Episode:Jesus Faces Death—Brought to Trial (Part 9)
February 25, 2020 [Paper 185:3-4, p. 1991]
Said Jesus to Pilate: "My kingdom is the family of the faith sons of my Father who is in heaven. For this purpose was I born into this world, even that I should show my Father to all men and bear witness to the truth of God. And even now do I declare to you that every one who loves the truth hears my voice." Then said Pilate, half in ridicule and half in sincerity, "Truth, what is truth—who knows?"
Note: Michael Hanna was our guest co-host this week, while Kermit Anderson was away.
Summary by Brad
Commentary After Review
We reminded ourselves how important it is to read The Urantia Book reflectively, with as fresh a set of eyes as you can summon the courage and humility to use. The text stands up to critical scrutiny even down to the individual word and its deepest meaning. Without a reflective and fresh approach to the text, you’ll experience nothing but affirmation of your existing old wineskins, and none of the revelation.
We discussed this giant problem of ill-humor and dislike taking root in our outer lives and growing into ill-will and hatred in our inner lives. Our freewill emplaces it there in our inner lives, where we are sovereign. Everyone is certain to experience dislike of some other people; this is unavoidable and not problematic in and of itself. But through a story one of us related in their own life, we heard how unbridled dislike feeds on itself and grows into hatred. Does that hatred have any effect on the person it is directed at? No, not at all. It only harms the person who harbors it, increasingly devouring and destroying them from the inside-out. Oh, horrible! Most horrible!
So what is the key to not harboring hatred? or excising any hatred that already has taken root in your inner life? The key is simple: reflect! Don’t get around the situation, get above it. First, remove yourself from situations that promote hatred’s growth (corner bars after work might be cyclonic breeding grounds, for example). Next, supply favorable conditions. It might take years to undo the damage caused by an infection of hatred. But don't delay. Start humbly, patiently improving yourself now, today... if you will.
185:3. The Private Examination by Pilate
We began by noting that, for his day and age, Pontius Pilate was no plain man. He had a foundational integrity of thought borne of a superior education and elevated life station. The 5th ER directly implies he not only was encircuited in the Holy Spirit, but also possessed a Thought Adjuster. Pilate was well-educated and well-read; for example, he understood Jesus’ kingdom was a metaphorical one rooted in “kin-ness” (a background in reading Stoic teachings helped him understand this).
If all this be so, then what was Pilate’s problem? Why did he miss the mark so widely when examining Jesus? We suggested his main problem was that, in his conscious mind, he was an active adherent of skepticism. There are, we confess, helpful aspects to being a skeptic: any true skeptic has invested considerable time sincerely reflecting on the problems of life. And they are skilled in refuting fallacious arguments. But alas, a holistic embrace of skepticism’s “purely negative attitude” leads one to believe there is no such thing as truth. We considered Pilate's skepticism from both sides:
On a superficial level, Pilate’s skepticism helped him critically analyze and refute the 3 charges brought against Jesus by the Sanhedrists.
- Pilate dismissed the first charge—perverting the Jewish nation—by assuring Jesus he found it to be ridiculous, even as he sat by Jesus’ side as a civilized man would.
- Concerning the second charge (not paying taxes), Pilate was wholly within the proper bounds of his job as a Roman procurator to be concerned about tax matters. But John Zebedee confidently explained to Pilate that Jesus and his apostles paid all necessary taxes.
- The third charge—that Jesus called himself King of the Jews—was the most difficult for Pilate to fathom, as indicated by his famous but superficial response, “Am I a Jew?”
Even so, Pilate saw through these three fallacious charges and shortly declared to the Sanhedrists that Jesus “ought to be set free.” That Pilate lacked the courage or ability to stand up to them is another story for another day (specifically Section 1 of this paper and our recent February 11th episode.
Despite Pilate's skill at refuting these charges, his deeper problems borne of skepticism remained. He didn't believe truth exists. Jesus tried to spark Pilate’s connection to the three cosmic intuitions by appealing to the unreasonableness of the assertion that his kingdom was somehow of this world (we noted that Jesus never missed an opportunity to engage a true human consciousness, even when his mortal life is at stake). Pilate slightly responded to Jesus’ prodding on this reasonableness issue, enough to conclude that Jesus was just some harmless visionary. But Pilate was utterly lost when Jesus brought up truth—how through faith and by love we might discover a love of truth. Pilate was unable to fathom Jesus’ words. Hence Pilate’s most time-tested of all pithy questions, “What is truth?” (the full sentence was “Truth, what is truth—who knows?”).
We discussed how unfortunate it is that skeptic of giant intellect allow themselves to live an entire life under the absurd and trivially refutable axiom of “falsehood exists, therefore truth does not exist.” A fairer and far more philosophical statement might be, “I've never observed truth. But because I can observe falsehood, that demands that somewhere truth must exist. I will be patient and wait until I someday discover truth.”
Throughout this section, we encouraged ourselves to reflect and imagine putting ourselves in Pilate’s shoes. Would you do better than Pilate did in these circumstances? Don’t be so sure you would! Consider:
- Could you objectively consider charges brought against someone? Don’t just wave this question off thinking “Oh, I’ll never be in such a high and mighty position,” because as you progress through the ascension career your responsibilities assuredly will increase.
- Are you certain you already know truth and love truth? Don’t be so sure you’ve ever known truth, much less loved it or obeyed it. Don't set the bar too low. Almost no human on our planet has ever known truth. Truth is living and cannot be expressed in words. And concerning love, most everyone considers love to be only a feeling. The excellent news here is, for the first time in our planet’s history, we have the 5th ER that is not only striving to reveal truth, but very directly trying to help up understand what truth is.
In the end, we observed this story of Pilate is a form of tragedy. And like all great tragedies, historical or fictional, they lend themselves to deep reflection on the part of the diligent student.
185:4. Jesus Before Herod
Section 4’s recounting of Jesus being taken to Herod was a relative letdown compared to the preceding section with Pilate.
The revelators don’t mince words: they describe Herod as “wicked.” Wickedness implies sinfulness. And although goodness can overcome evil, it cannot overcome sin.
It should not surprise us, then, how little substance came out of this time Jesus spent before Herod. Herod made fun of Jesus and tried to goad him into performing a miracle—immature behavior scarcely better than that of the temple guards earlier that morning during the hour of humiliation. Herod was self-satisfied in his own vulgar behavior, and he was superficially relieved that Jesus showed no sings of being the reincarnated John the Baptist out for revenge. And that was all he got out of the encounter.
Herod, overgrown schoolyard bully he was, sent Jesus back to Pilate outfitted mockingly in an old purple robe. That’s where we’ll pick up the story next.
Notes by Brad
- Take reflective time to notice what, in the text, you otherwise might gloss over.
- Its masterful construction lends itself to this, rest assured.
- This is the only way something can be a revelation, instead of a mere affirmation.
- Avoid old wineskins, or you'll misinterpret almost every word in the book.
- Ill-will versus ill-humor
- Note the use of the word will. That is a high word. It implied hatred.
- This author recounted a story of a former coworker he discovered he was on the way toward hating.
- And he noticed it was beginning to destroy him.
- It took several year to unwind those feelings of hatred.
- It didn't matter that this person was or was not corrupt. The nucleus of dislike began to feed on itself.
- A lot of circular rants at the corner bar demonstrated that we were getting nowhere in consideration of this person in our beer-addled rantings.
- "I have to get over how I feel about this one person." Notice the phrase get over it, as in get above it. Overcome it. These words are direct, vertically-oriented words.
- Don't get around the situation, get above it.
- Burdens were so lightened after this.
- Reflection is the guaranteed way to avoid hatred. If you try to avoid hatred by merely availing yourself of your fancy-animal capacity, you will fail.
- This is actually why authoritarian regimes come to be so often; they're a fancy-animal solution to dislike and those who disagree with you.
- There are people like this in every office, town, family, etc.
- "If it be so, why be it so particular with thee?"
- A fitting quote from Hamlet. There will always be people you dislike. That's unavoidable. But personalizing it and willingly turn it into white-hot hatred? Why do that? Why willingly destroy yourself?
- The three cosmic intuitions are the tools that help us get over these things.
- Pilate was a relatively self-realized person in his day.
- No accident he was a leader. Note the threefold possession he had:
- MIND. he was confused in mind.
- HEART. Fearful of the Jews in his heart. This is the upper-domain in the hourglass analogy. Encircuitment in the Holy Spirit.
- SPIRIT. Mightily stirred in his spirit by the spectacle of Jesus. He has a Thought Adjuster
- We all have these 3 gifts these days. But it is sad to record... so few people use them these days.
- Instead, they just bulldoze with the lower 3 of the seven adjust mind-spirits.
- They think short term, very little long term.
- He understands "kingdom" in Jesus' metaphorical sense.
- "King" is short for "kin-ing," so a type of brotherhood.
- Pilate's read much, much material, including of the Stoics who say, "The wise man is king."
- Today we better understand the kingdom metaphor Jesus is using here. In Pilate's times, human kings were everywhere and therefore the word seemed quite literal.
- Yes Pilate had foundational integrity of thought. So what was Pilate's problem then?
- His objective view of things was an unconscious activity.
- Consciously, he was an active skeptic. Which is a "purely negative" worldview that will lead to nihilism and not a very artful technique of living.
- When the going gets tough and situations are trying, you need conscious, courageous and independent cosmic thinking.
- No accident he was a leader. Note the threefold possession he had:
- Pilate considers the 3 charges against Jesus
- He was not the plainest of plain men. Nor the arch-boogieman he's made out to be at times. He approached the charges against Jesus methodically.
- His conscious skepticism helped (though it is easily an overplayed skill). He can refute these fallacious charges.
- An anyone who is a true skeptic clearly has depth. They've spent time reflecting on the problems of life.
- Hence, Pilate could be "possibly sincere" in his tone when questioning Jesus. Sincerity is borne of a reflective mind as well.
- 1st charge: He recognized it was ridiculous. He sat down by Jesus' side, not lording over him. There was a measure of decency and civilization in him.
- Of course, in short order his moral cowardice will dominate him, and his poor relation with the Jewish leaders doesn't help.
- 2nd charge: He's practically concerned about an accusation of not paying taxes.
- Nothing wrong with that. That's his job. He's a Roman administrator, after all.
- 3rd charge: Are you the king of the Jews, Jesus?
- "Am I a Jew" is one of Pilate's greatest hits. Here we get the context, not just the quote.
- But it is such a surficial question in response to what Jesus said here about his kingdom. And he still postures a bit, using his rank and station in the Roman empire.
- Jesus simply declares this salvation is for Jew and gentile. The mere fact Jesus is engaging Pilate in this objective, patient way is evidence of this! Pilate, a gentile, is being ministered to by Jesus in this very moment.
- The Sanhedrin dropped the word treason in this. They knew Jesus wasn't even a dealer of sedition (seditionmonger).
- "I think Jesus ought to be set free," concluded Pilate to the Sanhedrists.
- But he didn't have the courage to withstand their contempt and disrespect for his political ruling poisition.
- The Sanhedrists accuse Jesus of being a fanatic. Yet they are the ones "wildly shouting."
- Jesus tries to spark Pilate's 3 cosmic intuitions.
- He asks Pilate to consider the reasonableness of this kingdom question. That's at attempted grounding in the 1st cosmic intuition, the foundation of a reflective mind. Basic causality. "Pilate, does this even make sense?"
- And a physics lesson, as we say
- Through faith and by love. Faith is a nucleus point for this kingdom, and then love is how it is realized—personal realization of divine fellowship.
- And beyond love, there is truth.
- Is Jesus trying to be acquitted?
- No. Jesus will never stop to try to engage a true human consciousness--that's the nature of his ministry in his bestowal!
- Jesus also is a shining example of someone who can remain calm under massive duress. Can Pilate recognize that and reflect on it?
- The revelators often appeal to our common sense (i.e., 1st cosmic intuition), too.
- Example: they ask us to consider how hydrogen and oxygen combine to produce water, and how this should have prevented all materialistic philosophy.
- Of course a skeptic would ask "quid est veritas?" ("Truth, what is truth? Who knows?")
- A philosophic skeptic ignorantly proclaims, "I see falsehood everywhere. "Falsehood exists, therefore truth does not exist."
- It's worse than that. If one rejects truth, you actually reject falsehood too. Falsehood has no meaning in the absence of truth. If you can't know truth, you can't know falsehood!
- It's no different than "everything is relative" or "absolute relativism." A moment of humble reflection reveals such ideas to be absurd. Such statements are one-sided doors—i.e., logically impossible and absurd.
- How unfortunate the skeptic is "wholly negative." They don't see the trivial fallacy in their most foundational tenant.
- The better thing to conclude: "I've never observed truth. But because I can observe falsehood, that demands that somewhere truth must exist. I should be patient and wait until I discover it."
- "I think I love truth! Per this section, can I hear Jesus' voice?" you ask.
- Well, don't set the bar too low.
- Don't assume you've found genuine faith yet. Or genuine love yet. Much less truth yet (remember, it's faith, then love, then truth).
- Why? The full, holistic transcendent nature of the upper domain of mind is far, far off.
- Humans have never known what truth is. And when you say love most humans who have ever lived have only thought of a feeling (second level of meaning, far from the sixth level of meaning)
- And don't be surficial about "hearing" the voice of Jesus. This isn't about eardrums hearing sounds. After all, Jesus often said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
- As we read about Pilate, we consider putting ourselves in his shoes.
- Don't treat Pilate as some non-factural bogeyman. Think of him as a man, just as we "behold the man" that is Jesus.
- What would you do in Pilate's place?
- Can you avoid repeating the same mistakes Pilate made?
- Could you objectively consider serious charges against someone?
- "Oh, that'll never happen!" Don't be so sure. Finaliters will be given large-scoped universe assignments!
- There's no blissfully playing a harp on a cloud for all eternity.
- Or even sooner, what if you're assigned as the corporeal staff with a Planetary Prince? How would you behave with such truth and authority in your hands? With no Thought Adjuster for awhile, no less!
- It's not too early (despite the long ascension career ahead) to start reflecting on this now.
- Can you delight in the recognition of the responsibilities that will be in the ages to come? Can you be courageous and not fearful when this recognition dawns?
- Do you know truth? Even if you aren't a skeptic, like Pilate do you "know not the truth?"
- Are you, then, a heathen who rages?
- Are you reading Francis Bacon's "Of Truth" hoping to understand truth? Don't count on it. Such essays mostly are impenetrable fogs of verbiage that mask the author's underlying ignorance.
- The 5th ER is a revelation that attempts to help us understand what truth is. Previous epochal revelations merely attempted to reveal truth and have people unwittingly back into it. With the 5th ER, they want you to consciously know truth.
- The tragedy of Pontius Pilate. Big stories like this (or fictional ones like Hamlet) can provoke us into a reflective state where we ponder what we might do. And that's good training for us, for the ever-increasing responsibilities we will bear in the ages to come.
- But it might not do you as much help to put yourself in Herod's place.
- They describe Herod as "wicked." And wickedness cannot be overcome with goodness. Wickedness implied being considerably sinful—deliberate disloyalty to Deity.
- All Herod seeks is Jesus to perform a wondrous material miracle, as idle amusement.
- Will Jesus observe some glimmer of sincerity in Herod? No.
- It's easier to cut slack to Pilate and even Judas than it is Herod.
- All told, there's little news about Herod to report.