This chapter is about Jesus’s argument with the Jews. All through this chapter Jesus tries to convince the Jews that he is of Abraham and the other prophets but they don’t seem to understand him.
As I was reading this chapter, I wondered why he entered into an argument with the Jews at all whom, obviously, had no idea who he was and what he represented. He keeps on repeating why he is here amongst them and talking about his relationship with the Father. However, many of the Jews do not seem to understand him.
At the same time, this Chapter provided me with further information on Jesus’s character, convictions, and the way he communicated them. Though, he mostly uses parables to make his followers understand his message when it comesto talking about himself (his mission) and his relationship with the father, he is very matter of fact and uses similar expressions to describe it.
“12 … I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
18 … and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.
19 … if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.
26 … and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.
28 … I do but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.”
At the beginning of the Chapter Jesus is at the Olive Garden and he is asked to cast judgment on an adulterous woman that he refuses to do by saying:
“So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
From the story of the adulterous woman I understood that Jesus, and the other teachers are not with us to condemn or judge us as the Catholic Church often suggests but to uplift us. Jesus, instead of condemning the adulterous woman, asks her to ‘sin no more’ and sends her on her way. None of us is without sin, otherwise we would not be part of this creation, and we would be with the Father.
“… he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Beas explains that what Jesus is saying here is that now you are living in the darkness and that is why you are committing sins, but I (Jesus) can put you on the path and help you to rise above this darkness.
It is clear here that sinning according to Jesus is not about acting in discordance of the laws of the world. He does not condemn anyone by their acts in the world. Sin is to live in separation or in a sense of unworthiness or in the darkness of the world. Jesus offers our sins being cast out and we are offered the Light that uplifts us and diminishes our sense of separation.
For most of this chapter, Jesus tries to explain the Pharisees and the Jews that following him and his message would give them eternal life and life in the Light. He says that he is not here to judge them but to show them the way into salvation. He tries to explain the difference between having faith in the Father and following the teachings of his true counsel or following a mental conception of God and the allotted rituals.
“Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.”
Beas says that it is often the case that we prefer worshiping masters after they have passed and persecute the living. Though Jesus warns them that the teaching and the path to God through him is only available until he is in the flesh.
Then he discusses the law of Karma and attachment by saying “23 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.”, and explaining that he is without attachments and so upon death he shall return to the father but those with attachments to this world – also called Karma, Sins, Fate – are from this world and “ that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins”.
In this chapter there are many mystical references to the Path and what it means to be the Son of Man, to rise up to that level of consciousness where you see the radiant form and know that that the teachings come from the Father.
“Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.”
When he turns to his disciples saying “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, 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.” Beas explain that what Jesus is saying, similar to all the other Mystics of the Path is that being a disciple is only about the initiation but also about the devotion to the daily practices like meditation so you will know the truth that sets you free.
Later Jesus harshly points out that what the Pharisees’ beliefs of following upon the steps of their ancestors like Abraham is actually a lie since the only way to follow a Mystic is for him to be in the flesh being able to guide them and share with them.
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. “
Beas says that Jesus also reminds them here that the negative power, Kal or Satan does not want one single soul to be saved but stay in the domain of the mind.
It is interesting to consider what Beas by saying: “When Jesus told the Pharisees that they did not hear God’s Word because they were not of God, their closed minds and fixed worldly values and beliefs stood in the way of real understanding. They could see Jesus only as a threat to their economic interests, to their position of respect and authority in the community. In view of the popular interest created in his teachings, the only way they could think of dealing with him was to try to discredit him and vilify him by means of derision. They called him a Samaritan—someone from Samaria, whom the Jews considered a low human being—and they attributed his teachings as coming from one possessed by a devil. These remarks were intended to cause the people to view Jesus with suspicion.” And when they could not discredit him they decided to kill him.
“Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. “
How sad it is to see that the world and human behaviour has not changed much since the time of Jesus. Still today, when we don’t understand something we simply condemn it and call it evil then try to diminish it.
However, no matter what the Pharisees say to him or call him, he does not judge them but continue telling them that they misunderstand him.
“Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.”
On a more personal note, as I was reading this chapter in the Bible, I wondered if such a futile argument were worth the time and effort at all. On the other hand I also saw a man with unshakable convictions not differentiating (judging) between those who can understand him and was ready to follow him and those who were not ready yet to perceive him. He had patience and love for everyone.
I am not convinced that the words that are recorded in the Bible were the exact words that had been spoken by Jesus. However, the text still allows a man with straightforward communication and clarity to be seen, that I find very inspiring.
Coming from a teacher’s point of view, I think, it is very important to find a way to explain something in a manner that is comprehensible for the majority of listeners. Reading Jesus’s teachings, I believe that he used various parables to explain the teaching in order to make the teachings available to a wider audience. However, in this chapter, though I find his sharing very clear it also seems less accessible. I am not sure about the reason but since he was talking to the Pharisees who were supposed to be educated men of God, he might have used such a language ‘expecting’ them to comprehend it.
What I wish to take with me from this chapter is Jesus’s strength of conviction and clarity of language. At the same time I wish to always remember that there may always be people who do not understand my message or condemn me for it. It is time to learn to trust the way.