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KNOWLEDGE: TALES 

The Pharisees


The Pharisees

The disciples were delighted, when they took the road leading to Jerusalem. But hardly had they arrived in Jerusalem when this joy changed to anxiety. Wherever Jesus appeared, He gave rise to controversy and dissension. Some said that what He preached was from God, others maintained that it was from the Evil One. But however much people railed against Him, they could not harm Him, for His hour had not yet come.

On the first day of the Feast, Jesus entered the Temple and began to teach. The scribes were indignant and said: "Since when is it customary for an uneducated man to preach? First tell us who has instructed you and from whom your teaching stems?"

Jesus answered in a resonant voice: "My Teaching proceeds from Myself, and is that of God Who has sent Me! Strive to live in accordance with My Teaching, and soon you will perceive that It is from out of God; for It bears Life within It. If you would absorb My Words within you, you could find salvation even here on earth. "Verily I say unto you, he who believes in Me will be pervaded by streams of Living Water. It will refresh all who come in contact with It. God's Power will permeate him as It permeates everything on earth that opens itself to It. "Behold the flowers in the field. They open their cups to the rays of the sun. Do they too ask whence these rays come, or who has sent them? Take them as an example!"

Many of the priests heard this parable and found nothing wrong with it. They tried to convince those who held that they must prohibit Jesus from speaking. But that was all. Not a single one of them took the words they heard to heart.

Jesus taught also the following day in the Temple, quite naturally and without reserve. But the scribes and Pharisees crowded round Him, in order to watch and overhear Him. Yet however closely they heeded every one of His words, they could find nothing wrong in them. That exasperated them even more. But this spying weighed heavily upon Jesus: it became difficult for Him to breathe and to speak. He had to give vent! After keeping silent for a while, He called across the assembled crowd: "You scribes, why have you come here? What did you want to hear? Did you think you could trap Me in My words? Why do you not forbid Me to speak? But if My words are true, why do you only listen to them outwardly? Take them to heart!"

The Pharisees stood there embarrassed. Was it conceivable for anyone to be so outspoken about what he perceived intuitively and thought? One of them felt that he had to counter, and cried in a gruff voice: "Are you out of your head, to think we want to trap you?"

Before Jesus could answer - if He was willing at all to answer such a question - Nicodemus stepped forward. "Is it worthy of us to speak like this in the Temple?" he asked. "I find nothing wrong with Jesus. Whoever holds a different view should leave this place and not bar the way for seekers."

"Listen to Nicodemus," Jehu hissed, "he too is already under the spell of this Jesus! It would be convenient for the impostor if we were to clear this place. Then he could say without fear whatever he feels impelled to say!" But then he shouted: "Do explain to us, Jesus, what you have said about the Temple. It is only a reflection? Do you not know that our forefather Solomon built this Temple? Would you reproach him with being an imitator? Where should he have found the original? Would you disparage him by saying that he copied pagan temples?"

The accusing voice sounded more and more excited, and Jehu would have railed on, had not angry shouts interrupted him. Before he could repeat his questions Jesus had calmly raised His hand; the voices fell silent, all was hushed. But heavenly peace lay upon the countenance of Jesus, so that everyone had to look at Him in wonder and admiration. Tender and fervent was His voice as He now began:

"You ask me about the prototype of this earthly Temple. Know then that it stands above in the Universe, more beautiful and exquisite than anything ever fashioned by human hands. Blessed spirits are its servants, who thank God unceasingly in bliss and joy. If you were to demolish the Temple today, so that it was razed to the ground, verily it could be rebuilt in no time if there was a human being like Solomon sufficiently pure to behold the prototype of this Temple."

Filled with joy, the audience gave ear. Never before had anyone spoken to them like this. They wanted to hear more, to learn more of that which was hidden from their sight. The malicious scribes however became restive, imagining that they had now found a possibility of harming Jesus. "He says He will destroy the Temple," they whispered among themselves, and the untrue words spread like lightning. The crowd felt uncomfortable. All of them knew that Jesus had expressed it differently. They tried to silence the slanderers, to refute their words. This gave rise to a quarrel which drowned the voice of Jesus.

With a pained smile the Master broke off midway through a sentence. These human beings were beyond help! They always spoiled everything for themselves! He drew the folds of His robe tightly about Him as though shunning all contact with His surroundings, and together with His disciples He strode calmly from the Temple. No one stood in His way, although behind the pillars soldiers awaited a sign from the priests to seize Him. Outside Jesus breathed a sigh of relief.

"John," Jesus began, "why do the Pharisees hate me?" "Lord, the explanation of this seems simple to me. They want to control the people; therefore it is irksome to them when someone comes along who has something better than they to give. If the people flock to you, they listen to you and not to them. This they fear."

Jesus reflected. How could it be possible? He lacked all understanding for such a way of thinking. "But if they themselves would now hearken to My words rather than always merely seeking to discover any wrong meaning in them - if they would accept what I bring! Then they could go before the people, give them a true example and lead them in a much better sense. Do they not realise that?"

"No, Master, I believe they do not think that far," was the disciple's dejected reply. "Someone ought to tell them - but who should do it?" he added with a sigh.

"I will tell them," Jesus retorted, "but they will believe Me just as little as they have done hitherto."

He turned again to the others."How often already have I told you that people will recognise by your works who you are. If you are My true disciples, you must do the Will of God, My Father. But if you are of the world, your fruits will be barren."

As He spoke, a star detached itself from the firmament above and glided down to the earth. Surprised, the disciples followed its course. "Lord, behold, a star has fallen!" they cried. "Has the end of all things now come?"

Jesus smiled. "Have you never yet observed cascades of shooting stars? That happens often. It shows that the end of this star has come."

"Are the stars not eternal then?" enquired some. Jesus however asked in reply: "Do you know who created the stars?"

Amazed, they looked at the questioner. "God created them."

"You are right. But now consider: can that which is created be eternal? Only God and what issues from Him is eternal; everything else is temporal and therefore transient. The stars too have their duration, after which they must perish. I say to you: sun, moon and stars will perish as will the earth, but the human beings who do the Will of My Eternal Father will be permitted to remain."

It had come to the attention of the scribes that Jesus spoke of God as His Father. At this they were appalled - though they often referred to themselves as God's children – and several of them went to Jesus and asked Him: "How may you presume to say of the Eternal God that He is your Father?" They believed they already knew what His answer would be and were prepared with a rejoinder. However, Jesus, as was His wont, replied with a question which took them by surprise.

"Who may call God 'Father' except the Son?" He asked, and gazed at them calmly.

They lost their superiority and cried: "How will you prove that you are God's Son?"

Again the response was a question: "You see My works and do not know out of Whose Power I do them? You hear My words and can doubt? Then it would avail you nothing if I said to you that the Father Himself bears witness to Me. You fools, here you are being offered the Bread of Eternity, and you let it lie in order to pick up stones."

Astonished, they put their heads together. What is he saying about bread? We see no bread, nor have we asked him for any. But the more they talked about it the more confused they became; therefore they resolved to ask Jesus about the meaning of His words. "What do you mean by bread? Where is the bread that you offer us?"

It was indeed clear: the more simply and clearly Jesus tried to speak, the less the scribes understood Him. But this time the disciples had understood Him, and Peter burst forth: "Do you think the Master is speaking of earthly things? The bread of which you speak feeds the body and is useless for anything else. But the Bread that Jesus gives the world, to nurture it with Eternal Powers, consists of the words that issue from His lips. If you would absorb the words, you would be helped. But instead you gather stones which cannot benefit you."

The scribes looked at Peter in amazement. Was he not a simple fisherman? Who had asked him? But they were at a loss for an answer...

From the book “Past Eras Awaken”

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