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The Way to a Wonderful Life, Sunday, April 13, 2014 

Listen to the Radio Broadcast of this Message:  click here
           "Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature, but he is a thinking reed.  The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him.  A vapor, a drop of water suffices to kill him.  But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him, the universe knows nothing of this.
        All our dignity then, consists in thought.  By it we must elevate ourselves, and not by space and time which we cannot fill.  Let us endeavor then, to think well; this is the principle of morality."
- Blaise Pascal, 1623-1662, writer and Christian philosopher

      This week most people of the Christian and Jewish faiths will celebrate Palm Sunday, Passover and Good Friday; sadly religion will determine just which of these Holy Days people will observe.  Christians will observe Palm Sunday and Good Friday and Jewish people will observe Passover.  This is an example of how religion has divided us as a people.  Christians should observe Passover as Jesus was Jewish and Jewish people should observe Palm Sunday and Good Friday because Jesus was a Jew.  Yet, even with this as "fact" the separations caused by religion continue to exist dating all the way back to the 16th century. And even among the writings of the scriptures we can find contradictions that cause us to question what it is that we believe about the events of this Holy Week.

          Using Wikipedia as my source, here are just a few of the confusing passages from the Gospel writers:  "There are very significant differences among the synoptic gospels in their stories of the crucifixion of Jesus, but the most important ones are between the synoptics and the Gospel of John.
         In the synoptic gospels (The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke shared a similar view of the events of Jesus' life that John's Gospel contradicts), the Last Supper was the feast of the Jewish Passover, and Jesus was crucified the next day. For theological reasons, John moves the Passover so that Jesus is crucified on the Day of Preparation - the day before the Passover (John 19:14).
          In the synoptic gospels, Jesus was taken to Pontius Pilate for trial as soon as it was morning and was crucified at the third hour (9 o'clock), but John says he was sent to be crucified at the sixth hour (12 o'clock).
        The synoptic gospels differ as to the attitude of the two thieves crucified with Jesus, while John's Gospel omits this passage altogether. In Mark's Gospel, the original New Testament gospel, the two thieves say nothing - they are just there alongside Jesus. In Matthew's Gospel, the two thieves reviled Jesus, just like the mob that watched on (Matthew 27:44): "The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. " In Luke's Gospel, only one of the malefactors reviled Jesus (Luke 23:39): "And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us." The other thief repented (Luke 23:40-42): "But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom."
          In the synoptic gospels, no one of Jesus' acquaintance was at the cross, although Mary and others stood afar off. In John's Gospel, Mary and the 'disciple whom Jesus loved' were at the cross and Jesus told the beloved disciple to look after Mary as if she were his own mother.
         After the introductory story in Mark's Gospel, all the subsequent gospels added elaborations of their own. For example, Matthew says that there was an earthquake and the dead rose up out of their graves and walked into Jerusalem, where they were seen by many; John says that the soldiers broke the legs of the other two, to hasten death, but seeing that Jesus was already dead only speared him in the side.
" (It should be noted that none of the disciples were at Jesus' trial or crucifixion.)

       It is easy to see how "creative license" was taken in the writings of the Gospels and this "creative license" is evident throughout most of the New Testament of the Bible.  Yet, this is understandable as I am certain that Jesus was so beyond the understanding of even those closest to him that it was impossible for them to write about these events of his life without revealing that they lacked the consciousness to fully fathom what in his mind was the great lesson that he was to give to the world.  What we do know is that his entry into Jerusalem revealed that he was "fearless" in the face of eminent capture and death on a cross.  It has been written that he entered Jerusalem with a sense of triumph and victory that inspired all those gathered to witness the event.  His consciousness was so fully developed in the realization that his life was at-one with the One Life of the Spirit of G-d that fear found no place within him.  His recognition of this Highest Truth eliminated duality completely.

        Dr. O. C. Smith stated with certainty that "fear is the child of an undeveloped consciousness."  And in this simple, yet profound statement we can find a greater understanding of why the Master Mind Jesus taught repeatedly that "I and the Father are One" ... this "infinite I" within him and within everyone is seeking to be recognized, identified with and revealed through us.  It is revealed as unconditioned love in our consciousness and out-pictures in our life experiences as faith and confidence that G-d, Infinite Spirit, is always available to us ... just a "thought" away in times of trouble as we keep faith with the Truth.

     Let's look at some more wisdom from Blaise Pascal: "In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't. ... Man's greatness lies in his power of thought. 

     In these few words, Blaise Pascal, has stated what is so very apparent in our world today.  There are those who believe that we must accept everything that has been passed along through the centuries regarding the life of the Master Mind Jesus.  Jesus, however, directed his teachings toward Intelligence, that quality of the Infinite that created all in a pattern of both Love and Law, both universal and personal to each of us.  Faith can lead us to a higher truth or it can be experienced as the blind leading the blind.  It is a choice that we all must make.  Our faith does not lack intelligence when we follow the works of Jesus, yet it may be blinded by the conditions of faith imposed upon us by religion.  The Master Mind Jesus, in his infinite wisdom allowed no conditions or limits to be imposed upon him or his faith and realization of the All-ness of G-d ... and in this he became fearless.


Keep the faith!
. Henry Bates

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