Episode:Jesus—Teacher of Living Truth (Part 4)
The apostles persisted in holding to their entrenched, material concepts of the kingdom. Consequently, the Master employed a new tactic, inviting Peter, James, and John to spend four hours with him in private instruction about: doing the Father’s will, politics, society, economics, and personal religion. Jesus expanded the details of his new spiritual teachings, and the three conveyed to their fellow apostles what they learned.
Summary by Kermit
8. Thursday Afternoon on the Lake
The apostles persisted in attempting to put Jesus’ “new wine” into the “old wineskins” of their traditional beliefs and entrenched literal concepts of the kingdom representing the restoration of David’s throne and the establishment of Israel as a temporal power. Accordingly, Jesus’ decided to provide further intensive instruction to Peter, James, and John that they might provide clarification of these things to their associates. The authors state that the narrative for this instruction as presented in the 5th ER was a reorganized summary of Peter’s account of the four hour teaching conference as given to Andrew. This teaching event encompassed Jesus’ attitudes concerning: doing the Father’s will, and the realms of politics, the social conduct, economics, and personal religion.
It was pointed out that while we are presented here with Jesus’ teachings, the actual record was taken from Peter’s account as given to Andrew. We all confessed to having a vague sense of deprivation, wishing the authors had paraphrased Jesus’ own words.
In this broadcast we covered: doing the Father’s will, political attitude, and social attitude.
As has been mentioned, Jesus’ mission was to live his life in accordance with the Father’s will. That the pre-eminence of the individual is central to his message is perfectly aligned with the fact that the Father only relates to the individual. That Jesus’ mission was exclusively a spiritual one, likewise accounts for the absence of prescriptive pronouncements of a political, social, or economic nature in his public ministry. So we need to be clear on the nature of these teachings appearing in the 5th ER from Jesus. They go beyond the 4th ER limitations, but are completely in line with the 5th ER revelation mandate. So the misapplication of Jesus’ 4th ER teachings to the extra-personal and other than spiritual domains of human activity must be sorted through and reflected upon by the serious follower of Jesus as to avoid a complete distortion of the 5th ER’s purpose. Now let’s look at the three topics we covered last week.
1. Doing the Father’s will. Jesus’ approval of the old Hebrew saying, “He who will not work shall not eat.” was put into perspective by a passage in paper 69, which points out that the Hebrews were the first tribe to put a supreme premium on industry.
Jesus distinguished between the requirements of discipleship and apostleship affirming the exercise of prudence and foresight. He countenanced forethought not anxiety or worry. He pointed to his life experiences as a carpenter, boatmaker, and fisherman to illustrate the benefits of frugality and thriftiness.
His personal practice of nonresistance was difficult for the apostles to understand. And for two thousand years, his followers have stumbled over this practice when evaluating not only the social or group response to violence, but an individual response to violence. For elsewhere in the revelation Jesus clarifies the distinction between (mercy) personal and (justice) group responses to wrongdoing, and further explains that should he come under attack by one whom he discerns to be lacking in moral judgment and spiritual reason, he WOULD defend himself to the utmost.
His instructions, are aimed at the individual not the state. Summarized, the Master’s instructions are: to love your enemies. That fighting evil with its own weapons is a futile practice, and to have faith in the eventual triumph of divine justice and eternal goodness.
2. Political attitude. Jesus counseled against becoming embroiled in the political affairs of the Jews and Romans. “Render to Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and to God the things which are God’s was Jesus’ common response to his enemies attempts to ensnare him in political controversy. His mission was to establish a new way of salvation. In his personal life, he was duly observant of all civil laws, but in his public teachings he ignored the civic, social, and economic realms. Yet, here in the 5th ER we are given numerous suggestions and direction for reforming all of these realms, inasmuch as the new way of salvation has been established for two thousand years.
3. Social attitude. Jesus’ expanded the neighborhood to include the whole world. However, his interest was in the individual not the mass. He also warned against indiscriminate kindness as a cause of many social evils. His purpose in all social situations was to teach patience, tolerance, and forgiveness.
In exalting family life as the highest human duty, he made it plain that family obligations were not to interfere with religious obligations. He demonstrated this in giving up his own family when the family ran counter to the Father’s will.