by Saint Teresa of Ávila, and echoed in an angelic chorus by a vast army and host of saints and martyrs— “God alone is enough.”

The concept of prioritizing one’s life, is a matter of prime importance, as that which we put first, is indicative of where our heart is.  The idea of “saving the best for last,” as like a reward for one’s efforts, is almost always merely an excuse for a means of avoidance, whereby the results are deferred to the point that they are rarely if ever seen to fruition.  Moreover, this mentality is most imprudently and extremely improperly applied to any matters of spiritual concern, and, on the whole, such a principle may be better left to those most practiced and adept in time-management skills.  As we are urged by Christ to “seek first the Kingdom,” after the which all else shall be added unto it, if we do not begin in our days and in our hearts with a focus upon God and the “serving” of His will, we will be ever absent from His heart and from the Kingdom (in not first placing ourselves there with our intentions, to stake our claim in that holy spiritual soil of the soul), and consequently, we shall be forever doomed to abide instead, not in Him, but in the service of our own wills, and of men, in merely human doings, and not at all in the purity and blessedness of spiritual affairs.

Just as was demonstrated through the manna that God gave his people to eat in the desert, during the pilgrimage to the promised land recorded in the Book of Exodus, we are not intended to provide for ourselves; as we are not in fact even permitted to gather more “manna,” or provisions, victuals, and supplies, for more than one day.  The fact that the manna would “go bad and spoil” if we took more than our share of “our daily bread,” to try to save it for the next day, is symbolic of God’s purposes towards us.  Truly no more was to be allowed than that which was enough for just one day, for the “taking of thought thereof,” in trying to secure food for ourselves, is selfish, and self-serving, and non-spiritual in nature, as it is evidence of a doubt in God’s will to provide for us, and is indulgent in the “entertaining of doubts” more so than in the “entertaining of men.”   Indeed, “the evil thereof,” of taking thought for ourselves and for our necessities rather than for our souls and our spirits, for just one day, is “sufficient unto itself,” and truly is more than enough.

Only enough manna for just one day was to be gathered, for in hoarding provisions, one might sin in trying to rely upon oneself, rather than upon His Word to command that the heavenly food appear, as He had in good faith promised.  In this way, the impermanence of the manna is indicative of God’s will, as we may ascertain from the impermanence of His heavenly food and its imperviousness to our greed, that we are not intended to take more thought and busyness in material matters than what just one day could contain.  Also in like fashion, it is to be further inferred that it is God’s intention that we shall we see to it that we do provide for our souls and our hearts that which is truly “needful,” so that we might bear lasting and eternal fruit in the Kingdom of Heaven.

We attend to the service of the Word of the Lord, first and foremost in our hearts and in the ordering of our days around our God, and we let Him in His good will provide for us, one day at a time “our daily bread;” as after this fact, all else within His will (and not just ours), shall in the most pleasing and suitable manner, as in the Wisdom of Solomon or the splendor that clothes the lilies of the field, be added unto us.  For who shall provide for us better than “our Father Who art in Heaven?”  And what service do we owe any other, if not first coming from our service to the will of God?  As such, it is well said, that, “…Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

 

Monday 2/4/19

Second Week/9: Day 3

Matthew 13:1-23.  “Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.”  What am I seeing?  What am I hearing?

 

“The Parable of the Sower: It’s Not Like It’s Brain Surgery!”

 

Jesus here says that He speaks to His disciples in parables, so that not all may understand, but those to whom it is given (by the Father) to understand, being deliberately obscure to His public audience, and in this way fulfilling the prophecy that, “they may see but not perceive, and hear but not understand,” for their hearts have waxed gross, and their eyes have closed, lest He should heal them and they be converted.  For if they all were to see eye-to-eye, and understand Him and His teachings as with love and empathy, or heart-to-heart, as it were, they yet should not have proceeded to crucify Him.

The Parable of the Sower, does provide clarity into the method of Jesus’s teaching, albeit “true to form” and somewhat obliquely as Jesus tells it, as this parable both gives insight into the method of His distribution of His Word into the hearts of His followers, and highlights His purposes in His use of parables in this dispersal.

His Word is the Wisdom of truth at once apprehended as such by the understanding of the soul.  This faculty of the soul for understanding, is the means by which truths are made self-evident.  Only if it be the will of the Father, will this gift of the Holy Spirit, and grace of an open heart, and “eyes that see,” meaning eyes of the soul that behold God’s truth, be received; and therefore, this gift of spiritual knowledge and the understanding of Jesus’s teachings, is dispersed differentially (and for reasons only known to the Father in His great wisdom and mysterious ways) among His followers.  In this way, some at once perceive the meaning of His parables, for “the Truth” of Him and His Word and His teachings, is likewise in them, as the means by which that which He conveys is understood, reveals in their hearts, His “mysteries.”

Truly, this special faculty of the soul’s understanding and “open eyes within,” is the wisdom granted and the heart opened through God’s gift of the Holy Spirit in their souls.  This Holy Spirit indwelling at the peak of the soul of man, is like a specialized receptor upon a neuron in one’s brain, with God’s Word as being like a certain chemical, or “neurotransmitter,” that cannot be transmitted nor received but through this specialized receptor, of God’s Holy Spirit.

Some chemicals and neurotransmitters are somewhat universal, and can be received by all receptors, as some knowledge is made common and readily available to all; but other chemicals or neurotransmitters, are specialized, and can only be received by their own particular, type-specific receptors.

To illustrate, let us here compare the universal inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitters, of GABA and glutamate respectively, which are non-specialized and therefore can bind to most any receptors in the brain, as these chemicals are common to most all receptors, to certain other types of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin or norepinephrine, which are type-specific, in that they can bind only to their own particular, specialized and unique, types of receptors.

In this way, the Word of the Lord, is like a certain “type-specific” neurotransmitter, say dopamine for instance, and therefore it cannot be received by just any receptor on any neuron in the brain (or the heart and soul, as it were), but can only be received by these special dopamine receptors in the brain.  And so, in this same way, if “it” is not given by the Father (the “dopamine receptor” of His Holy Spirit), then His seed and His Word cannot be received into this “good soil” of the soul, because the listeners to His Word have not the proper “dopamine receptor,” or “receiver of the Holy Spirit,” by which to receive His Word into this “good soil.”

Just as God had rebuked Moses when prying into His ways (although He still desires of us to plead for His mercy upon others), “I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy,” meaning that it is not for us to know, and none of our business, as to “why” His Word is revealed to some and not to others, it is likewise not meet for us to know all the mysteries of His internal workings.  Still however, although the “why” of His ways may yet remain elusive, and by His will, beyond our reach, the “how” of His ways, is knowledge that, like in the angel’s Annunciation to Mary, may yet be revealed; as according to His good pleasure, it is His will that at least this much be made known.

And so, in the Parable of the Sower, we can ascertain that we ought to pray for His gift of understanding wrought by His Holy Spirit, so that our hearts may be opened, our eyes may see, and our minds may apprehend the “meaning” of His words, and so that they may take root within us, within that “nucleus” that is the “soul” within the cell body of our invisible spiritual hearts, and so bear good fruit in His eyes, to be harvested for us, as our own personal reserves, and storehouses, and mansions even, containing the true riches, of spiritual virtue, in Heaven.

 

Tuesday 2/5/19

Second week/9: Day 4

Mark 10:34-45.  The request of James and John: “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.”  “Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.  For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.”  What are the requests I make of Jesus?  Would they cause indignation from others?  Are my desires the same as the desires of Jesus?

 

“On Desire.”

 

When James and John come to Jesus, to ask a favor of Him, from the very start, their words and actions rather reek of the conspiracy that is inherent in the company of man if left outside the presence of God.  Surely no man without the added courage from the added numbers, of being of a crowd of men rather than alone, would be possessed of the audacity to come to Jesus asking for “special treatment,” above that to be expected by His other disciples.  But when men are left to the company of themselves, the testimony of the heart of man is yet revealed.

Nevertheless, James and John request of Jesus to flank Him on either side upon His throne, to bask in and partake of His glory with Him.  The cleverness of their approach, wherein they first ask that He grant their desire, before then presenting their desire, is enough of a testament against their request, as such a one is so ill-portended of in its lack of transparency, straightforwardness, and forthright, candid honesty.

On a side note, it is funny, however, that Jesus responds with denial to the unrighteous request of James and John, with just the same sort of words that He later uses to assent to the request, of the blind Bartimæus, to be healed.

I am so inclined to speculate that James alone, or John alone, would not have had the gumption to approach Jesus, the just judge and High Priest, who shows no partiality nor respect for persons, and ask for special favors giving them a higher prestige and distinction (and without merit at that!), over their fellows.  This event reminds me of the passage in the Gospel of John, wherein He partakes not in the company of men, for He already bears testimony of what sort of thing (and exactly this sort of thing!), resides in their hearts.  As it says in John 2:24-25, “24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25 and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.”

What this request of James and John does highlight, however, is the root of such a folly that one may in hindsight so endeavor to avoid in so trying to achieve righteous merit, rather than unrighteous “Lordship” over others.  The key word in their request, was this: “desire.”  It is no new philosophy nor profound discovery unique to the Christian religion that there lies danger lurking just beneath this seemingly innocent and innocuous human sentiment, of desire.  Indeed, just the experience of “desire” for oneself provides sufficient evidence against it as a path leading to any true or lasting satisfaction; as any such wrongly-directed desires, breed not the anticipated satisfaction from the eventual satiation of those desires, but only this: the misery and suffering of endlessly, more desires.

Desire.  It is, truly, if improperly bridled, controlled, directed, and reined-in, the root of all human suffering to be known in this life; thus the Christian practices of detachment, asceticism, renunciation of worldly things, and the mortification of “self,” meaning selfish wants, and indeed, any such of these sins, which we, most accordingly to our state of sin, prefer to merely call “desires.”

The most famous psalm of David, wherein he prays, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want,” is not only taken to be a hymn of praise, wherein he glories that God alone truly is enough, and once God is known, there is nothing more to be desired of in life but to please Him, to serve His good will, and to glorify Him as our Lord and God.  But rather, this statement made of David in Psalm 23, could be taken more precisely as a veritable command—such as in the Ten Commandments issued through Moses, wherein it is ordered by God that, “Thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not bear false witness…”  In just this manner, it could be taken that, according to this “command-style” sentiment issued from God, as He plays upon the tender heart-strings of His great instrument, the great psalmist and prophet King David, we are indeed receiving an order (and this is not just David expressing a passive sentiment, one of deep gratitude), in the poetic statement, “Thou shalt not want.”

The most useful prayer to be issued to the Lord, in just this spirit, is not that He grant us our desires, but rather, that He remove from us these wants, and free us from the slave master’s hold that they justly wield over us, subject as we are to them through our own willing indulgence in them, without practice of self-restraint in our hearts, minds, and actions.  When I feel a desire for anything that is not “just God” and the service of His will rather than mine, I immediately acknowledge such as desire as a sin in my heart and an inkling of a “first movement,” as that of my soul away from prayerful recollection in Him; as through this movement of my thoughts, I thus stray away from abiding in Him, and pass back out through this “gateway” of my free will into the path of “temptation,” that is more correctly termed “unrighteous desire”—a seeking for that which one does not yet possess.  For “God Himself,” Whom we are so to desire, is yet present now, as always, in all completeness, and in all things.

The hope of perfect union with God, is rightfully seen to be the only “righteous desire,” as the only one worthy to be embraced within one’s heart, and this desire is ever so delightfully granted to us by God, through our corresponding embrace of the Cross, in treading willingly the path of Christ.  In this wisdom we choose to follow Christ, and at that, to our credit, because we could just as easily instead stray from His Shepherdship, and tread down that path of empty striving; down the path of useless worldly concerns, with its endless array of fleeting and futile earthly desires, which only ever leave us inherently unsatisfied, because these pursuits are in themselves, inherently unsatisfying; these pursuits are essentially non-spiritual in nature, and are composed of merely human, or temporal, “wants.”  For only “God alone” is the portion that could ever adequately satisfy our fill in these earthen vessels that we are, destined, as it were, to contain, not merely the fleshly wants that are the sins of man, but the eternal virtues, that are so much more becoming of us, as the “spirits and souls” of man, which we were so destined to become.

 

Wednesday 2/6/19

Second Week/9: Day 5

Luke 9:57-10:12.  “I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves.”  Do I wish to be sent?

 

Luke 9:62

“62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

 

“The Kingdom of God is Yet Within; The Kingdom of Heaven is Yet to Come”

 

This selection from the Gospel of Luke, wherein Jesus sends out the 70 disciples, two-by-two, is reminiscent to me of the building of Noah’s Ark, wherein he collects all of the animals to be saved from the great flood to come, and then has them enter the “Ark of their Salvation,” two-by-two.  Jesus instructs these 70 to go to each of the surrounding cities, preaching the Kingdom of God, earning their keep, and healing the sick.  He tells them that if a city receives them not, then they are to wipe the dust off their feet as a testimony against them—an insult well-known to the Jews of that day—and to tell them that the destruction awaiting them is to be greater than that visited upon the city of Sodom, in the time of Abraham and of Lot.

These workers, are sent to bring the “select animals” into “Noah’s Ark,” or to save the children of righteousness from an earthly destruction like that of Sodom, by forewarning them of the safety to be found in the Kingdom of God (which is “within,” meaning that the “Kingdom of God,” is found “within one’s own internal and immortal soul”).  In just this way, “one who lays hold upon,” the means by which, not only salvation from these evils is attained, “having put his hand to the plough” as it were, but also the means by which the Kingdom of God is entered, wherein is to be found the peace that surpasses all human understanding (truly, not only herein escaping Hell, but also thus attaining to Heaven)—one who so enters the Kingdom of God, and then yet turns back from it—truly such a one is not fit for the Kingdom and is not worthy of God.

Just as the wife of Lot, who turned back to behold the burning city of Sodom (after having received salvation from it!), was then instantly killed, and turned into a frozen pillar of salt, in just this way, so too he who finds such rest in the peace and salvation of God, and yet then turns back from Christ, and from God, back to the world of sin and of death—is not worthy of God, nor of His “Kingdom of Heaven” that is to come.

This saying at the end of Luke 9, verse 62, seems to me as like an analogy for the experience of contemplation in God; as for laying hold of, for just one instant even, that state of supreme rest found of centeredness in Him, and attaining to that extreme recollection of my soul into His, this is the true peak and holy pinnacle of both the practice of contemplative prayer, and the humble living of a pious Christian life: to achieve the sanctity of this “divine union” with God.

When one has at first had a taste of the inexpressible sweetness that is the inwardly felt touch of God, truly nothing else will ever then suffice, nothing else could ever compare, nothing else could ever even come close (for this is God felt within the soul—the goal truly of all religious human striving), and all else in the world is then amounted to only so much variation in its ultimate essence, of mere “dust and ash.”

To choose to turn back from God, to “look back after putting my hand upon the plough,” after beholding Christ and experiencing God—would then make me to be as no more than that very dust and ash from whence I came—and my life then, in choosing not God while yet having full knowledge and acute awareness of Him—would be as if “frozen in death,” as it were, like a pillar of salt.  In turning back from the Kingdom within, I would be as no different from that very wasteland of Sodom, or the wasteland of this world even, for it is a wasteland in that it consists not of God, but of sin and of man; for in being merely “His creation,” it is indeed truly distinct from “God Himself,” as being “our Creator.”  This world, and this life, is such that, if laid upon “without God” (or “outside of God,” as it were, as it is such that He dwells within my soul and within my heart)—even if my life possessed all of the riches to be had in this world, it would still be amounted to just this: mere “dust and ash.”

 

Thursday 2/7/19

Second Week/9: Day 6

Mark 10:34-45 (Day 4 again).  The request of James and John: “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.”  “Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.  For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.”  What are the requests I make of Jesus?  Would they cause indignation from others?  Are my desires the same as the desires of Jesus?

 

Mark 10:43-45

“43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 44 and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. 45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

 

“The Greatest Among Men”

 

Jesus is very clear to His disciples of His intentions while here on earth, of the things that He sees as being valuable verses the “things that the Gentiles seek,” and of what He considers it to be that one should be, as “great among men.”

Jesus came to serve mankind, and not to be served; He came to give to us, and not to take from us; He came to empty Himself out of His divine nature to be swallowed up in death—death upon a Cross, and so to His shame, no less—so that in the grip and the jaws of mankind’s most vicious fear and foe, He might transform this imperious “death,” through His experience of it, into His own servant and slave, mastering it and conquering it for us with His resurrection, to thereby conquer our own greatest fears and foes through Him.

Christ came not to be treated like a God, but to show us how to treat each other like men.  It was God’s will for us that this cloak of humanity with which we are covered might not be worn to our shame through the mortality of death and sin, but rather, in shrugging off the value that we mistakenly attach to this earthly life, in so clinging to the fleshly façade and covering of our humanness, we might in like fashion with Christ, rather than being swallowed up in fear and in death, rather rise up through it, as the means by which we act truly as servants of Thee, O Lord; as we are thus made subject unto no such sin of man, nor fleeting imperceptibility to the immortal soul, as a mortal death to the apparition of its outer covering.

Indeed, “no man can serve two masters…” but in the service of God, we serve the souls of man, and suffer not to be so led astray as to claim bondage to the fear of mortality, nor to the sinful influences of those who would wish to be our masters, for the only Master we serve is He Who has power over all and has claimed victory over death with the immovability of His own grasp—that of eternal life.

In taking after Christ, and being, as St. Paul said, “imitators of Christ and of him,” we can value not in good conscience the earthen vestment of this life, for it is but a veil and veneer and a mere shadow or semblance, made in likeness like an undercurrent, of the brightness of the better things to come.  As a sun casts its shadow upon the earth, so too are we cast from the light of our God—though we are destined not to live in the shadows, but rather to rise in Christ through the lowering of our selves, with all detachment and humility, to be ultimately and justly embraced by Him and enshrined from the inside with eternal light, as it is the life of Him whose Cross we so embraced that embraces us back, and thus becomes the life of us.

No man is enthroned with Christ as man, but all men are entombed with God in faith, such that the light of the risen Christ might shine in being enthroned by us, with our own risen hearts.  “The least of men is the greatest in Heaven.”  Only God is great, and so the least of men in Heaven, who therefore shines forth the most of God, is deemed to be the greatest in Heaven.  To be in the greatest part as God, we must be in the least part as man; and in being the least like men, we may be the most like God.

 

John 3:30

“30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

30He must become greater; I must become less.”

30He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.”

 

Friday 2/8/19

Second Week/9: Day 7

Luke 9:57-10:12 (Day 5 again).  “I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves.”  Do I wish to be sent?

 

Matthew 10:16-17

“16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;”

 

Luke 17:5-10

“5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. 10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.”

 

“Faith the Size of a Mustard Seed”

 

In this story from Luke, where Jesus sends out the 70 disciples, He, in a sense, must first collect all the fit disciples worthy of the Kingdom, who indeed will follow Him without looking back, as it were, to the “lusts of the eyes, the lusts of the flesh, and the pride of life,” lying listlessly and lifelessly in their fiery wake, as they set their burning and quickening hearts upon the Word, and their able and readied hands upon the work, of the coming harvest.

Jesus collects these worthy servants, only to then send them back out again as “sheep among wolves,” to do the labor of the Lord, offering their peace, healing the sick, earning their keep, and proclaiming the Kingdom.  Jesus does warn His disciples of the “precariousness” of their state (here on earth), in that as being servants of His, they are indeed like lambs sent out to the slaughter; this being so, He urges them to be “gentle as doves, but as cunning as serpents,” for they are sent to these cities as messengers of good tidings and peace among those who may not see fit to welcome such unwanted “Good News” of the Gospel.  However, no such persecution nor rejection among men is ever such that it could excuse or warrant the lacking of any dignity, respect, or righteousness in the actions of the disciples, in regard to their treatment of those who hate them, as enemies of this newly begotten Church, and growing body of Christ.  For just as Jesus had to rebuke St. Peter for defending Him with a sword, in retorting that, “he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword,” he who unrighteously attempts to defend himself with violence rather than suffer bloodshed for the sake of Christ, shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.  Christ’s disciples are to sidestep these pitfalls with all cunning, and yet suffer willingly when trapped, lest a lack of grace and gentleness be used as a testimony against them, and reflect poorly upon the Christian Faith, and the Message of Whom they are merely to be nameless messengers.

These men are to work the works of faith, and as obedient and diligent disciples, they are to be as like successful servants.  As Jesus has taught us of faith, one is not to be amazed at the works of God when His will is so directed through His loyal servants as to produce veritable miracles; for His Word is sent out to accomplish its task, and it shall not return to Him emptyhanded, but bearing the good fruit of the Harvest, ripened to its fullest in fulfilment with the purest sweetness of truth.

When a servant does what he is commanded, one is not amazed at the results, for as it is said in Luke 17:10, “10 So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.”  These servants likewise, the disciples of Christ, have merely done their duty, and are therefore unprofitable servants, in having done no more than what was expected of them.  These disciples do not glory, as if they were wielding a profit, in the results of these miracles, for they are doing only that which was bidden of them, and to one living out the truth of the Faith, a miracle is not a marvel (or a “profit,” in being “beyond that which was expected”), so much as it is a fully-anticipated and duly-expected fact of Christian life.

These servants of God indeed, are workers of miracles, and they reap the fruits of faith.  When Jesus describes this dynamic of faith and how it so works, He explains that when one so commands, with that Word in one’s soul, no larger than the size of a mustard seed indeed, one must expect it to accomplish just exactly that which it was commanded, and not be surprised at the results; else it is not done with full expectation of fruitful results, as with “perfect faith.”  For, to be surprised or marvel at the results of the working of the faith, indicates a prior absence of faith in the ability of the work to actually produce these results!

In just this way that their faith accomplishes the deeds of the Word, so too these servants accomplish the will of the Father.  These are merely “unprofitable servants,” and it is merely unprofitable faith, as it did not accomplish any more than was expected of it—it earned its keep, kept its Word, and broke even—as it was meant to in the spirit of fairness, as per the will of the Father.  This is the beauty and fairness of faith—we shall reap in this life just exactly what we sow, and receive just exactly what we believe in, according to our faith.  Just as Jesus had said, “whosoever believes in me shall not be put to shame,” so too these laborers of the harvest expect no more and no less than the accomplishment of the Word’s command, and the fulfillment of the will of the Father.  They reap no more than their fair share, which is merely “breaking even,” in not exploiting nor profiting from the work of God, and also not receiving any less than that which is needed to accomplish His works.

“Increase our faith,” one might ask?  One’s faith shall produce no more than its capacity may dictate.  Just as in a single drop of blood is contained all the genetic information encoded in one’s DNA, one single seed of faith, as just one Word planted within the fertile soil of the soul, contains all the power of the will of the Father and the Word of God made flesh in Christ Jesus.  When cultivated with years of patience and practice and diligent effort, this faith, through the Word in one’s soul, can indeed move mountains, and can even transplant one’s soul, carrying with it all the fruits of one’s labors born in this garden of grace grown within, from this land of earthly exile, to the land of the New Jerusalem that still awaits us, in the New Heaven and the New Earth yet to come.

 

Saturday 2/9/19

Second Week/10: Day 1

Romans 7:14-25, 8:18-39.  “I do not understand my own actions.  For I do not what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”  Have I seen this in my own life?

 

Romans 7:15-20

“15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”

 

Romans 8:6-11, 13-15

“6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

 

“13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”

 

Matthew 26:40-41

40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

 

“A Lost Ark (oops, I mean ‘Art’): The Practice of Self-Control”

(I think it was lost ages ago, or maybe in a galaxy far far away, or maybe just somewhere in “Modern America.”)

 

When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, and asked Peter, John, and James to remain with Him to pray, He noted that they were falling asleep, and remarked of them that, “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  He urged them to remain vigilant and pray, lest they should be made subject to the testing of their hearts through the idleness of their minds.

In the Book of Romans, chapters 7-8, St. Paul elaborates on this dichotomy between the body and soul, the flesh and the spirit, the power of the will and its force upon our actions.  St. Paul laments over his experience of bodily sin, relating it to us as being like slavery or bondage, in that, it is in his mind what is good and right, but that which he knows to be good—he yet does not do; and that which he thinks to be evil—this he yet does.  Then because he actually does that which is evil, he excuses it by rationalizing it away and concluding that it must be good—simply because he does it.

This sad scenario of “man justifying sin” is indeed one possible and unfortunate outcome of the psychological phenomenon known as “cognitive dissonance,” wherein an internal state of tension and discomfort is experienced due to conflicting thoughts and actions.  This inner state of psychic tension inevitably leads one to change one’s thoughts, or to change one’s actions, to thereby bring both into conformity with each other, and regain a state of internal harmony between thought and action.

Unfortunately here, St. Paul is describing an instance where one, instead of deciding not to sin, would rather change one’s own internal thoughts of what sin is, in order to then excuse, allow, and enable the sin.  For, of course it makes sense that he would certainly rather not own up to doing that which is evil when he does know better.  As this descent into sin is further illustrated by St. Paul, “15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me” (Authorized King James Version, Romans 7:15-17).

St. Paul is correct in trying to understand this cruel condition of sin from within the context of bondage, or slavery.  For the body, or flesh, does by nature “warreth” against the spirit, and if one is in the habit of submitting oneself to the urges and desires of the flesh, of the lower and base desires of the body, and of the world, and not the spirit, then those desires will rightfully and justly take hold of him, to hold him in captivity to sin, as it were, with their influence over him.  There is another way.

This life is not to be lived like we were slaves to our bodies and to sensual pleasure, but rather, we were meant to use our spiritual strength to rein-in our desires and bodies and make these lower parts of our beings subject unto us, and hold our own tendency to sin in-check by not allowing our selves to be tossed about like faithless and flailing vessels, torn asunder and lost to the wind of vanity through our own lack of restraint, to secure the sails, batten down the hatches, take a firm grip upon the rudder of the will, and refuse to give in to sin, but rather, to make ourselves the masters of our bodies, and make sin—subject unto us.

The will: If it has never been exercised in the practice of restraint over one’s fleshly instincts, then one has no reason to expect that it should actually have any power over them.  The will, which is used to direct, contain, and properly control one’s desires, is properly meant to be used for the spiritual love of God.  The will, which is meant to be occupied in its perfection with this virtue, “charity,” or “the love of God,” is one of three parts of the soul; the other two being “the intellect,” which in its perfected state is meant to be occupied with its corresponding virtue of “faith,” and “the memory,” which is ultimately meant to be occupied with the third and last of these theological virtues, that of “hope.”  In being the faculty of the soul wherein desire and the force, or power, of the will resides, this “will” is the component of one’s spiritual self that must impose direction upon one’s lower functions, to exercise control over them, and impose order upon all of one’s actions and behaviors.

The will is powered divinely by the love of God, towards which aim it is meant to control and draw-into-line all its other parts, to work in a cohesive, harmonious, and unified whole, towards the perfection and completion of this holy desire for God, which is known as “divine union.”

It is indeed, only this divinely enkindled spark of life and eternal flame of love, placed within the heart by grace, that empowers us through Christ and the gift of His Spirit to do all things, and to conquer all the unruly lower parts of our beings to bring them into conformity with the desire of the will.  Let it here be noted, that the only truly righteous desire, is to perform the will of God and to be brought into unity with Him.

Through the love of God and the gift of His Spirit, through Christ, to our souls, all human sin can be conquered, as we place our trust in Him, and not in the mortal failings of mankind.  This world of man, would indeed rather attempt to excuse or justify our sins so that it may, in its own state of unrighteousness, cling lifelessly to its own sins by which it is held captive and in bondage to death, sooner than it would attempt teach us the self-control and virtue that we might learn in order to conquer sin, and thus be liberated unto life.

This falsely placed trust in man, or obedience to the “ways of the world,” which indeed more precisely put, are just the “ways of sin,” would thereby, in their yoke, keep us in bondage to death and sin, by wrongly trying to reconcile a perfect God into a doomed world, rather than to perfect mankind through faith in God, and release him via grace from the bondage of this sinful world.

Only in mortifying the body, and abstaining from and renouncing the pleasures of the world, is the true joy of spiritual rest in God attained.  As St. Paul states so succinctly in Romans 8:6-8, “6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”  Thus, in just this way, as long as one finds pleasure “in the world”—which truly is enmity against God, one will not find true peace, which is rest “in Him.”

 

Sunday 2/10/19

Second Week/10: Day 2

1 John 3:18-24.  “Let us love… in truth and action.  And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before Him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.”

 

“The Consolations of the Holy Spirit: These are not the Gifts of a ‘Fickle Woman.’”

“Hell hath no fury, like a woman scorned.”  -Willian Congreve

 

In this First Epistle of John Chapter 3, the writer offers his readers consolation, in the face of every instance of uncertainty or opportunity for doubt that they might encounter, as reassurance that God is with us in and our corner no matter where we are.

If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and our belief in Him allows His power of love to prevail over us, as it is, for us.

If our hearts condemn us not, then we still have His reassurance residing within our soul.  This passage, from 1 John 3, to me is resounding of St. Paul in Romans 8:31-39; to paraphrase, “Beloved, if God is for us, who shall be against us?  Nothing—no power, nor angel, nor principality, not on Heaven or Earth, nor in the things present, nor in the things to come, can separate us from the love of God.”  And as the writer says in 1 John 3:24, “…and hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.”  This Spirit is His holiness to conquer all, deposited into each of our souls, through our belief on “…the name of His Son Jesus Christ…” (1 John 3:23).

We further know that the love of God is in us, not only by His Spirit which He has placed in our hearts, but by our own actions, such that we love not merely “in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).  For as Christ had instructed us in the Gospel of John, this is how we love God—we follow His commandments.  And this is how we love Christ—we obey Him (John 14:15).

For it is not merely with the affection of the passions that we love, this is rather only an emotional side-effect, or an experiential residue and left-over remainder (as our portion of joy, as a reward) in this holy formula for the act of love.  But rather, it is by the effort of the will that we first bring balance to the equation, by doing our part, “in deed and in truth,” and it is this effort of exertion towards love, particularly when we do not feel it, that brings about these results and effects, of “feeling love,” be it done on our part, on that of God (which in Greek, is “agape”), or on that of another (which in Greek, is “philia”).

Love in the holy sense, in that of the virtue of “love” or “charity,” is an action and an exertion of the will.  The subjective feeling of love, has nought to do with the virtue, but it is a indeed a result that may be felt, as most divine ecstasy or as most painful agony, within the lower pool of the human passions, and this experience, of pleasure or pain, or the bittersweet joy of counter-balancing both simultaneously, will come as an effect, either of our own actions, or as a gift of God.

We have confidence toward God not on our own behalf, but alternatingly, through the consolations of His Holy Spirit as we pour forth our love of Him into all our actions, no matter how seemingly trivial or mundane, and then, when our heart might refuse us such consolations of comfort, and thrust us rather into the spiritual aridity of a trial of patience, through our belief on Him Who conquers all through His great love and tender mercy—for He so died for us to prove to us, once and for all, the endless “limits” of His “boundless” compassion.

So we receive reassurance of the salvation of our souls either through His Holy Spirit, or as He slowly withdraws that comfort from us to strengthen our own faith, through our adherence to belief in and trust upon Him, especially in the face of (and indeed, as a direct result of being subjected to) any seeming contradictions to His love.  We strengthen and fortify our own resources of faith and reserves of spiritual strength in these desert times of testing and of desolate dryness to our souls, to prove and confirm ourselves in our hearts, of just where we stand in our faith.

As the rug of earthly joys is pulled out from under us, much like it was for God’s servant Job, in the Book of Job, as it were, will we remain standing, for we are planted not in these earthly comforts and supports and joys of life, but in our strength of faith?  Or will we topple over, like a child’s building block castle, as the rug is pulled out from under us—as this is God, our heavenly Father, trying to teach each of us to plant ourselves in Him Who yet remains, no matter what happens, rather than in the world, which He indeed wills to replace, with the New Heaven and the New Earth, when the time for His Own fulfillment, as that of the Father, so comes to pass.

 

John 14:15-21

“15 If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. 21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”

 

1 John 3:15-24

“18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. 20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. 22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. 23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. 24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.”

 

Romans 8:31-39

“31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

Monday 2/11/19

Second Week/10: Day 3

Psalm 130.  “With the Lord there is steadfast love, and with Him is great power to redeem.”

 

“Beatific Vision: To Behold the Creator, not the Beauty of Creation”

(Alternate Title: “The Christ Kaleidoscope”)

 

As I read along to the silent music breathing life into this psalm, heard within my heart in that secret place where no human tones dare fathom, I can feel my Spirit being uplifted in the current of the soul’s assent.  As the gravity of my stance yet holds me down, firmly grounded into the soles of my shoes, the song of these unspeakable and ineffable chords that I feel echoing and reverberating and endlessly resonating within my soul, the sounds of that singing chant melting and effortlessly melding into one divine choral harmony within my solemn, beating, spiritual heart, nonetheless brings these cast-down eyes within my soul to raise themselves up, both outwardly and from within, synchronized to within the perfect unison of unity, to behold the mercy of the Lord, with humble reverence, and the most duly-respectful, devoutly pious praise.

The Lord commands respect with His decisive command of the Word, and my soul indeed awaits Him, for without Him, I am nought, and without His Spirit to breathe life into this lifeless clay body, I would wish rather not to live at all—for what is life, if it be absent from the Lord, but a living death?  But the Lord, so that His great goodness may be known and praised, redeems all such worthless sinners such as me, so that we may bless the beauty that is His grace, and use this foothold of His gift to us, of affirmed and steadfast salvation, to continue on in the assent of the soul to behold the divine magnificence, not of this gift, of life, of forgiveness, of joy, of loving-kindness and mercy, but of Him Who bestows the gift.  We seek not the heavenly food that sustains this unique spiritual substance of the soul, but rather, we seek Him Who reaches out in love, with the hand that feeds us so.

As this God, Who conquers our sins and presides blameless over all, holds us to His bosom, the beautiful kaleidoscope that is Christ, spirals out with a flick of the wrist; in one long and continuous steady motion, of each finite little twist after another, God reveals the beautiful vision that may be grasped by each unique human soul, in turn, as the pattern of the beads breaks apart, to then be rearranged and recollected back together, into a new formation for each new living soul.

The substance remains the same within each soul, but the unique arrangement of the constituent parts and elements, so changes across souls, that the vision beheld within, of God and of His world, through the turning of this kaleidoscope of Christ, is different and unique for each of us.

As the Commander of the Word stands just behind us, turning the rose-colored glasses of this kaleidoscopic vision that is “the aliveness,” or “the magical quality of life,” when beheld from within the soul, all of His creation appears as godly and divine; and rightly so, for we are beholding it as we dwell within God Himself, in being mystically recollected into the center of our souls.

When we at last discern the difference between the Creator standing just behind us, holding up this glass that bestows such beauty, the beauty of God, to our vision and to our world-view, set just before our face, we at last let go of this vision of the world, and grasp rather onto the lens of the soul that gives it such beauty—for if it were so snatched from before our eyes, the world would indeed lose all the glory that this “Christ-vision”—of beholding life from within the eyes of the soul—so bestows upon it.

At last, as we have completed our journey and made our assent to God, we grasp onto the Creator upon which all of His creation depends, and we place our trust in Him alone, in His great love and by our faith in His goodness, to preserve the world of His creation and of His choosing.

We let go of all that is merely “created,” so that we may give ourselves wholeheartedly and fully, without any earthly attachment to “the world,” and with perfect trust and love, to Him Who “creates,” and Who has always, in the indivisible tense of the word as it exists for Him, in His primary essence of eternity, “created” it all.

We turn away from this world of such beauty, as we behold it from within the soul, and we stare straight into the depthless eyes of Him Who holds these rose-colored glasses before our face, so that we may perceive God our Creator, in His Own essential beauty, that of the “beatific vision.”  This is the gift and the beauty of God—beheld not in His creation, but in His Own truth, as the Creator, and as a real and living, “Person.”

 

Psalm 130

A Song of degrees.

1 Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice:
let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities,
O Lord, who shall stand?
But there is forgiveness with thee,
that thou mayest be feared.

I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait,
and in his word do I hope.
My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning:
I say, more than they that watch for the morning.

Let Israel hope in the Lord:
for with the Lord there is mercy,
and with him is plenteous redemption.
And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

 

Tuesday 2/12/19

Second Week/10: Day 4

1 Corinthians 13. “The greatest of these is love.”  Do I act out of love?

 

“A Love Song”

(The Single Most Valuable Jewel of Wisdom from my Experience of the Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 13)

 

1 Corinthians 13 is the most beautiful testimony about the power and strength of love.  Even if all is given up for the kingdom—even if one forfeits all of one’s earthly possessions to give to the poor, even if one acts the part of a prophet or apostle, even if one performs miracles with perfect faith, even if one suffers for the Faith unto the shedding of one’s own blood in martyrdom—even if all of these blessings and gifts and sacrifices of the Christian Faith and an altruistic idea of objective goodness are wholly embraced and lived through—if one has not the love of God in one’s heart, then it is all for nought.

Charity, rather, is the spark of divine strength and motivation within that enables one to perform such feats and workings of the Faith, and despite the beauty of the outward effects of this holy motivation upon the lives of ourselves and others—in providing for the needy, speaking God’s truth in and despite adversity, providing with one’s life a testament of the true value and beauty of living out the Faith in word and deed and sacrifice, and indeed, in serving one’s fellow man and the greater good, which is ultimately the effect of serving the will of God—no matter the seeming generosity or mercy or faith and lovely-sounding teachings elicited from our golden tongues in the following of Christ, these are not the most valuable part of our service to God and to our fellows.  Rather, these fruits of humility and good deeds to humanity are the fruits of the Faith, and the outpouring and effects from, first, that precious jewel and pearl of great price, that is the love of God, enkindled, and stoked, and fanned into a holy flame of the Spirit, within our hearts.

It is this motivation, this impetus and catalyst and intention and motive, that drives us forth in these good deeds, and while the good deeds are a joy to witness and behold, the true prize is the love of God and the strength of Christ which makes all things possible.  For we do not mistake the cause for the effect, nor the seed from the fruit, nor the source from the stream, nor the creation for the Creator.  In intuiting the hand that gives behind all these gifts of tender mercy, and seeking rather the God Who bestows rather than what is bestowed, so likewise do we intuit the root of all goodly outgrowth, and the purest and most singular primary essence of God’s truth and beauty and merciful goodness, in treasuring just this—His love, above all other earthly benefits or spiritual gifts of grace with which He has so generously imbued His faithful followers.

This above all, the love of God, is this single most fundamental element and basic core essence of His most singular and primary spiritual substance.  This above all, the love of God, is the grain and seed and prize beyond value, found by prayer within our soul, that He wills to harvest from us, in its faithful cultivation to the outgrowth and outpouring of all these other secondary and less fundamental features of His divine soul.  This above all—the love of God, that is the source of all value in life, for if this holy motivation and inspiration behind all of our works of mercy or testimonies and professions of faith goes missing, then so too disappears the spiritual value in God’s eyes, in our hearts, of any such works.

This above all—the love of God, is the only ultimate goal, and the most finely-defined point to be ascertained in the winnowing away of all the secondary natures and dependent virtues known to man, which proceed out from this one holy pinnacle and most starkly refined and precisely discerned and definitive root and core of the soul of man—this above all—the love of God.

As all else falls away to wither and perish, this one fundamental core of our being, the purest and most delicately sublime heart of God Himself, His most gentle and all-embracing perfect love, will always yet remain.  Though the castles shake, the fountains run dry, the spirits quake, and the flames be quenched, this one remainder, the indefinable and unreachable by human pondering “love of God,” shall not perish, for it is by this love of God that all things shall be made new, and our feet shall yet be found to stand, in this shelter of our faith that enthrones, just this—God as love.

 

This translation of 1 Corinthians 13 is more heartfelt and poetic than the others, and in my opinion, it is the best; if of course, one is reading it primarily, for the effect of “love” that it may have upon one’s spirit.

1 Corinthians 13 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

 

Wednesday 2/13/19

Second Week/10: Day 5

Matthew 8:23-27. How much faith in Jesus do I have when things get rough?  Do I have the courage to trust in His way of love and forgiveness?

 

Matthew 8:10-12, 25-26

10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. 11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. 26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

 

Matthew 13:18-23

18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. 19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. 20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21 yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. 22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. 23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

 

John 17:13-19

13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

 

John 16:31-33

31 Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? 32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. 33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

 

“In the World, but not of the World”

(Alt. Title: “For Those in Peril on the Sea”)

 

This is Jesus’s expectation of us, this “great calm” described in Matthew 8:26, after He rebukes the tempest of the sea.  Just as the best wisdom of man is mere foolishness to God, and the greatest strength of men, is mere weakness to God, so too, these petty fears of men, are pure childishness to God.  For these men, though they be with Christ the Son, God in the flesh, still pander to the silly fancies of a mind yet still in the juvenile stages of the development of faith, and though they be with God, they still yet fear the world.  This instance of His apostles’ lack of faith might well be contrasted with His earlier encounter with the centurion, the Roman soldier mentioned in Matthew 8:5-13, who wishes His servant to be healed of Christ.  This centurion comes to Jesus believing in Him and the goodness of His Word and command over and above any other seeming contradictions or obstacles imposed upon such faith, by the opposition of the world.  “No,” the centurion insists, “you need not even come to see my servant—just give me your Word, as I believe it shall be so—just as you say.”

This is the statement of a man firmly rooted in His own faith in Christ, and not dependent upon any such signs or spectacles to confirm the truth that is already at rest in his heart.  This man believes in the healing salvation of Christ over and above all distances across land or time, and merely through his belief in the power of Christ’s will and Word, His servant is healed miles away at that very hour.  “Not in all of Israel was there found faith such as this.”

This is the centurion’s obedience to Whom he has found to be his true superior, and his working and viable good soil of obedience made subject to the Word in good faith.  Just as in the “Parable of the Sower,” the Word may find not a place in one’s heart due to the birds plucking it off the path, or the stony ground, or the thorns and brambles that choke it out as the cares of the world, in this instance, the centurion could be seen as a man who does have a “root in himself,” and his faith proceeds from within his own heart, rather than from the outward appearance of things, which may serve to impede the growth of the Word in this good, spiritual soil (Matthew 13:21).

The cares of the world, as like the winds and waves of a tempest at sea, run contrary to what Christ would will of us, as His faithful apostles, which is to cling to this “root within oneself” and deep sense of imperturbable calm within.  God, clasped and cleaved onto with the grasping desire (as like an “infant’s rooting reflex”) of the heart and soul, is believed in above and beyond the seeming contradictions to His presence that we may find if we look to the world for reassurance, consolation, or confirmation of our faith, rather than look within to proceed out from it, as that faith is only to be found planted within our own soul.

We do not ask our God for reassurance, we are not of “little faith” such that we fear the perils of the world more so than we trust in Him.  For He has conquered the world.  As like it is said in John 17:15, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil,” He also wills not that evil should be removed from the world, but that we should through Him, overcome it, and derive strength of spirit through our trust in Him.  We in this way, though we be in the world, are not of the world.  We shall find trouble in the world, but our love and obedience to God, shall always out-measure and outweigh the evils that looking to the world, would impose upon us.

Thus we learn—we look within to our God, so when we proceed forth in the world, it is in the solid faith that we ourselves provide, as like a bride’s dowry and dutiful obligation of our gift to the Lord, so we shall not be found wanting at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, nor be “cast out into outer darkness, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” because our faith was not rooted in ourselves (Matthew 8:12).  For when we shall at long last arrive upon the kingdom, we shall remain there by faith, with that deepest state of “great calm” within, as like the spiritual centeredness of the “eye of the storm,” that is only outer darkness to those who are lost, to true faith.

 

Thursday 2/14/19

Second Week/10:Day 6

Romans 7:14-25, 8:18-39 (Day 1 again).  “I do not understand my own actions.  For I do not what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”  Have I seen this in my own life?

 

Romans 7:21-24

21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

 

Romans 8:18, 24-25, 28, 37

18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

 

Matthew 5:38-39

38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

 

Two Essays:

  1. “Contemplating the Reason for Evil, and Finding that it is Good”
  2. “The God Particle: A conceptual framework.”

 

“Contemplating the Reason for Evil, and Finding that it is Good”

 

Wheresoever dwells the will to do good, there so shall also reside the temptation to do evil.  There seems to be this natural law in things divine, and this true dichotomy in human nature, that the greater the good that is present, the greater becomes that shadow of evil that lies in wait, to pull it from the path of God.  In contemplating the reason for evil, and the reason for the triumph of good in one’s will, there seems to be this natural duality that exists between things that belong to the same type or species of energy.  For in the type of energy that is found patience, there is its contrary of impatience, in joy there runs contrary to it sorrow, in anger there runs contrary to it indifferent lethargy, in goodness, there runs contrary to it evil.  In the production of any one type, form, or species of energy, a conversion, or transmutation must take place, but the same type, or class of energy must be used to create the desired class of resultant energy.

In the efficient output of “goodness,” the necessary input of raw matter, fuel, or energy must be of the same type—that is—existing within the same type of “moral content” of matter as this “goodness” that is desired.

As all things have already been created, this raw energy will not manifest from “nothing,” but will rather be converted or transmuted from that which already is.  In attempting to generate great goodness, one must be true to the underlying type of energy to which this nature belongs, and find that like any element, it is composed of itself, along the course of a spectrum.  In this species of moral matter, at one end lies goodness, and at the other lies its natural contrary, evil; as these two states are primarily different sides of the same coin, two reverses of the same nature, and two potential hemispheres that reside within one fundamental type of nature.

In this way, one could discern many such types of energy, that contain polarities of exact opposite versions of their own particular inherent potential.  In each type of energy, there lie its most extreme potential manifestations, with the greater purity of the competing forces the further they reside at either end of their given spectrum.

Given the natural law of balance inherent in the maintaining of a homeostatic functionality, or in the equilibrium natural and conducive to a variety of possible elements and outcomes in their potentialities, each existing within this universal whole containing the vast and innately interconnected variety of all things, it is natural that where there is great good, there shall also exist the contrasting potentiality of its polar opposite, that of great evil, as both a possible alternative existence ascertained in observing its existent opposite of goodness, and as a necessary competing side of this very same element, required to maintain a state of harmony within itself whilst still reaching to the outermost stretches of its own unique nature and species of energy.

Thus, it seems natural, that wherein there resides great goodness, therein also resides its contrasting and natural opposing state of its own nature in this dichotomy, or dualistic conceptual framework of “good and evil.”

Thus, it could be further posited, that if one so intended to generate great goodness, this energy could not come from nowhere, for “In the beginning,” God created all things, but would rather, be generated from a conversion process taking place, as like a chemical conversion, within its own type or species of energy, like a specific element that requires input proper and specific to its own chemical makeup to achieve the desired result of an increased output of this same type of energy.

If we wish to bring about great good, we use the evil already existent around us to create a friction, in the contrasting, or opposition, of these two sides and potentialities, and we convert one side of the spectrum, being in the same “moral” vein as it were, into that which would be had at the other side of its own spectrum, through the sheer force of the will oriented towards such goodness in an environment containing much evil.  Thus, in the face of evil, we stand ready to do good, and truly with that very evil that opposes us, as not like an enemy to be feared, but as like raw matter to refine—with that very evil, we create great goodness in this conversion process of one extreme of a given element or energy, to its naturally existing opposite state, of the other extreme.  Thus we use evil to create good, we suffer evil to hold the goodness in balance, and all things are held together in being diametrically opposed, in this hypostatic tension and delicate ecosystem of harmoniously coexisting and contrasting natural forces, in this mystery of creation.

We resist not evil, but rather, we make use of this raw material, and in its own energy field of the good and evil dichotomy, we transform it into good through the momentum of force exacted upon it in the desired movement across its own energy field.  Without the raw matter at the far end of the goodness spectrum, of evil, there would not be enough tension to generate the movement of particles, or the energy required, to effectuate an output of great goodness, but rather, there would be its natural center in the midline of the spectrum, of a perfect balance without any movement of energy whatsoever.

As like a pendulum, the will causes a ricochet back and forth in movement, to eventually use the greatest extreme at the end of one side, to swing back around to the desired outcome of great goodness.  In this way, this conceptual model of “good and evil” makes use of the natural force of motion in generating energy, along this spectrum of good and evil.  To achieve great goodness, we plunge into and then springboard back from its own natural opposition, to come back to the other extreme at a distance of the furthest pole that has now been expanded from the very force of the movement.  In this way, it is possible to expand both polarities in this spectrum of good and evil, by bouncing back and forth between them, or to retain a constant state of motionlessness by remaining perfectly at the center point of the midline, in which case no motion is made, but also therefore, no new energy is generated either.

Ultimately, in making practical application of this conceptual model and theory, and expanding upon its implications, we do not reject evil, but rather, we counterbalance it, and bring our own goodness into the equation, thereby negating, or neutralizing, the effect of evil.  For in resisting or rejecting a quality, rather than refraining from any deviation in embracing the good, we thereby succumb to evil, and have ourselves then become as temporarily “fallen,” in acting “evil” through this act of rejection or “resistance” which we ourselves exert with our own wills, as this action diverts our focus and energy away from the goodness (of God) to which we are to cling.  Only in clinging to that which is good may we prevent our own fall from grace, and only in providing the goodness ourselves in the face of evil or adversity, do we have any claim goodness in ourselves.

 

“The God Particle: A conceptual framework.”

 

God is in all things, but that does not mean that all things are God.  For in imagining a particle, there are “protons” in all particles, but this does not mean that all particles and all materials are the same as protons.  For also in the nucleus of a particle there reside “neutrons,” and further out, there reside “electrons,” in the electron shells of the electron cloud.  Just because all of God’s creation has a bit of God in it, as like a proton, this does not mean that His creation is the same as He is, for it is in fact, completely different.  It is possible to discern, as like at a subatomic level, the bit of God that is in all of His creation, but there is much virtue in being able to go further than merely realizing His presence in all things.

Beneath His presence in all things, there lies a difference in what is God, and what is not God, in being merely the inert matter that He has created.  It is in intuiting God in all things that we attain a sense of “oneness” in all of His creation, but to then go even further in reaching for this “God particle” that is all around us, we may delve ever so deeply, indeed all the way through, the immortal soul, to come to the understanding of the difference between the “proton” in the nucleus, or soul, of our heart, that is “God” within us, and the “neutron” in this nucleus of the soul, that is merely the “self.”  Truly, God is in all things, just as protons are in all particles of the matter that composes all things, but this matter of creation, is composed of neutrons and electrons as well, which truly can be distinguished as “not God” parts beside the “God” parts, and are inert materials of creation brought to life with this potentially eternal substance of “God.”

 

Friday 2/15/19

Second Week/10: Day 7

1 Corinthians 13 (Day 4 again). “The greatest of these is love.”  Do I act out of love?

 

1 Corinthians 13:8-11

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

Colossians 3:9-10

 9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Revelation 12:11

11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

 

“…Through a Glass, Darkly; but then on the other side of the mirror.”

(Alt. Title: “Mystic Topaz”)

 

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity” (1 Corinthians 13:12-13).

 

As the Apostle describes, we are as children, but destined to become men.  Now we know in part, for we claim knowledge only insofar as we are in ourselves.  Our knowledge is as that of men and not of God.  We, as we nourish our hearts and minds with the spiritual food of the Scriptures, slowly receive the strength of soul that gives us the stamina and maturity to proceed on beyond our own selves, and leave behind the old man of the flesh and all of our silly sinful childish ways, and to put on the new man, as if enrobed in Christ.  As we grow and develop in spirit, from the inside-out, through this dying to ourselves, being crucified to the world, and loving not our own lives unto the death, for His sake if it be God’s will, we slowly and steadily and persistently advance on to the next stage of this spiritual transformation, wherein we live in God through Christ, rather than in ourselves through the world.

As in ourselves, through the limited perspective that is accorded to human mortality and constrained within the bounds of time, we only know in part.  But as we die to ourselves, to be reborn through baptism in Christ, we receive life from above, from the Spirit, and we claim not knowledge in ourselves, but faith in God—the faith that, through which, all things are possible.  In learning to put away the childish things of the world and put on the new man in Christ, we replace knowledge of self with faith in God, and that which we had known in part in ourselves, we now know in the fullness of God’s boundless breadth of mystic knowledge, as through the unutterable means that are unbounded by the temporal constraints inherent in the succession of words in the human language, but instead contain the all-encompassing and simultaneous flow of truth, in the total completeness of God’s own eternal way.

Just as He knows us and He knows all things, so shall we as we abide in our souls recollected into and enjoined unto Him.  For now in the self, we see through a glass darkly, as through the soul clouded over with the sins of our hearts, the thorns and thistle of worldly cares and attachments, and the thoughts and preoccupations of the mortal intellect, veiling as it were, and darkening, the Light of Christ, and obstructing our soul’s vision of God.  But then, as we purify our hearts with penance, purgation, and self-mortification, as we enlighten our eyes with the salve of the Psalms, and as we clear our heads with the contemplation of the heart, embracing the kingdom of the soul to be found within, as like a sapphire sky of crystal-clear waters, or a pearl and jewel of the greatest translucent purity—then in this mirror, grasped by the attainment of God’s Holy Spirit, we shall present to Him a reflection of Himself, as God is beheld as if in a mirror, yet face-to-face.

For at the utmost reaches of purity in the human soul, there awaits to be reclaimed this kingdom within (for the kingdom was always to be found “within;” as “within the soul”) that is the gift of the Holy Spirit itself, and as we let go of our mortal ways, the weight of the lower-soul is jettisoned beneath us as we become “as new,” as we live now reborn from above, in God’s Holy Spirit set atop our sinful and childish, weighty human soul.  We take the leap of faith to that which is beyond ourselves, and in God, in His Holy Spirit given freely to all who so seek Him, we may see God—as only in this state of perfection can the perfection of God be grasped, and in the Spirit of God, all of the hidden secrets and mysteries of the Lord are to be revealed, and made known.

Only in God do we see God, and only in being lost to ourselves may we be found in the Lord.  All that remains and resides after the sins of man are purified by purgation from this “stepladder” of the lower parts of the inward man, that is the “human soul,” are those highest parts of the inner man, that is the Spirit of God, perched just a breath above the human soul.  As we abide in God and not in man, in the eternal faith of the soul, enjoined in heart, to just behind the veneer that is the temporal intellect of the mind, all that we are in virtue, are those virtues that are to be found only by the grace of God, and not by the human workings of mortal man.  These three theological virtues, and none others, maintain the crystal-clear purity of the Holy Spirit; faith, hope, charity; these Three, and none others.  But the very purest origin of all, resides solely in God the Father, in His life of eternity that gives birth to the “Root of David,” which is Christ Jesus with the Holy Spirit; the greatest of these is the love of God—the greatest of these, is, “charity.”

 

Saturday 2/16/19

Second Week/11: Day 1

Matthew 17:1-8.  Jesus shares the vision of His transfiguration with His intimate companions.  Can I see myself as Jesus’s intimate companion?

 

“Man Fears What He Does Not Understand: How God Came to Save Man and Man Came to Reject God”

 

The vision of the transfiguration of Jesus upon Mount Tabor calls to mind the vision of John the Baptist, that “Elias” that “truly shall first come, and restore all things,” during the baptism of Christ in the River Jordan (Matthew 17:11).  For just as at the baptism of Christ the sky opened up and a white dove descended upon Him, with a voice saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” so too at the transfiguration of Christ does He receive the baptism, at last though not of water, but of fire and the Holy Ghost.  There is no white dove upon Mount Tabor, descending upon Christ, but only Christ Himself who is shining as bright as the sun, and clothed in raiment as glistening white as the light of Heaven.  As at the River Jordan Christ received baptism from John the Baptist with water and repentance, now upon Mount Tabor He is indeed fit to baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire, for now the voice out of the cloud not only claims Him as the beloved Son of God, but further urges us to, “Hear ye Him.”

When Christ sees Peter, James, and John, and how fearful they are, He goes to touch them and says, “Arise, and be not afraid.”  The voice from the heavens declares now that Christ be heard, further reinforcing the authority of His ministry as He appears conversing beside Moses and Elias.  In the Spirit of Elias, truly he had come first as John the Baptist, as the voice “crying out in the wilderness, make straight the ways of the Lord,” to “restore all things,” but they knew him not, and imprisoned him and beheaded him as they listed.  But this Spirit of Elijah and fulness of the Holy Ghost made to reside in John the Baptist, came not to testify of itself, but to testify of the one to come, the one greater than he, “the strap of whose sandals I am not fit to loose.”  This testimony he preached of, crying in the wilderness as it were, is now spoken of by the voice in the cloud, calling out to Christ’s disciples, “Hear ye Him,” and Christ echoes after this heavenly speech from the Spirit, “Be not afraid.”

For it is now as it has always been, that here men are faced with God—their Christ, Lord, and Savior, and just as they always had since the times of the Father with Abraham and then with Moses, the people love Him not, but fear Him only.  At this first sending out from Heaven of the Son, to be crucified, to die for our sins, to provide a concrete example and living yet lifeless display of the extent of the Father’s, the God Triune’s, love for mankind, man still yet cowers in fear, and receives Him not.

“It is good for us to be here,” let us build three tabernacles, one for Moses, one for Elias, and one for Christ, Peter volunteers, not knowing how else to respond to this heavenly vision and display of angelic beings.  This comment ripples through the testimony of the Scriptures, as God Himself replies to King David, “You want to build Me a house?”  And Christ again echoes in this current of holy waters, “…The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”

It is well said, that even now, at Christ’s long-awaited and long-prophesied first coming, the human race is not yet ready to receive Him, and is destined yet to hate Him, to reject Him, to cast Him out, and to crucify Him.  When will mankind cease to fear that which it cannot understand, for who truly can claim to understand the unfathomable mind and indefinable nature of God, and to reject not that which it cannot bring under its own subjugation?  When will mankind learn to love that which it cannot conquer, and to accept that which it cannot control, rather than to ignore it, neglect it, cast it out from before their face, and murder it?

Nevertheless, nothing is hidden from the mind of God, who predestines all things and with knowledge omniscient calls all things into order in His own loftier way.  At this first coming Christ is destined to die for us, for we truly are not ready for Him—as we cannot see past our own fear to love that which is come to save us, and to embrace with faith that which is beyond any mortal power to comprehend.  With this prescience and pre-knowledge evidenced by prophecy, a second coming yet awaits us fearful sinners, such that Christ may be known in truth and glory after being known in suffering and agony—laying down indeed—of His own volition—His life for us in a most brutal and shameful death, as like a criminal and outcast of society, upon “a Cross”—the historical equivalent of the modern-day “electric chair.”

With the Second Coming of Christ, clothed in glory and in triumph, shall the Son of Man yet find a place to rest His head?  With the wrath of the Lamb and the purgation of souls in order, shall anyone be yet found who shall stand?  Shall any truly belong to Christ, and shall Christ find a “sense of belongingness” among them?  Peter, James, and John fall on their faces in fear, while Moses and Elijah beg for the vision of the face of their Lord.  Moses is granted a glimpse of His silhouetted back parts, while Elijah is as yet taken, in a whirlwind and chariot of fire, up into Heaven.  King David’s desire for God still yet rings in these opened and obeying and attentively listening ears.  “You wish to build me a house?”  I say you shall not, but it is good that you have so desired it.  In the days of your Son and heir, there shall be built for me an earthly house.  As in the days prophesied of by Isaiah and by John in the Book of Revelation, “…Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;” as to dwell among us, He shall truly be a God to us (Revelation 21:3-4).  For to be a God to those who are godly, is not to live by power and authority over us, it is to live around, beside, and within us, and to show us not subjugation, but to show us love.

 

(“Enlisted” Resources, or “Reference List”:)

  1. Matthew 17:2-5

and was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

  1. Matthew 3:16-17

16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

  1. Matthew 8:20

20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

  1. 2 Samuel 7:2-7

that the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains. And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the Lord is with thee.

And it came to pass that night, that the word of the Lord came unto Nathan, saying, Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the Lord, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in? Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle. In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar?

  1. Revelation 21:1-4

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

 

Sunday 2/17/19

Second Week/11: Day 2

John 15:12-20.  “I do not call you servants any longer… but I have called you friends.”  Have I experienced myself as Jesus’s friend in the world?  When have I felt the joy of His friendship?  When have I felt the rejection of the world?

 

“To Love God is to Obey God’s Love: A Light Shineth in the Darkness, and the Darkness Hateth the Light”

(Alt. Title: “The Lovers of the World Obey the Antichrist that has Come”)

 

Preface:  Certainly a lover of the world, who falsely believes himself to be a Christian, because he knows not the Scriptures nor practices the true tenets of the Faith, would indeed call the true Christ, “the Antichrist,” for he who is at home in the world, is yet at enmity with God.

 

Jesus is ever so clear in this passage from John 15, that we are not to find peace in the world, but rather, hatred, as if towards an enemy, as He states, “ If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you” (John 15:18-19).  Jesus then also reassures us however, when He tells us that a servant is not above his master, and that just as the world hated Him, so shall it hate us to the extent that we follow after Him and act in accordance with the will of the Father.  For as it was also written, “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:5).  For the children of the world—the children of men and sons of Adam born into bondage and sin, live by their own laws of corruption, deception, pride, the fight for supremacy, and eventually envy and hatred.  The children of the light and of God, live by truth and incorruption, sooner laying down their very lives than to forsake the ways of truth and goodness.  The evil has always had enmity for the good, and the good has always suffered evil for righteousness’ sake.

If the fallen sons of Adam were of God, they would have heard the voice of the Father in these words and works of Christ, but their lack of acknowledgment or understanding that this Christ was of God, reveals them to be what they are in truth, which is “at enmity with God.”  These men have now been exposed as the “enemies” and “antichrists” that they are in so rejecting Jesus, as He so openly had declared that He came in the name of the Father, and had worked the works and miracles of God.  If before in their ignorance these men had no sin, now in their full knowledge of good and evil, they yet choose evil, and so now they have sin.  For they hate not the Christ, but the One who sent Him, as He came to came to testify of the Father and not of Himself.

“It is not you they are rejecting…”  The words of the Father seem to reverberate through the silent decibels of layer upon layer of these pages of the Scriptures, as like “a mighty wind” blowing over an opened and ancient Text, unlocked within a servant’s heart.  His words of truth and comfort offered to Samuel in 1 Samuel 8:7, and similarly also, ages before, to His true friend Moses, bear the same burden of worldly rejection now as they had in ages past.

But greater love than this has not a man to give—that he lay down his life for his friends.  The friends of God have always known enmity in the world, since the days when man first disobeyed the Spirit and ate of the fruit of deception, and the seed of the woman was said to strike at the head of the serpent and he at his heel.  So long as we claim belongingness to this world, shall we be absent from the Lord, and as long as we are at odds with the flesh, so shall we be present with the Lord.  For God is a Spirit, and His ways are above our ways, and clothed though we may be in this tabernacle of flesh, the ways of the Lord are not unreachable to us, though through disobedience to the Spirit of truth, they shall remain unknown to us.  For, as it is written in 1 Corinthians 13, when that which is perfect is come, Christ in glory and resurrected in the flesh, then that which is in part, the knowledge of God only through faith against the flesh, shall be done away.

For in Christ all things shall be made new, all opposites shall be drawn together, all dualities shall be set asunder with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God—and all human ignorance, ripe with its fallacies, and preconceived erroneous, spurious, and specious misconceptions, shall be laid to rest, as in the death that is to be had through a life at home in the world—which to those who live in the Spirit, is the death of corruptibility and sinful regression away from God.

For what greater love is there than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends?  What greater truth is there than to die to the world so that one may live for God?  What greater fruit is there than that not of the knowledge of good and evil, but of God’s own blessings of obedience and eternal life?  For by its fruits ye shall know its nature, and if the fruits of one’s labor be as love, then they be of God, but if they be of the world, then they be of these fallen sons of Adam, who choose not to live by faith and in God and to continue on in the immortality His life, but to live by the toil of their own waste, by the sweat of their brow, and with the fruits of thorn and thistle that choke out the Word in their hearts, and with which they crown their scourged and slandered God, set up for public mockery, blasphemy, ridicule, and abuse at the pillar of their doomed and desolate and crumbling castle of this world.

They shall always hate those who are of God if they be evil, and they shall always be evil if they so love the things of the world that be not of God, and yet they shall always love those who persecute them so, not in word, but in deed and truth, if they be of God, and of His light and His truth.  And this is how you shall know them, if they be hated by the unrighteous mammon and the rulers of the world, and be yet lovers of their enemies—resisting not the evil they must undergo as it is inflicted wrongfully upon them, but yet loving not their own lives unto “the death” that it is to have any claim upon a home, in this evil, sinful world.

(…I’m gonna get “crucified” for this.)

 

(References:)

  1. John 15:12-13, 18-20

12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

  1. John 1:5

And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

  1. John 5:30-47

 30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

31 If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true. 32 There is another that beareth witness of me; and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true. 33 Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. 34 But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved. 35 He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. 36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. 37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. 38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. 39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. 41 I receive not honour from men. 42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. 43 I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. 44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. 46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

  1. 1 Samuel 8:7

And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

  1. Isaiah 55:8-9

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

  1. 2 Corinthians 5:6-8

Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (for we walk by faith, not by sight:) we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

  1. Genesis 3:14-20

14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. 20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

  1. Matthew 7:15-20

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

  1. 1 John 3:7-10

Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

 

Monday 2/18/19

Second Week/11: Day 3

Philippians 2:12-15.  “…It is God who is at work in you…you shine like stars in the world.”

 

“From Whence the Heart is Seen, There it so Dwelleth: Do I See Myself in the Eyes of God, or the in Eyes of Men?”

(Alt. Title: “Because ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ Was Already Taken”)

 

In whose eyes do I perceive that I am being seen?  In the eyes of men, or in my own, or in the eyes of God?  The way I perceive that I am seen, and the way I see and regard myself, is very telling in revealing to me, without feigning of righteousness or deception of self, the thoughts and treasures of my heart, and wherein my desires truly reside—be they in the pride of thoughts of self, the vanity of thoughts of others, or the virtue of thoughts of God.

For as it its stated in Philippians 2:12-13, we are to obey and abide in righteousness, not for the sake of being seen so by men, but even more so in the absence of men, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).  We must strive to have not the minds of men, but to “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus,” such that we regard not ourselves but in lowliness of mind and humble servitude, not out of strife or vainglory, but in the earnest love of God, above and to the exclusion of all things, esteeming all others as better than ourselves, and hating our own lives so that we may preserve our love in perfect purity for God alone (Philippians 2:5).  For as we seek most meek and mild, humble and obedient servitude, in our dealings with others, so too shall we preserve the purity of our hearts, minds, and souls in willing to be placed in humble servitude under our God—for as soon as we shall place ourselves above any other, we shall cease to be the lowest of the low in our own minds, and the light of Christ residing in place of our own leveled egos, shall be diminished in just the same measure and proportion that we elevate and esteem ourselves.

We must strive ever so dearly and clearly to be seen and to see ourselves as worthless, as less than worthless, and as nothing and nameless in truth, “that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15).  For if we see ourselves as worthless and as nothing in truth, then we truly are seeing ourselves in the light of God, because next to God, man can only ever, in truth, be set at nought.

In this way, in regarding ourselves as nothing in truth and honesty, we shall have comfort knowing that we therefore abide in the presence of God—for next to God, and in His sight, man is in truth only the created fashioning of nothingness, mere ashes and dust made in the form of this clay body according to His good pleasure.  As I see myself in the eyes of God, I know myself to be as nothing and worthless, and this is how I know that God is near—for only next to God may man perceive himself as such an utter waste.

But this regard for self as being the lowest of the low and utter wretchedness, is only but one facet upon a multifaceted jewel of divine and manifold wisdom, and this regard for self as nothingness, only serves but for a brief moment and in this functional regard of setting our hearts upon a higher purpose, as we are set to a higher calling in God on this path to something greater; the view of the self as worthless, is merely a momentary means to an eternal ends.

This view of the self as nothingness is a mentality that is not held in the nihilistic isolation of self-oblivion only, but it is held simultaneously with the contrasting duality and dichotomy of its naturally opposing nature, that of God, as the natures of both man and God are held together and melded seamlessly into one—drawn together, diametrically opposed, brought into balance, and “dialectically” as it were, held side by side in this “hypostatic union:” the natures of God and man existing simultaneously and side by side in one, flesh and bone, human body.

We regard ourselves as the lowest of the low, because next to God—as we see ourselves “in God’s eyes,” and therefore “in truth”—we are; and we see ourselves as utter wretchedness, so that we may see God for Himself in truth—as the entire sum and total package of all the goodness that is to be found in this existence.  For God alone is the golden measure by which we shall see and discern ourselves, and His is always the total summation, the Alpha and Omega, from A to Z, of all goodness; of Himself alone, God is all goodness, in all its singular oneness and utter completeness.  I become less, so that He may become more.  I see myself in the truth of mankind’s wretchedness, so that I may see God in His utmost truth and supreme glory—as all the goodness that is present in God, and all that is missing or absent for the immortality of this wreckage of mankind.

 

Tuesday 1/19/19

Second Week/11: Day 4

Isaiah 49:1-18. “I will give you as a light to the nations… See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands.”  God calls me as He called Jesus: to be His voice, His witness in the world.  He keeps me so close that we can never be parted.  Can I trust in God’s support even when others oppose me?

 

“Servant Songs”

(The Lament of the Suffering Messiah)

 

In this passage from Isaiah 49, the prophet laments that his labor has been in vain, yet he finds consolation in knowing that his judgment rests in the Lord, and his work is, after all, in his God.  The Lord responds to the servant’s song of sorrow, that He has formed him from the womb, and has called him even before his birth to be his servant, and to fulfil this, His Word.  He further affirms and reinforces His will for the suffering servant in declaring that it is too little that he shall be salvation for Israel, but rather, that He shall “…also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6).

The Lord God reminds this servant, “despised among men,” that it is because of the Lord who is faithful, it is but for the might of the Lord and the power and grace of God, that this shall be so—so that all may know that the Lord is God, the Lord is faithful, and YHWH is good to His Word.  He shall be reverenced even among the heathen, the unbelieving Gentiles, and the rulers of man and servants of mammon.

The “suffering servant’s” song continues, “…I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people,” as the Lord declares, to be a light of hope for the lowly and a path of peace for all who are prisoners upon the earth and under the yoke of the world, for they shall be brought forth from the darkness that is ignorance and deception, and the slavery that is bondage to sin, to find freedom and peace in the truth of God’s great Light (Isaiah 49:8).  The Lord shall be exalted and all shall find joy in His exaltation—for it is fitting for God’s creatures to rejoice and to be “at home” in giving thanks and praise to their Creator—this is the will of God.

God shall not forsake His humble servant, for He is good, and He shall not forget His children, as He is our Father in truth and justice.  “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me” (Isaiah 49:16).  For the Lord God is present with those who labor with Him, and as for Him do we faithfully abide our work, so for us does He fruitfully multiply our results, and abound in the glory of His name; for the name God is not to be taken lightly, nor as vanity or in vain; for He is attentive to us, He is attendant with us, in both our struggles and our strayings, and He is, in truth, good to His Holy Word.

God bears with us our burdens, and faces the obstacles that we face, and binds to His wrists and before His eyes our promise to Him as we do so with His commands to us—for this is what it is to be a friend of God.  In the spirit of mutual respect and the sharing of life’s joys and burdens, we reciprocate, be it tit-for-tat or quid pro quo, in these promises; as we keep each promise bound to us of the Lord, so too does He keep each promise of ours as bound to Him.  This is a real relationship founded upon loving trust, and truth in kinship with the Lord—our one true Father, be He in Heaven or Earth, for He is the Lord God.

Just as with Gideon, whom God chose to lead the smallest of armies so that they would know it was by His strength that they conquered and overcame, and not by their own strength, so too with friends and servants of God, do we feel imposed upon by our own weaknesses, so that we may know that when victory is attained, it is by the power of God—for when we are weak, then we are strong, and in the words of Christ through St. Paul the Apostle, “…my strength is made perfect in weakness,” so that there may be no mistaking that this is God (2 Corinthians 12:9).

“…As I live, saith the Lord,” these children of sin and sons of Adam shall be delivered to the Lord, for life and salvation—not because of merit, and not for good works, and neither, in fact, through grace or by virtue of belief—but these children shall be offered for salvation, as a gift to the Lord, and as the dutiful offering of a dowry, as that given by a bride to her Husband (Isaiah 49:18).  For in the words of the Lord God YHWH, “…and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me” (Isaiah 49:23).  And furthermore, “…thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children” (Isaiah 49:25).

 

(References:)

  1. Isaiah 49:18

“Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold:
all these gather themselves together, and come to thee.
As I live, saith the Lord,
thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all,
as with an ornament,
and bind them on thee, as a bride doeth.”

  1. Judges 7:2

And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.

  1. Isaiah 40:10

10 Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand,
and his arm shall rule for him:
behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.

  1. Revelation 22:10-11

12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

  1. 2 Corinthians 12:9

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

  1. Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

 

Wednesday 2/20/19

Second Week/11: Day 5

“One Solitary Life.”  Do I believe that, as Jesus’s friend, my own small life can make a difference in the world?

 

“‘Servant Songs’ Continues, with Isaiah 53”

(The Lament of the Suffering Messiah Echoes On)

 

Q: So what is “the magician’s assistant” supposed to mean, anyway?   I mean, what, are you going to get, like, sawed-in-half or something?

A:  (What do you think?)  I mean, well, yeah.  Pretty much, yeah.  That’s exactly it.

 

Jesus was a man born in an obscure village, by an obscure birth, to lead a life worthy of no human notice nor recognition, save for this one fact of His divine manhood.  These little details in the history of Jesus’s life would only suggest that this was an ordinary man, nay, less than ordinary, such a man as “…hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2).  Such a man as this, He is.  Jesus is despised and rejected among men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, yea, well-acquainted (Isaiah 53:3).

He has borne our griefs and carried with Him our afflictions.  We did despise Him and esteem Him not, rather, we esteemed to be Him cursed and smitten of God.  He bore our transgressions and was stricken with our sins, as He wore our infirmities like a mirror held up to the souls of the wicked.  “All we like sheep have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6).  The whole herd indeed had gone astray, in this following after the false prophets.  We had followed the “hireling shepherd” unto our own demise, to be cast-off from a cliff as it were, and to be choked out in the depths just like the cast-out Legion from “the country of the Gerasenes.”

He was bruised for our iniquities, He carried us in His heart with Him, as like a massive net dragged about after Him, like a dead horse, beaten and stolen privily from the apocalyptic horsemen, but deigning not yet to bury it.  For, “with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).  This fisher of men, is a man of great suffering, collecting these wayward prisoners of their own evil ways as like flies upon flypaper; for He casts not out the wickedness from within by the spirit of Beelzebub, but the Spirit of God, in fact, rests upon Him; squarely upon His shoulders is the yoke of the world, and so He was a man of many sorrows.  Deeply afflicted is our whipping boy, as we defer our punishment to upon and behind His back, reveling over the lash of the whip that He bears in our name, and for us, as we so politely, so smugly, so contritely, decline to comment on the nature of the beast, that is, this creature, mankind.

He was oppressed by our hand, afflicted by our guilt, yet He opened not His mouth to utter a word against us, as we hold the muzzle ever so forcefully against the bloodied fat lip of our fall guy.  And He made His grave with the wicked, but in His resurrection the flogged and beaten body dragged about, stricken with the whip and whipped-up into a frothy fury of boiling blood, shall know its rising “…because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth” (Isaiah 53:9).  “Who hath believed our report?  I say, who hath believed our report” (Isaiah 53:1)?  “And to whom, forsooth, is the arm of the Lord revealed?  To whom is it revealed indeed” (Isaiah 53:1).

But it hath so pleased the Lord to bruise Him, that yet the iron in His blood may flow ever deeper.  He hath put Him to grief, for that beaten dead horse is buried and raised like a baptizing monsoon as the floodgates of peace are pierced open with His pierced and opened and bawled-out eyes.  The heavy black tears of the heavily painted lash drip wildly down the other cheek as it is turned.  Like a puncture wound in the side of a velvety midnight canopy, this one star doth shine through that tiny pierced opening, that tiny slit, ripped further and torn asunder like the veil over the Holy of Holies.  He shall bleed forth this mercy of the Lord, blood and water shall come forth from His body, hung upon a tree as like a runaway slave at the gallows.  For this soul shall be an offering for sin.  This soul shall “be sent” to reclaim.  This soul shall drag forth from the dirges to be arisen with its aching and beaten, yet still beating, and bleating and blistering, scourged and scorched, scathing heart.  “Who hath read our review?  Who hath believed our report?”  For no deceit did rest on His lips.

When Thou shalt make His soul, His Body, yea, but His very soul indeed, an offering for sin, then shalt Thou be exalted among the nations.  For this strange fruit hanging upon the tree, choked and strangled in the chasm of the heart, shall be a Light unto the Gentiles, the gentlemanly society of the most “genteel” and wealthy ruling class.  For He hath known no sins, but in our iniquity He hath borne our sins in the barbed gossip of slanderous rumors, set to crown Him in effigy with the thorns of our glossy lies.

He hangs suspended in a grave by the leash of our own shallow fashioning, as we make our slave into what we would have Him to be, and we drag our set-up victim, caught red-handed, into the framed framing of this picture-perfect piece of snap-shot evidence, of both an eye for a flawless victory, and this work of a flawless photographic composition.  “Say cheese,” and smile for the sutures of a “Glasgow grin.”   He shall yet carry us within that stitched-up net, His aching and tattered and homeless heart, this fisher of men, this collector of souls, saving us indeed from the fathoms below as He skims the surface of the water like a sitting duck, like “live bait” for dead sinners—set up like a target and a carefully-crafted clay pigeon, a dove as pure white as snow by the Father’s own design, for this vile marksman of stinging and scalding abuse.

“Who hath believed our report?  Who hath given or taken notice?”  As if of a fortnight!  “He shall see the travail of his soul,” from the levitation of a trance-like dissociative state, unhinged from His body as it were, through this most violent and unspeakable death… (Isaiah 53:11).  And as the path of death trails off, the path of Life shall be revealed.  His soul shall see, “and shall be satisfied, and by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many” (Isaiah 53:11).  For He hath borne our iniquities, and by His military stripes of devotion are we healed.  “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors;” He hath made intercession for the transgressors, and has filled us all, with Life (Isaiah 53:12).

Isaiah 53

53 Who hath believed our report?
and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant,
and as a root out of a dry ground:
he hath no form nor comeliness;
and when we shall see him,
there is no beauty that we should desire him.
He is despised and rejected of men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:
and we hid as it were our faces from him;
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs,
and carried our sorrows:
yet we did esteem him stricken,
smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth:
he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb,
so he openeth not his mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment:
and who shall declare his generation?
for he was cut off out of the land of the living:
for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
And he made his grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death;
because he had done no violence,
neither was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him;
he hath put him to grief:
when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin,
he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days,
and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied:
by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many;
for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
because he hath poured out his soul unto death:
and he was numbered with the transgressors;
and he bare the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

 

Thursday 2/21/19

Second Week/11: Day 6

John 15:12-20 (Day 2 again).  “I do not call you servants any longer… but I have called you friends.”  Have I experienced myself as Jesus’s friend in the world?  When have I felt the joy of His friendship?  When have I felt the rejection of the world?

 

“Joseph and Judah are Thrown Under the Bus: This is True Love.”

 

To be a friend of Jesus and a friend of God is to be at enmity with the world.  For in the world there shall be trouble, strife, envying, lust, wickedness, backbiting, hatred, malice, deceit, greed, pride, corruption, and evil desires.  To be “in the world and of the world,” to be embraced by it and claimed by those who walk after these ways of the flesh as one of her own—is to be at odds with the Spirit and the children of God.  The ways of the Spirit are love, kindness, patience, bearing with one another in hard times through tolerance and equanimity, meekness, humility, courage to oppose corruption, honesty, justice, peaceability, the love of God, and the desire for the success of our fellows.  True felicity, is the genuine joy that we experience in the good fortune had by others, as a sincere gladness for them in their successes, and a shared happiness in their happiness over their personal victories, rather than feeling envy or jealousy towards them when they succeed, whether we succeed as well or not.  As children of God, we wish for all of our fellows to prosper according to the abundance of God’s good will, without regard for our own personal prosperity or well-being, and without the selfishness of the comparison of their success to our own successes, or the apparent lack-thereof.

As the children of God who walk after the Spirit, we genuinely wish the best for all, and for the unique gifts of all of God’s creatures to shine through in accordance with His will and according to the capacity of their faith; we seek only the best for each other, and only the most humble path for our own selves, wishing rather that they may triumph over us than that we ourselves should see victory, for if our gain would be at the expense of their loss, we would much prefer to sacrifice our own standing rather than to impose such a fall upon another.  For in this unsurpassable love of the Father, we are so united to Him in His will, that we desire the happiness of His children to be attained as if they were our very own children, rather than merely just our neighbors, or our fellows, or I dare not say, but, our competition, over these worldly resources of personal success, praise, and the prideful vanity of the esteem of our fellows, of selfish glory in the eyes of man.

For it is in this way, in rather wishing that we be “thrown under the bus” so that they may board in our stead, that we may be most sure to live up to this most daunting admonition, that we “love one another,” and so fulfill the will of the Father, which is our one true desire.  For in Genesis 44, it is in this way and in this proposed sacrifice of Judah, to be held in bond in the stead of his brother Benjamin, that the true identity of their brother Joseph was made known to them in Egypt, and it is in this spirit of sacrifice for the well-being and preservation of others, that true love is known; for true love, that is, the love of God, is known not in receiving it, but only in willing to bestow it oneself.

Those who walk after the Spirit, live in Christ and not in man, or “the flesh,” as it were.  Those who are “in and of the world,” the world loves, because they follow the lusts of the flesh and oppose not its corruption of sin.  To oppose sin, one shall be hated of the world, and this is the path to finding the Beloved of God, and to being at rest in the soul and Spirit, rather than in the pleasures of the flesh and the comforts of the world.  For there is the outward man of material sensibilities, prone to greed, envy, lust, and all varieties of sin, and there is the inward man, the Spirit, through the communion of which we follow the law of the conscience, inscribed by God in our hearts, which is prone to diligent laboring, consistency in devotion, perseverance through trials, honest effort and persistence in hard work, peacemaking, longanimity, humility, meekness of spirit, adherence to rigorously high standards of justice for oneself but the unconditional giving of mercy, leniency, and forgiveness to others, and this ever-unbreakable, love of God.

We so strive to be not out of the world, as if in fearful cowardice of an enemy already conquered in Christ, but “in the world, while not of the world.”  For we shall not remain in exile after the fashion of the first man Adam, made a living soul from dirt and forsaken of God by forsaking Him in the disobedience of original sin.  No, we shall not remain this way, being of the world, after the flesh and begotten of sin like this first man.  Rather, the second Adam, that is Christ, begotten and not made, as a quickening Spirit, who is not of the world, but came into the world so that it could be conquered, that the law of sin might be transcended by His Spirit, gives us His Spirit, so that while we are yet in the world, we need not be of the world; for we may choose yet to be of the Spirit of Holiness which he hath given us.  For the first man was condemned to death in the law by his transgressions, but the second Man has brought us to life, by superseding the death of the body with His gift of the salvation of souls and this new life in the Spirit.

We choose to relinquish our place of belongingness that we may find in the world if we are of the world, after the sinful nature of Adam and the laws of the flesh, so that we may be instead claimed by God as His children—which we are so long as we do obey His commands, love one another, in deed and truth, and walk after the Spirit which He hath given us.  For God is a Spirit, and Christ is risen by the quickening Spirit, and as we seek to find life in God and not in the world, so shall we be of God and not of man, nor of the flesh, nor of the world, wheresoever we may be.

 

(References:)

  1. Genesis 44:33

33 Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren. 34 For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me? lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my father.

  1. John 4:23-24

23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

  1. John 15:12-17, 24-25

12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. 17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.

24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.

  1. John 16:33

33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

  1. John 17:11-19

11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

  1. 1 John 2:15-17

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

  1. Galatians 5:13-25

 13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

  1. 1 Corinthians 15:45-49

 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

 

Friday 2/22/19

Second Week/11: Day 7

Isaiah 49:1-18 (Day 4 again). “I will give you as a light to the nations… See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands.”  God calls me as He called Jesus: to be His voice, His witness in the world.  He keeps me so close that we can never be parted.  Can I trust in God’s support even when others oppose me?

 

“‘Ascent of Mount Carmel’ and ‘The Dark Night’ of the Soul”: And Then There were Two… and We are Raised Again on the Third.”

 

Only God is worthy of my trust, and the seeming opposition of others, in this world and creation of God and in His grand scheme of things, can only ever work towards my betterment and strengthen my relationship with God, as I continue to be a friend to Him, to believe the best of Him despite any messages that I may receive to the contrary, and to continue to place my trust in Him, rather than to cower and forsake His trust under the weight of the opposition.  For just as Joseph had remarked to his brothers in Genesis 50:20, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive”; and also as it is said in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”; all things work towards good for those whose faith is in God.  For to remain in solid partnership with the Lord is no great challenge, and the intact preservation of our trust in Him is no great feat, if it has not been tried, tested, and proven to be true.

To continue to believe the best of God and that He is silently and continually at work for us behind the scenes, for our greater good, even when we may not perceive His presence with us, even when the reasoning and rationale behind His mysterious ways is not readily apparent, and even when all the world seems to be so wrong, and even when all in this life seems to be falling apart; to continue to believe in Him in the face of such opposition to this true belief, in God, is how we show our true colors, the true colors of our soul in His eyes, and how we reveal ourselves to be the true friends of God.

For as it is written in Isaiah 49:16, “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.”  God is truly with us in our struggles, and offers us an escape route in all of our troubles, provided that we seek Him and His will first with perfect trust and steadfast love, believing that He does have our back as we cover His, He is on our side as we remain with Him on His, and He is working out the hidden details of His plan for our salvation as we practice faith by not knowing what this is, trusting in Him with just a general awareness and nonspecific knowledge of His love always, whether we have particular knowledge of His plan or not.

Even in the prison that is the human body and mind, our walls are before God too, and even with Christ on the Cross, those nails pierced the palms of His hands too—and as we so remain in this general, loving knowledge of God, and back up our faith with truth, the truth of trust, this “…faith which worketh by love” mentioned in Galatians 5:6, for trust works by love and love is based upon trust, so too shall we see His victory for us as He conquers all.

God indeed conquers all the sins of human error, He scales all the walls of manmade prisons holding his dear ones in bondage, He breaks even through the prisons of these fleshly human corpses holding our souls in captivity, and He conquers all terrestrial malice and mishap with His great and overarching will oriented towards our good, as we follow obediently, with love and kindness in-line with Him—opening not our mouths to utter yet a word of complaint, and suffering not a word of deceit to rest upon our lips, as we remain true to His virtuosity and therefore true to His path, of Christ and of the Cross, thereby ensuring that we see His plan, and not ours, through to His desired completion, in the glory of His Resurrection.

For we deviate not from upholding the goodness of His holy name and we recoil not from the prospect of pain and suffering, but rather willingly embrace our Cross and obediently, indeed voluntarily, undergo all, if for nothing but to show to Him the depths of our love and the fathoms and extent to which we would go, just to prove this love to Him, our God.

We do so trust in God so that at the time of His revelation to us, we may be not like the opposition, like those wicked friends of Job, who, as it is written in Job 42:7, “have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath,” but so that we may rather be like the good servant, and remain true to our faith in God’s goodness and speak what is true of Him, “as His servant Job has,” thereby seeing the fulness of God’s plan, of grace and prosperity for those who trust Him, come to its completion.  Also we shall learn from the great servant of the Lord and the great friend of God, the prophet and leader of His people, Moses, that we shall always defend our Lord against the naysayers, and we shall always have God’s back against those who would have us doubt Him.  For it so displeased God not to have His cherished friend stand up for Him against the wayward and disbelieving Israelites at Meribah, that Moses indeed would not live to see the congregation brought into the promised land.  For as it is written in Numbers 20:12, “And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.”  Therefore, we shall always trust in God, and take a stand for Him, even in the midst of many enemies or much human error, for the power of the Lord is great, and the love of Him shall always triumph over all, to His great glory.

We shall always see the Light of Christ “within” at the end of that “Dark Night of the Soul,” and even though we, like Christ, may descend into the depths of Hell, we shall yet be raised again on the third day—for as we so die in accord with God’s will and as we so die in Christ in heart and not in the world, nor in the eyes of man with the treasures of our hearts placed wrongly in their sight for judgment; but as we so die in Christ, and in the eyes of the Lord seek our justice and redemption, so shall we be raised by God, through the Holy Spirit of God, in Christ, and at last, we shall have arisen with Christ.  For we shall be the servants who say, “Our soul has trusted in God, and to us, His grace has been revealed.”

 

References:

  1. Genesis 50:18-21

18 And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. 19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? 20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. 21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

  1. Numbers 20:12-13

12 And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. 13 This is the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the Lord, and he was sanctified in them.

  1. Job 42:7-10

And it was so, that after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the Lord commanded them: the Lord also accepted Job. 10 And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.

  1. Isaiah 49:16

16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands;
thy walls are continually before me.

  1. Romans 8:28-29

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

  1. Galatians 5:6-7

For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?

 

Saturday 2/23/19

Second Week/12: Day 1

John 11:1-46.  The Raising of Lazarus.  Jesus weeps only twice in the gospel; this is one of those times.  He has formed very close friendships with these three (Luke 10:38-42).

“Master, the one you love is ill.”  “This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”  “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”  Do you believe this?

 

“The Sacred Number of the Holy Trinity: Holy Light and the Spirit of Truth as the Means by Which Truth is Made Self-Evident.”

Alt. Title: “A Little ‘Light’ History”

 

“…Are there not twelve hours in the day?” (John 11:9).  Or rather, “Is there not unity among us?” as Jesus so seems to ask.  “If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world” (John 11:9).  If a man walk in that light of day that is the light of truth shining within, all things in the world are made known to him, be they of light and truth, or of darkness, folly, and deception.  For in truth, we see truth, in God we see God, and in light we see light, and so we shall see and discern that light from the darkness, the straight path from the crooked, the right way from the wrong; distinguishing honesty, justice, and incorruption from error, injustice, and deception; because the light of truth and the knowledge of God rests within us, shining as like an eternal daylight within by which all things of the world and exterior to us are made self-evident, and by truth and in truth, made known and revealed to us for what they are.

We have the Spirit of truth by which to light our path, for we live by it and uphold that truth within ourselves.  The spirit of error we receive not, for we deceive not others with the error that is darkness, sin, and deception.  As we speak truth, uphold the light of truth in our hearts, and seek the truth, so is it made evident to us.  This the spirit of error and the children of darkness have not—they speak not the truth, they uphold it not within themselves, and they seek it not above their own benefit, if a personal gain may be had by deception—therefore they possess not the light of truth within them, by which to discern the truth from error outside of them, as fact from fiction, honesty from lies, the darkness from the light, the snares set by enemies from the safety of clear paths; for the Spirit of truth, and the light of God, is as yet not in them.

“But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him” (John 11:10).  Those who never tell the truth know not the difference between truth and falsehood, honesty and deception, the steps taken to safety versus the traps laid by the wicked, and so they stumble along these paths that are so clear to those who walk in the ways of righteousness.  In the light of day, of personal honesty in all things, the light of God is in us, and the crooked ways are made straight, the stony parts made smooth, and the flooded paths made clear, as by this lamp of the soul upheld within an honest heart, we are shown by God’s Spirit wherein the light of this world so dwelleth.  In this way, “…If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world” (John 11:9).  Jesus, in this manner, was indeed made aware, as His disciples reminded Him, that  “…the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?” (John 11:8).  The missteps and snares laid by the wicked are made evident in the paths of the upright, and so Jesus rebukes His disciples that they lack unity with Him as their Master, “…Are there not twelve hours in the day?” with the day being His ministry; for as Martha goes on to affirm, echoing Peter’s revelation made known to him by the Father, indeed by the Spirit of truth that dwelleth in him, “…Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world” (John 11:27).  Therefore, these twelve apostles collected into unity with Him, need not fear of stumbling so long as they are with Him, for the traps set by the children of darkness in the wickedness of deceit are always evident and made known to the children of light, indeed by that very Spirit of truth, given by the Father to the honest and upright of heart, to those faithful to His ways.

“Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him” (John 11:14-15).  Jesus here rebukes His disciples again for their lack of belief and unity with Him, for in being so easily influenced by the unrighteous Pharisees so as to try to dissuade their Master from the duty of His calling, to proceed along the path revealed by God to Judaea towards Lazarus who needs Him, they may too be so persuaded by the Jews who “…of late sought to stone thee” as to believe that which is not true of Him—as if indeed to blame Him for the death of Lazarus if he had been there when he died (John 11:8).  For the Jews do seek for a reason to arrest Him, and to condemn Him to death.

“Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him” (John 11:16).  Herein is the limit and extent of their solidarity in unity made known, that they should follow Him, even unto death.  For as Martha again elicits from Him, as Jesus says to her in John 11:25, “…I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live,” so herein is the fault line made evident through which the solidarity of their union is not yet made perfect; for they have strength of spirit over flesh indeed to follow Him even if it means to follow Him unto their own death; but they have not true belief, that is the true belief of Him in regard to His ultimate power over death, and His final fulfillment of God’s prophesy in this linchpin of the Faith, which is the Resurrection.  Indeed, it is the so-infamously-dubbed “Doubting Thomas,” who so evidences the imperfection of the disciples’ belief in Him.  For even as they do so follow Him, they understand not what they yet follow.  And thus, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35).

As Jesus goes on in gentle adjuration of Martha towards “right understanding,” and “true belief,” He says, “and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:26).  She saith indeed what she so believeth.  But this question of Christ is such that it warrants repeating.  “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:  and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:25-26).  This question warrants repeating, because point in fact, almost no one ever does.  How many have lived to see eternal life; how many are there who live, though they have yet died?  How many indeed.

And thus, is the sacred number of the Holy Trinity, in this great and unravelling mystery of the Godhead; held sacred, held in solidarity, held intact in perfect unity, perfect belief, and perfect faith, hope, and love; in this eternal trust of sacred life, the eternal life of sacred trust; in all, of all, above all, and through all, and thus, in perfect Triune truth.

 

References:

  1. John 11:7-16, 23-27, 35, 41-42

Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judæa again. His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. 10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him. 11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. 14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. 16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.

23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? 27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

35 Jesus wept.

41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.

  1. Isaiah 40:1-5

40 Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her,
that her warfare is accomplished,
that her iniquity is pardoned:
for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness,
Prepare ye the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low:
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough places plain:
and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together:
for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

  1. Isaiah 49:6

And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and to restore the preserved of Israel:
I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles,
that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

  1. Isaiah 60:1-4

60 Arise, shine; for thy light is come,
and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
and gross darkness the people:
but the Lord shall arise upon thee,
and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
And the Gentiles shall come to thy light,
and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

Lift up thine eyes round about, and see:
all they gather themselves together, they come to thee:
thy sons shall come from far,
and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.

  1. Matthew 16:14-20

14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I 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. 20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

  1. John 16:12-15

12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

  1. John 20:24-25

24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

  1. 1 John 1:5-10

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

  1. 1 John 2:4-6, 10-11

He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

  1. 1 John 3:1-2

3 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

  1. 1 John 4:1-6, 13, 16-17

4 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

  1. “I cannot tell a lie, I did it with my little hatchet” (commonly attributed to George Washington).
  2. “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible” (George Washington).
  3. Isaiah 9:5-7

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor,
The mighty God,
The everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end,
upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom,
to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice
from henceforth even for ever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

  1. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (United States Declaration of Independence).

 

Sunday2/24/19

Second Week/12: Day 2

Matthew 21:12-17.  The cleansing of the temple.  John (John 2:13-25) adds the detail that Jesus actually made a whip!  This act of righteous anger speaks to the depths of Christ’s love for his Father.  “It is written: ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a den of thieves.”  As I work on trying to control my outbursts of anger over petty things, do I overlook situations of injustice and hatred and prejudice where I should be filled with righteous anger?

 

“Turning the Tables on Expectations and Overturning the Den of Thieves”

 

The cleansing of the Temple is one of the only times in the Bible where Jesus displays an outburst of human emotion, in this case righteous anger, and it is also one of the events directly leading to His subsequent apprehension and execution by the Pharisees.  Jesus “…went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Matthew 21:12-13).  Jesus, even from His earliest days of the “Finding in the Temple,” had seen the House of the Lord as His Father’s House, and had seen to it that He, “…must be about [His] Father’s business” (Luke 2:49).  Any man with a deep love for the Temple in those days could not have but seen it as an outrage and an abomination that it should be treated as such, and defiled as if it had been a common street corner marketplace, selling unlawful sacrifices, housing moneychangers, and being indeed a veritable “den of scammers and thieves,” preying upon the lowly and ignorant rather than praying for peace to the Father above.

When Jesus cast out these thieves, and con artists, and scammers and moneychangers, the blind and the lame flooded into the Temple, and He indeed healed them.  Just as immediately before when He had first entered the city, “…sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass,” and “…a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest,” so too were the children now “…crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David.” But as for the scribes and the chief priests?  Well, “…they were sore displeased” (Matthew 21:5, 8-9, 15).

For the people cannot hide the fact from their hearts that this is the Christ, the Son of David which is come to save them, and so they say to Him, “Save us,” or in Hebrew, “Hosanna,” as “Hosanna to the Son of David; Hosanna in the highest”; and, echoing the praise perfected by the psalmist in Psalm 118, they sing “Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord,” as if to serenade like pied pipers the unrighteous Pharisees with this collective choir of, “we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord,” to those thieves, moneychangers, and scammers who have corrupted the House of the Lord and defiled the Temple of the Father (Psalm 118:26).

Jesus truly here “turns the tables” on all of their expectations once again; coming at first in the spirit of meekness and humility upon the back of a donkey, an animal hardly fit for a lowly servant and indeed not at all for a king, much less for the much exalted King of the Jews and Son of David; yet He then goes on to demonstrate the force of this power of “the zeal of the Lord of hosts” with His very decisive act of physical authority, quite literally overturning the tables of those who would live and earn an income by theft, and trickery, and corruption, and deception; who would conceal the hand of God from the people, and deny His promised Savior to the hordes of needy children, and huddles masses of the infirm and afflicted, be it of body, mind, or spirit.  These people, these children, “babes and sucklings,” sing a chorus of previously perfected and newly learned praises for their awaited Savior, their King first coming unto them “…meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass,” and then cleansing for them the Temple that could not even have been “cleansed,” had it not first been defiled, from their practices of corruption, trickery, the worship of “man and not God,” moneymaking, and deceit (Matthew 21:5).  The city indeed was moved; “…Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee” (Matthew 21:10-11).

This Jesus, this Son of David, truly is the Son of God, and He does nothing apart from the will of the Father, as He affirms in John 5:30, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”  Even St. Paul the Apostle’s words in First Corinthians, “What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?” seem to resonate the more deeply upon reflection at this event from the Gospel, as Jesus comes in the spirit of meekness, but with an authority that the leaders and the Pharisees will not accept, because it is that, “of God” (1 Corinthians 4:21).

The withered fig tree that Jesus then goes on to encounter seems to portend the fate of that selfsame from the “Parable of the Barren Fig Tree,” as this withered branch has at last failed to bear good fruit and so shall be cut off from among the people; both indeed, the city of men is to be cut off from the city of God, and the city of God is to be cut off from the city of men.  For when the chief priests and elders come to Him while He is found teaching at the Temple, and ask Him by what authority He does all these things, He replies most cunningly and in kind—”I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell” (Matthew 21:24-27).  Therefore Christ said to them, then “…Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things” (Matthew 21:27).  They would have “took Him” there in retaliation to His “authority,” “But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet” (Matthew 21:46).

Indeed by its fruits is a tree known, as a good tree brings forth good fruit and an evil tree brings forth evil fruit, and thereby are the hearts of men made known, as a righteous man brings forth good works, and the unrighteous evil deeds.  For the chief priests and elders deign not to apprehend Jesus in the Temple, in the presence of the people and with a crowd of honest witnesses, for these men are not honest in their “apprehension;” neither that of Christ, nor of the truth. They wait rather for the cover of darkness to cloak the evil of their actions, and instead take Jesus not openly, in the presence of those who would call them out on their malice and criminal misdeeds, but only under the cover of darkness, or concealed from the light of honesty and truth, and hidden away from the public eye of a collective conscience in the Temple of the upright; for these men know that they are in the wrong, and they wish indeed for the cloak of deception to conceal their evil deeds, the wrongness of their actions, and their criminal erring, from the sight of those who would, in purity of heart and cleanness of mind, object.  In the light of day they shall be known for what they are, both these purported chief priests and elders, and this Son of David.  For every stone of this Temple shall be cast down, but in three days, whom I ask you, Whom indeed, shall have arisen?

 

References:

  1. Matthew 21:5-16, 23-27, 45-46

Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.

And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. 10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? 11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 13 and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. 15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, 16 and said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?

23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? 24 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? 26 But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet. 27 And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. 46 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.

  1. Luke 2:46-49

46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. 47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. 48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. 49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?

  1. John 5:30

30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

  1. Psalm 118:19-28

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness:
I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord:
20 this gate of the Lord,
into which the righteous shall enter.
21 I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me,
and art become my salvation.
22 The stone which the builders refused
is become the head stone of the corner.
23 This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvellous in our eyes.
24 This is the day which the Lord hath made;
25 Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord:
O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.
26 Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord:
we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord.
27 God is the Lord, which hath shewed us light:
bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.
28 Thou art my God, and I will praise thee:
thou art my God, I will exalt thee.

  1. 1 Corinthians 4:14-21

14 I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. 15 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. 17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church. 18 Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you. 19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. 20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. 21 What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?

 

Monday 2/25/19

Second Week/12: Day 3

Matthew 23:37-39.  Preparing for the end.  “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but you were unwilling!”  Jesus realizes that he is in the line of prophets whom Jerusalem has rejected and put to death.  He laments this hardness of heart.  How do I see this rejection continuing?  Do I ever experience rejection for doing what I know to be right?

 

“The Refiner’s Fire: Do as I Say not as I Do?”

 

“Woe unto you…” ye blind guides, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!  In this “series of woes” to the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy, Jesus rebukes and admonishes the chief priests and elders for their failings in their acts of worship.  As it says in Matthew 23, “For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments” (Matthew 23:4-5).  Jesus, our Righteous Priest, here criticizes these men for making themselves to sit in Moses’ seat, to be exalted among men in that title wherein only God should receive praise.  As Jesus warns His disciples of the wicked ways of these chief priests and “masters,” as it were, He reminds them also not to follow in their ways, but rather to actively seek not to be like them—indeed to look upon them as a “cautionary tale” of how not to act; for, “Ye serpents,” He says, as He addresses them and calls out these hypocrites, “ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:33).

For indeed even Christ passed through the fires of Hell, but He proceeded through them in the cleansing of the soul to arise from them in the Resurrection of the body.  In like manner, He chastises the Temple leaders for these unrighteous deeds, “Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also” (Matthew 23:26).  For Jesus here speaks of the heart of man.  Just as He had asked James and John in Matthew 20:22, Who is fit to drink the cup of wrath which the Son of Man is to drink, and to receive the baptism with which He is to be filled?  For God is a Spirit, “…Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire” (Hebrews 1:7).  For God is a quickening Spirit and a mighty Fire, and by the iniquity of man is His wrath enkindled.  For as it is said in Isaiah 30, “…yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it” (Isaiah 30:33).

Therefore Jesus urges His disciples—be not like these men who would usurp the seat of the Lord in your heart and soul, who “…love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi” (Matthew 23:6-7).  And Jesus further urges us, “…be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ” (Matthew 23:8-10).

Jesus then goes on to explain, that, “…he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:11-12).  For only one shall both exalt and be exalted, and that one is God.

Jesus yet continues in scolding us, “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men [the seat of the soul wherein God should reside]: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in [for they had indeed persecuted that line of prophets who so did]” (Matthew 23:13).  For as referred to in Matthew 9:17, as the heart is emptied out and purified of the old wine, the cup of affliction taken willingly and according to the will of the Father, then shall the body be arisen in a new “regeneration,” to be fit to take in the new wine that is the Holy Ghost, the eternal flame of God’s love, with which those called by God are baptized.  For John the Baptist indeed baptized with water, but the Son of Man shall baptize with fire and the Holy Ghost.

For that which has been shall not be done away with by that which is come, but rather, as it is said in Romans 3:31, the faith of Christ fulfills and confirms the Law of Moses and the Commandments of God, that in the fulness of God’s plan all things shall be reconciled unto a more complete understanding of His ways and His will for us, His children.  For He shall take away our “stony hearts,” of the Tablets of Stone and of the Ten Commandments, as works done with an apathy of spirit and an antipathy for God’s love, and He shall give us new, fleshly human hearts, these spiritual hearts (and not the anatomical hearts of the cardiovascular system) of empathy and compassion, our consciences and the pump and valve and vessels of human emotion and tender human sentiments, wherein He shall inscribe His law.  As these hearts and “cups” are purged of their uncleanliness, of their wicked desires, impure thoughts, and evil projections into the “generation” of wicked ways, we shall then be ready, with our new conception of what these “hearts” should be, to receive the new wine of God’s purifying love into them—embittered indeed by affliction, like “vinegar mingled with gall,” only to then be made the more brilliant by it—like gold or silver cleansed of dross in the refiner’s fire, or like lamb’s wool from the distaff made the more dazzling white in the fuller’s lye.

As we make ourselves ready to enter the gates of God’s standards of righteousness, our House will not be left to us desolate, though there indeed shall be some, who, “…shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:39).  For even by the power of God alone is any House of God, or Temple of the Lord, or heart and soul of man, to be cleansed and made acceptable in God’s sight.  As we avail ourselves to the salvation of Christ, it seems we need not any new revelation nor moment of profound insight, but only to humble ourselves to learn that which has already been written; as like with willing and able students, praises are perfected in the mouths of babes.  “Hosanna in the highest,” indeed.

 

References (listed in order of citation):

  1. Matthew 23:4-13, 24-28, 33, 37-39

For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. 11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. 25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. 39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

  1. Matthew 20:22-23

22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. 23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.

  1. Hebrews 1:7-9

And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

  1. Isaiah 30:26-33

26 Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.

27 Behold, the name of the Lord cometh from far,
burning with his anger,
and the burden thereof is heavy:
his lips are full of indignation,
and his tongue as a devouring fire:
28 and his breath, as an overflowing stream,
shall reach to the midst of the neck,
to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity:
and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people,
causing them to err.
29 Ye shall have a song,
as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept;
and gladness of heart,
as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the Lord,
to the mighty One of Israel.
30 And the Lord shall cause his glorious voice to be heard,
and shall shew the lighting down of his arm,
with the indignation of his anger,
and with the flame of a devouring fire,
with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones.
31 For through the voice of the Lord shall the Assyrian be beaten down,
which smote with a rod.
32 And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass,
which the Lord shall lay upon him,
it shall be with tabrets and harps:
and in battles of shaking will he fight with it.
33 For Tophet is ordained of old;
yea, for the king it is prepared;
he hath made it deep and large:
the pile thereof is fire and much wood;
the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone,
doth kindle it.

  1. Matthew 9:16-17

16 No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. 17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

  1. Romans 3:27-31

27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. 29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: 30 seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

  1. Ezekiel 36:22-29

 22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. 23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. 24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.

25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. 28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.

  1. Malachi 3:2-3

But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

 

Second Week/12: Day 4

Tuesday 2/26/19

John 12:1-11.  Seeking consolation from friends.  Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.  They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.  Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil and anointed the feet of Jesus.  This is the same action as that performed by the penitent woman in Luke’s Gosper (Luke 7:36-50) but done out of a different motivation.  Jesus, who knows our hearts, responds not to the action but to the motivation.  Am I aware of my own motivations?

 

“The Consolation of the Holy Spirit”

(Prerequisite: Being Rejected by Man)

“Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment” (John 12:3).  Judas, the thief, of course objected to Mary’s act of devotion, and accused her that the ointment should have been sold, and the proceeds deposited into the bag of donations to be given to the poor (so that he might steal from it).  Jesus rebukes Judas straightly, saying, “… Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this” (John 12:7).

In examining the various motivations at play in this very dramatic scene, of Mary’s anointing of Jesus, it is made evident just what sort of value these different people assign to their time with the Lord.  Judas assigns a dollar amount and price of three hundred pence to the “pound of costly ointment,” which he intends to later purloin from the bag of charity money anyway.  The motivations in the heart of this man are cold, hard, “premeditative,” and of numerical value.  In contrasting this character to that of Mary, we may observe the difference, as the comparison makes it as clear as black and white, the difference between the good and evil at work in their hearts.

Mary, as referred to in Luke 6:45, out of the abundance of her love for the Lord, pours forth an abundance of costly ointment, filling the house with its aroma, as like “the sweet scent of a burnt offering, and a sacrifice acceptable to the Lord.”  For Mary considers not in a cold and calculated mindset the cold hard facts and numerical values of dollar amounts, but evidences “meditative” rather than “premeditated” intent.  For Mary only from the rich abundance of her love proceeds forth to demonstrate that love, with the resources most readily available to her, at hand and at her disposal for this most righteous use.  For, “… against the day of my burying hath she kept this,” Jesus reminds us, still dripping with the anointing and washed clean by the lengths of her own repurposed hair (John 12:7).

Jesus, in this same chapter of John’s Gospel, goes on to remind us, of the necessity of this coming event, though His disciples yet comprehend it not; that “…Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12:24).  For just as in His raising of Lazarus many came to believe on Him, so too in His own rising from the dead, shall that many more be made witnesses to Him, bringing forth an ever-greater increase of good fruit in the Kingdom of Heaven in this increase of earnest believers.

For as it says in John 15:16, the will of the Father is “…that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain:” that as you abide in Him you shall bring forth much fruit in His Kingdom, for through the good works proceeding forth from goodly intentions, the fruit of your labors shall be made eternal in Heaven.  Jesus further explains that, “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour” (John 12:25-26).

For Jesus means, in saying this, that in accepting this “hour” of His affliction, and seeking not the consolation of His fellow man, but rather offering Himself wholly in His love as true charity, without any expectation of a return from man for His good works, that a return or reward shall be given, and the gift shall be recompensed, by the Father Himself.  For as it was emphasized in the Beatitudes, blessed are you when you receive not your reward for good works from man, for then the Father Himself shall repay you, and you shall be as rich in the Kingdom of Heaven, and the children of the Most High God.  For it is written in Luke 6:35, “…love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest”;  so too is it also written in Matthew 5:11-12, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

Indeed, in accepting His “hour” and His cup of affliction, neither seeking nor finding consolation from the company of man, the angel of the Lord and the consolation of God’s Spirit is therefore given to Jesus; as at that hour that “His soul was troubled,” “there came a voice from Heaven,” and as it is written in John 12:29, “The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.”  Indeed, in receiving not consolation from man, this Son of Man’s consolation, in the purity of His faith and the worthiness of His sacrifice, shall be that of God.  For God is as a Father to the “orphans,” a Husband to the “widows,” and those who believe on Him shall not be put to shame—for in purity of heart, and goodness of motivation, and singleness of vision, in the truth of hope towards God, He shall be with us as our God, and He will not forsake His Word nor His little ones (Psalm 68:5; 1 Peter 4:16).  For as it is written in Matthew 18:10, “…their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven,” as like in the “beatific vision” of God.

Then Jesus says unto them, “…Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, …that ye may be the children of light” (John 12:34-36).  He further consoles them, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32).  In this act of the Crucifixion, as Jesus is lifted up onto the Cross, are the words of Esaias fulfilled, that He should be as “a light to the Gentiles,” for as like a moth to the flame all are drawn into Him, and as the Father is good to His Word, “and no seed bringeth forth fruit lest it first fall to the ground and perish,” so too all who believe in Christ and die in Him, like a moth sucked into the Holy Flame, shall rise with Him in His life eternal, resurrected as spiritual beings in His Resurrection of the body, as we are all to become the body of our Godhead in the raising of Christ—lifted first in Crucifixion, to be made low for our sins, to then collect all the deepest fathoms of God’s creation, and to bring into Himself the lowest depths of all the souls of man in Hell’s forsaken sinners, to be as a light of hope for all, and a presence of God that no one, no place, no power, can ever separate from us.  (Isaiah 49:6; John 12:24; 1 Corinthians 15:36; 1 Corinthians 15:44; Romans 8:38-39).

For as He said to Peter, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against [thee],” as on this Rock, art thou founded; so too are all souls so founded upon the Word, who are rejected of man, but yet found in Christ, our Rock: the “head stone of the corner, which the builders refused” (Matthew 16:18; Psalm 118:22).

 

“…These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them” (John 12:36).

 

References (listed in order of citation):

  1. John 12:3-8, 24-26, 27-33, 35-36, 37-41

Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.

24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

27 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. 28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. 29 The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. 30 Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. 31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.

35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. 36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.

37 But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: 38 that the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? 39 Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, 40 He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. 41 These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.

  1. Luke 6:35, 45

35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

  1. John 15:6-10, 16

If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

  1. Matthew 5:11-12

11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

  1. Psalm 68:4-6

Sing unto God, sing praises to his name:
extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH,
and rejoice before him.
A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows,
is God in his holy habitation.
God setteth the solitary in families:
he bringeth out those which are bound with chains:
but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.

  1. 1 Peter 4:13-16

13 but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. 16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

  1. Matthew 18:10

10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

  1. Isiah 49:6

And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and to restore the preserved of Israel:
I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles,
that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

  1. 1 Corinthians 15:35-43

35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? 36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 37 and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: 38 but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. 40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 it is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.

  1. Romans 8:35-39

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  1. Matthew 16:16-20

16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I 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. 20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

  1. Psalm 118:19-24

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness:
I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord:
20 this gate of the Lord,
into which the righteous shall enter.
21 I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me,
and art become my salvation.
22 The stone which the builders refused
is become the head stone of the corner.
23 This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvellous in our eyes.
24 This is the day which the Lord hath made;
we will rejoice and be glad in it.

 

(Additional Passages About Being Rewarded by God and not by Man:)

 

  1. Matthew 6:1-6

6 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

  1. 1 Peter 2:19-25

19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

  1. 1 Peter 3:14-17

14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 15 but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 16 having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. 17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing

 

Wednesday 2/27/19

Second Week/12: Day 5

John 12:12-19. The procession with palms.  When the great crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, they took palm branches and went out to meet him, and cried out: “Hosanna!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”  Do I welcome Jesus’ entrance into my own life?

 

“The Hindsight of the Lord is 20/20: The ‘Hermeneutic Circle’ and ‘The Divine Milieu”’

 

“The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him” (John 12:19).  For wisdom is known by her children, and history shall bear record of itself in due time (Luke 7:35).  This is well said of the Pharisees, for whosoever shall wish to be Jesus’ disciple must take up his Cross daily and follow after Him, so that in so losing his life he may save it, and in being crucified to the world with Christ and so dying in Christ, we too may rise with Christ in the Resurrection of the body (Luke 9:23-24).

In the moment of most perfect unity with Christ, that is, temporary but full union with God, the mind and the faculties of human or mortal functioning are as if suspended in time, as it were, so that the divine capacities at the other sides of these spectrums, of the intellect, the will, and the memory; that is, faith, love and hope, respectively; may take control, take effect, and make an effect “effectively,” that is, by the power of God.

The soul is properly divided into three faculties, these being the intellect, the will, and the memory; each has a mortal presence and human capacity on the one end of these spectrums, and each is likely presently known in this regard; but each faculty also exists with a potential spiritual capacity for the divine presence that may work in its stead, at the other end of this spectrum, as a different and superior mode of its functionality.  These divine capacities, of faith, love, and hope, are the corresponding “theological virtues” (meaning that they are unattainable by human powers, and always remain proper to God alone, to be given to us only by grace), that may replace the intellect, the will, and the memory, as God fills in where human power leaves off.

For as His disciples are yet with Jesus, they are so caught up in His divine presence and the power of God working in them, that their human capacity for thought—as to rely on mortal powers to wrap their minds around an immortal and incomprehensible God—is so suspended, so that the power of faith and these divine capacities of the spirit of man (indeed, the Spirit indwelling in man) may allow him to wrap his “understanding”–this gift and divine capacity of the Holy Spirit—around the divine capacity of God, and so comprehend by faith that which is incomprehensible by the human intellect alone.

“These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him” (John 12:16).  After the fact, once the full union (or “divine union”) with God, that is necessary to cooperatively function with and understand God, is severed, the human intellect may then look back on that which was experienced in faith, by the Holy Spirit in man more so than by the powers of man, as if upon a dream, and then realize what it was that took place; “…then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him” (John 12:16).

For to understand God, one must be God, and so to understand God in the moment, one must do so through the Holy Spirit of God indwelling in man as God’s gift to man.  Therefore, in the moment of being in the presence of God, in order to understand Him, one must be brought into unity with Him by His Spirit, for it is the Spirit of God that understands God (1 Corinthians 2:11-12).  Only after union with God has been broken may man then understand God as man, “as if in hindsight” as it were, having already personally experienced God, albeit somewhat “vicariously,” through the gift of God’s Holy Spirit.

In this way also, the disciples whom He met on the road to Emmaus, knew not Jesus while they were yet with Him, for it was the Spirit of God at work in them “knowing Him for them,” and bringing them to “right understanding,” through conveying to their souls the true meaning of the Scriptures and the proper interpretation of Christ’s place in them, as He opened their hearts to that Holy Spirit within them.  “And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:30-32).

As one drifts apart from the recollection of the soul of man into the Soul of God by the power of His Holy Spirit dwelling within us, then man may reflect back on the situation, and bring it to the fullness of understanding within the “hermeneutic circle,” or “The Divine Milieu” if you will, and understand it both from the side of  “mythos” and “logos;” from personal experience in the moment, totally absorbed in that unity with God, and in the hindsight of objective observation, as like that of a spectator, by the use not of divine faith (which in being a “theological virtue,” is a function properly belonging to God alone), but by the use of the human intellect (de Chardin, 1968).

In this way, the experience of God is understood both from the center point of the present moment and personal experience, or “mythos,” suspended in time and at rest in God as a glimpse of “the Eternal,” and also from the outside bounds of this context, as defined in relation to the central point, looking back into that moment with the perfect clarity of 20/20 vision as bestowed by hindsight, or the objective observation proper to “logos”—to view God, in one’s own experience of God, as a “divine spectator;” from the outside looking in, to the inside looking out.

 

“Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again” (John 12:28).

“Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes” (John 12:30).

 

References (listed in order of citation):

  1. John 12:8, 15-16, 19, 28, 30

For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.

15 Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt. 16 These things understood not his disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.

19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.

28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.

30 Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.

  1. Luke 7:33-35

33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. 34 The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! 35 But wisdom is justified of all her children.

  1. Luke 9:23-26

23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.

  1. 1 Corinthians 2:10-16

10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

  1. Luke 24:25-35

25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

28 And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. 29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. 30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? 33 And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, 34 saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. 35 And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

  1. de Chardin, Pierre Teilhard (1968). The Divine Milieu. Perennial.

 

Thursday 2/28/19

Second Week/12: Day 6

Matthew 23:37-39 (Day 3 again).  Preparing for the end.  “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but you were unwilling!”  Jesus realizes that he is in the line of prophets whom Jerusalem has rejected and put to death.  He laments this hardness of heart.  How do I see this rejection continuing?  Do I ever experience rejection for doing what I know to be right?

 

“This Generation: Woe to the Pit Vipers”

 

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37).

Jesus here rebukes the scribes and Pharisees; the generation of vipers and blind guides; the hypocrites; for these are the men who profess to be true to their religion, yet they follow the ways and customs and rituals of man, neglecting in their outward displays of vanity the things that be of God.  He rightly warns them, “Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers” (Matthew 23:31-32).

This saying of Christ is like that wherein He rebuked this same generation of wickedness, that they “did the deeds of their father,” in following after the wickedness in their hearts to commit deception and evil deeds against goodness and the upright of heart, namely here, the prophets, and Christ, in His ministry of truth—for these men are the workers of inequity, and the truth threatens to disclose, both to themselves in the depths of their denial, and to others, to their disgrace and public shame, the extent of their deceit, corruption, wretchedness, and evildoing against the ways of God.

For He says to them in John 8, you do the deeds of your father the devil, for you do evil deeds.  Your father is not Abraham insomuch that you do not follow after Him in the goodness of faith with uprightness of heart.  “You seek to kill me,” He accused them, “This Abraham did not do” (John 8:40-41, 44).

The deeds of this generation are rather after the fashion of darkness.  Rather, your deeds are as those of Cain, who slew his brother Abel because his offering, as like that made by Abraham, which was imputed to him as faith and righteousness, was indeed more excellent than that of Cain, and so Cain slew Abel out of jealousy (1 John 2:12; Romans 4:20-22).

Is this not rather to whom I may liken this generation?  You do the deeds of your father, a tree is known by its fruit, and the apple falls not far from the tree (Matthew 11:16-19).  With the morsel of disobedience yet still in their mouths they seek greedily about for their next taste of corruption (Numbers 11:33; Hebrews 3:17).  Are these unbelieving children of disobedience and hatred not rather much like this generation, those with whom the Lord wandered in the desert for forty years, tempting and provoking Him to wrath?

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37).  How often the Lord would gather you into the Kingdom of Heaven, and usher you gracefully into the promised land, if only you would, but you would not!

Woe to you, nonbelievers and hypocrites, you do the deeds of your father, the prince of darkness, and your mammon, the rulers of the earth—for make no mistake, no one born of sin shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, and he who is not willing to sacrifice all, like Abraham with the treasure of Isaac, his only progeny, is not fit to be my disciple (Galatians 5:21; Ephesians 5:5; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10).  For as it says in Matthew 10, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:37-39; Mark 8:31-38).

So fill unto you the portion of your inheritance with the blind guides and hypocrites, for you are of the generation of evil who sought to kill Abel for his righteous offering, and who sought to kill the holy prophets for calling the people out to change their ways and be converted to good, and the tribe of the Israelites who wandered with the Lord in the desert, of whom the Lord YHWH said in His anger, “ye shall not enter into My rest” (Matthew 23:31-32, 35-36; Hebrews 3:11).

For you do, “strain at gnats and swallow a camel whole,” leaving the choice portion of the Word of the Lord untouched as you sift through the irrelevant details, distracted by the habit of sin always towards the mediocrity, the waste, and the rubbish, not only in this, but indeed, in all things (Matthew 23:24).  The ill-gotten gains of greed are still yet clutched within your greedily clenched fists, and the spoils of corruption are still yet ravaged within your rancid mouths, as with the vile venom of your vile words you tear them down and consume them (Galatians 5:15-17).  As if pried like some great earthly prize and lusty exotic queen out of Caesar’s cold dead murdered hands, by malicious barbarians and cannibals, you still go ogling about for your next fill, “their flesh still between your teeth,” as it were; for “ye know not the scriptures,” follow not the ways of Christ, and so “you do err; you do err greatly” (Mark 12:13-17; Numbers 11:33; Matthew 22:29; Mark 12:24, 27).

 

References (listed in order of citation):

  1. Matthew 23

23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, 30 and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. 31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. 32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. 33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: 35 that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. 36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. 37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

 

  1. John 8

39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. 41 Ye do the deeds of your father.

Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. 42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. 46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

 

  1. 1 John 3

11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. 13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. 14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

 

  1. Romans 4

16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, 17 (as it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. 18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. 19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: 20 he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

 

  1. Matthew 11

16 But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, 17 and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. 19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

 

  1. Numbers 11

32 And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp. 33 And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote the people with a very great plague. 34 And he called the name of that place Kibroth-hattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted.

 

  1. Hebrews 3

Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. 10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. 11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)

12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; 15 while it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. 16 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. 17 But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

 

  1. Galatians 5

15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

21 envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

  1. Ephesians 5

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

 

  1. 1 Corinthians 6

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

 

  1. Matthew 10

37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

 

  1. Mark 8

31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. 33 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.

34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. 36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

 

  1. Matthew 22

29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. 31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. 33 And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.

 

  1. Mark 12

14 And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Cæsar, or not? 15 Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it. 16 And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Cæsar’s. 17 And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.

24 And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? 25 For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven. 26 And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.

 

Friday 3/1/19

Second Week/12: Day 7

John 11:1-46 (Day 1 again).  The Raising of Lazarus.  Jesus weeps only twice in the gospel; this is one of those times.  He has formed very close friendships with these three (Luke 10:38-42).

“Master, the one you love is ill.”  “This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”  “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”  Do you believe this?

 

“O, But for the Love of God! …And Just for God.”

 

This scene of the raising of Lazarus, Jesus makes clear, is brought about that God should be glorified, as He says, “…This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby” (John 12:4).  As for Jesus the Son of God, “for Whom and through Whom all things are possible,” this is not a dire grievance nor a great tragedy, but merely an opportunity to demonstrate the power of God and to glorify His name in the great goodness of His works (Matthew 19:26: Luke 1:37; Philippians 4:13).  This is the time for a miracle.

As Martha comes to Jesus, He reminds her of just Who He is, most delicately leading her to a more complete understanding of what exactly He is capable of; for again, as is so difficult to grasp for those “careful and troubled about many things” of the world, and caught up in outward appearances to the detriment of their strength in faith, of the things Unseen, “all things are possible for God, through Christ who strengthens us” (Luke 10:44; Matthew 19:26: Luke 1:37; Philippians 4:13).

Jesus reassured Martha, “…whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 12:26).  Martha replies that she believes He is the Christ, but she does not answer Him straightly, nor does she reply that she believes what He suggests, “that if you believe in Christ you shall live past death,” indeed to be raised from it while yet in this life, just as Lazarus, because, in fact, she cannot see past her own belief in death to believe this, that which Christ asks of her (John 12:26-27).

It is here almost as if Jesus is challenging Martha to take her faith a little further, but she indeed appears not yet ready, for she is not receptive to His attempts toward advancing her in His instruction.  For Jesus had asked the blind man in John 9, after he was cast out of the synagogue, the question that Martha had chosen to answer; “…Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” (John 9:35).  Here Martha answers this question that Christ had posed earlier, and she answers, “She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world”; however, Jesus indeed poses to her a new question (John 12:27).  Jesus asks her not “if she will believe on Him;” rather, He wants her to believe in Him to such a great extent, that through the power of God, the power of death should be overcome—and indeed, not only avoided, but truly overcome.  It seems however, that this Martha, who is commonly known to have been “busy about much serving,” and is often associated with work in the kitchen and household chores, was not yet ready for this most radical teaching of Christ (Luke 10:40).  “…Worth a shot,” He seems to grumble to Himself, indeed “groaning within His spirit” (John 12:33, 38).

“When Jesus therefore saw [Mary] weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,” and “Jesus wept.”  (John 12:33, 35).  The Jews marveled at how He wept, that He must have loved Lazarus, and recalling His healing of the blind man whom they immediately thereafter put out of their synagogue, they wondered if Jesus could have prevented Lazarus’s death (John 9:32-34).  Jesus again, “groaning in himself,” came to a cave, the grave where Lazarus was buried, and rolled away the stone covering the tomb (John 12:38).  As if to rub it in ever so graciously, Jesus says, “…Said I not unto you, that if you would, thou should see the glory of God?” (John 12:40).  That is to say, he chided, “I told you so.”  “Just you watch…”  Wait and see.  Wait and see.

Lazarus came forth from the grave.  Jesus said to them, “…Loose him, and let him go” (John 12:44).  Many of the Jews, who marveled with Mary, came to believe on Jesus at the raising of Lazarus, but certain others returned to the Pharisees and conspired to kill Him.  For, they knew that all men would come to believe on such a man, and they speculated in fear that the Romans would take over their place and their nation (John 12:48).

Therefore, they plotted His death, albeit in the plots of their own graves, as they, in their cold, hard, mathematical accounting of human lives (for they perceive not how with God and through Christ, all things are possible—indeed, 5 loaves of bread feed 5,000, with twelve baskets of fragments left over), consider it “expedient” that one man should die for the people (John 6:9-13; John 12:50).  Nevertheless, though in the hardheartedness of their motives they are through their evil intentions condemned, this is well said of the Pharisees; “…being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad” (John 12:51-52).  “Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death” (John 12:53).

Therefore, “…both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him” (John 12:57).  These men did give a new commandment, that they might overwrite and override the commandments that be of God; for it is written as a command of the Lord in the Stone Tables of Moses, “Thou shalt not kill” (1 John 2:5-7; Exodus 20:13).  But these blind guides in their coldhearted times tables, in accounting for the value of human life with cold hearts of stone and cold hard math, stop short of God in their shortsightedness, and perceive not, that, through God and in Christ, “all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26: Luke 1:37; Philippians 4:13).  “O but for the love of God…” says Lazarus, “O most holy motivation,” sayeth the Lord, as we echo in unison, “…there go I.”

 

References (listed in order of citation):

  1. John 12:4, 25-27, 35-38, 40, 44-46, 48, 50-54, 57

When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.

25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? 27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, 34 and said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! 37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?

38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.

40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?

44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. 46 But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.

48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.

50 nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; 52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. 53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death. 54 Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.

57 Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him.

  1. Matthew 19:26

26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

  1. Luke 1:37

37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

  1. Philippians 4:11

13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

  1. Luke 10:38-42

38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. 40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

  1. John 9:2-3, 6-7, 13-15, 18-23, 30-38

And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, and said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

13 They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind. 14 And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. 15 Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.

18 But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight. 19 And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? 20 His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: 21 but by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. 22 These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.

30 The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. 31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. 32 Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. 33 If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. 34 They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.

35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? 36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? 37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. 38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.

  1. John 6:9-13

There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? 10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. 12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. 13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.

  1. 1 John 2:3-11; 15-17

And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. 10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

  1. Exodus 20:13

13 Thou shalt not kill.

 

Saturday 3/2/19

Third Week/1: Day 1

Luke 22:7-13.  Preparations for the supper.

 

“Preparations for the Supper: Go Ask Elijah”

Also: “A First Expounding upon the Difference Between Good and Evil”

 

“Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed” (Luke 22:7).  In the preparations for the supper, the disciples are sent to make ready in an unknown house within the city.  They are to follow a man with a pitcher of water to find accommodations for their Master in a large upper room and furnished guestchamber.

As Christ goes on to explain after the supper, “…I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:29-30).  But, not as the kings of the Gentiles are these twelve on thrones in the kingdom of God to be, as exercising lordship over others; but rather, these “greatest” are to be as servants of the people after the fashion of Christ—as Christ says, “…I am among you as he that serveth” (Luke 22:24-27).

For in this world, there are those who give, and there are those who take.  To be of God and of the goodness of God is to be like God in His will and His ways; for the Lord God is He “from Whom all good things flow,” and He is both the Source and Originator of all things, endlessly and inexhaustibly giving in all regards (James 1:17).  God is a gracious and generous Giver, and this is one of the most fundamental aspects of Him in His divine nature.  The Lord is our Father who serves us, shelters us, gives us life, and continues our life in Him after our death.  To be as like gods, we must seek to be as like servants to God’s children, willing as He wills to serve and nurture His children as co-heirs with Christ, adoptive brethren into the Kingdom, and patient guardians of the virtues in each other (Romans 8:16-17).

For Christ says in John 14, “I go to prepare a place for you…” (John 14:2).  And again, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you” (John 14:2).  For it is Christ’s will to shelter, serve, save, protect, nurture, and nourish us as His adoptive brethren and co-heirs under God, and so in imitating and emulating Him as our most holy ensample, we may be as living examples to each other of the values of God and the virtues of Christ—in “seeking not our own,” but desirous of the wellbeing and welfare of each other over our own, to ensure the solidarity of each other’s place, not here on earth, at the table of our brethren and in the hearts of men, but in the Spirit of Holiness and true charity, at the table of the “marriage supper of the Lamb” in the Kingdom of God, as finally at rest in the heart of the Lord, in Heaven (1 Corinthians 13:5; Revelation 19:9).

For as Jesus says, “And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:” and He “gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves” (Luke 22:15, 17).  For, “… This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:20).  For herein is love, not that we love each other, but that God first loved us, as all love only cycles through us as we conform our will to that of the Father, to bestow the gift of His love unto our brethren, as givers and not as takers, and so not only as co-heirs with Christ, but also as co-parents and co-guardians with the Father (1 John 4:10, 19).

For any love we may have did not come from us and is not ours to give, but is merely entrusted to us, as God’s free gift embedded in our free will, trusting that we shall continue on, “in remembrance of Him” and in “Imitation of Christ,” to continue to give that gift freely, and to be as “holy givers” and faithful stewards of His grace (Luke 22:19; À Kempis, 2013).

This is the goodness of God and the difference between good and evil—that we shall be as givers like Him—the Source of all things, and not as takers and shadows of His blessings, in receiving them into our souls only to keep them there for our own, rather than passing them on, in the goodness of charity, through a heart kept open through this blessed giving of love and “godly charity,” and “paying it forward,” in emulation of God in His great generosity, and His will of limitless goodness in grace (Luke 22:19; James 1:17; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

 

References (listed in order of citation):

  1. Luke 22:7-20, 24-30

Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed. And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat. And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? 10 And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. 11 And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? 12 And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. 13 And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.

14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. 15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: 16 for I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. 17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: 18 for I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.

19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

24 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. 25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. 27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. 28 Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. 29 And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; 30 that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

  1. James 1:17-18

17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

  1. Romans 8:16-17

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

  1. John 14:2-3

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

  1. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

  1. Revelation 19:5-7, 9-10

And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. 10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

  1. 1 John 4:8-11, 19

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

19 We love him, because he first loved us.

  1. À Kempis, Thomas. (2013). Imitation of Christ. Ignatius Press.

 

Sunday 3/3/19

Third Week/1: Day 2

John 13:1-20.  The washing of the feet.

 

“On the Front Lines of the Written Word: In Truth and In Action”

Alt. Title: “Raising the Son and Raising the Bar: The Secret to Happiness”

(Abstract: Expounding upon God’s “agapē love,” with truthful follow-through as what separates the men from the boys, and the Lamb’s from the sheep.)

 

Jesus knew, “…that he was come from God, and went to God,” and there was no trepidation in His heart on the last day of His sojourning here (John 13:3).  “After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded” (John 13:5).  In this scene of the washing of the feet of Jesus’ disciples, Jesus sets Himself up as the example that He expects His disciples to follow; for He says, “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14).  Here, Jesus is setting the standard and raising the bar of virtue and humility for His disciples, for He gently reminds them, that, “…The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him” (John 13:16).

He further proceeds to edify this example that He sets, “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you,” with what in fact is the clincher, or the deal-breaker, as the case may be, that, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them” (John 13:15, 17).  This saying may be conveyed as, “the secret of happiness,” shattering all preconceived notions of what happiness is and what leads to happiness.  For indeed, this is just like when Jesus says, that blessed is he who knows these sayings and so does them—”He shall be likened to a man which built his castle on a rock,” and when the winds came, and the walls shook, it yet stood steadfast and strong, and withstood the storm (Matthew 7:24-27).

For many did seek to be great, and to accumulate riches and power and lordship or kingship and subjugation over others, for they blindly groped at that which they mistakenly believed would make them happy.  But as Jesus reveals to us, true joy is not what we thought it was, and real happiness comes only from seeking the Lord with singleheartedness and singleness of vision, and from taking pleasure in the Lord and the will of God, with perfect devotion and purity of heart.  Herein is love perfected—that we seek the joy found in God and seek only the best of God’s will and God’s blessings for each other.

This new commandment, or rather, this new edification of that commandment which they had at first, Jesus now gives them (John 13:34; 1 John 2:7-8; 1 John 4:21).  For it is written, “…thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might,” and, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37-40).  Indeed, thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and thy neighbor as thyself, as the first and second commandments—but Jesus here clarifies what it means to love each other.

Jesus says, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:24).  The stipulation that He gives here is “the camel that many have swallowed whole,” in “straining at gnats and swallowing camels,” therefore bypassing the important parts of the Scriptures and missing the intended point (Matthew 23:24).  This stipulation that makes this old commandment seem new, is that Jesus says, “as I have loved you,” love each other.  For no man, before Christ, had a living example of God’s “paschal love” (or rendered in Greek as “agapē” love), by which to know and understand love, and before Christ no man truly knew how to love according to God’s standards.

Here Christ provides His own life as an example so that they may make no mistake.  “Do as I have done,” He urges us.  For He is not like a blind guide, of the scribes and Pharisees, and hypocrites, but lives out the Word of God in His flesh, in deed and in truth.  “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35).  Now there is to be no mistaking what this love is that we shall have one for another, and the life of a Christian ought to stand out from and not be confused with the life led by those belonging not to Christ—for we let our words ring true as our actions speak for us, and what we “preach,” we know to say by the Spirit, for it comes as the fruits of our “practice.”  We “speak” much, and we demand much by way of God’s perfection, which is made evident in the love that we have one for another, for we can indeed back it up.

[What we say is like an ass, verily, “a colt the foal of an ass,” with God’s entry into both our town and our hearts, as we can indeed, as surely as “thy King cometh,” with the actions behind our words, back that up (Matthew 21:4-5).  And yes, I did indeed just say what you think I said, because just as with the holy Scriptures, no one ever actually reads these commentaries.]

For before Christ, the Greek word “agapē” was not in common usage, but in the times of Christ and the early Christians it had its origins as we now understand it—to be discerned as a “paschal” love, a “sacrificial” love truly different and distinct from that “philia” or brotherly love wherein man may take part in a sharing of affection without the self-sacrifice of service in action, like Christ, willing to lay down His life for our sakes.  For Christ says, “Do as I do, even just as I say,” as our only trustworthy Master; “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14).  As herein He means, “as I serve you, so you serve one another”—the least of all shall be the greatest in Heaven, happiness is found in the service of others according to God’s will, and he that wishes to be the greatest will be the servant of all (Matthew 18:4; Matthew 23:11-12; Matthew 20:26-28).

Even so, in action is the strength of our spirits, in truth and in heart, so tested.  For just as Peter, who willed not that Jesus should lower Himself to serve him and wash his feet, but yet when Christ reprimanded him, that unless Jesus wash his feet, Peter would have no part with Him—so that then Peter would have wholly submerged his entire head in that basin just to remain with the Lord (though this was indeed not what Christ intended)—in just this way that Peter so adored the Lord, is “philia” admitted of him, indeed three times confessed, although not the “agapē” love that be of God, of which Christ had indeed only the first two times asked of him, in the Greek translations of the Gospel of John (John 13:8-10; John 21:15-17).  For as Christ goes on to warn Peter of his “overzealousness,” in that it be “good in so being said, but not in so being done,” “…Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice” (John 13:38).

In this way is the inclination of the hearts known.  Howbeit, in strength of action and in the truth of follow-through on these goodly sentiments, indeed sharing not just in the human affection as like of “philia” or brotherly love, but sharing truly in the action, as like with “agapē,” or God’s love in truth and deed and self-sacrifice, so is the Spirit quickened and the love proven truly to be perfected, as being in and of that of God.

For even in Peter’s zeal for the Lord, he wished ever so much to serve Him, though he knew not indeed what it meant to serve God.  For when it comes time to be tested, who like Peter would not so say, “I will lay down my life for Thee,” or “…I will lay down my life for thy sake,” but when it comes time for such action, cannot but grieve along with Peter, because as Jesus answers, “Wilt thou? For, the cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice” (John 13:37, 38).  And this indeed is what separates the men from the boys, and the Lamb’s from the sheep (John 21:15-17).

 

References (listed in order of citation):

  1. John 13:3-17, 34-38

Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; he riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. 10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. 11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.

12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? 13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. 16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. 17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

36 Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards. 37 Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake. 38 Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.

  1. 1 John 2:7-8

Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.

  1. 1 John 4:21

21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

  1. Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

  1. Matthew 22:36-40

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

  1. Matthew 23:11-12, 24

11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

  1. Matthew 21:4-5

All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.

  1. Matthew 7:24-27

24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

  1. Matthew 18:4

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

  1. Matthew 20:25-28

25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

  1. John 21:15-17

15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

 

Monday 3/4/19

Third Week/1: Day 3

John 13:21-30.  Judas’s betrayal.

 

“Mother Mary Come to Me: Let It Be”

Alt. Title: “Beat It Kid.”

 

“Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end” (John 13:1).  At this last supper of Jesus and His disciples, after giving them His last instructions with His example set in the washing of the feet, He does remind them, “Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am,” and “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him” (John 13:13, 16).  Jesus here forewarns His disciples ever so delicately, of what to expect for themselves in choosing to follow after Him, portending indeed, prophesying even, that just as His life is brought to an end, so too, in not being greater than their Master, should they expect likewise to be put to death for their testimony of Him and of the gospel.

In so referring to the servant being not greater than the Lord, however, he adds the ‘conditional statement (read between the lines here),’ that, “I speak not of you all: ‘I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled,’ He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me” (John 13:18).  For Jesus makes known to His disciples that one of them should betray Him, and indeed turn away from Him and situate himself “against Him.”

Christ, persecuted indeed by those of the world, like most all of the prophets before Him, and a long line of devout saints and Christian martyrs after Him, seeks to warn His disciples that they shall suffer a similar fate in being not greater than their Master, Who has made Himself subject unto the world, not because the world is greater than Him, but out of love for those in the world belonging to Him.

Christ seeks to warn them while yet not disturbing their peace; and for this reason, many maintain their necessary composure under distress, grace under fire, and calmness in calamity, to manage the equanimity necessary to overcome the earthly tribulations while yet in the moment; however, after the struggle ends and the triumph in Christ and in Spirit, over the love of the self and the love of the world, is made known, only then shall these disciples look back and see that it has indeed come to pass, just as Jesus said, as Christ is “Prophet, Priest, and King.”

As He had said to them, “Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he” (John 13:19).  Truly, he that does indeed receive those sent by Christ, receives the Father Who sends Christ; and those, who like Judas, turn their heel against Christ and those belonging to Him, as if kicking up the dust from whence they came, and to which now in so doing they have returned, reject not just those sent of Christ, but He of Whom Christ was sent, even our Father YHWH, Lord God above. (John 13:20).

“When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me” (John 13:21).  The disciples, indeed “cunning as serpents but gentle as doves,” conspire that he whom Jesus loves, reclining upon His bosom, should ask of Him, like a prayer sent up to a stern and discerning God through Mary Mother of Mercy, who it shall be to betray Him (Matthew 10:16).

Jesus, true to form, offers no direct answer, but rather edifies by example, that they let their eyes and mind follow His lead and His motions, to come to a conclusion themselves.  For as our Master, this Teacher does not do our learning for us, but leads us to grow in wisdom and understanding to come to know the truth ourselves (Isaiah 11:2-3).  He hands the sop to Judas so that they may come to see for themselves of whom He speaks.  Jesus says, “…That thou doest, do quickly” (John 13:27).  “Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him” (John 13:28).  Now in this moment, no man could take in the meaning that He intended in saying thus, but, “Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he” (John 13:19).

“[Judas] then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night” (John 13:30).  This saying is, in being (and not wrongly) interpreted as an allegory or an analogy, quite significant, for as soon as the heart of Judas turned away from the Lord, not only in thought, but in deed and therefore actualized in truth, immediately, “it was night.”  This night is to be understood in contrast to the “eternal day,” which is not like the earthly light of day known to man, but is rather much different, as a thoroughly internal and most otherworldly, spiritual and heavenly, angelic light of God, that is known through remaining in the presence of the Lord, through thick and thin, through hardhearted anger or thin-skinned timidity, through Heaven and Hell; for in action (as “in deed” does also mean “in truth”) are the secret places of the heart made known, and in the sins of action are the weaknesses of the spirit uncovered, to be healed and patched-up as we are made new creatures in Christ (Revelation 22:5; Luke 2:35; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Revelation 21:5).

For in the Lord, though yet it be dark upon the earth, there is no day nor night, because He remains the metaphorical sun at the center of all things and earthly orbits, and as we make our way to turn, once again, back to Him, we shall be brought into cover from both day and night as we now understand them, penetrating as it were, into the molten shell of the blazing and silent roaring fires of the Son Himself in His passion upon the Cross, to be sheltered by the Lord, “…the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (Luke 2:35; James 1:17).  For “He is,” YHWH (I AM), just as He always was and always shall be, at the very center of our hearts, and the center Itself of the Holy Spirit, Who abides always, at the highest core of our immortal souls (Exodus 3:14-15).

 

References:

  1. John 13:1, 13-30, 36-38

13Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.

13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. 16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. 17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

18 I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. 19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he. 20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.

21 When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. 22 Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. 23 Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. 25 He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? 26 Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. 28 Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. 29 For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. 30 He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.

36 Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards. 37 Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake. 38 Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.

  1. Matthew 10:16

16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

  1. Isaiah 11:1-9

11And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse,
and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;
and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord:
and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes,
neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
but with righteousness shall he judge the poor,
and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth:
and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins,
and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
and a little child shall lead them.
And the cow and the bear shall feed;
their young ones shall lie down together:
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain:
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord,
as the waters cover the sea.

  1. Revelation 22:3-5

And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

  1. Luke 2:33-35

33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. 34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; 35 (yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

  1. 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

  1. Revelation 21:1-8

21And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

  1. James 1:12-18

12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. 13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16 Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

  1. Exodus 3:13-15

13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. 15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

  1. “Let It Be,” 1970, by the Beatles

 

Tuesday 3/5/19

Third Week/1: Day 4

Luke 22:14-20.  The institution of the Eucharist.

 

“The Travel Cup of Affliction: Taking the Passion ‘on the Lam’”

Alt. Title: “The Savior of the World at Large:  If the World is ‘at Large,’ it must be Running from the Lamb”

 

“And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:” (Luke 22:15).  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:” (Luke 22:17).  “…This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.  …This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:19-20).

Jesus here, again true to form, demonstrates to His apostles how they are to understand what is to come with this metaphor of the bread and wine, and “visual aid” of a concrete example.  He shows them the bread, and breaks it, and divides it among them, saying, in effect, “This is My body.  It is broken so that yours may receive sustenance.”  Likewise, does He with the cup, saying, “This is My blood—it is shed so that you may have life.”  He speaks here not of the mortal, passing life of a body “sown in corruption,” only to return to the dust from which it came, but rather, He refers to the life eternal that is known in the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:42).  For the sins of mankind weigh heavily upon his soul, and he cannot enter through “the strait gate” and “the eye of the needle” if not redeemed through the power of God in this sacrifice, of a life led without sin, in God made flesh as Jesus the Christ (Matthew 7:13-14: Matthew 19:23-26).

Jesus forewarns them, “But ye shall not be so [as striving to be great among men]: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve” (Luke 22:26).  He wishes for them to not only receive Christ’s blessings of the Kingdom of God and life eternal, rather than the eternal death of eternal damnation, given freely to their spirits, but also that, as His chosen apostles, they do likewise with their own bodies and their own blood to uphold God’s will, amidst the contrary values of the world, and the competing ego-strivings of the people.

“Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations.  …I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may…sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:28-30).  These chosen twelve of Jesus have continued on with Him in His temptations, and have followed Him with devotion unto this last hour, at which point Christ alone shall now bear the burden of the Cross, with no such support other than that of God alone.  For as He says to Peter, even “…thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me,” before the sun shall rise (Luke 22:34).  He urges Peter, that once he is “converted,” to turn back to God through repentance and grief, from this turning away from God through his act of denial, that he strengthen also the others of these truly fallible mortal men, and yet truly kindred brethren of Christ (Luke 22:32).

As Christ thoughtfully reflects, “…for the things concerning me have an end,” He goes on to pray, and urges His disciples to do likewise, lest their thoughts be led away by earthly distraction from the things that be of God (Luke 22:37).  He withdraws from them, only by the distance of a stone’s throw, saying, “…Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).  This prayer of Christ at the hour of His affliction, might so be seen to sum up the “Lord’s Prayer,” particularly when held in conjunction with the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper—for just as Christ drinks of the cup of affliction, so are we, as followers of Christ and disciples of His teachings, expected likewise to be willing to drink the cup of the “wrath of the Lamb”— willing to suffer within ourselves, rather than to allow that a similar fate should ever befall any of those brethren called and chosen as God’s people (Matthew 6:9-13; Revelation 6:16; Revelation 19:15).

“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44).  In this way, Christ counters and rebuffs the strength of His agony that would propel Him in a tailspin towards temptation, with the sheer force of His will united with that of God, and with the intentionality of His prayers towards God, using “His Passion,” of intense suffering, agony, and rage, as the fires needed to fuel His prayers clear-through all the way to Heaven, rather than to be overtaken by them.  Christ proceeds in effectively repurposing the force of His, “fully human and yet also fully divine,” blood-curdling emotion, ultimately, to overcome this deeply dark time of His first taste of His Own death, and the earth-shattering breaking of His Own Immaculate Heart, by surrendering in faith and obeisance to that agony, and to that death; to both the outpouring and the succinctly ensuing “self-consumption” of His Own wrath, as that of God enkindled against the sins of the people, upon the Cross.

Upon the Cross, our God suffers within Himself, and with violence against His Own Triune Self, the fate that should and otherwise would be visited upon us, by the dictates of justice and the perfection of the natural law of balance, in this justification of His Own godliness, in preserving for us not the just fruits of our own inequity, but rather the goodness of His all-powerful will to save us from them, with the free gift of His mercy (Revelation 19:15).  For He shirks not the duty of justice, but in so being as “the Lamb,” He suffers not that any harm should be visited upon any other if He may so suffer it Himself—and in this way He is both Christ our Savior and Christ our suffering Messiah.  For God is a just God and a merciful God—“…not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

 

References:

  1. Luke 22:14-20, 24-34, 37, 39-46, 66-69

14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. 15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: 16 for I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. 17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: 18 for I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.

19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

24 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. 25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. 27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. 28 Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. 29 And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; 30 that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 33 And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.

39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. 40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. 41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42 saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 and said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

66 And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying, 67 Art thou the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe: 68 and if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go. 69 Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God.

  1. 1 Corinthians 15:42-52

42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 it is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.

There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

  1. Matthew 7:13-14

13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

  1. Matthew 19:23-26

23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? 26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

  1. Matthew 6:9-13

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

  1. Revelation 6:15-17

15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

  1. Revelation 19:11-16

11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

  1. 2 Peter 3:8-10

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

 

Wednesday 3/6/19

Third Week/1: Day 5

John 16:5-33.  Jesus speaks of faith and the coming of the Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth.

 

“The Holy Spirit of Truth and Prophecy: Labor Pains of the Immaculate Conception”

Alt. Title: “Through the Lamb and on the Lam of ‘Lambaste’”

 

In His foretelling of the coming of the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Jesus explains to His disciples what shall come in such a way that they know not of what He speaks in the moment, for as He says, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now,” but rather, He foretells to them what shall happen, not so that they may know ahead of time, but so that, as He says, “But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them” (John 16:12, 4).

Jesus means for His disciples to understand, in the “understanding” to be had of prophecy—they believe by faith that His words are true, they are of such significance and momentous import that they cannot yet be fully grasped or taken in at the time when the prophecy is given, and yet when the events portended do come to pass, the prophecy is then understood, in hindsight, with “perfect understanding.”

For after the events occur, the prophecy will then describe events that have already come to pass, and so it will dwell in the context and in the time in which it was meant to be taken in and apprehended; and so only then will that prophecy be fully absorbed and brought-round-right in one’s mind to the completeness of understanding, and in the light of truth and without any room for error, it shall be thoroughly comprehended.

For once the event prophesied comes to pass and the initial prophecy and prediction is then read, it shall describe to-a-T the events that have come to pass in all perfection, and there shall be no mistaking it.  But, before the events prophesied of come to pass, the manner in which the prophecy can be understood will still be imperfect and incomplete, and therefore the prophecy shall be wholly open to the fallibility of human error and prone to fallacious or specious misinterpretations, according to the bent and inclination of the human, and therefore inherently imperfect, mind and heart.

As Jesus says, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you” (John 16:7).  These words of comfort to His disciples, to ease their sorrow at the prospect of His departing, foreshadow what they can expect of this “Spirit of truth,” the Holy Spirit that shall descend upon their souls at Pentecost—as that Spirit is indeed bestowed to God’s faithful bearing seven very distinctly laid-out and clear-cut gifts, being the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit (John 16:13; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19).

This Spirit is the Consoler, the Advocate, the Paraclete and Helper, the Spirit of Truth and of Good Counsel, and the “tie that binds” us all as one, both in unity with each other, and in unity with God.  As Christ explains, “…when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (John 16:8).  The nonbelievers shall be called out and put to shame, the righteousness of Christ towards God, risen from death unto eternal life and the Kingdom of God is again proclaimed, and the prince of worldly things is cast down in the presence of God’s immortal and incorruptible glory.  For, “…he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come” (John 16:13; John 12:49; John 5:30).

The disciples wonder among themselves what He means when He says, “…What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father?” (John 16:17).  Christ means not that they should yet take in the grief of His upcoming death, but only that in looking back upon His words after the events have come to pass should they understand them.

For as He Himself has gathered, like the blossoms of bittersweet fruit trees from His Own Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane—and His heart here goes out to them—that it is enough to suffer from death at the time when it actually occurs, and there is yet no further need to put them through that pain again, both unnecessarily and “unduly,” and for a second time before it even happens for the first time, at that.

Christ does indeed speak of His death in polite and discreet terms, and the key element of His rising is this crucial clause of His statement, “…Because I go to the Father”; for Christ indeed believes not in death (for God is “not the God of the dead, but of the living”), and He goes accordingly, not to His death upon the Cross, but to His Father which is in Heaven (John 16:17; Luke 20:38; Mark 12:27).  By the power of His belief, by God’s predestination, and by the unity of His will with God’s, He indeed inherits “the promise,” of which He had spoken to Martha, at the death of Lazarus, that, “If you believe on Me—though you die you shall yet live” (Galatians 4:28; Isaiah 9:6-7; John 11:24-27).

For as God is Truth, the truth upon which all of existence is indeed dependent, then if one so believes upon Him over and above any other seeming truths that His sovereign power can indeed override, including death, then so shall it be unto that one; as that soul has in so doing and so believing indeed grasped successfully upon that Selfsame Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit of God, to effectually conquer and overcome death, in Christ and in God.

Because I go to the Father, shall I rise, and because I go not unto the illusion of death, my Spirit suffers Me not to depart from this newly “incorruptible” body; changed indeed in “the twinkling of an eye,” arisen from death, and remade, as “a new creature in Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:51-55; 2 Corinthians 5:17).

“Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).  Verily, “not all that seek the Kingdom shall enter it, but only those who seek to do the will of the Father” (Matthew 7:21).  For many shall arise, who shall seek to enter the gates, and Christ shall rebuff them—”Depart from me, workers of inequity, I know thee not” (Matthew 7:23).  “Hitherto…” you have asked nothing in unity with “God’s will,” and you have asked nothing “in my name” (John 16:24; Matthew 7:21-23).  Ask rightly of the Father, in conformity with both His will, and with My “broken body and shed blood,” upon the Cross, “that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).  Jesus elaborates upon His promise, “…but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you”—for the only true and everlasting joy, is that which comes from “knowing the will of God, and so doing it” (John 16:22; Luke 11:28).

“A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world” (John 16:21).  Blessed is she who “awaits with the pains of labor upon the Lord,” for with the “firstfruits” of the Lord God, and with the Twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit, shall her joy indeed be fulfilled (1 Corinthians 15:58, 20).

 

 

References:

  1. John 16:4-24, 32-34

But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.

17 Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? 18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.

19 Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? 20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. 21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. 22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. 23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. 24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. 33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

  1. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

  1. 1 Corinthians 6:15-20

15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. 16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. 17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

  1. John 12:49-50

49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.

  1. John 5:30

30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

  1. Luke 20:37-38

37 Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 38 For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.

  1. Mark 12:26-27

26 And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.

  1. Galatians 4:22-31

22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

  1. Isaiah 9:6-7

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor,
The mighty God,
The everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end,
upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom,
to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice
from henceforth even for ever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

  1. John 11:24-27

24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? 27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

  1. 1 Corinthians 15:20, 50-58

20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

  1. 2 Corinthians 5:14-18

14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

  1. Matthew 7:21-23

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

  1. Luke 11:27-28

27 And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked. 28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.

 

Thursday 3/7/19

Third Week/1: Day 6

John 13:1-20 (Day 2 again). The washing of the feet.

 

“Feet Shod with Readiness for the Gospel of Peace”

Alt. Title: “Environ-mental Causes and Real Effects: Following After the Spirit”

 

“Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter” (John 13:6-7).

 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?” (John 13:12).

“For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15).

 

In this event, of the Washing of the Feet, Jesus demonstrates to His apostles by example what He has done for them, and He urges them to do likewise unto each other.  He means for those who follow His teachings to imitate also His actions, and so He is most diligent always in showing them with demonstrations, and illustrating for them with parables, just what exactly He (as God the Son) means with His rather more abstract instructions, condensed and simplified proverbs, generalized rules of conduct, obscure and poorly-understood rituals, and most parsimonious, yet often difficult to fully grasp, solid and firm, as “etched-in-stone,” Commandments.

Jesus provides analogies to liken His more general and universally understood, practical and simple sayings, to everyday life experiences.  These “Proverbs” and words of wisdom, that are non-specific, broadly applicable to any context, and may bestow a deeper insight into any situation, He compares to what would be everyday life occurrences for His disciples, or “students,” as it were, so that God’s Word and wisdom, commands, and decrees may be interpreted, internalized, and comprehended most fully and experientially, in the terms and style most common to and readily understood by His followers, at the time and place of their discipleship, and in methods unique and individually-tailored to their own particular circumstances.

For a fishing village, He draws analogies of His sayings to the practice of fishing; in shepherding communities, He provides parables relating to the practice of herding sheep; to a farming village, He makes analogies to the process of sowing and reaping, and draws parables from the concept of “the harvest,” to explain His more abstract teachings of subjects previously unfamiliar to these simple people, regarding the Kingdom of God and the process of cultivating a rich interior connection to the Spirit within, and the art of deriving deeper spiritual meanings from the outward Jewish customs and religious rituals of old.

So Jesus here, once again, gives His disciples a concrete example, or a demonstration of a parable, if you will, to show them rather than to tell them, what He intends for them if they will so be followers of Him.  In this Washing of the Feet, He wishes for them to wash likewise each other’s feet, cleansing from them the dirt and dust representative of the sins that have accumulated upon their soles, or souls, if you will, through their outward actions, and footsteps, and previous adherence to the path of man through the world, rather than to the path of Christ through following after the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-17, 24-25; Romans 8:1, 5-6, 9, 13-14).

For in having followed after the ways of the world and the ways of man, their feet have indeed become soiled, and yet their hearts are still clean, for they sinned not knowingly, in having followed after the only path that they had then known.  For as Job likewise confessed to God, that he did not know what he did not know, in saying, “Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge?  therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not,” so too these disciples have need only that their feet be cleansed, for as Jesus says to them, “He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean…” (Job 42:3; John 13:10).

However, now that the truth of the ways and teachings of Christ are made known to them, these disciples of God must take care to “clean that defilement, of the path of worldly ways, from their feet, and also from each other’s,” in this act of loving each other, so that they may be properly cleansed and equipped to be “…shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (2 Timothy 4:2; Ephesians 6:15).  These disciples must serve each other and help each other, to assist one another in living out in their own lives, in the manifestation of their outward actions and behaviors, and in the path that they themselves choose to tread, the teachings of Christ, collectively known as “the gospel”—not just figuratively, as in the vague, un-manifested, and unfulfilled intentions of the spirit, but also literally, in the concrete, physically manifested, and ultimately most fulfilling deeds and works of the body (John 13:17).

For as it is written, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:26).  And so, as Christ has done, and as Christ has purified His soul—body, mind, and Spirit—to tread the path of the Cross and perform in action the deeds and sentiments instructed and extolled in the Gospels and the sacred Scriptures, so too shall we cleanse our feet, symbolizing, by our partaking in this Christian rite, the path that we choose to follow in life.  We proceed in this Washing of the Feet, and this cleansing of the footsteps of that dust and filth from our old ways of the world and of man and of sin, to be readied and prepared as willing and able “foot-soldiers of the Faith,” to “take up our own Cross daily,” and follow after Christ, and after the Spirit, in “the path of eternal life,” that is a life lived solely, and soulfully, unto God, in all the peace and holiness that is attainable while we are yet here as sojourners upon this earth, awaiting with grace, hope, and patience, our place with Him, in the eternity of the Heaven still to come (2 Timothy 2:2-4; Luke 9:23; Matthew 16:24; Psalm 16:11).

 

References:

  1. John 13:6-12, 15, 17, 19, 34-36

Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. 10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. 11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.

12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?

15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.

34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

36 Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.

  1. Galatians 5:16-18, 22-26

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

  1. Romans 8:1-17

8There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

  1. Job 42:1-6

42Then Job answered the Lord, and said,

I know that thou canst do every thing,
and that no thought can be withholden from thee.
Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge?
therefore have I uttered that I understood not;
things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak:
I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear:
but now mine eye seeth thee.
Wherefore I abhor myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.

  1. 2 Timothy 4:1-8

4I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

  1. Ephesians 6:10-20

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

  1. James 2:14-26

14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

  1. Luke 9:23-24

23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

  1. Matthew 16:24-27

24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

  1. 2 Timothy 2:3-7

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.

  1. Psalm 16:7-11

I will bless the Lord, who hath given me counsel:
my reins also instruct me in the night seasons.
I have set the Lord always before me:
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth:
my flesh also shall rest in hope.
10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell;
neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life:
in thy presence is fulness of joy;
at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

 

Friday 3/8/19

Third Week/1: Day 7

John 16:5-33 (Day 5 again). Jesus speaks of faith and the coming of the Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth.

 

“Blacklisted: The Dreamers and Peacemakers find Peace in Persecution”

(Abstract: Contemplating persecution and the wrongful suffering of the Messiah.)

 

Alt. Title: “The Only ‘Writer’s Block’ for the Holy Spirit, is a ‘Building Block’ for the Temple of ‘the Word’: ‘The Stone Which the Builders Rejected’—Can’t Stop the Flow!”

 

In this passage from John 16, Jesus warns His disciples that they must expect to be persecuted—to be put out of the synagogues, for as He says, “…whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me” (John 16:2-3).  Jesus warns them, not to frighten them, but so that they may not be offended when these sayings come to pass—indeed, He desires for them not that they should be fearful, but rather, He warns them of the approaching trouble so that they may be at peace despite the persecutions and suffering that they must undergo in the world, as His disciples.  As He reminds them just before “[His] hour” is come, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 17:1; John 16:33).

Indeed, this concept of “persecution,” as being the lot of the followers of Christ, and as being rather par for the course for the followers and friends of God, is a fundamental precept going back as far as the earliest days recorded in the Old Testament, wherein the unrighteous Cain slew the righteous Abel, and when the first Israelites in exodus from Egypt grumbled against Moses and Aaron and the Lord, and when “the people resented the Word” of the prophets through whom God demanded reform and change from His people, including Jeremiah, Elijah, and “Samuel,” and even many of those prophets themselves, such as Jonah, who wished rather to escape from the persecution that they knew was in store for them, as a result of speaking the Word of God (Matthew 21:42; 1 Samuel 8:6-9).

Many places over again it is written, “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you,” “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled…For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing,” “but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life,” “…for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue,” “But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues…  And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another,” “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you,” “…And they were offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house” (1 John 3:13; 1 Peter 3:14-17; Mark 10:30; John 9:22; Matthew 10:17-23; Matthew 5:11-12; Mark 6:3-4).

Jesus, warns them to expect persecution, and to embrace this as their “Cross,” of which they are instructed to, “and take up [his cross] daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:33).  For if we are “at home in the world,” and free from persecution from it, then we know that we are “of the world, following after the strivings and lusts of the world,” and are “none of God’s” (2 Corinthians 5:6; John 15:19; Romans 8:9, 13-14).  For as we “follow after the Spirit, so are we children of God,” and as we are “not at home in the flesh, so are we present with our God” (Romans 8:13-14; 2 Corinthians 5:6-8).

For this “Cross,” this suffering, is persecution in the world, as “the world and its children hate us,” for “we are not theirs,” nor are we like them (1 John 3:13; John 15:18-19).  We take “comfort, from God’s Holy Spirit,” in knowing that we indeed shall be brought closer to God through embracing the “stone which the builders refused,” for this persecution is a “stumblingblock” to those following after the Law (the “Law” of Moses, in the idea that righteousness and salvation may be attained through one’s own works alone, without faith, and without Christ, and essentially therefore, without God) and their own ways, and is “foolishness” to the Gentiles, the hedonists and greedy self-seekers and pleasure-seekers; for “as we are forsaken of the world, then are we at home in Christ, and therefore essentially, in God” (John 15:26; Matthew 21:42-46; Isaiah 28:16; Acts 4:10-12; 1 Peter 2:4-8; 1 Corinthians 1:23-25; 2 Corinthians 5:6-8).

And what is persecution, but to be “blacklisted,” as it were, to be “spoken ill of for our good conversation in Christ,” to be slandered, to be “gossiped about with ruinous falsehoods” that destroy our place in the community, our reputation, and our public standing? (1 Peter 3:16; 1 Peter 4:14-16).  What is persecution if not this—to be “hated without cause?” (John 15:25).  What is persecution but this, to be “cast out of the synagogue,” and of “the Assembly,” as it were (John 9:22, 34)?  What is more “precious in the sight of God” than this—to “suffer wrongfully” and to “bear upon our own backs the sins of others,” conforming to the “broken body and shed blood” of Christ on the Road to Calvary (1 Peter 4:13-16; 1 Peter 2:4, 19-24; Isaiah 53:4-6, 11-12)?

For the Lamb of God, as we so “constrain ourselves” to the mind-frame of His perfect virtue, and to the framework of His body nailed to “that Cross” of powerlessness over this suffering, to “be made the righteousness of God in Him” and “reprove the world of righteousness, in going to the Father,” is a very acceptable sacrifice to be made to the Lord—the “Lamb of God” is indeed “the only acceptable sacrifice, made to be pleasing in the sight of God” (10-12; 2 Corinthians 5:14; 1 Peter 2:20-25; 2 Corinthians 5:21; John 16:8-11; Isaiah 53:3-8).

 

References (listed roughly in order of citation):

  1. John 16:1-11, 13-15, 20, 23, 25-33

16These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.

23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.

25 These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. 26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: 27 for the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. 28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.

29 His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. 30 Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. 31 Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? 32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. 33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

  1. John 17:1

17These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

  1. 1 Samuel 8:6-9

But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord. And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.

  1. 1 John 3:9-22

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. 13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. 14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. 20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. 22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

  1. 1 Peter 3:13-18

13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? 14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 15 but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 16 having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. 17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. 18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

  1. Mark 10:28-31

28 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. 29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, 30 but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. 31 But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.

  1. John 9:20-23, 30-33

20 His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: 21 but by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. 22 These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.

30 The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. 31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. 32 Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. 33 If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. 34 They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.

  1. Matthew 10:16-28

16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 18 and ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. 21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. 22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. 23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. 24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? 26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. 27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. 28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

  1. Mark 13:9-13

But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. 10 And the gospel must first be published among all nations. 11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. 12 Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death. 13 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

  1. Matthew 5:11-12

11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

  1. Mark 6:3-6

Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.

  1. Matthew 13:53-58

53 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence. 54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? 57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. 58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

  1. Luke 9:23-24

23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

  1. 2 Corinthians 5:6-10, 14-17, 21

Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (for we walk by faith, not by sight:) we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

  1. John 15:18-27

18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. 23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. 26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 27 and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

  1. Romans 8:9, 13-14, 18

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

  1. Matthew 21:42-46

42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. 45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. 46 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.

  1. Isaiah 28:14-17

14 Wherefore hear the word of the Lord,
ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.
15 Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death,
and with hell are we at agreement;
when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us:
for we have made lies our refuge,
and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:
16 therefore thus saith the Lord God,
Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone,
a precious corner stone, a sure foundation:
he that believeth shall not make haste.
17 Judgment also will I lay to the line,
and righteousness to the plummet:
and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.

  1. Acts 4:10-12

10 be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

  1. 1 Corinthians 1:23-25

23 but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

  1. 1 Peter 2:1-8, 18-25

2Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

  1. 1 Peter 4:12-19

12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. 16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. 17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? 19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

  1. Isaiah 53:3-8, 10-12

He is despised and rejected of men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:
and we hid as it were our faces from him;
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs,
and carried our sorrows:
yet we did esteem him stricken,
smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth:
he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb,
so he openeth not his mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment:
and who shall declare his generation?
for he was cut off out of the land of the living:
for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him;
he hath put him to grief:
when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin,
he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days,
and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied:
by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many;
for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
because he hath poured out his soul unto death:
and he was numbered with the transgressors;
and he bare the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

 

Saturday 3/9/19

Third Week/2: Day 1

Matthew 26:36-46.  The agony in the garden.

 

“Vessels of Wrath and Vessels of Mercy: This Baptism…”

 

“Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:38-39).

 

In this scene of the Agony in the Garden, Jesus feels intensely the weight of human suffering and sorrow upon the divinity of His soul.  “Even unto death,” He expresses to His disciples, is His soul sorrowful (Matthew 26:38).  As He enters into His Passion in the Garden of Gethsemane, He suffers an emotional premonition of the pain and death that will befall Him, for as He says, “[His] hour” is close at hand (Matthew 26:45).  He “…went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed,” indeed, collapsing at the weight of His grief into a prostrate prayer position, in His last petition to the Father, saying, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39).  These words of His are most powerful, and the precise sentiment that He expresses demands strict attention.

These key words He offers as a “consummation” of His heart’s petition, with His last plea to escape the suffering that He now feels so acutely, in all His emotive humanness, yet also with all the power and full force of His divinity, in being consubstantial with the Father, are these most beautiful and precious words, “…nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39).

His allusion of this agony He feels to “as being like a cup,” as if His heart is filled like a sacred vessel with a burning and fiery wine of the boiling blood and wrath of God, is a most powerful image.  This image, of this cup of affliction that Jesus must drink of, is alluded to when it is requested that the two sons of Zebedee be granted sit on either side of Him upon His throne in Heaven, as He replies to them, “But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” (Matthew 20:22).  Indeed, these vessels are destined for wrath and for mercy.  And as the earthly vessel is poured out of its human life to be cleansed with the fires of God, only then may it be deemed worthy and acceptable to be filled with God’s mercy, and to be arisen in the glory of the Resurrection, with the baptism of God’s Holy Spirit.  For as John says in Matthew 3, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire” (Matthew 3:11).  As the baptism of John in this life is symbolic indeed of the baptism that we are to receive unto God’s glory, in the life after death, in the Resurrection of the dead, still to come.

Also this cup, this cup of affliction of which Christ is called to drink, is that which He takes up before His disciples at the Last Supper; “And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:27-28).  The “old testament,” so to speak, destines our holy vessels, these human hearts and souls, to be filled with God’s wrath unto eternal damnation, as the just fruits of our sins through being children of the Law, and in failing to measure up in all perfection to the Commandments of God given in that Law, issued through Moses.

This cup, however, Jesus explains, “…this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28).  This cup is representative of Christ having taken upon Himself the drinking of the cup of affliction, taking upon Himself the just fruits of our sins, in allowing that this vessel, the cup of His heart, be filled with the wine of God’s wrath, of which we so rightly and justly deserve to be subjected.

Christ takes in the destiny of suffering that was meant for us, He suffers the wrath of God in His heart and upon the Cross for us, so that He may offer Himself, in the shedding of His blood, as a “new testament,” and a New Testament, as it were, for the remission of sins.  This new testament, is not the testament of the Law, which binds us to condemnation or damnation as “vessels of wrath,” but this new testament is the testament of “the promise, bequeathed to Abraham and to Jacob, and to Isaac, and to his seed forever, which frees us from bondage” with the remission of sins, and liberates us to be “vessels of mercy,” in receiving not the just fruits of God’s wrath for our sins, but the grace and mercy of God, in the promise of Christ, and “His willingness to suffer that fate for us, in our stead,” thereby releasing us from the law of justice, to be, through Christ, as children of God, and vessels of mercy (Romans 9:1-3, 6-8, 21-23; Galatians 4:21-24, 28).

Christ fulfills the decree of God’s perfection in reaping the harvest of justice, so that we may be “the righteousness of God in him,” in being not doomed and cursed to justice and condemnation for our sins, but to be the righteousness, or goodness, of God in Christ, by being fitted as vessels of mercy through Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).  We are “living testaments of God’s goodness and righteousness,” for in Christ, we receive not the horror and cruel fate of eternal damnation, but the free gift of God’s grace, in a “demonstration of His righteousness through His goodness of mercy and forgiveness,” and in the promise of a fated eternity that is far better than the Hell we deserve, in being rerouted to Heaven even, through Christ’s sacrifice and suffering, upon the Cross (Romans 9:17; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

 

 

References (listed in order of citation):

 

  1. Matthew 26:27-31, 36-46

27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28 for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. 31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.

36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak

42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. 43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. 44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.

  1. Matthew 20:20-23

20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. 21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. 22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. 23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.

  1. Matthew 3:11-12

11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 12 whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

  1. Romans 9

9I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son. 10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; 11 (for the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 12 it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. 17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24 even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? 25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. 26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God. 27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: 28 for he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. 29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.

30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. 31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; 33 as it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

  1. Galatians 4:21-31

21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

  1. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

 

Sunday 9/10/19

Third Week/2: Day 2

Matthew 26:47-56.  The arrest.

 

“To Bear a Cross or to Bear False Witness: The Path of the True Peacemakers”

(Abstract: Elaborating upon the concept of “reaping what you sow,” in the saying, “he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword.”)

Alt. Title: “Choose a Side: Christ or Antichrist”

 

In this scene of the arrest of Jesus and the betrayal of Judas, two very different paths are made most clear and distinct.  Indeed, as if by the “sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God,” “capable of piercing through soul and spirit,” Jesus does come to set a division, turning “a family,” even “that of mankind” as it were, at odds against itself (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12; Matthew 10:36-38).  For as He says in Matthew 10:34-36, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household” (Matthew 10:23-36).  Jesus elaborates further, and says, “…whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven,” and “…he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:33, 38).  These words are well said in the context of Christ as being, “the Light, and the Truth, and the Way, and the Life,” for as so often it is, man chooses rather to be at peace in the world and to deny his Cross, rather than to be at peace with God, and to speak the truth.  As in the case with Peter, it is so much easier to bear false witness against the Lord, than to confess Him openly.

These is a common misconception, that “peacemakers and children of God” are here to make peace with the world, but as Jesus says, this is not true; true children of the Light—of truth and of God, are here to make peace with the will of God, and are therefore “set at variance” against the world, insomuch as those in the world “be of the world and not of God,” in confessing not the truth, but bearing false witness against the Lord (Matthew 5:9: Matthew 10:35; Mark 8:33).

As Judas and those with him go to capture Christ in the shadow of darkness, one with Jesus, “…stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear” (Matthew 26:51).  This is indeed not at all what Jesus had meant in speaking of “a sword” in Matthew 10:34, as He uses this analogy rather to describe the division and variance that He means to set between the good and the bad, the children of light and the children of darkness, those of God and those of man.  Jesus rebukes [this one], saying, “… Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword” (Matthew 10:34; Matthew 26:52).

This concept is truly crucial and of vast importance—that he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword.  For just as He had also warned [Peter] in Matthew 16:19, “…whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven,” and had again reiterated to His disciples in Matthew 18:18, He is here trying to explain in simple terms, that “you reap what you sow” (Matthew 16:19; Matthew 18:18).  For “all of our words and deeds we shall have to answer for upon the day of our judgment,” and if we have not received just recompense for our actions, be they good or bad, here on earth (which if we have, would set us at “neutral”), then we shall be seen as either debtors to God or indebted to by God, and we shall receive His justice in the world to come after death, in the day of judgment, with our sentence to either eternal life, or eternal death, or somewhere “in-between,” as it were (Matthew 12:36).

The idea that you “reap what you sow” is often lost on those with an eye set towards only the things within immediate sight, that are of this life and of this world, but God’s vision of life, set in truth, encompasses the vast span of eternity and life after death, in Heaven or in Hell, and so while many may seem to escape justice—be it reward or punishment for their actions—this is not so, for our Father will repay all debts at the time of our passing, from one life to the next.  As it is said in the Beatitudes, in Matthew 5, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven,” and also again in Matthew 6, “do not your alms and prayers before men, so that you may receive your reward not in this life, but from your eternal Father in Heaven” (Matthew 5:11-12; Matthew 6:2-6).

We are indeed given a choice, as Jesus sets us apart and at variance with the sword of the Spirit—the Word of the Lord capable of dividing man and God, soul and Spirit—and we are to choose our side.  We may be at peace with God, as the true peacemakers seek to be, or we may be at peace with the world and with man, and be set at variance against those “that be of God” (Mark 8:31-33).  We may “bear our Cross” and follow Jesus, and receive like treatment as His, or we may “bear false witness” and take after man, and receive the company of man but the condemnation of God.

For as it is written, indelibly “etched in stone” in the Ten Commandments as it were, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor,” “…Thou shalt not lie” (Exodus 20:16).  This is a simple rule and a Commandment of God.  Yet, it must indeed be poorly understood and poorly grasped, for how many shall say that they have never violated this Commandment?  Just as one who “lives by the sword dies by the sword,” so too, “one who lives by a lie dies by a lie;” and just as you live by sin and “bear false witness against your neighbor and against Christ,” so too shall you die by sin, as “Christ shall thus likewise deny you” (Matthew 26:52; Matthew 25:40, 45; Matthew 10:33).

 

References:

  1. Matthew 26:47-60, 75

47 And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. 48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. 49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. 50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.

51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. 52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. 53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?

55 In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. 56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.

57 And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. 58 But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest’s palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end. 59 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; 60 but found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses,

75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.

  1. Ephesians 6:17

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

  1. Hebrews 4:1-3, 7-16

4Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. 14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

  1. Matthew 10:32-39

32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. 37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

  1. Mark 8:31-33

31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. 33 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.

  1. Matthew 16:15-20

15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I 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. 20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

  1. Matthew 18:15-18

15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. 18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

  1. Matthew 12:31-37

31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. 33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. 34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

  1. Matthew 5:9-12

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

  1. Matthew 6:2-6

Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

  1. Exodus 20:16, 18-21

16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. 19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. 20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. 21 And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.

  1. Matthew 25:40-46

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

 

Monday 3/11/19

Third Week/2: Day 3

John 18:12-14, 19-24.  Jesus before Annas.

 

“‘Open-Handed’ Generosity: To Turn the Other Cheek, and Turn to God”

(Abstract: On God’s charity, and the very non-masochistic, love of “the Cross.”)

 

This scene, of the trial of Jesus, is like something out of a nightmare, like an old episode of The Twilight Zone, or something written by Franz Kafka.  Jesus, however, just as He contends with the devil in His temptation in the wilderness, contends with the horrific injustice seen here with His use of the Scriptures to rebuke this devil, and with His knowledge of all things that must come to pass, to fulfil the prophecy of God’s Word.

Just to illustrate the very power and effect of God’s Word, Jesus, as soon as He says “I am he,” to Judas and the band of men with lanterns, torches, and weapons who seek to take Him, sends them reeling as He speaks, as “they went backward, and fell to the ground” (John 18:6; Exodus 3:14).  For the name of God, as YHWH had first told it to Moses, as being, “I AM,” coming from the mouth of God, as Jesus (as God the Son) declares “what is truth,” cannot but have a very real effect upon the ears of His listeners.  Nevertheless, Jesus is taken by “the band and the captain and officers of the Jews,” and bound, and led away to Annas (Exodus 3:14: John 18:37-38; John 18:12).  When the high priest, Caiaphas, asks Jesus of His doctrine, He replies, “without guile nor deceit,” “…I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said” (1 Peter 2:22; Isaiah 53:9; John 18:20-21).  “And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?” (John 18:22).

Jesus, fully aware of the vast injustice of this situation, but again, as like in the wilderness, contending with this devil with not only faith, but with the works of faith also, resorts to His knowledge of the Scriptures and the prophecies to find truth, counsel, and consolation, for as it is written, “who has counseled Him?” (Isaiah 40:13-14).  Jesus, with the words of His Own teaching that He indeed taught openly, extolling mercy, forgiveness, charity, and justice done unto one’s neighbor, and upholding the “Commandments of God,” not only to seven times, as per His decree, but to “seventy times seven times,” just to give a general illustration of the magnitude of infinity, in “going the extra mile” indeed to show God’s love, forgiveness, and sovereignty in magnanimity, to all those who seek His mercy, does “in His Own instruction find good counsel” (Matthew 22:36-40; Matthew 18:22; Matthew 5:41; Isaiah 40:13-14; Proverbs 12:14; 13:2; 18:20).

Jesus “turns the other cheek,” and had He anything that they did not go on to take from Him, He would have offered that up too, to give an ensample to the people that true strength is in not just weakness, but in veritable innocence—for this is what it means to be like a lamb, not that He was sacrificed, but that He was sacrificed having committed no wrong (Matthew 5:39).  This was He, “made to be sin, Who knew no sin,” therefore providing the innocence of that sacrificial Passover lamb, of which being “without blemish” was symbolic of this Man, in that He was “without sin;” pure white, pure of heart, and truly innocent (2 Corinthians 5:21).  For Christ indeed perceives the truth in practice of His Own teachings in word, and perceives these lost sheep and wayward children, who seek to murder Him, as being “the least of these,” against whom He does not raise His hand to smite, “not injuring a bruised reed” as it were, lest He be counted in the eyes of God as a transgressor against Him (Matthew 25:40; Isaiah 42:3).  For as it is written, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40).

These wayward children and lost sheep, are also counted as those of which He “has lost none,” for He “makes intercession for them” until His very last hour upon the Cross, claiming unto God, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (John 18:9; Isaiah 53:12).  While Jesus yet suffers for their sins, they, on the other hand, “Then led [they] Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover” (John 18:28).  These men could not be more misguided in their perceptions (“having eyes that do not perceive, and ears that do not listen”), of what defilement truly means, as they urge Pilate, “Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death” (Matthew 13:14; Isaiah 6:10; John 18:31).  The stain of their transgressions is still “upon their lips,” like the “flesh of the quail still within their teeth,” as they look greedily about lusting for their next victim, as their hearts strive from sin, to self-deception, to falsehood, to fallacy, in their absence from their God, just like those first wretched children, “the least of these,” of those first Israelites who failed to come to a conversion of heart, even after forty years in the desert with their God there to lead them (Isaiah 6:5; Numbers 11:33-34; Matthew 25:40).

“Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice” (John 18:36-37).  Pilate responds with a rhetorical question as he wonders at this madness to himself, “What is truth?  And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all” (John 18:38).

Nevertheless, he inscribes upon Christ’s makeshift tombstone this confession of his, as he had perhaps preemptively washed his hands of guilt and culpability in catering to the wiles of those “least of these,” as he writes—and in three different languages, at that—”He was the King of the Jews!”  And herein in wisdom: Herein have I added the exclamation point, to emphasize the “truth” of his wonderment.

 

“…I AM.”

 

References (listed in order of citation):

  1. John 18:4-9, 12-14, 19-24, 28-38

Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way: that the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.

12 Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, 13 and led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year. 14 Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

19 The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. 20 Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. 21 Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said. 22 And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so? 23 Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me? 24 Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.

28 Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover. 29 Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man? 30 They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee. 31 Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: 32 that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die.

33 Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? 34 Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? 35 Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? 36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. 37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?

And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.

  1. Exodus 3:13-16

13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. 15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations. 16 Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt:

  1. 1 Peter 2:21-25

21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

  1. Isaiah 53:4-11

Surely he hath borne our griefs,
and carried our sorrows:
yet we did esteem him stricken,
smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth:
he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb,
so he openeth not his mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment:
and who shall declare his generation?
for he was cut off out of the land of the living:
for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
And he made his grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death;
because he had done no violence,
neither was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him;
he hath put him to grief:
when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin,
he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days,
and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied:
by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many;
for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
because he hath poured out his soul unto death:
and he was numbered with the transgressors;
and he bare the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

  1. Isaiah 40:13-17

13 Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord,
or being his counsellor hath taught him?
14 With whom took he counsel,
and who instructed him,
and taught him in the path of judgment,
and taught him knowledge,
and shewed to him the way of understanding?
15 Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket,
and are counted as the small dust of the balance:
behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.
16 And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn,
nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering.
17 All nations before him are as nothing;
and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity.

  1. Matthew 22:34-40

34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

  1. Matthew 18:21-22

21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

  1. Matthew 5:38-48

38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

  1. Proverbs 12:13-14

13 The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips:
but the just shall come out of trouble.

14 A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth:
and the recompence of a man’s hands shall be rendered unto him.

  1. Proverbs 13:2

A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth:
but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.

  1. Proverbs 18:20

20 A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth;
and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.

  1. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

  1. Matthew 25:40-46

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

  1. Isaiah 42:1-4

42Behold my servant, whom I uphold;
mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth;
I have put my spirit upon him:
he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
He shall not cry, nor lift up,
nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
A bruised reed shall he not break,
and the smoking flax shall he not quench:
he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
He shall not fail nor be discouraged,
till he have set judgment in the earth:
and the isles shall wait for his law.

  1. Matthew 13:14-17

14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15 for this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

  1. Isaiah 6:8-10

Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: and he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

And he said, Go, and tell this people,

Hear ye indeed, but understand not;
and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

10 Make the heart of this people fat,
and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes;
lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears,
and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

  1. Numbers 11:31-35

31 And there went forth a wind from the Lord, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day’s journey on this side, and as it were a day’s journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth. 32 And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp. 33 And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote the people with a very great plague. 34 And he called the name of that place Kibroth-hattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted. 35 And the people journeyed from Kibroth-hattaavah unto Hazeroth; and abode at Hazeroth.

 

Tuesday 2/12/19

Third Week/2: Day 4

Luke 22:31-34, 54-62.  Peter’s denials.

 

“‘With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.’ ~Spider-Man”

Alt. Title: “Revelations and ‘The Ghost Race’”

 

The denial of Peter was one of the most crushing blows to the Lord—not so much in its effects upon the Lord Himself, but rather, in its effects upon the solidarity of Peter’s faith in the Lord.  For as Jesus Himself had said to Peter, “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat,” Peter indeed was destined to undergo temptation (Luke 22:31).  Jesus knows ahead of time to what end Peter must be tempted, as He forewarns him, “And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me” (Luke 22:34).  Jesus goes on to explain, “For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end” (Luke 22:37).  Jesus here knows that He must be forsaken of all men, even those closest to Him, so that at the last hour He may be supported by God alone, and fulfill the prophecy as it was written.  Peter indeed, His closest ally, and perhaps a viable candidate for an example of “the best of men” at that time, even this one, a man of the best stock that mankind can offer, while set under the guidance and discipleship of the Lord, is still fallible, made subject to sin, and liable to fail when put to the test of temptation.  Even the best of men can commit the worst of deeds, when push comes to shove and the time comes to be proven, either in loyalty or betrayal.

This betrayal and denial of Peter, however, only serves to this end, towards a “baptism of repentance,” as he goes on to acknowledge his sin (Matthew 3:11).  For as it is written, “And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:61-62).  Indeed, these tears of Peter are evidence of this “baptism of repentance,” spoken of in the ministry of John the Baptist, for these tears are the waters of sorrow and regret, of contrition and humility, flowing from the Holy Spirit within to soften a heart hardened by a guard raised, “in defense and in sin,” towards the end of self-preservation, and against a world seeking his end (Matthew 3:11; Luke 22:40).  But, as Peter lowers his pride, lets down his guard, and lets his heart breathe through the opening that he has made there for the Lord, as “the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter,” the floodgates are opened, so to speak, and the truth of his disloyalty and the fact of his sin is revealed to him in the eyes of his God, Whom he has indeed, betrayed and forsaken (Luke 22:61).  For “God forsakes no man;” only man himself is ever guilty of forsaking God (Deuteronomy 31:6, 8; Hebrews 13:5-8).

Jesus urges them, His disciples, repeatedly, “And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation,” “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:40, 44).  Jesus had asked, “saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done,” and then said to them again after rising from His prayer—”and said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation” (Luke 22:42, 46).

This example of Jesus successfully contending with temptation is evidenced by the droplets of blood falling from His brow, as He is made to be the “cup of the new testament,” of which He had spoken at the Last Supper, given up for us (Luke 22:20).  For as the Apostle says, you have done well; however, this much is missing, that, “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin” (Hebrews 12:4).  This saying could be applied to Peter in his act of denial, and indeed to most any man, at the lowest point to be known in his life; that lowest point of human weakness, of which we all must undergo, over the course of this frail human life.  For to “hold fast to what is right and true” unto the shedding of one’s own blood, in martyrdom as it were, is to glorify God and to affirm the Faith (Revelation 2:25; 3:11).  Peter resists the Lord and gives into temptation, so that he shall receive the baptism of repentance, to bring his heart in line with humility, and to bring his soul into further perfection before the Lord; and then shall he be ready, not only to be baptized by these bitter tears of contrition, but to be baptized further by the baptism of Christ, “with fire and the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 3:11; Hebrews 12:29).  To suffer in “enduring unto the end” a martyr’s death, and the shedding not only of the tears of man, but also the blood of God, then shall the “crown of life” and of glory be attained; for all who remain so steadfast and loyal to the Lord—not unto self-preservation, but rather, unto death, in suffering with Christ in His baptism and being raised with Christ in His baptism—”of fire” and “as the Holy Ghost,” shall they be so seated, and as it were, “thrice-seeded” (Matthew 24:13; Revelation 2:10: Hebrews 12:29; Revelation 3:21).

 

References (listed in order of citation):

  1. Luke 22:19-20, 31-62

19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 33 And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

35 And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. 36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. 37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. 38 And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.

39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. 40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. 41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42 saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 and said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

47 And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him. 48 But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? 49 When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword? 50 And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. 51 And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him. 52 Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? 53 When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.

54 Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off. 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. 57 And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. 58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. 59 And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilæan. 60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. 61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

  1. Matthew 3:11-12

11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 12 whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

  1. Deuteronomy 31:6, 8

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

  1. Hebrews 13:1-8

13Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

  1. Hebrews 12

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 13 and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. 14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15 looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; 16 lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: 20 (for they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: 21 and so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) 22 but ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. 25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: 26 whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. 27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

  1. Matthew 24:9-14

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

  1. Revelation 2:7, 10-11, 16-17, 25-29

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. 11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. 26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

  1. Revelation 3:5-6, 11-13, 18-22

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. 13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

 

Wednesday 3/13/19

Third Week/2: Day 5

Mark 14:53-65.  Jesus before the Sanhedrin.

 

“Dust to Dust: Naked in the Garden of Eden and Naked in the City of Man”

Alt. Title: “In the Image of God: Reflections in the Pool of Eternal Life”

 

In this event, of the trial of Jesus before the Sanhedrin, He is brought before the high priest—“… and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes” (Mark 14:53).  At this point after His capture, He is left entirely alone, for when Judas, “…and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders,” came and took Him, all His disciples, “…they all forsook him, and fled” (Mark 14:43, 50).  There was even a certain follower of His, who when they laid hold of him, left the linen cloth by which they held him, and “fled from them naked,” rather than to be caught by this great multitude, this mob scene of witch-hunters, as it were, for with their staves and swords, and torches and pitchforks, these men truly meant business, and not the kind of which Jesus “must be about” (Mark 14:52; Luke 2:49).

This man fleeing naked, is somewhat of an ironic reverse reflection of Adam in the Garden of Eden; but whereas there man’s nakedness was a token of his innocence, here it speaks to his shame, in yet again turning from and forsaking the Lord.  As in the Garden of Paradise his sin and the covering of his shame was symbolized by raiment, now in exile from Paradise, in the city of man, the uncovering speaks to his shame, symbolic now of being without the Lord in being without raiment.

For as the Apostle says, in this earthly tabernacle, “…in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life” (2 Corinthians 5:2-4).  The Apostle does indeed further clarify the matter of that accusation brought against Jesus before the Sanhedrin, with their witnesses saying, “We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands” (Mark 14:58).  For as Saint Paul the Apostle describes in Second Corinthians, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1).  For we wish not to be unclothed of the body, but to be further clothed upon with the Spirit, and the presence of the Lord.  Now without his God present with him, as symbolized by this man fleeing from capture unto the loss of his raiment, man is yet again found naked, yet not this time as proof of his innocence, but rather, unto his shame.

Now, as all the “the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none. For many bare false witness against him…” indeed they “bare their false witness,” as like naked flesh unto their shame, with this lie uncovering the sin that has become their souls, “…but their witness agreed not together” (Mark 14:55-56).  For many men rose up to bear false witness against Him, with egregious lies, slander, and true blasphemy (of which they most ironically eventually, falsely, convicted Jesus, as He is God the Son), but their lies contradicted each other’s lies—as “neither so did their witness agree together” (Mark 14:59).

This complication to their scheme, to convict Jesus of something by which they could put Him to death, echoes the means by which the prophet Daniel had made his wisdom and fairness in the discernment of truth and justice evident, in the scandal of Susanna.  For as those elders described in Daniel 13 had sought to satisfy their lust upon her, and then covered up their ill-intent, cloaked upon with crime in their fabrication, Daniel’s idea that these two elders be questioned apart to determine the veracity of their statements indeed revealed an inconsistency, thereby exposing their lies and their crime.  For one man said that the seduction took place under a mastic tree in the garden, while the other said that it was under the oak tree, a different tree in her garden (Daniel 13:52-59).  The lack of agreement in their conflicting stories unveils the fact that neither man tells the truth, and in fact sheds light upon the truth of Susanna’s claim to innocence, thereby exonerating her from their false accusations and vindicating her innocence, while also convicting those two elders who had defiled her innocence, and sullied her good name, in bearing their false witness against her.

This scene of Susanna and the elders described in the Book of Daniel, is also resemblant of that scene of man’s first transgression in the Garden of Eden.  For in that garden also there were two trees, one from which man was forbidden to eat, and another which led to eternal life.  Here the elders did indeed make false claims about Susanna, regarding a seduction under a certain tree, thereby sinning in like manner as that first prefigured by Adam in forsaking the Lord, and thus also in like manner do they too forego the fruit that leads to eternal life, which was to blossom from that other tree.

Nevertheless, despite the lack of agreement found among those bearing false witness against Christ, He is still called to bear His Cross, just as Susanna was still called to bear the burden of her trial, and just as the fruit born of the tree of knowledge likewise is still indeed stolen, as if raped, through the cunning of self-deception and the treachery of, ultimately of, “of man.”  For “of man,” is indeed the meaning of the term, “woman,” which is merely that which comes forth of and proceeds from man, either as his crowning glory, or to his disgrace and shame.

It is determined, just like man’s eternal fate as he chooses to turn back to God, despite his “proceedings of sin unto shame,” that these men shall find some way to execute Christ, both by the evil devices of their hearts, and by the prophecy of God.  “And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But he held his peace, and answered nothing. [For all men knew what they indeed had against Him, which was just this…] Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see…” (Mark 14:60-62).

For it must come to pass, all things which were written of the “Christ to come,” for He indeed has come, did come, and as always, is come again.  But as He has said Himself, “I am: and ye shall see…” …as that scene of His trial before the Sanhedrin trails quietly off, with the image of the bound and blindfolded Christ being beaten, as they mockingly ask Him, “Prophesy unto us, who is it that smote you?” (Mark 14:62; Luke 22:64).  Indeed, one look in the mirror, and “…ye shall see…” (Mark 14:62).  Indeed, we all shall see.

 

And alas, so it is “Lent.”

 

References (listed in order of citation):

  1. Mark 14:43-65, 71-72

43 And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44 And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely. 45 And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him.

46 And they laid their hands on him, and took him. 47 And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 48 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? 49 I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled. 50 And they all forsook him, and fled. 51 And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: 52 and he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.

53 And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes. 54 And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire.

55 And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none. 56 For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together. 57 And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying, 58 We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. 59 But neither so did their witness agree together.

60 And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? 61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? 62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 63 Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? 64 Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death. 65 And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands.

71 But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak. 72 And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.

  1. Luke 2:46-52

46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. 47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. 48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. 49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? 50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. 51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

  1. 2 Corinthians 5:1-5

5For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.

  1. Daniel 13

Susanna. In Babylon there lived a man named Joakim, who married a very beautiful and God-fearing woman, Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah; her parents were righteous and had trained their daughter according to the law of Moses. Joakim was very rich and he had a garden near his house. The Jews had recourse to him often because he was the most respected of them all

These men, to whom all brought their cases, frequented the house of Joakim. When the people left at noon, Susanna used to enter her husband’s garden for a walk. When the elders saw her enter every day for her walk, they began to lust for her. They perverted their thinking; they would not allow their eyes to look to heaven, and did not keep in mind just judgments. 10 Though both were enamored of her, they did not tell each other their trouble, 11 for they were ashamed to reveal their lustful desire to have her. 12 Day by day they watched eagerly for her. 13 One day they said to each other, “Let us be off for home, it is time for the noon meal.” So they went their separate ways. 14 But both turned back and arrived at the same spot. When they asked each other the reason, they admitted their lust, and then they agreed to look for an occasion when they could find her alone.

15 One day, while they were waiting for the right moment, she entered as usual, with two maids only, wanting to bathe in the garden, for the weather was warm. 16 Nobody else was there except the two elders, who had hidden themselves and were watching her. 17 “Bring me oil and soap,” she said to the maids, “and shut the garden gates while I bathe.” 18 They did as she said; they shut the garden gates and left by the side gate to fetch what she had ordered, unaware that the elders were hidden inside.

19 As soon as the maids had left, the two old men got up and ran to her. 20 “Look,” they said, “the garden doors are shut, no one can see us, and we want you. So give in to our desire, and lie with us. 21 If you refuse, we will testify against you that a young man was here with you and that is why you sent your maids away.”

22 “I am completely trapped,” Susanna groaned. “If I yield, it will be my death; if I refuse, I cannot escape your power. 23 Yet it is better for me not to do it and to fall into your power than to sin before the Lord.” 24 Then Susanna screamed, and the two old men also shouted at her, 25 as one of them ran to open the garden gates. 26 When the people in the house heard the cries from the garden, they rushed in by the side gate to see what had happened to her. 27 At the accusations of the old men, the servants felt very much ashamed, for never had any such thing been said about Susanna.

28 When the people came to her husband Joakim the next day, the two wicked old men also came, full of lawless intent to put Susanna to death. 29 Before the people they ordered: “Send for Susanna, the daughter of Hilkiah, the wife of Joakim.” When she was sent for, 30 she came with her parents, children and all her relatives. 31 Susanna, very delicate and beautiful, 32 was veiled; but those transgressors of the law ordered that she be exposed so as to sate themselves with her beauty. 33 All her companions and the onlookers were weeping.

34 In the midst of the people the two old men rose up and laid their hands on her head. 35 As she wept she looked up to heaven, for she trusted in the Lord wholeheartedly. 36 The old men said, “As we were walking in the garden alone, this woman entered with two servant girls, shut the garden gates and sent the servant girls away. 37 A young man, who was hidden there, came and lay with her. 38 When we, in a corner of the garden, saw this lawlessness, we ran toward them. 39 We saw them lying together, but the man we could not hold, because he was stronger than we; he opened the gates and ran off. 40 Then we seized this one and asked who the young man was, 41 but she refused to tell us. We testify to this.” The assembly believed them, since they were elders and judges of the people, and they condemned her to death.

42 But Susanna cried aloud: “Eternal God, you know what is hidden and are aware of all things before they come to be: 43 you know that they have testified falsely against me. Here I am about to die, though I have done none of the things for which these men have condemned me.”

44 The Lord heard her prayer. 45 As she was being led to execution, God stirred up the holy spirit of a young boy named Daniel, 46 and he cried aloud: “I am innocent of this woman’s blood.” 47 All the people turned and asked him, “What are you saying?” 48 He stood in their midst and said, “Are you such fools, you Israelites, to condemn a daughter of Israel without investigation and without clear evidence? 49 Return to court, for they have testified falsely against her.”

50 Then all the people returned in haste. To Daniel the elders said, “Come, sit with us and inform us, since God has given you the prestige of old age.” 51 But he replied, “Separate these two far from one another, and I will examine them.”

52 After they were separated from each other, he called one of them and said: “How you have grown evil with age! Now have your past sins come to term: 53 passing unjust sentences, condemning the innocent, and freeing the guilty, although the Lord says, ‘The innocent and the just you shall not put to death.’ 54 Now, then, if you were a witness, tell me under what tree you saw them together.” 55 “Under a mastic tree,”[b] he answered. “Your fine lie has cost you your head,” said Daniel; “for the angel of God has already received the sentence from God and shall split you in two.” 56 Putting him to one side, he ordered the other one to be brought. “Offspring of Canaan, not of Judah,” Daniel said to him, “beauty has seduced you, lust has perverted your heart. 57 This is how you acted with the daughters of Israel, and in their fear they yielded to you; but a daughter of Judah did not tolerate your lawlessness. 58 Now, then, tell me under what tree you surprised them together.” 59 “Under an oak,” he said. “Your fine lie has cost you also your head,” said Daniel; “for the angel of God waits with a sword to cut you in two so as to destroy you both.”

60 The whole assembly cried aloud, blessing God who saves those who hope in him. 61 They rose up against the two old men, for by their own words Daniel had convicted them of bearing false witness. They condemned them to the fate they had planned for their neighbor: 62 in accordance with the law of Moses they put them to death. Thus was innocent blood spared that day.

63 Hilkiah and his wife praised God for their daughter Susanna, with Joakim her husband and all her relatives, because she was found innocent of any shameful deed. 64 And from that day onward Daniel was greatly esteemed by the people.

  1. Luke 22:63-63

63 And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him. 64 And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee? 65 And many other things blasphemously spake they against him.

 

Thursday 3/14/19

Third Week/2: Day 6

Matthew 26:36-46 (Day 1 again).  The agony in the garden.

 

“Thrice a Piece to Pull At: This Thread, This Bread, This Breast”

Alt. Title: “The Cross He Carried, The Weight of the World, ‘The Beast’ of Burden”

(Abstract: Contemplation on Lent and the act of confession.)

 

“Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended” (Matthew 26:33).

This sentiment so openly, wantonly even, expressed by Peter, does indeed expose his feelings of brotherly love towards the Christ, Jesus, in so wholeheartedly embracing Him, with a very protective and zealous affection, with his spirit and his speech.  As this scene plays out, however, and as Jesus goes on to offer him this gentle correction (for He indeed knows the weaknesses of all men), “…Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice” (Matthew 26:34).  Peter contends, along with all the disciples, that, “no, no, don’t speak such—we would that we should die with you, rather than to deny thee…”  Yet as Jesus later goes on to warn a certain three of His disciples whom He brings to keep watch with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).

When Christ gently warns Peter, that he shall indeed deny Him thrice, “before the cock crow twice,” this is indicative of the way in which Peter does indeed act rather rashly, impetuously or impulsively, if you will (Mark 14:30).  For this indeed is the same disciple who, “…drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear,” committing an act of violence while in the company of his Master, Who Himself, “also so vehemently,” and notoriously, preached about “turning the other cheek, and committing no harm” (Matthew 26:51; Mark 14:31; John 15:13).  Indeed, Christ’s entire philosophy, this veritable “religion” of Christianity as it were, rests entirely upon the premise of preserving one’s own innocence, no matter what harm, hardship, or iniquity may fall upon one, so that one may be judged worthy and blameless at the hour of the last judgment, and while yet in this life remain holy in the eyes of God, and “abide in Him by abiding in His love” (John 15:9-10, 12-13; 1 John 4:7, 16-17, 19).

In Peter’s act of violence, mutilating this servant of the high priest like some possessed and externalizing version of a thoughtfully internalizing Van Gogh—severing his ear as like a tribute to his Master, is his lack of thoroughness in his affection for Christ made evident; for as Christ says, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” (Matthew 26:53-54).  Peter indeed loves Christ, but he does indeed deny Christ more quickly than could be expected in the due course of time, as symbolized by the statement, “before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice” (Mark 14:30).

This over-eagerness, to act before allowing a shallow level of understanding to sink in and resonate more deeply, as if in the depths of quietness, stillness, and prayerful contemplation, is also evidenced by Peter as he is shown to “get ahead of the grace” in Mark 8—insisting that his Master should not suffer such things as Christ describes.  As is said in Isaiah 55, “my ways are not yours, my thoughts are higher than yours,” and as Jesus indeed goes on to rebuke him, “Get thee behind me, Satan, you desire the things of man, and not of God” (Isaiah 55:8; Mark 8:33).  For the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak, and such a one as Peter, is such a one as all of us, in his lacking of control to live out in the flesh, in his bodily actions, what he professes in his heart, with his spirit.

In the spirit of humility and contrition, as it is a time for a deeper reflection of our wrongs and weaknesses in this season of Lent, we can indeed all benefit from the corrections offered to this “average Joe,” of this prototypical example of your everyday man, as found in Peter.  For we are all weak, but in the words of the Apostle Paul, “therein resides my strength,” for “in the weakness of man is the strength of Christ perfected,” insomuch that we acknowledge our weaknesses, know our limitations, and this most crucially, in being the “crux” of the “Catholic” matter as it were, confess our sins, so that they are set before our eyes in the mirror of the confessor, the screen of the confessional, and in the window to the soul—in the eyes of man and the eyes of God, so that our hearts may be relieved of our guilt to let in the tender mercy and forgiveness of grace from our heavenly Father (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

For indeed Peter denied Christ thrice, more speedily than to be expected if to be “on par” with the crow of the rooster, yet he also denied Him thrice in failing to confess Him thrice, in the Gospel of John.  For he was indeed asked twice if he loved Him with the love of God, with agapē love, and only the third time, as Peter sorrowed, and “was grieved,” at the wording as it exposed his limitations—indeed a limitation known to all men—was he asked if he loved Him with philia, with brotherly love (John 21:17).  Peter, on his part, replied thrice that he loved Jesus with philia love, with brotherly love, and therefore denied Christ thrice, that he loved Him not with agapē love (the Greek words “agapē” and “philia” are both translated in English versions of the Gospel as “love,” although there is an important distinction to be made in these two different types of love)—the love not of man for his fellow man, but the sacrificial love of God for man.  Indeed, in Peter’s own words, our sin is set before our face, “Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet…”  …Yet, we shall never be offended if we realize the truth of mankind’s state, the truth of human nature (Matthew 26:33).  Are we not all as Adam in the Garden of Paradise, while Jesus, as Christ, is as “Agony in the Garden” of man?  For, we all have carried the burden of …sin.

…Alas, what it is to be “the Cross,” of Christ.

 

References (listed in order of citation):

  1. Matthew 26:30-56

30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. 31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. 32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. 33 Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. 34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 35 Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.

36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. 43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. 44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.

47 And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. 48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. 49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. 50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.

51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. 52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. 53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?

55 In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. 56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.

  1. Mark 14:26-31, 66-72

26 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. 27 And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. 28 But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee. 29 But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I. 30 And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. 31 But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.

66 And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest: 67 and when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. 68 But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew. 69 And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. 70 And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilæan, and thy speech agreeth thereto. 71 But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak. 72 And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.

  1. John 15:4-14

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

  1. 1 John 4:7-21

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, because he first loved us. 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

  1. Mark 8:27-33

27 And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Cæsarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am? 28 And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets. 29 And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ. 30 And he charged them that they should tell no man of him. 31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. 33 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.

  1. Isaiah 55:6-11

Seek ye the Lord while he may be found,
call ye upon him while he is near:
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts:
and let him return unto the Lord,
and he will have mercy upon him;
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven,
and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth,
and maketh it bring forth and bud,
that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11 so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth:
it shall not return unto me void,
but it shall accomplish that which I please,
and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

  1. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

  1. John 21:12-19

12 Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. 13 Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. 14 This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.

15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. 19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? 21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? 22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. 23 Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?

 

Friday 3/15/19

Third Week/2: Day 7

Luke 22:31-34, 54-62 (Day 4 again).  Peter’s denials.

 

“The Great Power and Responsibility of Prayer’

Alt. Title: “Contemplation of the Knowledge of Good and Evil”

(Abstract: The necessity of that crucial moment, of “conversion.” …Even for “Cradle Catholics.”)

 

[Side-note: What would have happened had man not first tasted of the forbidden fruit?  Well, you know how you are not supposed to use laser pointers in playing with cats, as it drives them neurotic when they cannot catch their prey?  Well, in just the same way, you just might end up with a bunch of “neurotic” angels, who cannot appease their curiosity.  …Just saying…]

 

“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:31-32).

 

“To be converted,” in the context of Christianity and in the understanding of religious terms, means “to turn;” it suggests a turning back from the ways of man to the ways of God.  A “conversion of heart,” or a turning back from selfish or worldly pursuits towards God, is a crucial and necessary moment in the life of each of God’s children.  No matter how well we may provide for our loved ones, no matter how diligently and painstakingly we may shelter and care for them, in providing all the means, and materials, and opportunities by which they can grow up to be strong and healthy proponents and servants of the Faith—this much is “needful:” for this crucial conversion to take place, this turning of one’s heart from the world and back towards God our Maker—one must first, at some point, somehow, turn away from God (Luke 10:42).

I say, this conversion event is necessary; this turning to God, which implicitly requires and suggests that one must first, at some point, have turned away from God, is crucial, because without this milestone, this coming of age occurrence, and indeed, holy rite of passage and initiation or induction of sorts, one cannot have the necessary means of real understanding, the knowledge that comes about only by means of personal experience, by which to discern the difference between the presence of God, and the absence of God.  For in the words of Saint Augustine, what is evil, but the absence of goodness; what is evil, but the absence of God? (Augustine & Sheed, 1943).

Just as Jesus had said, when the disciples of John had asked Him why His disciples did not fast as John’s did, that the time for fasting was not while the Bridegroom was yet with them—but rather while their God was yet with them would be the time for eating, drinking, communing, and sharing in the joy of His presence with goodly discourse and fruitful instruction (Matthew 9:14-15).  However, the time would come when the Bridegroom, their God with them Immanuel Jesus, would be absent from them, and then would come the time for fasting and practices of asceticism (Luke 5:33-35).

For these men, in always having the pleasure of their Lord present with them externally, have not the privilege of being made to work to know the presence of their God with them internally, within the kingdom of God within their souls, both through the practices of self-mortification and the denudation of selfish impulses, desires, and attachments within the soul, and through the strengthening of one’s attachment to God and God alone in building up this sacred holiness of trust, in love, faith, and hope, with the inward practices of prayer and contemplation, and with the outward acts of charity and works of mercy in one’s life of Faith.

For as many as have never had the privilege of being absent from their God, are as many as who know not the difference between when He is near and when He is far from us, for they have never left the nest, to spread their wings and “see the world,” so to speak, and so too in like manner, these sheltered ones know not the great glory of God that is to be seen only when held in contrast with the knowledge of His absence.

Just as the dark shades highlight the brightness of the whitest tones in a painting, so too these little acts of turning away from God, these painful moments of His absence that are meant to strengthen and fortify our spirits in rock-solid faith, are gifts that allow us to appreciate His presence all the more deeply, and to feel the gentle tenderness of His touch all the more acutely.  Our souls, and spirits too, if we make it that far on this road to perfection, that is analogous to that of Calvary, and the “Dark Night” written of by St. John of the Cross, are most painfully brought into this most sensitive state of utter rawness and supreme tenderness, indeed as if “sifted like wheat” and run through the blades of the “threshing fan,” so that we may feel, not just the painful agony of purgation in turning away from God, within our very souls, and indeed according to His will, but also so that we may truly feel the bliss and grace of His glory, in the inevitable and corresponding action, of turning to God (John, . C., & Kavanaugh, 1973; Luke 22:31; Luke 3:17).  All of this is indeed accomplished, so that we may, with perfect honesty, know God’s true glory, and have the means, as knowledge wrought by personal experience, by which to accurately discern what is of God, and what is not of God.

In this way, when someone has either been brought up in the absence of the Faith, or has turned, like “the Prodigal Son,” seemingly senselessly, from the perfection of the true Faith, this is indeed a gift and a blessing, because it will only ever, inevitably and eventually, bring them into a more well-rounded vision of what this life is, and into a greater understanding and appreciation of God (Luke 15:11-32).  Never shall one be so grateful, and never shall the glory of God be so fruitfully absorbed and greatly apprehended, as in that most crucial moment of turning from the darkness to the light, to see the glory and goodness that is God, because we shall then see Him from the “shadow of the valley of darkness” and evil, that is not God (Psalm 23:4).  Only when held in juxtaposition with evil, does goodness have any meaning, and only by knowing the boundaries of God’s limits, may the presence of God truly be felt.

 

References (listed in order of citation):

  1. Luke 22:31-34, 54-62

31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 33 And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

54 Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off. 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. 57 And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. 58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. 59 And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilæan. 60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. 61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

  1. Luke 10:38-42

38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. 40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

  1. Augustine, ., & Sheed, F. J. (1943). The Confessions of St. Augustine. Translated by F.J. Sheed. Sheed & Ward: London.
  2. Matthew 9:10-17

10 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? 12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

14 Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? 15 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast. 16 No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. 17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

  1. Luke 5:31-39

31 And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. 32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

33 And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink? 34 And he said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? 35 But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.

36 And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old. 37 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. 38 But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. 39 No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.

  1. Luke 3:15-17

15 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; 16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: 17 whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.

  1. John, . C., & Kavanaugh, K. (1973). Collected works of St. John of the Cross. Washington, D.C: Institute of Carmelite Studies.
  2. Luke 15:11-32

11 And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12 and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. 13 And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. 14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. 15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. 17 And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23 and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24 for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. 28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. 29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: 30 but as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. 31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. 32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

  1. Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

 

Saturday 3/16/19

Third Week/3: Day 1

Matthew 27:1-2, 11-14.  Jesus before Pilate.

 

“A Multiple-Choice Test: The Art of ‘Discernment,’ the Mother of all Virtues”

Alt. Title: “Getting Goosebumps over a ‘Book with Multiple Endings’: Hanging upon ‘the Law and the Prophets’” (Exodus 32:7-14; Matthew 22:36-40).

 

(Abstract: Contemplating the role of the prophets, the “open-ended” yet “true finality” of the Scriptures, and the common misattribution of the term “insanity” to sin, especially in the context of Christ’s trial before Pilate.  This is a reader’s choice, or “multiple ending,” religious essay.)

 

“When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: and when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor” (Matthew 27:1-2).

 

In this event from the Passion of Jesus, the scene of Jesus before Pilate, what is most noteworthy and remarkable to Pilate, the governor, as Jesus stands there bearing the burden of their sins in the false witnesses borne of the chief priests and elders of the people against Him, is His silence.  The governor asks Him directly, “Art thou the King of the Jews?” (Matthew 27:11).  Jesus replies to him, “Thou sayest” (Matthew 27:11).  And when He is accused of the chief priests and elders, “he answered nothing” (Matthew 27:12).  For as it is written in Proverbs, only a fool takes up a fool’s argument, insomuch that, “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him,” and “If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest” (Proverbs 26:4; Proverbs 29:9).

When Pilate again asks Jesus, “Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? …he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly” (Matthew 27:13-14).  For Jesus knew that to contend with these men who had already determined in their hearts to hear Him not, in being a “hardhearted and stiff-necked people” set in their own ways, would indeed be utter foolishness, and rather an exercise in futility (Acts 7:51; Exodus 32:9;).  He knows the Scriptures, and that they must be fulfilled in Him.  Jesus, bearing His Own innocence with grace and magnanimity, “injures not a bruised reed” in their prideful egos, and is instead, in their stead as it were, set up for mockery by a band of soldiers who, in their minds, might as well take advantage of this situation for a bit of “merry-making” (Isaiah 42:1-3; Matthew 27:27-30).

Indeed, “Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head” (Matthew 27:27-30).  But, “wisdom is known by her children,” and time indeed will tell the truth of their accusation, that, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS” (Matthew 11:19; Matthew 27:37).  And, as it indeed did so happen, “Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:50-54).

However, “the truth” of the matter at hand notwithstanding, the most remarkable aspect of Jesus before Pilate, before His Crucifixion, is His silence (John 18:37-38).  Indeed, to be questioned, insulted, shamed, accused falsely, buffeted and scourged, set up for mockery and flogged, and yet to suffer it willingly, knowingly, indeed “absorbing into His Own integrity the full injustice of the situation,” is this most remarkable grace of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:54).  He bore it without complaint, without argument, without saying a word in His Own defense, but only allowing the power of the Lord to seek His justice and vindication.

For His kingdom indeed is not with men, but with God.  And so while He is set at nought—indeed, no matter how flawless and perfect His defense, with the logic of His argumentation set to defend His innocence, these men would hear Him not, but would rather their own wills accomplish; for as it was so obvious to Pilate, and even to Judas himself after the fact of his betrayal, “he knew that for envy [the chief priests and elders] had delivered him [to be put to death]” (Matthew 27:18).

For even the wife of Pilate was made subject unto His marvels, as she warns her husband, “saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him” (Matthew 27:19).  Indeed “in the midst of the Lord” the saying shall be fulfilled, that, “sons and daughters shall prophesy, and speak through the Holy Spirit [ministering in tongues as if flames of fire], and have visions in dreams…” (Joel 2:27-32; Acts 2:16-21).

As if to illustrate to them the pure insanity of their ways, Pilate holds up the notorious criminal Barabbas, to set next to the Christ, and says, “Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas” (Matthew 27:21).  These men clearly cannot be reasoned with, to make such a vast error of judgment, and to give in so wantonly to their folly of sin.  They simply will not see the error of their ways, no matter what logic or reason and rationality in sound argumentation is set before them, and so, as if in exasperation before the murderous mob scene and bloodthirsty multitude, Pilate, “When [he] saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said…” (Matthew 27:24-25).

If we could rewrite this ending today, what would we say?

Option A: “…His blood be on us, and on our children” (Matthew 27:25).

Option B: “…cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified” (Matthew 27:23).

Option C: “Remain silent” (Proverbs 26:4).

Option D: “Pause and think of a better option” (Proverbs 26:4-5).

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” -Edmund Burke (and Proverbs 26:5).  The silence of Christ is remarkable, as without the centeredness of a life grounded in contemplation, no good deed can be accomplished; for no good deed and marvel of God can be wrought from a mind, body, soul, and spirit that contends with “powers and principalities” in the absence of its God (Ephesians 6:12).  For indeed, Christ said not a word to His defense and lifted not a finger against His accusers, for we “contend not with flesh and blood,” and see each other not as our enemies; but rather, we contend against the evil that would overtake us in our own souls in committing any act of self-justification, as that would be treason against the “righteousness that is only ever due to God” (Ephesians 6:12; Job 32:1-2; 35:1-2; 36:1-4).

 

References (listed in order of citation):

  1. Exodus 32:7-14

And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: 10 now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. 11 And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? 12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. 14 And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

  1. Matthew 22:36-40

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

  1. Matthew 27:1-2, 11-38, 50-54

27When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: and when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.

11 And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest. 12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. 13 Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? 14 And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.

15 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. 16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. 17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? 18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.

19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him. 20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. 22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. 23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. 25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. 26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. 28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. 29 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! 30 And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. 31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. 32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.

33 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, 34 they gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. 35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. 36 And sitting down they watched him there; 37 and set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. 38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.

50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. 54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

  1. Proverbs 26:4-5

Answer not a fool according to his folly,
lest thou also be like unto him.

Answer a fool according to his folly,
lest he be wise in his own conceit.

  1. Proverbs 29:8-10

Scornful men bring a city into a snare:
but wise men turn away wrath.

If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man,
whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.

10 The bloodthirsty hate the upright:
but the just seek his soul.

  1. Acts 7:48-60

48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, 49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? 50 Hath not my hand made all these things?

51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. 52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: 53 who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.

54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58 and cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

  1. Isaiah 42:1-4, 14-25

42Behold my servant, whom I uphold;
mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth;
I have put my spirit upon him:
he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
He shall not cry, nor lift up,
nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
A bruised reed shall he not break,
and the smoking flax shall he not quench:
he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
He shall not fail nor be discouraged,
till he have set judgment in the earth:
and the isles shall wait for his law.

14 I have long time holden my peace;
I have been still, and refrained myself:
now will I cry like a travailing woman;
I will destroy and devour at once.
15 I will make waste mountains and hills,
and dry up all their herbs;
and I will make the rivers islands,
and I will dry up the pools.
16 And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not;
I will lead them in paths that they have not known:
I will make darkness light before them,
and crooked things straight.
These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.

17 They shall be turned back,
they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images,
that say to the molten images, Ye are our gods.
18 Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see.
19 Who is blind, but my servant?
or deaf, as my messenger that I sent?
who is blind as he that is perfect,
and blind as the Lord’s servant?
20 seeing many things, but thou observest not;
opening the ears, but he heareth not.
21 The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake;
he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.
22 But this is a people robbed and spoiled;
they are all of them snared in holes,
and they are hid in prison houses:
they are for a prey, and none delivereth;
for a spoil, and none saith, Restore.
23 Who among you will give ear to this?
who will hearken and hear for the time to come?
24 Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers?
did not the Lord, he against whom we have sinned?
for they would not walk in his ways,
neither were they obedient unto his law.
25 Therefore he hath poured upon him
the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle:
and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not;
and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.

  1. Matthew 11:16-24

16 But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, 17 and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. 19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: 21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. 23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

  1. John 18:37-40

37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?

And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all. 39 But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews? 40 Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.

  1. 1 Corinthians 15:52-56

52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. Joel 2:27-32

27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
and that I am the Lord your God, and none else:
and my people shall never be ashamed.

28 And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh;
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
your young men shall see visions:
29 and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids
in those days will I pour out my spirit.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth,
blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.

31 The sun shall be turned into darkness,
and the moon into blood,
before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.
32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered:
for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance,
as the Lord hath said,
and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.

  1. Acts 2:16-21

16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 and I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21 and it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

  1. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” -Edmund Burke.
  2. Ephesians 6:5-20

Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak

  1. Job 32:1-3

32So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God.Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.

  1. Job 35:1-2

35Elihu spake moreover, and said,

Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst,
My righteousness is more than God’s?

  1. Job 36:1-4

36Elihu also proceeded, and said,

Suffer me a little, and I will shew thee that I have yet to speak on God’s behalf.
I will fetch my knowledge from afar,
and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.
For truly my words shall not be false:
he that is perfect in knowledge is with thee.

 

Sunday 3/17/19

Third Week/3: Day 2

Luke 23:5-12.  Jesus before Herod.

 

Title Option A: “Jesus Reconciling All Things unto Himself”

Title Option B: “Jesus Before Herod: Don’t Lose Your Head Over It.”

Title Option C: “Space Odyssey 2012: Death, The Final Frontier”

Title Option D: “Three Times a Triune God: Under the Big Top in Nero’s Three-Ring Circus”

 

Oh, that famous sentence of Pilate… “What is truth?”  Indeed, what is a death sentence?

To be or not to be: To either set a “legal precedent,” or to nip it in the bud, and convict “the world” of sin.

 

And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” – Colossians 1:17-20

 

“The planet Earth is your footstool, with the ‘keys to the kingdom’ on a silver platter…:” – Anonymous

 

Spock says, “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Captain Kirk answers, “Or the one.” – Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn

 

In this event from the Passion of Jesus, wherein Jesus is sent before Herod, many things are turned about-face, in these, His last hours before death.  Indeed, the very presence of Christ in their midst seems to have a strange effect upon the people, whether for better or worse, even as if the people “had become drunk upon new wine,” as it were (Acts 2:4, 13; Matthew 9:17; Mark 13:11; Luke 12:11-12; Matthew 10:19-22).  For the Jews are set in an uproar against Him, known sinners are called to an honest repentance in their hearts, friends become enemies as with the betrayal of Judas, or the denials of Peter, and enemies become friends, as “…the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves” (Luke 23:12).

For just as Christ had always overturned our expectations in His coming, first by arriving at Jerusalem upon a donkey, a lowly animal only fit for a servant as the people laid out palm branches and hailed Him as their divine King, then as He overturned the tables of the moneychangers as He came into the temple—declaring that His Father’s house was not to be made a den of thieves, so now too shall He turn the tables upon us once again, in being that Temple of God Himself, to be set at nought upon the Cross—for in three days He shall indeed raise Himself up, and so come yet again… to defy our expectations.

As Pilate speaks thrice to the people, in an eerie reflection of Peter’s thrice-made denial that he knows Christ, and His thrice-made confession in the Gospel of John, that he only loves Christ imperfectly, He says to them, “…Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him:  no, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him. I will therefore chastise him, and release him.” (Luke 23:14-16).  These men, at Pilate’s first utterance, demand instead the release of a known murderer.  Pilate speaks again, willing to release Jesus, “But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him” (Luke 23:21).  “And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go” (Luke 23:22).  But just as the squeaky wheel gets the grease, they shouted with loud voices, such that, “…the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed. And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required” (Luke 23:23-24).

For as a governor of the people and not as a servant under God, Pilate can indeed deliver a “death sentence,” as it were, to a just man, and then indeed wash his hands free from all guilt, because in being a “civil servant” of man and not of God, his duty is in fact to the people, and not indeed to justice at all—for he is charged with maintaining peace within his district, and quieting the tumult that would be made among his people were he not to cater to the uprising of the murderous and unjust majority, over the dwindling minority voice of indeed, “just one Man.”  For as in the ominous prophecy of Caiaphas the high priest, “it is expedient that one man should die for the needs of the people” (John 11:50; John 18:14; Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn).  However, in the words of Joseph, who was likewise made subject to the majority ruling of his murderous siblings, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive”; indeed, you meant it unto me as evil, but God meant it unto good (Genesis 50:20).  For in the words of St. Paul, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”; indeed, all things work unto good for those who trust in the Lord (Romans 8:28).

So indeed, as Pilate thrice defends the Christ after Peter thrice denies Him, after His Own tribe of the Israelites commit treason against their God in handing Him over to be put to death by their sin of bearing false witness, and as “one Simon, a Cyrenian,” and sadly not “one Simon, called Peter,” is made to bear His cross up after Him, all things are turned upon their heads, as like in the martyrdom of “one Simon, called Peter,” and all directions are turned about-face, in this madness that is just one taste of that which is to come for all such righteousness in Christ to come forth from Christians, in the veritable three-ring circus of those horrific tortures carried out in Nero’s circus (Luke 23:26).

For as Christ says, as if speaking after the knowledge of His “Parable of the Barren Fig Tree,” “For if they do these things in a green tree [putting forth good works], what shall be done in the dry?” (Luke 13:5-9; Luke 23:31).  Indeed, if this is the lot of the righteous, imagine what must befall the sinners!  Nevertheless, “Christ is the true vine, and none may survive lest they abide in Him” (John 15:1, 4-6).

And just as Christ had said, “those on the left shall enter unto eternal death as those on His right shall enter unto eternal life”; and so, in the just words of this man being crucified on His right to the one being crucified on His left, who is to Him “just one last repentant sinner to collect,” “…Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss” (Matthew 25:32-34, 41; Luke 23:40-41).  Jesus here again recollects Himself, both in the “least of these” that is this “oddly righteous sinner” on His right (righteous in that he is receiving salvation), and into the contemplative state of His Soul unto God, as He replies, “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Matthew 25:40, 45; Luke 23:43).  And this, just before (as “God is the God of the living, not the God of the dead”) making His trek into the unknown caverns of that great chiastic chasm of Hell, symbolized by “…a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid” (Mark 12:27; Luke 23:53).

Indeed, as Christ here recollects and “reconciles all things unto Himself,” He was the very first to enter into death unto new life in the Resurrection, and as our sacred “Firstfruits” of the righteous Vine, He indeed was the first to “go where no man has gone before” (Colossians 1:20; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; 1 Corinthians 15:20-22; Star Trek).  For there is nothing to be done that “the Great I AM” has not already done before… “eternally” even, as thrice before, and during, and ever after.

 

References (listed in order of citation):

  1. Colossians 1:17-24

17 and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20 and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23 if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; 24 who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

  1. Spock says, “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Captain Kirk answers, “Or the one.” – Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn
  2. Acts 2:1-13

2And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilæans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judæa, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. 12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? 13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

  1. Matthew 9:14-17

14 Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? 15 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast. 16 No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse. 17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

  1. Mark 13:11

11 But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.

  1. Luke 12:11-12

11 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: 12 for the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

  1. Matthew 10:19-22

19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. 21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. 22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

  1. Luke 23:1-43, 50-56

23And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Cæsar, saying that he himself is Christ a King. And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answered him and said, Thou sayest it. Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man. And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place. When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilæan. And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time.

And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing. 10 And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him. 11 And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate.

12 And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.

13 And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14 said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him: 15 no, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him. 16 I will therefore chastise him, and release him. 17 (For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.) 18 And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas: 19 (who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.) 20 Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them. 21 But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. 22 And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go. 23 And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed. 24 And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required. 25 And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will. 26 And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.

17 And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him. 28 But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. 29 For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. 30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. 31 For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

32 And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death. 33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.

34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. 35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. 36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, 37 and saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. 38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

50 And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: 51 (the same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathæa, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. 53 And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. 54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. 55 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. 56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

  1. John 11:47-54

47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. 48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. 49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50 nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; 52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. 53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death. 54 Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.

  1. John 18:12-14

12 Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, 13 and led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year. 14 Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

  1. Genesis 50:15-21

15 And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. 16 And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, 17 So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. 18 And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. 19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? 20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. 21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

  1. Romans 8:28-30

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

  1. Luke 13:5-9

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: and if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

  1. John 15:1-17

15I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. 17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.

  1. Matthew 25:31-36

31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

  1. Mark 12:24-27

24 And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? 25 For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven. 26 And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.

  1. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

  1. 1 Corinthians 15:20-22

20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

  1. “To boldly go where no man has gone before!” – Captain Kirk, Star Trek

 

Monday 3/18/19

Third Week/ 3: Day 3

Matthew 27:15-26.  Pilate condemn Jesus and releases Barabbas.

 

Title: “The Sodom of the Cross: Upon my Vesture They Did Cast Lot’s.”

Alt. Title A: “The Faith of Psalm 22: Don’t look back, I’ve got your back…”

Alt. Title B: “Filled with Gall and ‘New Wine’: The Blood of the New Testament”

 

(Abstract: Jesus chides a certain “rich young ruler” for his disbelief in Him, with a prophetic word of doleful portent, while a coinciding of “comingled divinity and humanity” and “vinegar mixed with gall” is tasted with unforsaken faith, in the recitation of this “most notoriously unknown,” “Psalm 22.”  Dost thou believe?  O ye of little faith, my God has indeed NOT forsaken this Singer of Psalms.)

 

“But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus” (Matthew 27:20).

 

The way in which those in power and positions of authority, indeed men with those very tokens of privilege and prestige which Jesus Himself spurned so disdainfully, wield it over others to exert their influence, is no new trick, nor some new tactical maneuver, that some may use to gain their own way.  Indeed, as it is written, “…the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus”; those in authority even in the days of Christ used these tools and techniques of persuasion to influence the multitude to get their own way, and to put Christ to death (Matthew 27:20).  This they did out of sin, “For [they] knew that for envy they had delivered him” (Matthew 27:18).  Pandering to the crowd and inserting opinions into the minds of those too simple-minded (not “simple of heart” and in virtuosity mind you, but verily “simple-minded”) to form their own ideas, these men in positions of social or political influence, conspire and connive to suit their own needs, and indeed not at all do they intend to serve the needs of “the people,” as Caiaphas the high priest had prophesied, as they themselves are the only “people” that they ever actually consider (John 11:50; John 18:14).

Indeed, they would see to it that they “suited” their own needs, even if it meant, not giving a man, “not only your robe, but your tunic also,” as Jesus had instructed, but rather, crucifying a man, stealing both his robe and his tunic, “parting his garments,” and “casting lots upon his vesture” (Matthew 5:40; Matthew 27:35; Psalm 22:18).  These men “compelled not themselves,” “to go twain when asked to go only one mile,” but rather, they compelled the ignorant, and nearly illiterate, and most impressionable multitudes and masses, to conform to their whims and selfish desires, deigning not themselves to lift a finger to “conform themselves to the love of Christ, which would constrain one against committing such atrocious and egregious acts of sin” (Matthew 5:41; 2 Corinthians 5:14).

Indeed, these masters of manipulation and authors of crowd-control seem to have addicted themselves to this “habit of sin,” in the stolen vesture of their true Master, like wolves in sheep’s clothing, whereas they ought to have been practicing ascetic self-mortification, renunciation of worldly pleasures and selfish desires, and “virtuosity in self-control,” to protect their own souls against such sin.  These men have become “lost to God in finding themselves,” in suiting their own egos’ needs only, exerting their power and influence over others, whetting their appetites with Christ’s shed blood, and getting a taste for dominion and subjugation in exerting power and control over others, who find themselves powerless against being subjected to these men’s addictions, to controlling others in such a vulnerable, weak and “lowly estate,” as that in which they may so “find themselves” (Matthew 16:25; Luke 1:48; Matthew 16:24-25).

Jesus, held in contrast to Barabbas, and held in contrast of these money-hungry and power-thirsty chief priests and elders, drinks rather of the vinegar they give Him, that is indeed mixed with gall, only to learn not to complain of thirst again.  As, “they gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink” (Matthew 27:34).  Not long afterwards, at “…about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).  As Jesus, in Himself practicing what He preached, prays to God.

For surely, Jesus did not give in to the devil’s temptation in the wilderness when the devil told him to save Himself with angels from being cast down; as the devil had said, “…If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matthew 4:6-7).

Likewise, Jesus gives not into that temptation this time either, when these men taunt Him, “…saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God” (Matthew 27:40-43).

Indeed, just as Jesus had contended with the devil in the wilderness, so contends He here with that devil now too, while “upon the tree,” as He silently “suffers not to be tested” (1 Peter 2:24; Matthew 4:7).  Rather, the Christ flips through the Scriptures filed away in His heart, as He recites a series of Psalms to find Himself, most uncoincidentally, for with God there are no coincidences, praying aloud verse 1 from Psalm 22 at His Own darkest hour, most “suitably” syncing up with the expression of agony that His Own wretchedly still-beating heart can no longer keep silent—“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46).  He recites the words, long since committed to memory with many a merry gathering for the singing of the Psalms and spiritual hymns that was customary to the practice of the Jews at that time, and He recites those words without a speck of “gall nor dismay,” despite the blatant irony of the situation.

For despite the words of His sentiment, His faith is indeed still flawless, purely intact, and without fault—as in truly being God, He trusts in Him without the sin of mistaking Himself for being one forsaken of God.  As He is, however, forsaken of men, with this last outcry in those words of the great psalmist King David, He laments, and, “Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink” (Matthew 27:47-48).

“Straightway” did they give Him vinegar to drink, and this time not mixed with gall, from a sponge set upon a reed—as if it were that reed fashioned into a cross, bearing the words “Agnus Dei,” that was so emblematic of John the Baptist, in being carried by him in the wilderness, “suited” as he was, in a “leather girdle of animal hide,” like a man still dressed in his very first hand-stitched attire, “just after being cast out from the Garden of Eden” (Matthew 27:48; Matthew 3:1-4; Genesis 3:21).  Jesus, on His part, “…when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost” (Matthew 27:50).

It is funny, how when He purports to “save Himself,” “in His silence,” as it were, He is cast down as they cast lots on His vesture, but as He, most vocally, “calls upon God to save Him,” that vinegar that He is given no longer stings with the bitter taste of being “mingled with gall” (Matthew 27:36, 48).  It is funny, in that it is eerily symbolic of “where man’s real power lies, even that of God made to be man,” Who is still, somehow, mysteriously, fully God (Matthew 19:17; Luke 18:19).

 

“And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God” (Luke 18:18-19).

 

…No man, truly “no man at all,” is justified as man nor of man, but only of God.

 

References (listed in order of citation):

  1. Matthew 27:15-26, 33-54

15 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. 16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. 17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? 18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.

19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him. 20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. 22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. 23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. 25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. 26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

33 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, 34 they gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. 35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. 36 And sitting down they watched him there; 37 and set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. 38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.

39 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, 40 and saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. 41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, 42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. 43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. 44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.

45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. 48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. 49 The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.

50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. 54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

  1. John 11:49-52

49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50 nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; 52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.

  1. John 18:13-14

13 and led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year. 14 Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

  1. Matthew 5:38-42

38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

  1. Psalm 22:1-8, 13-18, 28-31

22My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
why art thou so far from helping me,
and from the words of my roaring?
O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not;
and in the night season, and am not silent.
But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
Our fathers trusted in thee:
they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.
They cried unto thee, and were delivered:
they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
But I am a worm, and no man;
a reproach of men, and despised of the people.
All they that see me laugh me to scorn:
they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him:
let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

13 They gaped upon me with their mouths,
as a ravening and a roaring lion.
14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint:
my heart is like wax;
it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd;
and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws;
and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.
16 For dogs have compassed me:
the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me:
they pierced my hands and my feet.
17 I may tell all my bones:
they look and stare upon me.
18 They part my garments among them,
and cast lots upon my vesture.

28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s:
and he is the governor among the nations.
29 All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship:
all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him:
and none can keep alive his own soul.
30 A seed shall serve him;
it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.
31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness
unto a people that shall be born,
that he hath done this.

  1. 2 Corinthians 5:14-17

14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

  1. Matthew 16:24-28

24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. 28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

  1. Luke 1:46-55

46 And Mary said,

My soul doth magnify the Lord,
47 and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden:
for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things;
and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is on them that fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He hath shewed strength with his arm;
he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats,
and exalted them of low degree.
53 He hath filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich he hath sent empty away.
54 He hath holpen his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy;
55 as he spake to our fathers,
to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

  1. Matthew 4:5-7

Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

  1. 1 Peter 2:21-25

21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

  1. Matthew 3:1-6

3In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judæa, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judæa, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

  1. Genesis 3:17-21

17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. 20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. 21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

  1. Matthew 19:16-17

16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

  1. Luke 18:18-19

18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.

 

Tuesday 3/19/19

Third Week/3: Day 4

Psalm 26.  “Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity.”

 

“We Walk Alone, as We Walk with God”

Alt. Title: “Walk in the Ways of the Lord: Translated like Enoch”

 

Some Ghost, just “rattling off these chains…” …of my “References” list.

 

This Psalm of David, Psalm 26, is the song of a righteous man, righteous insomuch that it is a prophecy of Christ, and a man who knows so well the “grief and sorrow” of being “in the world, while yet not of the world” (Isaiah 53:4; John 17:14-16).  For just as King David, the blessed and faithful servant of the Lord who first penned this song as a prayer and prophecy up to God, had found it a struggle to live uprightly and “in mine integrity” amidst a land of unrighteous sinners and “servants of mammon,” whose “right hand is full of bribes,” so too any sojourner here who may claim rightful citizenship in the “City of God” and the Kingdom of Heaven to come, rather than in this city of men, of fleeting temporal gains that shall be “crushed before the moth” in their impermanence, shall find it a struggle to live in the midst of this world and all of its vast corruption (Psalm 26:1; Matthew 6:14; Psalm 26:10; Augustine & Dods, 1950; Job 4:19; Isaiah 51:8).

Nevertheless, in the most poetic and heartfelt words of this wholehearted Servant of the Lord, both King David and Christ Lord Jesus, as this psalm is writ through the inspired prophesying of the Holy Ghost, “But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me” (Psalm 26:11).  In this song of the Lord Christ unto the Lord God in this trifold mystery of the Holy Trinity and Triune God, God as the Servant of God, the Son as the Subject of the Father, begs His mercy and vindication, for in this righteousness of a true Christian, He would sooner be martyred upon the Cross than to give in to a lie or to pander to the unjust masses of “woe to you, ye scribes and hypocrites,” “chief priests and elders,” “blind guides and Pharisees,” “who seek to kill me—this Abraham did not do” (Matthew 23:13, 16, 23, 29; John 8:40).

For just as “their sin is ever before their faces,” as for Christ, “thy lovingkindness,” the lovingkindness and most charitable love of God, “is before mine eyes” (Psalm 51:3; Psalm 26:3).  “I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked. I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O Lord” (Psalm 26:5-6).  Indeed, Christ must be “rejected of all men,” if indeed all men, as per both the prophecy and the letter of the law, are to be found unrighteous in their works of sin and words of viciousness, as “vain persons,” found to be of “wicked thoughts in their hearts, just as in the days of Noah,” who speak the “idle worlds” of which only God’s wrath would be a just reply (Isaiah 53:3; Psalm 26:4; Genesis 6:5-8; Matthew 12:36).

Truly, to choose to walk alone, to “walk in mine integrity,” as remaining true to the path of God and abstaining from forsaking the Lord in following not after the ways of man, is to translate this psalm into one’s own life, and is indeed to “be translated” as like Enoch, who “walked with God” and therefore suffered not death upon the earth, but was “taken by God” directly and “translated into new life with Him in Heaven” (Psalm 26:11; Genesis 5:24; John 8:51-58).  For to walk with God is to walk “in mine integrity” that be of the Lord, and to walk with God as such, is most ofttimes inevitably, to walk alone (Psalm 26:1, 11).

This song is both a cry for mercy and vindication in the Lord by the Lord, in the “great mystery of the Godhead,” as it were, and it is also a sorrowful song of lament, confessing and mourning over what it truly means to be a true servant of God.  For in this song of David, the righteous servant (rightly) chooses a solitude of sorts, as like an eremite, to be apart from man rather than to congregate in the wickedness of gossip and slander, and idle and vain words, of those who have fallen out of prayer and the divine unity with God.  Indeed it is a solitary life to be among those such as these, yet as the psalmist says, “Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth”; for though it is a solitary life, it is not a lonely life for one who walks in uprightness in the ways of the Lord, in following after the life Christ led, “keeping the path Christ trod,” choosing the God Christ chose, and making the loving sacrifices that Christ offered (Psalm 26:8; Walter, 1906).

In the words of Cicero, “Nunquam minus solus quam cum solus”; that is to say, “Never less alone than when alone,” for when one is alone in this way, in this path of Christ, one is not alone at all, but verily aglow in the very presence of God. “But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me. My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregations will I bless the Lord” (Psalm 26:11-12).  For we know, and “have confidence upon the day of judgment,” that our consciences and “our hearts condemn us not,” for we “walk after the Spirit” and “choose daily life in Christ” rather than death in man, as we “daily take up our Cross and follow Him,” choosing rightly straight past death and unto new life, as with that same “Devotion” of which Enoch first bore the name, and that same sacrifice of which Christ first bore the Cross… of Salvation (1 John 4:16-17; 1 John 3:18-21; Galatians 5:16; Romans 8:4-11; Matthew 16:24-26; Augustine & Dods, 1950, p. 505).

 

References (listed in order of citation):

  1. Psalm 26

A Psalm of David

Judge me, O Lord; for I have walked in mine integrity:
I have trusted also in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide.
Examine me, O Lord, and prove me;
try my reins and my heart.
For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes:
and I have walked in thy truth.

I have not sat with vain persons,
neither will I go in with dissemblers.
I have hated the congregation of evil doers;
and will not sit with the wicked.
I will wash mine hands in innocency:
so will I compass thine altar, O Lord:
that I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving,
and tell of all thy wondrous works.
Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house,
and the place where thine honour dwelleth.
Gather not my soul with sinners,
nor my life with bloody men:
10 in whose hands is mischief,
and their right hand is full of bribes.
11 But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity:
redeem me, and be merciful unto me.
12 My foot standeth in an even place:
in the congregations will I bless the Lord.

  1. Isaiah 53

53Who hath believed our report?
and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant,
and as a root out of a dry ground:
he hath no form nor comeliness;
and when we shall see him,
there is no beauty that we should desire him.
He is despised and rejected of men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:
and we hid as it were our faces from him;
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs,
and carried our sorrows:
yet we did esteem him stricken,
smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth:
he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb,
so he openeth not his mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment:
and who shall declare his generation?
for he was cut off out of the land of the living:
for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
And he made his grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death;
because he had done no violence,
neither was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him;
he hath put him to grief:
when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin,
he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days,
and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied:
by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many;
for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
because he hath poured out his soul unto death:
and he was numbered with the transgressors;
and he bare the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

  1. John 17:11-19

11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

  1. Matthew 6:19-34

19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

14 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof

  1. Augustine, ., & Dods, M. (1950). The city of God. New York: Modern Library.
  2. Job 4:17-21

17 Shall mortal man be more just than God?
shall a man be more pure than his maker?
18 Behold, he put no trust in his servants;
and his angels he charged with folly:
19 how much less in them that dwell in houses of clay,
whose foundation is in the dust,
which are crushed before the moth?
20 They are destroyed from morning to evening:
they perish for ever without any regarding it.
21 Doth not their excellency which is in them go away?
they die, even without wisdom.

  1. Isaiah 51:6-8

Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
and look upon the earth beneath:
for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke,
and the earth shall wax old like a garment,
and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner:
but my salvation shall be for ever,
and my righteousness shall not be abolished.

Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness,
the people in whose heart is my law;
fear ye not the reproach of men,
neither be ye afraid of their revilings.
For the moth shall eat them up like a garment,
and the worm shall eat them like wool:
but my righteousness shall be for ever,
and my salvation from generation to generation.

  1. Matthew 23:13, 16, 23, 29

13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!

23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,

  1. John 8:37-59

37 I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. 38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. 39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. 41 Ye do the deeds of your father.

Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. 42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. 46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

48 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? 49 Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. 50 And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. 51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.

52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. 53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? 54 Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: 55 yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. 57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

  1. Psalm 51:1-6

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bath-sheba.

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness:
according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Wash me throughly from mine iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions:
and my sin is ever before me.

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned,
and done this evil in thy sight:
that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest,
and be clear when thou judgest.
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity;
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts:
and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

  1. Genesis 6:5-8

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

  1. Matthew 12:31-37

31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. 33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. 34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

  1. Genesis 5:18-24

18 And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch: 19 and Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: 20 and all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died.

21 And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: 22 and Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: 23 and all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: 24 and Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

  1. “Nunquam minus solus quam cum solus.” (Latin) “Never less alone than when alone.” – Cicero
  2. I Would Be True, by Howard A. Walter, 1906

I would be true, for there are those who trust me;

I would be pure, for there are those who care;
I would be strong, for there is much to suffer;
I would be brave, for there is much to dare;

I would be brave, for there is much to dare.

I would be friend of all—the foe, the friendless;

I would be giving, and forget the gift;
I would be humble, for I know my weakness;
I would look up, and laugh, and love and lift.

I would look up, and laugh, and love and lift.

I would be constantly in touch with God;
I would be strong to follow where He leads me;
I would have faith to keep the path Christ trod;

I would have faith to keep the path Christ trod.

  1. 1 John 4:16-17

16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

  1. 1 John 3:18-24

18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. 20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. 22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. 23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. 24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

  1. Galatians 5:13-26

13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

  1. Romans 8:4-11

that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

  1. Matthew 16:21-28

21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. 28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

 

Wednesday 3/20/19

Third Week/3: Day 5

John 18:28-19:16.  Jesus answers Pilate.

 

Title Option A: “Cunning as Serpents, and Harmless as Heart Attacks*: Evasive Action and a True Question” (*Matthew 10:16).

Title Option B: “Paying our Dues to the Very Last Penny: Slave, Mercenary, Son”

Title Option C: “Hitman for Hire and Only One Avenger”

 

“Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all” (John 18:38).

 

A Proverb: Any “good results” to be brought about by “dishonest means,” or “bad actions,” shall never, actually, be “good results.”  One does not gather figs from thistle, nor thorns from fig trees, and so wretched ways shall always bring forth wretched results; this this is both a law of nature, and a parable from God.

 

In this event in the Passion of Jesus, wherein Jesus answers Pilate, the wretchedness of the sins of those men who hand Him over to be crucified is made most starkly evident, but all this “madness,” as Pilate had observed, must come to pass so that the Scriptures may be fulfilled (Matthew 27:24-26).  When the Jews first lead Jesus from Caiaphas into the hall of judgment, “…it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover [because it is not their own wretchedness and willful act of murder that would so defile them, yes?],” Pilate asked them of what they accused Him (John 18:28).  They most evasively neglect to answer the question, lying by omission in their deceit, but answering snidely like insolent children, they just say,, “… If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee [Oh really? Then what has He done, really?]” (John 18:30).  These men hand Him over to the Roman soldiers to do their dirty work for them, as if like hiring a hitman, for as they say, “…It is not lawful for us to put any man to death” (John 18:30).  Nevertheless, this law seems not to prevent them from putting Christ to death.

Pilate interrogates Him, and asks Him, truly puzzled at this madness, of those murderous men who handed Him over, “…Art thou the King of the Jews?” (John 18:33).  Jesus, replies in such a way so as to point out that this rumor is to be legally equated with hearsay, as if the claim possesses not validity as Pilate brings forth the accusation, “…Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?” (John 18:34).  He answers to the claim more directly after further questioning; “Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice” (John 18:37).

Pilate then brings Him back to the Jews and declares that he finds no fault in Him.  They cry out, nevertheless, “…Crucify him, crucify him…” (John 19:6).  Pilate tells them to do so themselves, for he finds, “no fault in him” (John 19:6).  The Jews though, for their part, insist that, “…We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God” (John 19:7).  And herein is a strange thing indeed; that He is in truth the Son of God, and they do in truth know this of Him, “that He is indeed the Christ that should come into the world,” and they wish to kill Him for it (John 11:27).  This event strangely mirrors that first time wherein the people were not satisfied with God as their King, and demanded of Him a king of men to be set over them.  As God consoled Samuel the prophet over their odd request, as it was pure madness really, to reject God, “they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me;” “And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them” (1 Samuel 8:7).  Nevertheless, He did give them the epitome of “man” in Saul, to be their ruler, in hopes that they may come to their senses, before in His mercy delivering up to them the more honorable David to be their king.

When Pilate heard them call Him “the Son of God,” for those words did ring true in his heart, “When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; and went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer” (John 19:7, 8-9).  This question again echoes that same question first stated in The Gospel of John chapter 7, “But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ? Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is” (John 7:26-27).  Herein it is said of the Christ that when He comes, they will know not from whence He comes, but they do claim to know Him as Jesus, and to know from whence He came; yet later on in John 9, they reason among themselves, in their deception, when pressed again by the blind man which Christ healed, that they claim not to know from whence He came.

Even the blind man pointed out to them the error of their reasoning, in saying, “The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing” (John 9:25-33).  Even here, when presented with logic that is “without fault,” these men “shoot the messenger,” so to speak, rather than to admit, in the words of Pilate, “what is truth” (John 18:38).  They go on to “cast [the blind man] out of their synagogue,” for in their vast coverup and conspiracy to indeed “kill God,” they had formerly agreed that, “…for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue” (John 9:34, 22).  For it was known that, “…for envy they had delivered him [to be put to death],” so that, in the words of that first tempter in the Garden of Eden, they shall be “as gods” themselves (Matthew 27:18; Genesis 3:5).

After Pilate asked Jesus, “Whence art thou?” and Jesus gave him no answer, “Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?” (John 19:9, 10).  And so, Christ accordingly answers directly to a direct question, and, “Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin” (John 19:11).  Indeed, just as the “mercenary” abiding the law to escape Hell is less just than the ”Son” abiding the law for the love of the Father, the hired hitman has committed a lesser sin than the instigator who “spearheaded” the murder, as it were, in so hiring the hitman; as, “…one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water” (John 19:34).

Nevertheless, all “slaves” and servants must first pay their dues to be deemed worthy of the title that they shall assume, and so as Pilate “renders unto Caesar” what he has sworn unto Caesar, in his own life and service, so too “Christ renders unto God” what He has sworn in His heart unto God, in His Own life and service, indeed rendering mercy unto murder “unto the very last farthing” in making intercession for us, as our Righteous High Priest and Christ our Savior, for our transgressions, unto His very last hour upon that Cross (Matthew 22:21; Matthew 5:26).  Nevertheless, at the last day, God Himself, our Father and “true Avenger,” shall render each man his due, and never-the-less, “unto the very last penny.” (1 Thessalonians 4:6; Matthew 5:26).

 

References (listed roughly in order of citation):

  1. John 18:28-40

28 Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover. 29 Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man? 30 They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee. 31 Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: 32 that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die.

33 Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? 34 Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? 35 Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? 36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. 37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?

And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all. 39 But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews? 40 Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.

  1. John 19:4-12, 34-37

Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.

When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; and went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? 11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

12 And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Cæsar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Cæsar.

34 but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. 35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. 36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. 37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.

  1. Matthew 10:16-20

16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 18 and ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

  1. Matthew 27:15-18, 24-26

15 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. 16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. 17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? 18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.

24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. 25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. 26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

  1. John 11:25-27

25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? 27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

  1. 1 Samuel 8:6-9

But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord. And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.

  1. John 7:27-31

25 Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill? 26 But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ? 27 Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is. 28 Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. 29 But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me. 30 Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come. 31 And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?

  1. John 9:20-34

20 His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: 21 but by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. 22 These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. 23 Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.

24 Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. 25 He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. 26 Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? 27 He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples? 28 Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. 29 We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. 30 The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. 31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. 32 Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. 33 If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. 34 They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.

  1. Genesis 3:1-7

3Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

  1. Matthew 22:15-22

15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. 16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. 17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Cæsar, or not? 18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? 19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. 20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? 21 They say unto him, Cæsar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. 22 When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

  1. Matthew 5:21-26

21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. 25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. 26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

  1. 1 Thessalonians 4:6-12

that no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. 10 And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; 11 and that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12 that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

 

Thursday 3/21/19

Third Week/3: Day 6

Luke 23:5-12 (Day 2 again).  Jesus before Herod.

 

“A Sad Song of Sweet Victory: Death, Where is Thy Sting?”

Alt. Title 1: “Elijah’s Whirlwind and the Still Small Voice”

Alt. Title 2: “This Ending: The Longest Sentence I Ever Wrote…Trails Back On”

 

In this scene from the Gospel of Luke, of Jesus before Herod, it is made quite evident just what Jesus purposes to do in His justness and equanimity, amidst this insanity and reviling of the people.  When gathered together in such a multitude, the dependability of a rational mind, as such as may be found of a man set apart, is truly set at nought, as the “mob-mentality” takes over, and the reason of that “still small voice,” “the voice of wisdom” crying out within, is overruled (1 Kings 19:12; Isaiah 40:3).

Jesus, aiming indeed to be “swallowed up in death, as like a Trojan army” hidden within a mortal vessel of the raiment of man, plunges, “like that spear into His side,” into the depths of Hell, only to overwhelm the enemy there as like the assembly led by Moses blindsiding the army of Pharaoh in the Red Sea, as the column of the waters comes crashing down upon the enemy forces unto God’s glory and His assembly’s successful escape, prevailing in the surprise attack unto a surprise victory, as it were (1 Corinthians 15:54; John 19:34).

Indeed, as they “parted his raiment,” they “know not what they do”—for this Man, of sorts, is clothed with “a robe of the canopy of the midnight sky,” bejeweled with the diamonds of its “vast multitude of dazzling stars,” more befitting our eternal Father Who is so consubstantial with the Son than that “gorgeous robe” in which they had arrayed Him, to be so mocked at and set at nought in the error of their conceit (Luke 23:34; Isaiah 40:22; Isaiah 6:1; Isaiah 50:3: Genesis 15:5; Luke 23:11).

Indeed, as His raiment is parted like the Red Sea, and He is swallowed up in death as the “enemy army swoops in swiftly at His heels,” He is in truth “as wise as a serpent but as gentle as a dove,” as in this ultimate disguise of the body of mortal man embodied in the Word made flesh, God Incarnate, “death is swallowed up in life,” as if with that “last lick of vinegar,” and He indeed brings to pass the fateful prophecy of the soldiers, who mockingly dare Him to “save thyself” (Genesis 3:15: Matthew 10:16; 1 Corinthians 15:54; Luke 23:36; Luke 23:37).

Indeed, in the mystery of the Trinity, God the Father through God the Holy Spirit saves God the Son as the inscription reads true, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS,” in three different languages, hanging over His hanging [God-]head, upon His hanging body, upon the standing Cross, mistakenly and with a “misty eye” set at nought (Luke 23:38; 1 Corinthians 15:52).

“Death, where is thy sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55).  For the “sting of death” is sin, and the sweetness of pain is life, as it is offered up in victory in Christ upon the Cross of mortal condemnation, yet an everlasting symbol of His divine Salvation (1 Corinthians 15:56).

For just as Christ had plummeted into “His Unseen and pristine grave,” only to rebound and redound upon His Own heavenly Godhead right out of it, the “blood and water that gushes forth out of His pierced left side,” drips like golden-yellow manna-bearing dewdrops and the bread of angels upon the purple-robed pansies blossoming at His feet, to bespeckle, as it were, like His heavenly robe of the Highest Heavens, glistening as if bespeckled with jewels with the light shining through the perforated peepholes of the eternally-open “starry eyes” of the skies, “who do always behold the face of His Salvation,” those fleeting lives lived in awe of His agony and ecstasy and rebirth in the Resurrection, with a glimmer of that very same shine with which His Transfiguration upon Mount Tabor had so revealed His glory; as “we are all as grass” and “lilies of the field” so arrayed in splendor yet destined to death, so shall we, as we set our hearts upon Him Who hears all our prayers and thoughts, be like the swallows in the sky, swallowed up in death, only to be swallowed up as death by Him, in Whom victory over that sting has continued evermore, in eternal sweetness, to endlessly sing, as “the still small voice” in perfect stillness ever still echoes on… (Luke 23:53; John 19:34; Isaiah 40:22; Isaiah 6:1; Isaiah 50:3; 1 Corinthians 15:52; Matthew 18:10; Isaiah 40:6-8; Matthew 6:28-30; 1 Kings 19:12; Isaiah 40:3).

 

References (listed in order of citation):

  1. Luke 23:1-12, 34-38, 50-53

23And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Cæsar, saying that he himself is Christ a King. And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answered him and said, Thou sayest it. Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man. And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place. When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilæan. And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time.

And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing. 10 And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him. 11 And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate.

12 And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.

34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. 35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. 36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, 37 and saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. 38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

50 And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: 51 (the same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathæa, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. 53 And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.

  1. 1 Kings 19:9-18

And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? 10 And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. 11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: 12 and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? 14 And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. 15 And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: 16 and Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room. 17 And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. 18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

  1. Isaiah 40:1-8, 21-24

40Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her,
that her warfare is accomplished,
that her iniquity is pardoned:
for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness,
Prepare ye the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be exalted,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low:
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough places plain:
and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together:
for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

The voice said, Cry.
And he said, What shall I cry?
All flesh is grass,
and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:
the grass withereth, the flower fadeth:
because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it:
surely the people is grass.
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth:
but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

21 Have ye not known? have ye not heard?
hath it not been told you from the beginning?
have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth,
and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers;
that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain,
and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:
23 that bringeth the princes to nothing;
he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity.
24 Yea, they shall not be planted;
yea, they shall not be sown:
yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth:
and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither,
and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble.

  1. 1 Corinthians 15:50-58

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

  1. John 19:34

34 but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

  1. Isaiah 6:1-8

6In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

And one cried unto another, and said,

Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts:
the whole earth is full of his glory.

4And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: and he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

  1. Isaiah 50:1-9

50Thus saith the Lord,
Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away?
or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you?
Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves,
and for your transgressions is your mother put away.
Wherefore, when I came, was there no man?
when I called, was there none to answer?
Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem?
or have I no power to deliver?
behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea,
I make the rivers a wilderness:
their fish stinketh, because there is no water,
and dieth for thirst.
I clothe the heavens with blackness,
and I make sackcloth their covering.

The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned,
that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary:
he wakeneth morning by morning,
he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.
The Lord God hath opened mine ear,
and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.
I gave my back to the smiters,
and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair:
I hid not my face from shame and spitting.
For the Lord God will help me;
therefore shall I not be confounded:
therefore have I set my face like a flint,
and I know that I shall not be ashamed.
He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me?
let us stand together:
who is mine adversary? let him come near to me.
Behold, the Lord God will help me;
who is he that shall condemn me?
lo, they all shall wax old as a garment;
the moth shall eat them up.

  1. Genesis 15:1-6

15After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

  1. Genesis 3:11-21

11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 13 And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. 14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. 20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. 21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

  1. Matthew 10:6-20

16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 18 and ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

  1. Matthew 18:9-14

And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. 10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. 11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. 12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? 13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

  1. Matthew 6:24-34

24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

 

Friday 3/22/19

Third Week/3: Day 7

John 18:28-19:16 (Day 5 again).  Jesus answers Pilate.

 

“Be Not Deceived: By Its Fruits You Shall Know the Tree (Evil is as Evil Does)”

Alt. Title 1: “To Thine Own Self Be True: Ye Shall Know the Truth, and the Truth Shall Set You Free”

Alt. Title 2: “Through a Glass Clearly: In God We See God”

 

When Jesus is brought by His Own people, the Jews, unto Pilate to be judged and condemned to death, it is more so in the intentions of their hearts wherein they have sinned, than in their outward actions, which are merely the fruits of their inward defilement and sins of deception—for in first deceiving themselves, they then go on to commit even greater sins in this slippery slope that is the entanglement of “bearing false witness.”  For in the words of Shakespeare, “to thine own self be true,” and in the words of Christ Jesus, “ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Shakespeare, 1603; John 18:32).

“Be not deceived,” “for many false prophets and great deceivers shall come into the world”—”be not deceived” and be not ignorant of “what is truth,” in the words of this most ominous question put forth by one Pontius Pilate (1 John 3:7-10; Galatians 6:7; Matthew 24:4-5, 11; Matthew 7:15-20; John 18:38).  For what is good and what is evil is a clear as “the signs of the times”—”in the morning when the sky is pink and lowring, you know that rain cometh,” and “by its fruits you shall know the tree”—a good tree puts not forth evil fruit and a good man puts not forth evil works (Matthew 16:3; Matthew 7:16-20).  Herein shall you know a man—by the fruits of his labors, just as you shall know a tree by its fruits—it need not be more complicated than that, for to complicate the simplicity that is God’s purity of heart in purity of love is one of the many sins to come forth from the hearts of man.

These men who bring forth the Christ with false accusations sin in their hearts against God by bearing false witness against their neighbor—these lies are evil fruits from evil trees that shall be cut off and cut down and cast off into “the eternal fire, where the flames will not be quenched, and their worm, the core essence of their souls, shall not die—for it is Hell” (Mark 9:43-48).

These men deceive themselves in thinking that if they induce and entice the Roman soldiers to commit their murder for them, their hands shall be clean of the sin, just as “they err in thinking that it is the cleanliness of the outward appearance of the cup, the chalice that is the vessel of our immortal souls, that suffers not to be defiled,” as “…they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover,” when they delivered Jesus unto Pilate (Matthew 26:25-28; John 18:28).  For Jesus had indeed rebuked them earlier for just this, in so saying, “it is not the outside of the cup that makes it clean,” but “it is what comes forth from the heart that defiles a man” (Matthew 26:25-26; Matthew 15:11, 17-20).  What comes forth from the hearts of these men are lies, slander, false witness, murderous cries for the blood of the innocent, and all manner of wickedness and evildoing.  “Be not deceived,” “ye shall know a tree by its fruits” (1 John 3:7; Galatians 6:7; Matthew 7:15-20).

For these men bring accusation against Jesus, that He should be put to death, and yet, as Pilate so astutely observes, “that he finds no fault in Him at all,” and has done nothing worthy of death (John 18:38; 19:4, 6).  In being so caught up in the habits of sin, and lies, and self-deception, these Jews cannot so readily observe “what is truth” as can Pilate, as they behold not “the mote in their own eye” and the sin in their own souls, that is ever before their face wheresoever they shall look, but rather project their own sin onto their innocent victim and fall guy for their own evil ways, in saying, “He made Himself the Son of God,” and “He said, I am the King of the Jews” (John 18:38; Matthew 7:3-5; John 19:7, 21).  For herein is truth; this Man, Christ Jesus, is the Son of God and the King of the Jews in truth.  These men however, deign themselves to be “as gods” and as their own kings, in His stead and effectively usurping God both in their land and among their people, and within the secret places of their hearts (Genesis 3:5).

The lie within their own hearts and souls, whereby they falsely claim themselves to be as gods and king of the Jews, is the mote in their eye that they behold not, and the sin that is ever before their face that they observe in everyone else but themselves, especially this most prime candidate Jesus, until they so remove that beam from their eye, sin from their hearts, and error from their ways.

For in purity of mind, soul, body, and spirit, in truth they shall see truth, and “in the purity of being inwardly undefiled and without sin, they shall see Him as He is,” without sin, and as if no longer “through the glass darkly,” as beholding God through the murkiness and clouded muddle that is the mind of man set in sin, but rather with all the clarity and purity of God’s perfect light, from a life led of truth and honesty, and without sin (1 John 3:2-3; 1 Corinthians 13:12).

“Through a glass clearly,” as it were, we shall see God; as in light we see light, in truth we see truth, and in God we see God.  In sin we shall always see sin, as we see the “beam in our own eyes” as a spot on the lens of the soul as we peer out at others and into the world; but in innocence and the purity of being in Christ, healed of sin and reconciled from the error of our ways unto the righteousness of God’s will for us, in both the thoughts of our hearts and the deeds, works, and actions, and habits of our practices of Faith, in God, we shall see God, as He truly is, as if in a mirror; for then, conformed to Christ in righteousness of mind, body, and spirit—in thought and action and “in deed and truth,” we shall be like Him (Matthew 7:3-5; 1 John 3:18).  “Be not deceived, by its fruits is a tree known” (1 John 3:7-10; Matthew 7:15-20).  In sin we see sin, but in God, “we see God,” for “we shall be like Him” (1 Corinthians 13:12-13; 1 John 3:2).

 

References (listed roughly in order of citation):

  1. John 18:28-40

28 Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover. 29 Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man? 30 They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee. 31 Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: 32 that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die.

33 Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? 34 Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? 35 Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? 36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. 37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?

And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all. 39 But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews? 40 Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.

  1. John 19:19-22

Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.

19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20 This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. 21 Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. 22 Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

  1. “This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” – Polonius, from Hamlet, 1603, by William Shakespeare
  2. John 8:31-34

31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? 34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

  1. 1 John 3

3Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. 13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. 14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. 20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. 22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. 23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. 24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

  1. Galatians 6:1-10

6Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

  1. Matthew 24:3-6, 11-14

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

  1. Matthew 7:1-5, 15-20

5Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

  1. Matthew 16:1-4

16The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

  1. Mark 9:39-50

39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. 40 For he that is not against us is on our part. 41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. 42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. 43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 44 where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 46 where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: 48 where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 49 For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. 50 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.

  1. Matthew 26:25-28

25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

  1. Matthew 15:7-20

Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

10 And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: 11 not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? 13 But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. 14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

15 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. 16 And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? 17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 these are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

  1. Genesis 3:3-5

but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

  1. 1 Corinthians 13:8-13

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

 

Saturday 3/23/19

Third Week/4: Day 1

Matthew 27:27-32.  Jesus is beaten and mocked.

 

“The Stone Which the Builders Rejected”

(Abstract: “Imaginative Prayer in Contemplating ‘the Whole Band of Soldiers’: An anthropological and spiritual exercise in generating empathy for one’s accusers.”)

*Special Note: This “Reference List” offers dual-translations and dual-contexts, of the very same Scripture readings, for an “edification,” in “the practice of edification” (1 Corinthians 14:14-17).

 

In this scene in the episode of the Passion of Jesus wherein Jesus is mocked and beaten by the soldiers, it is hardly surprising that their actions are set to scourge and offend Him, being that “gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers,” and with the “mob-mentality” of a band “of such men” to match at that (Matthew 27:27).  These hardened soldiers and seasoned men of war, truly would have been well-accustomed to using physical violence and brute force in their base and brutish ways of interacting with one another, and when gathered into a multitude, as “gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers,” it is hardly surprising, but rather to be expected, that this is how they so conducted themselves and behaved—badly, and exactly like violent soldiers and hardened men of war—charged with overpowering their adversary by any means necessary, and with more than due force by means of physical strength.

As somewhat base and ill-mannered, gruff and unruly or unrefined men, they would indeed not exactly be known for their polite manners or skillfulness in social etiquette, culture, or refinement, but rather were appropriately suited to their own actual position, of being soldiers; they therefore, would have possessed no more than only the minimal level of aptitude and proficiency in physical prowess that would be required for their soldier’s position, and any level of politeness in manners, or common decency, or common courtesy and civility, would be completely unnecessary, and often entirely absent in being so unrequired.  Accordingly, they would have displayed the appropriate level of behavioral or intellectual vulgarity and baseness, that while at this time may be deemed “unbecoming of modern man,” would at that time have been seen as “most becoming”—of a brutish and ruthless Roman soldier.

These men mock and beat Jesus, just as is to be expected that they should, given their state and position, “And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him” (Matthew 27:27-31).

These men use Jesus as the object of their ridicule and mockery as they entertain themselves in the way “most befitting men of their position,” as soldiers and men accustomed to practices of war, congregating over vulgarity and base displays of physical violence and disrespect for each other, in brutish and masculine means of both comradery and competition in their interactions.  After treating Jesus in this way, which is hardly worse than men in their position would have treated any other such a one under their authority, they then steal His clothes, again to be expected, as this was common practice for them and a perk of the position, and then set up this accusation over Him, saying, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS” (Matthew 27:37).

Herein this ill-treatment to which Jesus was subjected by the “whole band of soldiers,” was indeed to be expected, as such treatment towards those under their power and authority was commonplace and par for the course in being subjected unto them.  Indeed, most men handed over to these rather seemingly villainous soldiers were as a matter of fact, actual criminals, and these soldiers were in fact employed to use the very task of employing such means of “disrespect,” in abusive and obscene violence, to execute justice upon such criminals and thereby deter such acts of criminality, and keep peace and order among the people.  Thereby, it is well said of Jesus in so replying to Pilate, “Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin” (John 19:11).

Indeed, in handing Jesus over to men who were employed to execute criminals and to set them up for mockery over their crimes, as if set in the stocks, one can hardly hold it against them that they should so do their job, and perform the tasks thereof, by executing those handed over to them and setting them up for scorn and mockery and scourging, as they so did to Jesus.  Truly, as brutish as their actions may so seem and appear to be by today’s standards, these men truly were, “just doing their job,” and acting in accordance with their position and with what was expected of them, in that Roman Empire, and in those times.

It is rather, His betrayer Judas, and the “whole band of Jews,” or “His Own people,” to use more apt terminology, who had committed the greater sin in handing Him over unjustly to these men, who for their part, issued out just treatment—as nary a just man is ever handed over to receive the justice of punishment and execution due a criminal.  And so, in the words of Christ Himself, when the Owner of the vineyard of this world sees how these “unrighteous tenants” have treated His servants the prophets, with stoning, and murder, and beatings, and sees how these unjust tenants have treated His Son come to collect the harvest of the vineyard, by murdering Him to steal His inheritance—His name, His Ownership over the land and the fruits thereof, and His rightful claim to David’s throne—how shall the Owner, our heavenly Father, so respond to these unrighteous and unjust tenants, and “hireling shepherds,” as it were (Matthew 21:33-46; John 10:11-13)?

In the words of Jesus Himself prophetically spoken against them “as they at that instant so sought and conspired to kill Him”—“The Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit” (Matthew 21:46; Matthew 21:43).  As Jesus said, “Did you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes’?” (Matthew 21:42; Psalm 118:22-23).  Well, maybe at last we shall “actually understand it” (1 Corinthians 14:14-17).  And “the daughter of Zion shall laugh them to scorn,” in the vast and last judgment that is the righteous recompense of God, and a most “psalmic” and poetic justice, set in the “Rock-solid” stocks of an “iron rod,” of irony (2 Kings 19:21; Isaiah 37:23; Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 11:4; Revelation 2:27).

 

References (listed in order of citation):

  1. Matthew 27:27-38

27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers. 28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. 29 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! 30 And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. 31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. 32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.

33 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, 34 they gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. 35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. 36 And sitting down they watched him there; 37 and set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. 38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.

  1. John 19:8-11

When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; and went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? 11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

  1. Matthew 21:33-46 [Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)]

33 Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: 34 and when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. 35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. 37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. 38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. 39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. 40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? 41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. 42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. 45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. 46 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.

  1. Matthew 21:33-46 [New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)]

33 “Hear another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard,[aa] put a hedge around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a tower. Then he leased it to tenants and went on a journey. 34 When vintage time drew near, he sent his servants[ab] to the tenants to obtain his produce. 35 But the tenants seized the servants and one they beat, another they killed, and a third they stoned. 36 Again he sent other servants, more numerous than the first ones, but they treated them in the same way. 37 Finally, he sent his son to them, thinking, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38 [ac]But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.’ 39 [ad]They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40 What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?” 41 They answered[ae] him, “He will put those wretched men to a wretched death and lease his vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the proper times.” 42 [af]Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the scriptures:

‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
by the Lord has this been done,
and it is wonderful in our eyes’?

43 [ag]Therefore, I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruit. 44 [[ah] The one who falls on this stone will be dashed to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.]” 45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees[ai] heard his parables, they knew that he was speaking about them. 46 And although they were attempting to arrest him, they feared the crowds, for they regarded him as a prophet.

  1. John 10:6-18

This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. 17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

  1. Psalm 118

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good:
because his mercy endureth for ever.
Let Israel now say,
that his mercy endureth for ever.
Let the house of Aaron now say,
that his mercy endureth for ever.
Let them now that fear the Lord say,
that his mercy endureth for ever.

I called upon the Lord in distress:
the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place.
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear:
what can man do unto me?
The Lord taketh my part with them that help me:
therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me.
It is better to trust in the Lord
than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the Lord
than to put confidence in princes.

10 All nations compassed me about:
but in the name of the Lord will I destroy them.
11 They compassed me about; yea, they compassed me about:
but in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.
12 They compassed me about like bees;
they are quenched as the fire of thorns:
for in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.
13 Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall:
but the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and song,
and is become my salvation.

15 The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous:
the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly.
16 The right hand of the Lord is exalted:
the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly.
17 I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the Lord.
18 The Lord hath chastened me sore:
but he hath not given me over unto death.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness:
I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord:
20 this gate of the Lord,
into which the righteous shall enter.
21 I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me,
and art become my salvation.
22 The stone which the builders refused
is become the head stone of the corner.
23 This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvellous in our eyes.
24 This is the day which the Lord hath made;
we will rejoice and be glad in it.

25 Save now, I beseech thee, O Lord:
O Lord, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.
26 Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord:
we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord.
27 God is the Lord, which hath shewed us light:
bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.
28 Thou art my God, and I will praise thee:
thou art my God, I will exalt thee.

29 O give thanks unto the Lord;
for he is good:
for his mercy endureth for ever.

  1. 1 Corinthians 14:10-17

10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. 11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me. 12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. 13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. 16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? 17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.

  1. 2 Kings 19:20-22

20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, That which thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard. 21 This is the word that the Lord hath spoken concerning him;

The virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee,
and laughed thee to scorn;
the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee.
22 Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed?
and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice,
and lifted up thine eyes on high?
even against the Holy One of Israel.

  1. Isaiah 37:6-7, 14-23, 28-38

And Isaiah said unto them, Thus shall ye say unto your master, Thus saith the Lord, Be not afraid of the words that thou hast heard, wherewith the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Behold, I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.

14 And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up unto the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. 15 And Hezekiah prayed unto the Lord, saying, 16 O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth. 17 Incline thine ear, O Lord, and hear; open thine eyes, O Lord, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God. 18 Of a truth, Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries, 19 and have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them. 20 Now therefore, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the Lord, even thou only.

21 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent unto Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Whereas thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria: 22 this is the word which the Lord hath spoken concerning him;

The virgin, the daughter of Zion,
hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn;
the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee.
23 Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed?
and against whom hast thou exalted thy voice,
and lifted up thine eyes on high?
even against the Holy One of Israel.

28 But I know thy abode, and thy going out,
and thy coming in, and thy rage against me.
29 Because thy rage against me, and thy tumult, is come up into mine ears,
therefore will I put my hook in thy nose,
and my bridle in thy lips,
and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest.

30 And this shall be a sign unto thee,
Ye shall eat this year such as groweth of itself;
and the second year that which springeth of the same:
and in the third year sow ye, and reap,
and plant vineyards, and eat the fruit thereof.
31 And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah
shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward:
32 for out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant,
and they that escape out of mount Zion:
the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this.

33 Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria,
He shall not come into this city,
nor shoot an arrow there,
nor come before it with shields,
nor cast a bank against it.
34 By the way that he came, by the same shall he return,
and shall not come into this city, saith the Lord.
35 For I will defend this city to save it
for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.

36 Then the angel of the Lord went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.

37 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. 38 And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Armenia: and Esar-haddon his son reigned in his stead.

  1. Isaiah 11:1-9

11And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse,
and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;
and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord:
and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes,
neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
but with righteousness shall he judge the poor,
and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth:
and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins,
and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
and a little child shall lead them.
And the cow and the bear shall feed;
their young ones shall lie down together:
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain:
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord,
as the waters cover the sea

  1. Revelation 2:26-29

26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

 

Sunday 3/24/19

Third Week/4: Day 2

Luke 23:26-31.  Jesus walks to the place of His crucifixion.  Simon of Cyrene carries His cross.

 

“The Cross He Bore and the Wombs that Never Bare”

Alt. Title: “Beware the False Prophets: A Discussion of the End Times”

 

(Abstract: Imagining myself in the position of “one Simon, a Cyrenian,” and taking a look at Jesus’s reiteration of His former prophecy, made upon the “Road to Calvary.”)

 

In this episode from the Gospel of Luke wherein Jesus is led up to the place of His Crucifixion, it is stated that, “they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus” (Luke 23:26).  This is to me a most evocative statement, as I had always envisioned, on “the Path of Christ,” Jesus bearing His Own cross, and struggling up the hill to Golgotha, with agony and suffering, and blood, sweat, and tears.

This passage, however, impels me to look past the emotionally-provocative and awe-inspiring agony so commonly associated with His Passion, and to peer into the reality of the situation, as supported by the factual logistics of this “Path to Calvary.”  I suppose that it is entirely possible, no matter how emotionally jarring and provocative it is to see Christ, in my mind’s eye, or in a famous painting, or upon the cover of a cherished little book, bearing His Own Cross, that He perhaps had been beaten so grievously in the “Scourging at the Pillar” that His executioners were left no choice but to compel “one Simon, a Cyrenian,” “that he might bear it after Jesus” (Luke 23:26).

I imagine myself here as “one Simon,” and not Simon called Peter, who perhaps, ideally in the bond of true friendship, ought to have been there to bear it with Him, but rather, as “one Simon, a Cyrenian,” trekking up that hill to bear the Cross after Jesus.  Perhaps the Cross is laid upon “one Simon” to follow Him up after His footsteps, or perhaps when Jesus expires in exhaustion, “one Simon” bears the Cross after Him in procession, as it is taken from Christ’s shoulders and replaced upon “one Simon’s.”  Here the wording, “that he might bear it after Jesus,” grants permission to my mind to entertain a tidy little range of unique possibilities and various interpretations, in this most careful wording (Luke 23:26).  So, in placing myself in “one Simon, a Cyrenian’s” shoes in meditating upon this Gospel passage, I am at once transported by Christ’s Own words straight back to my own times, as He turns to those who followed Him, “a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him” (Luke 23:27).

Jesus turns to them and says, “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming [“of which when they shall come is known only to my Father which is in Heaven”], in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?” (Luke 23:28-31; Matthew 24:26).  These words indeed were not new to emerge from Christ’s mouth, as He had said in Matthew 24, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) then let them which be in Judæa flee into the mountains: let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:15-22).

Indeed, these words were not new to emerge from Christ’s mouth, nor were they new to emerge from the mouth of any other prophet, but rather, they reaffirm, and echo, and validate, and reestablish what had been said from the very beginning, by God through His friends and chosen servants—the prophets.  Indeed these words reiterate what was formerly said by Christ Himself in Matthew 24, where He discusses with His friends and the Apostles the signs of the end times and what they shall be—how we shall know them, and by what means He shall both “be no more,” and also by what means, those same means in fact, He shall also so “reappear;” for, just as He had declared unto them in the Gospel of John, “A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father” (John 16:16).

For as He had said, “many shall appear in His name and shall claim to be Christ,” and many shall say, “here is Christ, or there is Christ,” but they are not to be believed (Matthew 24:5, 23-25).  For “the Kingdom of God is within,” the same now as ever, and by the dictates of one’s own soul and the leading of one’s own conscience, if so wrought in the clarity of “righteous,” or “upright” living, in line with such dictates, by these urgings of the soul and the unction of the heart of man, in all purity and blessedness of God’s grace given freely through the Holy Spirit—by these means are the movements of the true Christ, both within and without, as within the heart as His Spirit enjoined unto our soul, and externally without, as Himself in His Own discreet Person, made known (Luke 17:21).

Indeed, as He had said, we must “beware the false prophets,” “who shall deceive the very elect and the leaders of His Own people if it were possible” as it is so possible, nay not even just possible, but truly prophesied and therefore inevitable (Matthew 7:15; 24:11, 24).  For, “the Christ must indeed suffer many things and be rejected of men,” and be put to death by the leaders of His day, so that all these things shall come to pass (Luke 17:24-25).  For, “Heaven and Earth shall so pass away before a single letter of the law and the prophets shall ever fall” (Matthew 24:34-35).  Indeed, as it is writ, so shall it be, when it is the Word of God and the holy prophecy in the Scriptures.

Indeed, I am transported straight back to my own times as soon as I so envision myself behind Christ, not as one Simon called Peter, whom Christ rebukes in saying, “he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men,” after Peter tries to convince Him that He can avoid suffering such things as it is prophesied that the Christ must suffer, but as “one Simon, a Cyrenian,” a nobody, whom they lay hands upon that he should bear Jesus’s Cross up after Him (Mark 8:33; Luke 23:26).

And as we shall indeed be both “newly-borne,” and “newly-born,” like “the cup of the new testament” and the Eucharistic bread of a broken back under the burgeoning weight of a heavy Cross and “a heavy grief and agony-stricken heart”—just as it was in the beginning, “just as it was in the days of Noah,” and indeed—just as it was in the days of Christ Jesus—so shall it be in the end times, of His second coming (Luke 22:20; Matthew 24:37-39).

 

“…Just a ‘sec.’—I’m coming.”

 

References (listed approximately in order of citation):

  1. Luke 23:26-31

26 And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.

27 And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him. 28 But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. 29 For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. 30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. 31 For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

  1. Matthew 24:3-42

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 then let them which be in Judæa flee into the mountains: 17 let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 21 for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25 Behold, I have told you before. 26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33 so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

26 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

  1. John 16:12-18

12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.

17 Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? 18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.

  1. Luke 17:20-37

20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

22 And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. 23 And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. 24 For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. 25 But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.

26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. 31 In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife. 33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. 34 I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. 35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 37 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.

  1. Matthew 7:15-20

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

  1. Mark 8:27-38

27 And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Cæsarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am? 28 And they answered, John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets. 29 And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto him, Thou art the Christ. 30 And he charged them that they should tell no man of him. 31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. 33 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.

34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. 36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

  1. Luke 22:19-20

19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

 

Monday 3/25/19

Third Week/4: Day 3

Isaiah 50:4-9.  “The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backwards.”

 

 

Title: “The Living Water, the Mystic Marriage, and the Clean White Army”

(Abstract: A Study on Isaiah and the Living Water: A song of the zeal of the Lord of Hosts.)

 

The Lord is the Light in my heart and the holy light within by which I must walk.  For Solomon had said, trust not in your own understanding, but apply your mind to the Wisdom and commands of the Lord; “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).  For just as Jesus had said to the woman at the well in the Gospel of John, “that if we knew Him we would so know to ask, not for the earthly water by which we shall thirst again,” “nor for the earthly marriage by which we shall yet be unfulfilled,” but for the “living waters which are His alone to give,” “to a faithful servant of His will” unto “his eternal soul, and for the presence both of God within and Christ Immanuel,” here with us now beside these earthly waters, through Whom we may attain to the “peace that is beyond all understanding,” “in Divine Union with Him, and in being ‘as one’ with His mindset” (Isaiah 55:1-3; John 4:10-15, 16-19;  John 4:10; Revelation 22:1-5; Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 4:7; Isaiah 26:12).

For as the Lord says in Isaiah 50, “Thus saith the Lord, Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away” (Isaiah 50:1).  For indeed, God forsakes no man, and God leaves no man behind—”the Lord our God omnipotent reigneth,” and He is all-knowing and omnipresent (Revelation 19:6).  Rather, it is only ever man who forsakes the Lord, and “turns his back on God, in his heart, in his mind, and through his actions in his transgressions and trespasses away from the ways of the Lord” (Isaiah 55:7).  For the ways of the Lord are higher than our ways, and the thoughts of the Lord are not our thoughts; “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts,” and yet; “seek and ye shall find, ask and it shall be given you, knock and the door shall be opened unto you” (Isaiah 55:8-9; Matthew 7:7).

For “Jesus is the both the door,” and Jesus is the Servant Who says, “Yes, Lord, I shall not rebel.” (John 10:9; Matthew 7:13-14; Isaiah 26:1-4; Isaiah 50:5).  “Here I am, Lord, I shall go,” to do your will and see to it that it is fulfilled—”for the Word of God shall perform what is commanded of it and shall not return to our Father empty, but ripe with the harvest” (Exodus 3:4; Isaiah 6:8; Isaiah 55;10-13; John 4:34-38).  For as He had said, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,” and though “Heaven and Earth shall pass away, His Word shall not pass away,” so too shall the servant of the Lord, the wise man who has put his trust in God and planted his soul in Heaven while his feet yet tread the earth—the servant of the Lord who is God “shall not be put to shame, but shall accomplish the will of the Lord, and reap the harvest unto life eternal” (Matthew 26:41; Matthew 24:35; Isaiah 50:6-7; Matthew 26:39; John 4:34-35).

“Therefore, I have set my face like flint,” I shall revile not against them who would “pluck the hairs from my face,” but with a stiff upper lip shall I maintain my peace in the Lord and truly be “my brother’s keeper,” in delivering no offence back though they mean to set me at nought (Isaiah 50:6-7; Genesis 5:9).  For as Isaiah had prophesied, “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed” (Isaiah 50:6-7).

I will accomplish the will of the Lord, “for the Lord God shall perform this,” and “by the zeal of the Lord of Hosts,” “the God of our fathers—of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob forever,” shall it be done (Isaiah 26:12; Isaiah 9:7; Exodus 3:6, 15).  For, “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back” (Isaiah 50:4-5).  For, “He has set His Spirit upon my shoulders,” “to speak with discernment;” “to speak words of comfort to the daughter Jerusalem,” and “to smite down with the rod of my mouth those who,” “kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks” (Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 11:2, 3; Isaiah 40:1-2, 9; Isaiah 11:4; Isaiah 50:11).

They shall walk in the light of their fire.  For just as the living water is above the earthly water, and the mystic marriage is above the earthly marriage, so too is the divine spark and the otherworldly light of God that is Christ’s presence within, above this earthly spark and enkindled earthly fire, of man’s own will and power that be not of God (Joshua 24:19-24).  Walk ye in the light of your fire, but as for me, I shall walk in the Light of Christ.  You serve yourselves and the gods of your own pursuits and desires, but as for me, and our House, we shall serve the Lord our God; “but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).  Indeed, “Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow” (Isaiah 50:11).

Dost thou not desire to have the living water; the presence of God; the light of Christ within; the peace that knows no bounds?  Ye shall.  “…This shall ye have of Mine hand.”  “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).

 

References (listed in order of appearance in the Bible):

  1. Genesis 4:1-15

5And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? 10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. 11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; 12 when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. 13 And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me. 15 And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him

  1. Exodus 3:4-6, 11-15

And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? 12 And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. 13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. 15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

  1. Joshua 24:14-28

14 Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. 15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

16 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods; 17 for the Lord our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed: 18 and the Lord drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the Lord; for he is our God. 19 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. 20 If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good. 21 And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord. 22 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses. 23 Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord God of Israel. 24 And the people said unto Joshua, The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey. 25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.

26 And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the Lord. 27 And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the Lord which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God. 28 So Joshua let the people depart, every man unto his inheritance.

  1. Proverbs 3:1-10

3My son, forget not my law;
but let thine heart keep my commandments:
for length of days, and long life, and peace,
shall they add to thee.
Let not mercy and truth forsake thee:
bind them about thy neck;
write them upon the table of thine heart:
so shalt thou find favour and good understanding
in the sight of God and man.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct thy paths.

Be not wise in thine own eyes:
fear the Lord, and depart from evil.
It shall be health to thy navel,
and marrow to thy bones.
Honour the Lord with thy substance,
and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:
10 so shall thy barns be filled with plenty,
and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.

  1. Isaiah 6:4-8

And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: and he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

  1. Isaiah 9:2-7

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light:
they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death,
upon them hath the light shined.
Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy:
they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest,
and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.

For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.
For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood;
but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor,
The mighty God,
The everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end,
upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom,
to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice
from henceforth even for ever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

  1. Isaiah 11:1-5

11And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse,
and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;
and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord:
and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes,
neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
but with righteousness shall he judge the poor,
and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth:
and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins,
and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

  1. Isaiah 26

26In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah;

We have a strong city;
salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.
Open ye the gates,
that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee:
because he trusteth in thee.
Trust ye in the Lord for ever:
for in the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:
for he bringeth down them that dwell on high;
the lofty city, he layeth it low;
he layeth it low, even to the ground;
he bringeth it even to the dust.
The foot shall tread it down,
even the feet of the poor, and the steps of the needy.

The way of the just is uprightness:
thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just.
Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O Lord, have we waited for thee;
the desire of our soul is to thy name,
and to the remembrance of thee.
With my soul have I desired thee in the night;
yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early:
for when thy judgments are in the earth,
the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
10 Let favour be shewed to the wicked,
yet will he not learn righteousness:
in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly,
and will not behold the majesty of the Lord.
11 Lord, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see:
but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people;
yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them.

12 Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us:
for thou also hast wrought all our works in us.
13 O Lord our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us:
but by thee only will we make mention of thy name.
14 They are dead, they shall not live;
they are deceased, they shall not rise:
therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them,
and made all their memory to perish.
15 Thou hast increased the nation, O Lord,
thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified:
thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth.
16 Lord, in trouble have they visited thee,
they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them.
17 Like as a woman with child,
that draweth near the time of her delivery,
is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs;
so have we been in thy sight, O Lord.
18 We have been with child, we have been in pain,
we have as it were brought forth wind;
we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth;
neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen.
19 Thy dead men shall live,
together with my dead body shall they arise.
Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust:
for thy dew is as the dew of herbs,
and the earth shall cast out the dead.

20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers,
and shut thy doors about thee:
hide thyself as it were for a little moment,
until the indignation be overpast.
21 For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place
to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity:
the earth also shall disclose her blood,
and shall no more cover her slain.

  1. Isaiah 40:1-2, 9-11

40Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her,
that her warfare is accomplished,
that her iniquity is pardoned:
for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

 O Zion, that bringest good tidings,
get thee up into the high mountain;
O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings,
lift up thy voice with strength;
lift it up, be not afraid;
say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
10 Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand,
and his arm shall rule for him:
behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd:
he shall gather the lambs with his arm,
and carry them in his bosom,
and shall gently lead those that are with young.

  1. Isaiah 50

50Thus saith the Lord,
Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away?
or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you?
Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves,
and for your transgressions is your mother put away.
Wherefore, when I came, was there no man?
when I called, was there none to answer?
Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem?
or have I no power to deliver?
behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea,
I make the rivers a wilderness:
their fish stinketh, because there is no water,
and dieth for thirst.
I clothe the heavens with blackness,
and I make sackcloth their covering.

The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned,
that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary:
he wakeneth morning by morning,
he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.
The Lord God hath opened mine ear,
and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back.
I gave my back to the smiters,
and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair:
I hid not my face from shame and spitting.
For the Lord God will help me;
therefore shall I not be confounded:
therefore have I set my face like a flint,
and I know that I shall not be ashamed.
He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me?
let us stand together:
who is mine adversary? let him come near to me.
Behold, the Lord God will help me;
who is he that shall condemn me?
lo, they all shall wax old as a garment;
the moth shall eat them up.

10 Who is among you that feareth the Lord,
that obeyeth the voice of his servant,
that walketh in darkness, and hath no light?
let him trust in the name of the Lord,
and stay upon his God.
11 Behold, all ye that kindle a fire,
that compass yourselves about with sparks:
walk in the light of your fire,
and in the sparks that ye have kindled.
This shall ye have of mine hand;
ye shall lie down in sorrow.

  1. Isaiah 55

55Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters,
and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat;
yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread?
and your labour for that which satisfieth not?
hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good,
and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
Incline your ear, and come unto me:
hear, and your soul shall live;
and I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
even the sure mercies of David.
Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people,
a leader and commander to the people.
Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not,
and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee
because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel;
for he hath glorified thee.

Seek ye the Lord while he may be found,
call ye upon him while he is near:
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts:
and let him return unto the Lord,
and he will have mercy upon him;
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven,
and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth,
and maketh it bring forth and bud,
that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11 so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth:
it shall not return unto me void,
but it shall accomplish that which I please,
and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace:
the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree,
and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree:
and it shall be to the Lord for a name,
for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

  1. Matthew 7:7-14

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? 12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

  1. Matthew 24:32-35

32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33 so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

  1. Matthew 26:39-41

39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

  1. John 4:5-41

Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18 for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. 19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

27 And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her? 28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, 29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? 30 Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.

In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. 32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. 33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? 34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. 36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. 37 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. 38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.

39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. 40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his own word; 42 and said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

  1. John 10:1-18

10Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. 17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

  1. Philippians 4:4-14

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.

  1. Revelation 19:5-10

And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. 10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

  1. Revelation 22:1-5

22And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

 

Tuesday 3/26/19

Third Week/4: Day 4

Matthew 27:33-44.  Jesus is crucified.

 

Title: “To Love In-deed, and in Truth”

Alt. Title: “Fall Seven Times, Be Raised Up Until ‘Seventy Times Seven’”

(Abstract: “Woe to…”: Jesus articulates the hypocrisy that trickles down through the ages; yet He keeps His peace, and clutches His aching sacred heart within His teeth, while in His agony, and while dying upon the Cross.)

 

“…For our God is the God of the living, not the God of the dead.  You know neither the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and our fathers forever, nor the Scriptures and the Word of the prophets.  Therefore, you do err.  You do err greatly” (Mark 12:24-27).

This repugnance that Christ had felt for His accusers before His death, which was most articulately described in the Gospel of John, was based upon a common error, of the spiritual and Scriptural ignorance and manifest hypocrisy of the people, that is just as alive today as it was in these ancient times of Jesus the Christ.

For the people then knew not the teachings in the holy Scriptures, yet still, in their clinging to the “tassels of authority” and the “broadness of their phylacteries” in their quite narrow and elitist, exclusionary “in-group,” of “the Israelites and chosen ones of God,” they have clung to that which is worthless, whilst forgetting entirely the Word upon which their community had originally been based (Luke 8:44; Matthew 23:5).

Just as here, in this scene of Jesus’s Crucifixion, He could not possibly be more abased, even as He is physically raised up off the earth upon His Cross, so too shall He be likewise exalted in Spirit, as His corporeal body is physically descended unto the depths of His grave and the netherworld, though He is descended too from the House of David to save His people from the error of their ways, and claim the “throne of David” that is primacy in God’s Kingdom of Heaven, and “in truth and Spirit,” in God’s heart (John 4:24).

For had these men practiced any part of their professed religion with any scruples or discipline in holy discernment with that blessed knowledge of the difference between good and evil that was theirs by sin, and His by sacrifice, they would have known that the ways of God were not the ways of man, and they would indeed have known that this was the Christ.  “You paid tithes in herbs and mint, but the commands you did not follow—you should indeed have done the one, but not have left the other undone!” (Matthew 23:23).  “Woe to you, you scribes and Pharisees!  Blind guides and hypocrites!” (Jeremiah 23:1-2; Ezekiel 34:1-4; Matthew 23).

For as it is said, “He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God” (Matthew 27:43).  These men know not what they do in the arrogance of their ignorance, for they have knowledge neither of God nor of the prophecy in the holy Scriptures that must come to pass as He is indeed the Christ which they had known was coming, but Whom they looked for, in their own conceit, in the riches of Solomon, and not in the blessed truth and humility of the One True God.  For those men said, “He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him” (Matthew 27:42).  Do they not know the prophecy, “as described by Moses himself,” and by “the Word of the prophets, in Isaiah and the others—Jeremiah, Ezekiel… as the names may so be rattled off” (Deuteronomy 18:15-22; Isaiah 7:14; Jeremiah 23:1-6; Ezekiel 34:20-24)?  How shall He be arisen if He die not?  And “how shall a seed bear fruit if it perish not first into the ground?” (John 12:23-26; 1 Corinthians 15:36, 44).  These men speak to Him with the very same voice that was the devil the wilderness, saying, “If ye be the Son of God, cast yourself down, and have angels lift thee up…” (Matthew 4:5-7).

“The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth,” as with His burgeoning and bloody and aching heart a lump of agony in His throat, He catches the bitterness of “vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink”; yet in His heart, His prayers do go up to God to save Him, “yet not in this corruptible human body from upon the Cross, but to be raised incorruptible,” and arisen in glory from the fathoms of Hell, “in Spirit and in truth,” and due to the virtue and sacrifice of His death upon the Cross, “in deed and in truth” (Matthew 27:44; Matthew 27:34; 1 Corinthians 15:50-54; John 4:24; 1 John 3:24; 1 John 3:18).

For as He had prayed in His heart as they cast “the gall of offence in His teeth,” as He clutches His aching heart and soul as the lump of sorrow that catches His breath as “a tough one to swallow,” He prays, just as in His Agony in the Garden, “Father, if it be Thy will take this cup from me—nevertheless, not as I will but as Thou wilt” (Matthew 27:34, 44; Luke 22:42).  For as He clutches His Own overflowing chalice of destiny that is His sacred prophet’s heart, caught up all the way from the back of His mind into His teeth, He reviles not, He retorts nor rebuts nor responds and answers not—“when He had tasted thereof, he would not drink again,” of their bitterness of gall and offence, but only calmly, placidly, peacefully, turned His mind and thoughts to God, to absorb His protection despite His agony, as He prays, “Father forgive them, truly, they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Truly they do err; they know not the Word of the prophets, nor the holy Scriptures, nor do they follow them, as God’s Commandments, in their hearts, nor in deed, let alone in truth; “and so it follows, as the night the day,” that they know not their God, as “their hearts are far from Him,” and they truly “know not what they do” (Shakespeare, 1603; Matthew 15:7; Luke 23:34).  And so it follows, as the day from the “Dark Night,” as “He falls down seven times” in the perfection of “the Lamb of God to behold and be held,” He shall “in deed,” indeed in truth, rise back up eight times again—”until eighty times eight, even,” in the mercy and infinite forgiveness that is of God (St. John of the Cross & Kavanaugh, 1973; Proverbs 24:16; John 1:29-34; 1 John 3:18, 24; Matthew 18:21-22).

 

References:

  1. Deuteronomy 18:15-22

15 The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; 16 according to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. 17 And the Lord said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. 18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. 20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. 21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? 22 when a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

  1. Proverbs 24:16-18

16 for a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again:
but the wicked shall fall into mischief.
17 Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth,
and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:
18 lest the Lord see it, and it displease him,
and he turn away his wrath from him.

  1. Isaiah 7:10-16

10 Moreover the Lord spake again unto Ahaz, saying, 11 Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. 12 But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord. 13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. 15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. 16 For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

  1. Jeremiah 23:1-6

23Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord. Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord. And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord.

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord our righteousness.

  1. Ezekiel 34:1-4, 7-9, 20-24

34And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.

Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; As I live, saith the Lord God, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord;

20 Therefore thus saith the Lord God unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle. 21 Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad; 22 therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle. 23 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. 24 And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it.

  1. Matthew 4:5-7

Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

  1. Matthew 15:3-9

But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; and honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

  1. Matthew 18:21-23

21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. 23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

  1. Matthew 23:1-7, 23

23Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

  1. Matthew 27:33-49

33 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, 34 they gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink. 35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. 36 And sitting down they watched him there; 37 and set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. 38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.

39 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, 40 and saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. 41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, 42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. 43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. 44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.

45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. 48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. 49 The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.

  1. Mark 12:24-27

24 And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? 25 For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven. 26 And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.

  1. Luke 8:43-48

43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, 44 came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. 45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. 48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.

  1. Luke 20:37

37 Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 38 For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.

  1. Luke 22:40-44

40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. 41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42 saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

  1. Luke 23:34-38

34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. 35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. 36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, 37 and saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. 38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

  1. John 1:29-34

29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. 31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. 32 And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. 34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

  1. John 4:20-26

20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

  1. John 12:23-26

23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. 25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. 26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

  1. 1 Corinthians 15:36-44, 50-56

36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 37 and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: 38 but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. 40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 it is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. 1 John 3:18-24

18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. 20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. 22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. 23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. 24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

  1. “This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” – Polonius, from Hamlet, 1603, by William Shakespeare
  2. John, . C., & Kavanaugh, K. (1973). Collected works of St. John of the Cross. Washington, D.C: Institute of Carmelite Studies.

 

Wednesday 3/27/19

Third Week/4: Day 5

John 19:16-26.  Jesus carries His own cross.  The soldiers cast lots for His clothing.

 

Title: “The Inscription INRI: I Looked, I Saw, I Said, and It Was Good”

Alt. Title 1: “Render Unto Caesar…: A Friend of Caesar’s is a Friend of God?”

Alt. Title 2: “Possessed by the Spirit of God”

 

(Abstract: Beholding the Crucifixion of Christ from the eyes of a man who writes an inscription, and writes it “in the Spirit of Prophecy.”)

 

“Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, render unto God that which is God’s” (Matthew 22:21).  In this scene of Jesus’s Crucifixion from the Gospel of John, Jesus is sent by the Jews to Pilate and the Roman soldiers to be killed, so that in the irony of hypocrisy, they may “wash their hands clean, and be innocent of the blood of this innocent man” (Matthew 27:24).  Jesus comments to Pilate, that the greater sin indeed belongs to them that delivered Him to him, for He said, “Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin” (John 19:11).

When Pilate heard that, and also being knowledgeable that this man was innocent, and that “for envy the Jews had handed Him over,” he sought to release Him (Matthew 27:18).  But Pilate was a prudent man, “a cunning man,” a “man of the world” indeed, and he prized his own life and position of authority, and sought the prestige of the title of being known as “a friend of Caesar” (Luke 16:8-10; John 17:14, 16; John 19:12-14).  Surely, to a Roman governor, the ruler Caesar would have been as sacred to him in his mistaken priorities and misguided view of the world as the Lord God is to the “children of light,” in being “in the world, but not indeed, of the world” (Luke 16:8; John 17:14-19).

So when the Jews cried out, saying “If thou let this man go, thou art not Cæsar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Cæsar,” he therefore brought Jesus forth to them (John 19:12).  Pilate, in the strangely sarcastic irony of speaking indeed the truth while yet saying so in jest, says to the Jews, “Behold your King!” (John 19:14).  Indeed, this madness is reminiscent of Quasimodo in being so crowned as “the King of the Fools” in The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.  Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Cæsar. Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified” (John 19:15-16).

“Herein is a marvelous thing,” that the Lord had set up judges and rulers and kings and shepherds over His people for ages—ages upon ages—and yet the people, His people, who at that time were collectively known as the Jews, declare that, “they have no king but Caesar” (John 9:30; John 19:15).  Regardless of their abhorrence of Jesus the Christ, the Lord Emmanuel and Son of a virgin sent to save them from their sins and the error of their ways, regardless of their thoughts against the Christ, Son of God, they give not a thought either to Moses, “of whom they claim to be disciples,” nor to Abraham, and their fathers of whom they claim descent, in the bluster and blunder of their pride and vanity, and neither indeed do they give a thought to the Lord God YHWH, the God of these said ancestors (John 9:27)!

The Lord their God—the Lord Whom they rejected as king for some forty years of wandering around in hopes of a conversion of heart in the desert, “the Lord Whom they rejected in the days of Samuel the prophet, in favor of earthly kings,” and “the Lord God YHWH Whom they rejected in the days of Moses,” “favoring instead that a shepherd or a prophet should be appointed to declare the Word of the Lord unto them, lest they should so suffer to have God in their midst”—the Lord their God, they have yet again rejected (1 Samuel 8:6-9; Exodus 20:18-21; Deuteronomy 18:15-18).  Indeed, when they are finally suffered to have that same God, the Lord God YHWH, “as the Father and Son are indeed one,” in their midst at last, what indeed do they do to Him (John 10:30, 36-38)?  “They crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst” (John 19:18).

Even when, ironically, “the voice of wisdom” comes from the Roman soldier Pilate, rather than from these people who have been privy to the Word of God and the Wisdom of the Lord through their own holy Scriptures for ages, they will hear him not, but only their own sins, or rather, their own wills, will they yet accomplish.  For “these are a stiff-necked people,” in being hard of heart and unwilling to change their minds—neither in light of better knowledge, nor in the Light of Christ and our God (Exodus 32:7-10; Acts 7:51-53).

As Pilate scribes out, eerily so, almost as if as a prophet, the words… “And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS,” he wrote this, perhaps being “a man of letters” (who would have guessed!), in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin (John 19:19).  Something here indeed reeks of the Holy Spirit, “as She descended upon the Apostles at Pentecost, communicating to each man in his own various native tongue, although those who spoke only spoke in one given language” (Acts 2:1-13).  “Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written I have written” (John 19:21-22).

Indeed his words here again reek of a tongue that “is not his own,” but is rather enflamed with the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 6:19).  These silent words echo in the hearts of passersby, even from the soul of “one Paul, an Apostle” yet to be converted, in a future that always has been, “from the foundations of the world,” but yet, in the mystery of eternity, had yet to unravel from God’s timeless navel… Know ye not that ye are not your own, but that you are “temples of the Lord God?” (Acts 7:58; 1 Peter 1:20; 1 Corinthians 3:16).  “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19).  Know ye not that you are temples of God through the Holy Spirit that dwelleth in you?  For ye are not your own, and ye were bought with a price.  “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20).

My eyes wander up to behold with a grimace Jesus upon the Cross, from under the helmet of a soldier, one Pontius Pilate, as I read the inscription, and I see that it is well said.  Indeed, “it is good” (Genesis 1:25).  As like in the words of the Lord issued in a fiery tongue unto Moses, “I AM WHAT I AM,” this fiery tongue of a man who is here, though he be Caesar’s, is yet, “somehow not his own,” replies back, “What I have written I have written” (Exodus 3:14; 1 Corinthians 6:19; John 19:22).  I looked and I saw and so I have said, “it is indeed good; it is indeed very good” (Genesis 1:25, 31).  It is indeed, “very God.”

 

 

References:

  1. Genesis 1:25, 31

25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

  1. Exodus 3:11-15

11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? 12 And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. 13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. 15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

  1. Exodus 20:18-21

18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. 19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. 20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. 21 And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.

  1. Exodus 32:7-14

And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: they have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: 10 now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. 11 And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? 12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. 14 And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

  1. Deuteronomy 18:15-18

15 The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; 16 according to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. 17 And the Lord said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. 18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.

  1. 1 Samuel 8:6-9

But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord. And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.

  1. Matthew 22:15-22

15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. 16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. 17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Cæsar, or not? 18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? 19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. 20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? 21 They say unto him, Cæsar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. 22 When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

  1. Matthew 27:17-26

17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? 18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.

19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him. 20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. 22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. 23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. 25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. 26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

  1. Luke 16:14-13

14 I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses. So he called every one of his lord’s debtors unto him, and said unto the first, How much owest thou unto my lord? And he said, An hundred measures of oil. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore. And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. 10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. 11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

  1. John 9:26-34

26 Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? 27 He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples? 28 Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. 29 We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. 30 The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. 31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth. 32 Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. 33 If this man were not of God, he could do nothing. 34 They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.

  1. John 10:24-38

24 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. 25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. 26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and my Father are one.

31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? 33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. 34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? 35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; 36 say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? 37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. 38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.

  1. John 17:14-19

14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

  1. John 19:10-22

10 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? 11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

12 And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Cæsar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Cæsar.

13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! 15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Cæsar. 16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified.

And they took Jesus, and led him away. 17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: 18 where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.

19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20 This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. 21 Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. 22 Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

  1. Acts 2:1-13

2And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilæans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judæa, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. 12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? 13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

  1. Acts 7:47-60

47 But Solomon built him an house. 48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, 49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? 50 Hath not my hand made all these things?

51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. 52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: 53 who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.

54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 and said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58 and cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

  1. 1 Peter 1:16-25

16 because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 18 forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. 22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

  1. 1 Corinthians 3:10-23

10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that