Episode:Jesus Goes Public—Preparation and Preaching (Part 11)
Jesus well knew that his apostles were not fully assimilating his teachings. He decided to give some special instruction to Peter, James, and John, hoping they would be able to clarify the ideas of their associates. Accordingly, Jesus went out from the shore in a boat with them to talk over the affairs of the kingdom—a four hours’ teaching conference, embracing scores of questions and answers.
Opening thought: God, when he gave the world in common to all mankind, commanded man also to work...God and his reason commanded man to subdue the earth, i.e. improve it for the benefit of life...A man who, in obedience to this command of God, subdued, tilled, and sowed any part of the Earth thereby joined to it something which another has no title to: [his labor] —John Locke, Second Treatise on Government (lightly paraphrased)
Closing thought: Even though we are called to judge not, lest we be judged, there are social parasites and professional alms-seekers in the world. Be as wise as serpents, but harmless as doves.
Summary by Kermit
Commentary after Review
The difficulty experienced by the twelve in grasping Jesus’ teachings is not unlike the challenges students of the 5th ER encounter in apprehending its truths. The proclivity for grafting new teachings onto existing concept frames (the new wine in old wineskins problem) appears to be a natural feature of human thinking. Remember the apostles lived with Jesus for 3-4 years and had problems understanding the differences between inner life and outer life issues as well as material and spiritual realities. Is it any wonder that we should have major difficulties grasping the meanings in the 5th ER revelation a mere sixty some years into what can be inferred as its shelf life of a thousand years? The only appropriate attitude in our efforts to learn and share this revelation is one of humility.
The morning following their one-on-one time with the Master the apostles recognized their lack of readiness to sally forth proclaiming the gospel and requested more time to prepare for their work, to which Jesus consented to an additional week of preparation.
140:7. The Week Following the Ordination
Jesus began turning over to the twelve teaching small groups of believers who had been gathering at Bethsaida. Evenings were given to private conferences. During this week Jesus attempted to make clear to the twelve the two great motives of his public ministry: revealing the Father to man, and, leading men to become son-conscious, i.e. to cultivate an inner life of the spirit and a consecration to the doing the Father’s will.
Jesus is attempting in Father-like fashion to initiate and directionize in his chosen kingdom builders, religionists of philosophic attainment, see [102:6.3]. In place of the superconscious religiosity of evolutionary religion, the Master is trying to spark the conscious religion of revelation. Recall Michael chose to skip sending a philosophical uplifter, a Magisterial Son to our world prior to his spiritual uplift. Additionally note the 5th ER treatment of religion is done in a philosophic framework.
Following the week of varied activities the ever-vacillating apostles, through their enthusiastic spokespersons Peter and James come to Jesus declaring their readiness to go forth and take the kingdom! To which the Master utters the famous line, suitable for use by parents of headstrong adolescents, “May your wisdom equal your zeal and your courage atone for your ignorance.”
Even though the apostles were still short on comprehension, they did not fail to grasp the significance of the charmingly beautiful life he lived among them. Note the use of the word “charmingly”. It is testimony to our relative cosmic immaturity that we still need the charming passages in the revelation to keep our attention. Let us not allow the charming passages to become mere platitudes.
140:8. Thursday Afternoon on the Lake
With the apostles not fully assimilating his teachings, Jesus decided to give special instruction to Peter, James, and John, who Jesus hoped in turn would clarify to their associates. Some of the features of a spiritual kingdom were being grasped, they still could not disabuse themselves of the idea of the kingdom of heaven as a literal temporal power under rulership of the Messiah of their traditions.
Accordingly, the four went out onto the lake for a four-hours’ teaching conference. We have the summary of the afternoon given by Peter to his brother Andrew reorganized under five topics for us by the midwayers.
1. Doing the Father’s will. Jesus, being exclusively committed to the role of spiritual uplifter and not political, social, or economic reformer, avoided public teaching on these points. However, the 5th ER is not so constrained in its purpose of presenting a revelation of cosmic scope. Care must be taken not to erroneously couch Jesus’ teachings in the domains of institutional reform.
Jesus clearly differentiated between the requirements of apostleship and discipleship, which by the way are still relevant today. His taught against anxiety concerning provision for their material needs, but not against prudence. He strove to initiate the inner life of wisdom, insight, and foresight in place of legacy, tradition, and convention.
He taught nonresistance but not passive tolerance in the face of wrongdoing. Return good for evil, neither return evil for evil, nor passively endure evil. Retaliation and revenge were likewise to be avoided, leaving them to civil governments and God for appropriate resolution. Jesus' teachings are to be applied to the individual not any group. In summary Jesus taught:
- love your enemies,
- the futility of evil, and
- have faith in the eventual triumph of divine justice and eternal goodness.
2. Political Attitude. He taught discretion in all having to do with the tensions between the Romans and the Jewish people. "Render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s and to God that which is God’s" is his eloquent response to those who would attempt to snare him into such an unholy alliance with political pronouncements.
3. Social Attitude. Jesus taught sympathy and compassion, extending the idea of neighbor to include all men and women of the world. He encouraged active and spontaneous kindness, but warned against indiscriminate kindness. Be wise as serpents but as harmless as doves, was his guidance in alms giving.