This chapter explains the meaning of a teacher – who can be a teacher at a point in time – discusses discipleship, and offers thoughts on the deeper meaning of the teachings.
At the beginning of the chapter Jesus miraculously feeds about a 5000 people with bread and fish. Then he walks on water. As I was reading the passages I wondered what deeper meaning the miracles Jesus performed may bear. According to Beas Jesus did perform miracles but it was not the purpose of his coming into this world . When Jesus says “…, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled” , I presume what he is saying that when he earlier fed them with ‘bread and fish’ aka his teaching they felt filled with Love and experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit and so, now, they seek him and return for more.
Then Jesus says: “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” This sentence is a reminder for those who look for worldly ‘bread’ and the miracles coming from Jesus that his task was with them to teach them about the Father and offer them the Word. This passage reminded me of my relationship with God a well as an observation of mine amongst the devoted religious people. We expect God or his minister to perform miracles and ease our troubles and straighten them out. We don’t want the bread of the Word that makes us walk a challenging Path that is full of responsibilities. Instead, we want the lovey-dovey notion of a caring father who punishes and forgives according to our deeds and expects nothing from us. We want to be passive observers of the Path we trod pretending that we are not expected to see clearly and play our part in the great mystery of Life. That reminds me:
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
Beas explains here that often seekers run after Spiritual Teachers for the fulfilment of their worldly ambitions.
“Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.”
As Beas explains it “‘Sealed’ or appointed Teachers are here to share the ‘bread’ with the true seekers, but only until they are in the flesh. After they have passed on they cannot deliver that bread from heaven to seekers any more. Anyhow, it is not the teacher that matters but the Grace of the Father that is offered through the teacher.”
One of the most challenging part of Ministership must be the ability to always know that the love and devotion – or hatred and distain – that seekers may display is never meant for the Minister but for whom s/he serves, God.
What Jesus says by “ …, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” is only symbolic. The mystical meaning is that he carries the energy of the Name, the Holy Spirit, in him and whoever seeks true fulfilment shall find it with him. He is the One because he is alive at this time to share it in the world. Moses is not the teacher any longer because he is not in the flesh any more.
To my understanding Ministership is to give solace and offer some guidance but only in the matter of the heart, not in the world.
Jesus very clearly states that he acts in command of the Father. He does not choose or refuse people as they are marked by God onto him. He also declares his job very clearly by saying “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
One of the questions that often hunts me as I am preparing myself for becoming a ‘shepherd’ is whether I will be able to hear God’s instructions and follow them or not; whether I will know what I am to do clearly and undoubtedly. At present, I only have a vague idea of what my task may entail but I am rather doubtful about both my abilities as a preacher – what am I going to talk about? – and my clarity of vision. Jesus also mentions above that it is not up to him whom to accept or to refuse. As a minister, I feel that I must find the way to be able to receive anyone with an open heart, let go of all my preconceptions and bias, and serve them to the best of my abilities. (if I receive any at all!)
Jesus’ teaching at the Synagogue in Capernaum for me sounded rather odd, confusing and disturbing particularly when he talks about his flesh as the bread that needs be eaten and his blood to be drunk in order for one to gain eternal life. However, soon, he seems to clarifie what he is talking about by saying :” It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
Regarding the flesh that caused so much disturbance at the time and that is so misinterpreted by the Church as well, Beas says that “… the spiritual body, which is the Spirit, the Word made flesh, the Radiant From of the Master. The soul has to merge into the Radiant Form of the Master. Only then does it merge into the Divine Ocean forever.”
Reading the argument and misunderstandings amongst Jesus, the disciples and the onlookers, I remember another challenge a teacher of any kind may face: misinterpretations based on ignorance, bias and fear.
“ But there are some of you that believe not”. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. … “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”
Beas explain that “Many seekers are drawn towards the Mystics, but not all of them are meant to understand, accept, and live the teachings. … My Father wants certain people to understand my teachings, and they will be made receptive to what I am saying. Only those who have been prepared for me by my Father will automatically be drawn to me, and will understand what I say, ..”
I am doubtful if there ever will be an audience wanting to hear what I have to say. Also I have experienced betrayal in the form of misunderstanding and false accusations many times so far in my life so I am rather weary of it. I have been accused of falsity and misdeeds numerously. Even though, I know that nobody is at fault, I still wish I had the depth of conviction that could cast out my own doubts upon meeting others’ suspicion and apprehension. By the time I am a Minister, I deeply hope that I am equipped with a firm foundation of faith and the depth of Love Jesus held for each soul. Additionally, may I receive a giant basket of acceptance, please?
I deeply hope that what Jesus says is true for all servants of God regardless of ‘denomination’: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” , that whoever shows up at our door is God-sent not matter the baggage.
To close this chapter, I wish to share Jesus’ sermon at the Mount. These verses, for me, are the key elements of his teaching without the parables to make them more comprehensible for the messes.
“5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”