ON LOVE; PART MCCCLXXII
FIRST IS THE GREAT COMMANDMENTS: “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31).
WHAT THEN IS LOVE? In a general sense love is benevolence, good will; that disposition of heart which inclines men to think favorably of their fellow men, and to do them good. In a theological sense, it includes supreme love to God, and universal good will to men. While this IS from an older definition of Charity, which IS rendered in the King James Bible from the same Greek word agape which IS generally rendered as Love, we should amend our own definition here to include the idea that in the reality of Love a man will accord to ALL men ALL things that he would accord to himself and to say that Love IS our thoughts and attitude of the equality of ALL men regardless of their outward nature or appearance…that ALL ARE equally children of Our One God.
PLUS THE EVER IMPORTANT AND HIGH IDEAL TAUGHT TO US BY THE CHRIST: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12).
In the last essay we continued with our discussion of the parables of Jesus regarding the nature of the Kingdom of God. We began a few posts back with the more simple ideas by which the Master was comparing the Kingdom of God to things that men KNOW in this world but we stalled on the last one, the Parable of the Net. The stall here IS based in our extended view of this parable which includes verses that most ‘authorities’ DO NOT apply to the parable but which ARE connected by the word ‘therefore’ to show us a deeper reality. For us there IS a link in these words to our previous discussions on the “spiritual gifts” that Paul speaks of in our selection from his First Epistle to the Corinthians through the idea of prophecy. We should understand that this idea IS NOT limited to the types of prophecy we find in the Old Testament but rather include ALL that men presume to KNOW of the Kingdom and of God as they instruct others and it IS here that the final part of the Parable of the Net should be applied. In regard to that prophecy which Paul shows us saying that “though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not
charity agape, I am nothing“, his point should be clear. And, if we can equate the idea of having the Kingdom with expressing agape, ALL can then be seen a bit more clearly. We should include the ideas of being able to “understand all mysteries“, having “all faith” or that Power of KNOWING that enables one to “remove mountains” under the general idea of prophecy and understand that a man CAN NOT DO these things in the absence of agape which IS tantamount to having the Kingdom of God. Without finalizing our discussion on this last part of the Parable of the Net, we moved on to yet another comparison to the Kingdom that the Master offers us and in this parable we can perhaps find the KEY to rightly understanding them ALL. This final comparison IS deemed by the church to be strictly eschatological but in our view this IS NOT so; the ideas shown us here in this Parable of the Tares ARE purely personal and while they can be extended to a global idea, this global view of the end times IS NOT Jesus’ intent in any greater way than it IS in the Parable of the Net. Repeating our listing of those parabolic ideas of comparison including the Parable of the Tares, we read:
- “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof“
- “Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened“
- “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field“
- “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it“
- “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord. Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old“” (Matthew 13:31-32, 33, 44, 45-46, 47-52).
- The Parable of the Tares IS rendered as “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn” (Matthew 13:24-30).
- To this the Disciples ask “Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field” to which the Master replies “He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 13:37-43).
These words encompass nearly the entire text of the thirteenth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel; what IS missing IS the Parable of the Sower which itself holds KEYS to our understanding these comparisons as Jesus shows us four stages of human behavior as it pertains to men’s spiritual endeavor. We should understand here that despite the way that the Master’s gives rather detailed explanations of His original parables to His disciples, there IS yet little understanding of the mysteries that ARE actually revealed. Then as now, Jesus’ words ARE intended to awaken everyman to the deeper Truths that ARE discernable ONLY to those whose focus IS changing, ONLY to those who ARE committed to Repentance, those that have changed their focus off of themselves and the things of the self and onto the Truth that IS God. While the disciples had Repented and were being Transformed, the ideas that the Master presented to them were still quite alien. His ideas had to break through the fixations of the carnal mind, fixations that ARE inherent in their individual sense of vanity and exacerbated by their individual nurturing and indoctrination. The state of men today IS NO different yet because of the force of the doctrinal teachings that have for some covered Lifetimes, too many believe that they have seen and understood the mysteries that Jesus presents. But who has Truly been able to break through the fixations of the carnal mind? Who has been able to see past the dictations of doctrines which purport to have the ‘final’ word on the interpretations of Jesus’ words? Much like the way that the Master’s words here from Matthew’s Gospel and inclined to the individual stories of men, so too IS the discernment of each individual who can break through ALL that he has been taught in error. It IS this same dilemma that Jesus’ shows us as He tells the Jews about the inadequacies of their doctrines using the words of the prophet that told of the same inadequacies to the Jews in his day some 700 years prior. The words of the prophet, repeated by the Master, ARE intended to set forth a Truth; NOT that the doctrines ARE false in their entirety but rather that the interpretation and practice of them IS wholly different from the original intent. In their singular statement they DO NOT show us specifics but rather that the individual deviations from the Truth ARE spread throughout their words; from the prophet and from the Master these deviations from the Truth ARE revealed but they ARE NOT learned. The Jews in Isaiah’s day continued in their doctrinally deviant ways as DID the Jews to whom the Master spoke and we should understand here that both groups sought to terminate the messenger rather than to accept his condemning words. Today the same dynamic IS at play but remains unseen as there IS NO Isaiah nor Jesus to show the deviations of doctrines with the Power needed for change. This will perhaps change with the return of the Christ but we should just try to imagine the difficulty that a True Teacher would have today against 2000 years of doctrinal error. This leaves us today as it did the Jews of history. This leaves it to the individual to discern the Truth and to act upon it in His own Life. For this to work however, one must admit that these words of Truth ARE NOT intended for the Jew ONLY nor for the Jew in the days of the prophet and the Master; they tell us “Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mark 7:6-7). Again, we should see the idea of prophecy in the right context here and understand that from Isaiah’s perspective these words were for his day and thereafter as a teaching and NOT ONLY as a prediction of the behavior of men in the future. The same should be seen in Jesus’ repeating of this charge against the doctrinal approaches of the Jews and then seen as predictive of the doctrinal attitudes of the new Christian religion.
Few see or understand the church’s dilemma; few see or understand that the crux of the whole doctrinal problem and the direction if its teaching IS found in Jesus’ closing words to His disciples. These words ARE acknowledged by the church as the Great Commission but the ideas that ARE developed to act upon Jesus’ words ARE fatally flawed and have been since the early church. The doctrines of men ARE but a series of flawed interpretations of the words of the Master and His apostles and we DO NOT use this idea lightly. From the misconceptions regarding heaven and hell, to the personalities created for God and Satan, to the reliance upon the words of Paul for ‘salvation‘, ALL are but the inventions of men. The Truth of the Master’s words has been left out of the greater reality of the Christian religions and this has been done with reckless abandon. Men have ever plunged forward with doctrinal edicts and theologies that ARE NOT based in the Truth but rather in what IS more easily accomplished by men. We should understand here that this IS the same fault that Jesus calls out the Jews for; this IS the same “commandments of men” albeit in regard to Christian themes rather than Jewish. Jesus rails against the Jews for taking the most mundane parts of the law given by Moses and allowing this mitzvah to substitute for the Truth under the ‘authority’ of the scribes, the Pharisees and the priests. Little emphasis was directed toward the interrelationships of men with men and especially of the religious elite with the common people. It was the dictates of the doctrinal church that made men sinners and NOT the deeper realities which Jesus confirmed for us in the Great Commandments. Today’s church has greatly exacerbated such problems; for the Jew there was a written law that covered both the spiritual and the mundane which the Jews combined with a focus upon the easier and clearer mundane edicts. For the Christian however there IS ONLY the spiritual which IS covered by the Master and His apostles. The church had to misinterpret, invent if you will, spiritual guidance based solely in misapplied, misunderstood and misinterpreted ideas taken out of context and strung together into what we see as their nebulous doctrinal approach to the Lord. How then IS the Great Commission fatally flawed? Simply in the reaction of the various denominations and sects to the most specific words of Jesus who says “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). The first flaw we should see IS the rendering of ethnos as nations; both Strong’s and Thayer’s offer us doctrinal ideas in regard to ethnos which IS most often rendered as gentiles and understood as those that ARE NOT Jews. The doctrinal approach IS just that and we should read between the lines to find the Truer meaning and one that fits into most ALL uses of the word. Thayer’s begins by saying that ethnos IS: a multitude (whether of men or of beasts) associated or living together; a company, troop, swarm; this IS followed by a clearer picture defining ethnos as: a multitude of individuals of the same nature or genus, the human race 9. After this their definitions devolve into doctrinal ideas. Strong’s defining ideas ARE NOT so global; they define ethnos as: a race (as of the same habit), i.e. a tribe; specially, a foreign (non-Jewish) one (usually, by implication, pagan):—Gentile, heathen, nation, people 9a, ALL of which are more doctrinally suited than the beginning ideas from Thayer’s. Vincent defines ethnos for us saying that it means: The whole human race; though the word is generally employed in the New Testament to denote Gentiles as distinguished from Jews 4 and we should question here whether his reference IS to the original intent of the word in the New Testament or its treatment in the doctrines of men. For us the answer IS that the original texts’ intent IS to show ALL men; it IS ALL men that ARE the object of ALL of Jesus words.
Can we see the point here? Can we see that this Great Commission, as well as Jesus’ entire teaching, IS directed to ALL men? The next flaw IS in the idea of teaching from the Greek word matheteuo; this IS a very different word than didaskō which IS rendered as teaching in the next verse. Thayer’s tells us that matheteuo means: to be the disciple of one; to follow his precepts and instruction as an intransitive verb and to make a disciple; to teach, instruct 9 when used as a transitive one. This idea of discipleship IS used by several translations and Vincent tells us that the word IS simply to: make disciples of 4. Here we must see the idea of discipleship in Jesus’ terms and NOT in the way that this word IS carnally understood; Jesus places rather strict criteria on being His disciple and if we read the charge of the Great Commission according to these deeper ideas we can see the force IS that the apostles and those that follow will make disciples of all men, of The whole human race. Here we should be clear on the Master’s use of the word disciple; in our trifecta He tells us that “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed” and this idea of indeed from the Greek alethos IS better understood as truly 4 according to Vincent; both Thayer’s and Strong’s agree. The Master’s idea of the disciple then IS one who DOES “continue in my word” and it IS this understanding that we should transport to the Great Commission. Luke offers us a more descriptive idea of discipleship which we should see IS contained in the idea of keeping His words; we read the Master’s words as “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple….So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26-27, 33). Can we better understand the charge given to the apostles and those that choose to follow in their ways? There ARE other flaws in the doctrinal ideas concerning the Great Commission but the greatest IS what the church teaches. Jesus commands that the ‘church’ should make disciples of all men by “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” but this has become the teaching of the various doctrines of men which have little to DO with Jesus’ commandments.
What we should understand here IS that to make disciples of others that one must be a disciple himself and when we can understand that discipleship comes ONLY to those who will keep His words, we will then be better able to see the whole of Jesus’ message to men. This message has been diluted and changed by the doctrines of men; changed from the reality of keeping His words as the Path to that “glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21) to the following of arbitrary and nebulous doctrinal precepts that will NOT accomplish this on their own. The dilution of His words has caused men to seek after doctrinal ideas rather that the Truth which IS that we can become “partakers of the divine nature” which Peter tells us IS accomplished by escaping “the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4). This escape IS founded in Jesus’ words on discipleship; founded upon the ability of men to escape their personal and mundane lives and enter into a new freedom where the desires for the things and the relationships within the world IS greatly diminished. Can we see the idea of forsaking here? This IS the reality presented by the apostles; a reality that has been changed to reject ALL spiritual Truth and to place the goal of men into doctrinal ideas of heaven and hell rather than discipleship and True holiness here and now. It IS in this reality that the words of the Master concerning heaven, His words that show us the comparison of the Kingdom to our mundane affairs. When we can understand the ideas presented in Jesus’ comparisons in terms of our lives here and now, we can then enter into the reality of the Kingdom by DOING as DOES the “merchant man, seeking goodly pearls” and the man who finds that “treasure hid in a field“. Both “selleth all that he hath” to possess the most valuable treasure of ALL which IS one’s Presence in the Kingdom here and now. In these ideas IS the end point of keeping His words and while such ideas ARE beyond the conscious thinking of men both in and out of the church, this forsaking of ALL for the Kingdom begins with the evermore simple ideas presented in our trifecta which we repeat saying:
- “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).
- “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
- “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me” (John 14:21-24).
Jesus shows us the KEYS to the Kingdom in His words above; the idea that we should “continue in my word“, that we must “doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven“, show us the Way to the Truth and to the Kingdom of God and to deny such clear and strong statements IS but folly. The Master adds that “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me” and while most of the Christian world claims to Love the Lord, most DO NOT DO as he says which idea Jesus’ clearly frames for us in such sayings as “why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). While this concept IS ignored by the church that has created its own sense of ‘salvation‘ in its doctrinal precepts, these words DO have the same meaning today as they did when they were spoken 2000 years ago. We find then that the reward for keeping His words IS the Truth by which we can discern the mysteries according to our own ability to pour Soul Light into our carnal personalities and perhaps the degree of double-mindedness that we yet carry; this IS the product of the first part of our trifecta. We find also that we have access to the Kingdom and if we can understand that this Kingdom IS within according to the Master’s words saying “the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21) we can then understand the relationship between our own Souls and the Kingdom of God….that the Soul ever dwells in this Kingdom. This IS of course contrary to most ALL Christian beliefs and many try, from the beginning, to reframe Jesus’ words to deflect this idea of God Within as a general rule of Life in favor of their own ideas. Ideas founded in their illusion and glamour that declare that the Kingdom IS ONLY accessible to the ‘believer‘ and then ONLY after the death of the body. We should try to see that this access to the Kingdom IS a matter of realization that comes into the personality, into the previously carnally oriented mind, as a part of that Transformation that removes us from our worldly cares and pursuits; this Paul shows us saying “be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). This realization of the Kingdom IS the product of the second part of our trifecta. Finally we have the idea of the Presence of the Lord in our lives and here we must see that this too IS a realization that comes through the Soul which IS ever One with the Lord and IS part and parcel of His being. This again IS framed for us by the Master in clear language which, for the man in this world, lacks ONLY the ability to discern what this Presence IS. Jesus tells us “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings“. That the Christian world sees themselves as “born again” based in their doctrines and thereby entitled to the Kingdom of Heaven when they die, IS NOT a Truly biblical concept but a carnal idea strung together through unrelated and out of context words of the Master and His apostles. Other parts of the church rely upon equally nebulous doctrinal ideas, based again in the unrelated and out of context words of the Master and His apostles. Words that ARE then applied to certain rites and rituals which have become carnally based efforts to find True spiritual rewards without the Master’s clear saying that “If a man love me, he will keep my words“. His words that ARE our trifecta ARE the True KEYS to the Kingdom of God and NOT these ONLY. There ARE countless sayings from Jesus that show us these same ideas found throughout His teaching. While much IS ofttimes embedded in parabolic sayings, most ARE NOT that difficult to discern for the True seeker of spiritual Truth.
This brings us back to our discussion of the parables of Jesus that show us the ‘value’ of the Kingdom of God. Here we should understand that those seeking the Kingdom and DOING such things as sowing it into one’s Life as the “mustard seed” and using it as leaven to leaven the whole Life which brings the Kingdom into the heart will succeed. Those also who forsake ALL to gain the Kingdom as it were “one pearl of great price” or a field containing such treasure ARE those that will gain the Kingdom here and now. We should understand that the full ‘value’ of the Kingdom IS here and now and that hopes of attaining the Kingdom after one’s death IS ONLY the result of having it in one’s Life. While the church has taught men that their ‘spiritual’ fate after they die IS of singular importance, they DO so at the their own detriment and the detriment of those that they teach. In these parables, in most ALL parables, the hidden idea IS ever that we keep His words as this IS the Way to the Kingdom which IS represented for us in such ideas as: “the glorious liberty of the children of God“, becoming “partakers of the divine nature” and the realities of our trifecta….the Truth, realization of the Kingdom and the Presence of the Lord active in one’s Life. We should try to see here how that it IS this Presence which IS our realization of Truth and that the Kingdom IS that “glorious liberty” which IS the Way that we DO become partakers. Despite their ardent claims, there ARE NO shortcuts nor IS there special dispensation given to the Christian ‘believer‘. For the most part the parables of Jesus that show us the nature of the Kingdom can be taken quite literally; not according to the specifics of the individual comparisons but rather according to the resultant idea that men will forsake ALL for the Kingdom. And forsake they must as we should KNOW from the Master’s interaction with the ‘rich young ruler‘. While we DO NOT KNOW any specifics regarding this man who IS called one who came to Jesus by Matthew, one who came running by Mark and a “certain ruler” by Luke, we DO KNOW that “he was very rich” (Luke 18:18, 23) and, according to Matthew, that he was a “young man” (Matthew 19:22). The point here, a point that IS NOT accepted by the doctrinal thinker, IS that this “young man” IS being told very clearly that he must forsake ALL that he has to gain his spiritual goal. John Gill gives us the flavor of the doctrinal thinking on the idea that one should “go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven” (Matthew 19:21). Mr. Gill tells us: not that either the law of God, or Gospel of Christ, require this to be done of all men, and at all times; for though it is a duty binding upon all, and always, to relieve the poor and the needy, yet a man is not obliged to give all that he has to them 8. It IS dilutions of the Master’s words such as this doctrinal idea that deflects men’s True seeking after the Truth as they ARE told that Jesus’ words ARE NOT as they seem to be and it IS in such ideas that the Christian church has failed to show the spiritual Light that the Master presents us throughout His words. Mr. Gill continues and here we should note that his explanations ARE carnally focused, that they lack any True spiritual understanding. He continues saying that: nor does either legal or Christian perfection lie in doing this: a man may give all his goods to the poor and yet be destitute of the grace of God, much less can such an action merit the heavenly treasure of eternal life 8. In the end Mr. Gill DOES acknowledge the need to forsake ALL for the sake of Christ and his Gospel as he relates the idea to the deeper Truth of following Christ saying that: nevertheless of some persons, and in some cases, it has been required, that they part with all their worldly substance, for the sake of Christ and his Gospel; as the apostles were called to leave all and follow Christ, as this man was also 8. While acknowledging the reality of being a True follower of the Master, Mr. Gill at the same time misses the idea as this relates to the regular ‘believer‘ who, through his doctrines, believes that he IS such a follower.
It IS this idea of forsaking that IS at the heart of the Master’s comparisons of the Kingdom to mundane things of value and the result that causes a man to possess that thing. There IS a great test here and should we be able to sense the ‘value’ of the Kingdom, we should be as the man who sowed the “mustard seed” for it to grow into its greatness and as the woman who takes the leaven into the whole of her Life. While these ideas regarding the Kingdom require action by the man in this world who Truly seeks the Kingdom, we should NOT lose track of the deeper idea that causes such action to be taken, agape. In the idea of agape according to the Great Commandment that tells us “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:39), in the unspoken idea of agape that IS the foundation of the Golden Rule which tells us “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12), we should be able to sense the idea of forsaking; NOT ONLY of one’s possessions but ALL that causes us to focus upon the self and the things of the self. This sense of focus IS at the center of forsaking and while the idea seems to be presented to us solely in terms of possessions in the story of the ‘rich young ruler’, it IS far more defined for us in Jesus words on discipleship and on the idea of being worthy of Him, that IS worthy of His Presence in one’s Life. Again, before we look again at these ideas, we should understand that the Presence of God IS NOT the doctrinal ideas that revolve around the Holy Spirit directing one’s Life nor IS it that Jesus comes to live in the heart of a ‘believer‘. The reality of His Presence in one’s Life IS one’s realization of the Truth that flows into the personality from the Soul which IS ever One with the Lord. Jesus tells us that “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” and it IS this idea that shows us first the True nature of agape and second the forsaking of our interpersonal relationships. Can we see here that these ideas of interpersonal relationships ARE but an example which IS concluded in the seemingly cryptic idea that “he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37, 38)? Luke expands for us the same ideas in relationship to discipleship and we should understand that the subject of both Matthew and Luke ARE the same. While Luke ends this dialog with Jesus saying “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” showing us the fullness that He shows the ‘rich young ruler’, He begins with those ideas that ARE NOT counted among one’s possessions. The Master tells us “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple” (Luke 33, 26-27). Can we see the point here? Can we see how that when these words from Matthew and Luke ARE taken together, we have the same instruction and that Loving the Master and being His disciple ARE synonymous ideas? Can we also see that the very definition of Loving Him IS given us by Jesus who tells us “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me” as we read in our trifecta? While there IS NO escape from the logic offered in Jesus words as compiled by the gospel writers, the church has failed to see these Truths against their ardent desire to live as men among men in this world. In the end it IS agape and keeping His words that ARE the True KEY to True salvation and when we can see these ideas as synonymous we can then begin to progress spiritually according to His words and the amplifying and clarifying words of His apostles. We close today repeating our selection from Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians in which the reality of agape and thereby the reality of keeping His words IS shown to be of the utmost importance. The apostle tells us:
“covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not
charityagape, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charityagape, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charityagape, it profiteth me nothing. CharityAgape suffereth long, and is kind; charityagape envieth not; charityagape vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. CharityAgape never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity” (1Corinthians 12:31, 13:1-13).
We will continue with our thoughts in the next post.
- 4 Word Studies in the New Testament; Marvin R Vincent D.D. 2nd edition
- 8 Bible commentaries on BibleStudyTools.com
- 9 Thayer’s Greek Lexicon on blueletterbible.org
- 9a The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible on blueletterbible.org
Those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road.
Voltaire, Writer and Philosopher