Episode:Jesus Goes Public—Precursor and Prelude (Part 5)
Said Jesus to John's disciples: "Tell John that I have not forgotten but to suffer me also this, for it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness. Tell him what you have seen and heard—that the poor have good tidings preached to them—and, finally, tell the beloved herald of my earth mission that he shall be abundantly blessed in the age to come if he finds no occasion to doubt and stumble over me."
Opening thought: How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O Lord my God: lighten mine eyes...I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me. [Psalm 13]
Summary by Kermit
Commentary after Review
SoS discussed further the perfecting nature of righteousness contrasted with the perfected quality of divinity. Righteousness, the growing personal harmonization of the experiential aspects of threefold cosmic reality—fact, truth, goodness is always expanding and increasingly seeking its culminating attainment of divinity—the perfected personal realization of the threefold aspects of existential cosmic reality—beauty, truth, goodness.
It is unfortunate that centuries of ecclesiastical tyranny and the secular revolt therefrom have left many with a tendency to focus exclusively on a God as a loving merciful Creator while neglecting the necessity of concomitantly cultivating a righteous character in conformity with divine law.
The emphatic and highly charged style of John preaching well served the bestowal mission as an attention getting initiation for the subsequent revelation of a personal and loving Father through Jesus.
135:11 John in Prison
John’s eighteen months in Herod’s prison was a bitter and lonely time. That Jesus did not visit him and sent no message of comfort until just before his execution was the subject of much of our discussion.
This was a severe test of John's faith and loyalty to Jesus, God, and even the genuineness of his own mission and experience. [89:10.2] delineates the stepwise consequences of diminishing degrees of loyalty, culminating in its death as exhibited in devotion to godless ideals. Not to imply that John was on the road to iniquity, but his temptation to doubt (indecision) was certainly an invitation to step one on that path. John had definitively spiritualized his loyalty, i.e., his loyalties were under his personality management.
Everything about his time in prison was a test for John. An additional challenge to his loyalties arrived in the form of his disciples who questioned Jesus’ fidelity to John with his lack of any effort to effect his deliverance. Whereupon, to the astonishment of all, including John himself, he delivers a stirring declaration of prophetic dimensions asserting his faith in and loyalty to his mission as herald and the mission of Jesus as the Deliverer. Following this John never wholly doubted Jesus’ divinity or mission, but he remained deeply disappointed that Jesus withheld word or visit from him.
Jesus of course knew the plans afoot for John upon his death and resurrection; realizing John’s work as herald was finished and having himself been confronted with the complexities of managing his sympathetic response to human need while possessed of his recently attained creator powers (for example, the wedding at Cana) constrained himself not to interfere in the natural outworking of the great preacher prophet’s career.
It was just a few days before his death that John sent his disciples to Jesus with the inquiries of a man on the very brink of collapse: “Is my work done? Why do I languish in prison? Are you truly the Messiah, or shall we look for another?” To which Jesus at last replied with a message of comfort, thereby stabilizing his faith in preparation for his tragic end.
Comparison of the specific wording of the 5th ER narrative with gospel and other historical writings reveals countless clarifications and coordination of essential knowledge designed to facilitate access to the truths of the revelation by reducing the friction of erroneous material.
135:12 Death of John the Baptist
This section provides some backstory for Herod and further coordination of essential knowledge. Further testimony to John’s courage and faith is shown in that John could have secured release if he had only agreed to leave Herod’s domains or refrain from public preaching. Herod talked with John numerous times about the kingdom of heaven and was seriously impressed with John’s message. However, he lacked the courage to release John.
We noted similarities between the persons of Herod and Pontius Pilate in that they are depicted as men of some substance and not merely one- or two-dimensional evil characters without redeemable features. After all, to qualify for wickedness one has to be human with functional free will. Only then can their acts be truly wicked.
The dramatic and tragic circumstances of John’s execution, cleverly engineered by Herodias are familiar to most having been many times portrayed on the silver screen. Interesting that the midwayers fail to give Salome, daughter of Herodias, name recognition in this narrative.
Thus closes the chapter of John the Baptist as herald of Jesus’ bestowal.
Paper 136 Baptism and the Forty Days
We have commented on the contrast between John and Jesus. John aroused the already expectant Jewish people with a call to repentance and righteousness or be subject to God’s wrath. Jesus comes along reiterating the call to repentance and return to righteousness, but with the assurance of being received by a personal God of love and mercy.