Episode:Jesus—Teacher of Living Truth (Part 3)
After their ordination, the apostles were unable to comprehend what Jesus said about the kingdom, and so they asked for further instruction that evening: I declare that you must be reborn. You must start out afresh as little children and be willing to trust my teaching and believe in God. I have not come to destroy but to fulfill, to enlarge and illuminate. You shall return good for evil. And he continued to teach them until near dawn.
Summary by Kermit
6. The Evening of the Ordination
Sunday evening following Jesus’ delivery of the Beatitudes, Andrew on behalf of the Apostles sought out the Master to request further instruction on the nature of the kingdom and the work to which they have been called. Jesus, explained that their difficulty in understanding the advanced teachings regarding the kingdom was because they persisted in attempting to graft these new teachings directly onto their old ideas of righteousness, the “new wine in old wine skins” problem. In order to illustrate the magnitude of the transformation of character to which he called them, he declared they had to be reborn. They were to approach the understanding of the kingdom as trusting, teachable children. He further upped the ante, and warned them that they had WRONG ideas of the kingdom and were liable to MISTAKE his teachings, thus elevating the gravity of their misunderstanding to the level of EVIL.
He challenged the twelve to climb from the lower levels of meaning wherein righteousness consisted of almsgiving, prayer, and fasting (all first level of meaning), up to the 4th, 5th, and 6th levels of meaning of love, mercy, and truth. Here is another great discussion of the levels of meaning applied to Jesus’ teachings. Jesus is fully aware of the Apostles’ inability to grasp these advanced teachings, but he does count on their grasping at least the “spirit” of them.
In subsequent paragraphs, the Master contrasts the new teaching with the old by examining the commandments regarding, killing, adultery, and divorce. It was pointed out that in presenting these teachings, the 5th ER goes beyond the 4th ER mandate (purely spiritual) to address political and social issues. Unfortunately, the Apostles’ misunderstanding of these teachings has been carried down through the intervening centuries to today. Careful reading of the revelation here clarifies in a few sentences these age old misunderstandings.
The rectification of these misunderstandings hinges on a recognition of the precise meanings attached to the words, MOTIVE, INTENT, and DESIRE. We begin with our three-fold nature (spiritual, mindal, and material) wherein PERSONALITY (free will) engages the spiritual nature purposing it with volitional MOTIVE. Spirit dominates MIND, thus the mind becomes directionized by this motive, wherein it becomes mindal INTENT. Mindal INTENT dominates matter leading to an act or deed. In the case of “nursing hatred in your heart” or “intent to lust after” leading to possible judgment, this involves purposing a lower nature and bringing it up into the upper domain (heart) with mindal intent, wherein you have sin. As creatures, we judge by the act, while God judges the motive.
In the case of killing, we distinguished between the group action of justice (capital punishment, which Jesus elsewhere allows of the state) and the personal nursing of vengeance and hatred (SIN). With adultery, understanding the difference between, natural urges, appetites, and impulses (all of which are not in conflict with the highest spiritual attainment) and “the intent to lust after” enables us to grasp these higher meanings.
Jesus went on to try to make clear that they were not to expect everyone to live as they did. But, he referred to his “sheep not of this flock”, for whom he was providing a pattern of doing God’s will in the mortal life.
Jesus’ recognition of the Apostles’ inability to grasp the higher dimension of his teaching is demonstrated in further lessons utilizing the levels of meaning. He elevates their ideas of righteousness (almsgiving, prayer, and fasting) by urging them to modify these practices by doing them in private, thus eliminating the self aggrandizing feature of the practices when done in public.
We all enjoyed the description of how each apostle, save the twins, sought and received encouragement in private discourse with the Master, into the wee hours of the morning.
As previously mentioned Jesus counted on his twelve to grasp the spirit of his teaching if not the true cosmic structure he hoped to convey. However, we students of the 5th ER are expected to begin to grasp the cosmic dimensions to the 4th ER. While very few today are able to so engage the advanced nature of Jesus’ teaching, we are encouraged in our personal faith adventure to so present our understanding of Jesus’ teaching in light of the cosmic structure of the 5th ER. Thus those perchance who are ready for and hunger for these cosmic truths will be able to recognize and apprehend the cosmic meanings, (reality response) while those who only catch the spirit of the gospel will still find spiritual nourishment. Presenting only the spirit of this teaching will result in serious distortion and fail to feed the hungry.
7. The Week Following the Ordination
For two days during this week, Jesus turned over to the twelve the teaching of the small groups of earnest truth seekers who had been coming to Bethsaida for weeks and weeks. Jesus also released them for a day to “go fishing, seek carefree change, or perchance visit your families.” Upon their return they taught for three more days.
This practical experience in rehearsal for proclaiming the kingdom led some of the apostles to become over confident. Peter and James made bold to come to Jesus saying “We are ready—let us now go forth to take the kingdom”. Jesus response to such temerity should be remembered by all parents of over confident adolescents—“May your wisdom equal your zeal and your courage atone for your ignorance.” Even here we can see Jesus’ use of the levels of meaning.
While the apostles failed to comprehend much of Jesus’ teaching, the significance of his charmingly beautiful life among them did not escape their grasp. Herein is the evidence that Jesus himself (and his life) is his true revelation, and not his teachings.