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Enjoy CC Insights on “Spirit” for August 6, 2017

B. Cobbey Crisler
Posted Sunday, July 30th, 2017

Enjoy Cobbey Crisler insights on select Bible citations from
the Christian Science Bible Lesson on “Spirit” for August 6, 2017
(Click for Online version of these CC insights or for CedarS Met that will arrive next on July 31.]

Warren’s (W’s) PS# 1—Cobbey Crisler insights on John 5:2-9, 17-20 (B15):
“John 5:2 We’re now at the famous incident at the “Pool of Bethesda”. Near what serves as an occasional sheep market today, there is still a pool that has been excavated, that has archeological remnants that suggest the five porches. There is apparently, if this is the correct location of the pools, a structure that had two pools, each with two porches. Down the middle was a fifth porch with pools on either side. It may have been the ancient equivalent of a hospital.
John 5:4 There’s some indication that it might have at some point in its history a spot that might have been associated with Aesculapius, the pagan founder of medicine, and that this superstition may have gotten to the point “that those who stepped into the pool when the water was troubled would be instantly healed.”
John 5:3 At least “an awful lot of people were waiting around for that event,” so the news must have spread that this occurred.
John 5:5 Here we run into a man that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. “He’d been there for thirty-eight years.” I’m sure that many of us would feel for him. We all have been sitting around our own pool of Bethesda waiting for something to happen, something miraculous, something fateful. We have all waited for something unexpected from the outside to lift us out of a condition that we haven’t made too much of an effort to do anything about.
There was an environment there that did not help the problem. As a matter of fact, here’s how Professor Dodd describes it. I like this:
‘There is another story about a man who had given way to a chronic disability, and for years had nursed a grievance which excused him from doing anything about it.’
John 5:7. “Someone else always gets in before me.” If that sounds like a familiar excuse, then Bethesda isn’t so far back in history. So he translates Jesus’ statements this way. Do you want to recover? That pinpoints it, doesn’t it? Do you see how that translation exhibits Jesus dealing with the thought of the patient? Where must it happen?
If communication from God to man must work, where must we work? In the thought of the receiver. Do we want to recover? That almost sounds silly to people who have been in a longtime condition, but it may very well be the core of the issue. Do we really want to be healed? Or have we become so settled into our condition that for thirty eight years, we just sit there with our friends and talk about our operations? Misery loving company is a quality that attaches itself to human nature.
John 5: 6. Here’s how Dodd again translates Jesus’ question and then his demand on the patient. “Do you want to recover?”
John 5:8, “Then, pick up your bed and walk.” Jesus wasn’t about to volunteer to pick up his bed for him.
That says a lot. How else do we know Jesus, but to study his thoughts, his words, his methods, his messages, his intent, the logos, not but the word, but the thought behind it? What is required for the healing of a paralytic condition that has lasted practically a generation? It’s the very thing that he thought he couldn’t do, to pick up his bed and walk. Do you want to be healed? ‘Let there be light!’ (Genesis 1:3) That’s permission. Let it in.
John 5:9, “Immediately the man was made whole.” We don’t have any sense that there was a convalescence period. “He took up his bed and walked.”
Jesus responds to the debate on the Sabbath with a brilliant exegesis of the seven days of creation.
In John 5:17, “Jesus said, You’re stopping me for healing on the Sabbath day. But my reading of the Scripture is this, My Father worketh hitherto and I work.” If the original works, what can the image or reflection do?
Notice also John 5:19 is Jesus’ famous statement, “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do.” Taking this apart, it really gives you what man’s role is. What is it? It’s reflection. It’s image.
Man is not original in what he does. What he does stems from the original which is God. Then it reflects originality. Otherwise there would be competition for the job of Creator. Under monotheism there is no possibility for such competition (“For what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.”)
He took the Son of Man through every problem that the world could hurl at him and proved that even the Son of Man can be victorious and not a creature of circumstances when the understanding of his true nature as the Son of God can be applied.
Our understanding of the Son of Man and the Son of God, and the difference, might be heightened by realizing that the Christ comes to the Son of Man. The Christ doesn’t come to the Son of God because the Christ really presents the Son of God.
We’re on the human side of things, who feel the foot of domination on our necks from outside circumstances. Is that where the Son of Man belongs? Notice the argument of Bildad in the book of Job… It uses the very same phrase that Jesus does, elevating him way above the outlines of fleshly domination. So, “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do.” Why?
John 5:20, “The Father loves the Son.”
John 5:30. The same point is repeated, “I can of mine own self do nothing.” Is this false humility or is Jesus actually giving us the facts straight out? What is the secret and source of everything he thought or did? What is the obstacle then between us and following Jesus? There’s something in there. Some kind of different concept of our selfhood than what he had. His was so transparent that there was nothing obstructing his at-one-ment with God, even on earth. His summons to us is to follow his example and shows his own expectation that we’re equipped to do it. So, we’re equipped to receive and to act on the instructions given us via communication. All we need to do is tune in.
We’re coming to understand Jesus’ view of himself, and where he thinks this authority originates, “The Son of Man can do nothing of himself. (John 5:19)
John, the Beloved Disciple” by B. Cobbey Crisler.]

W’s PS#2: Cobbey Crisler’s insights on Acts12:1-11 (B19)—Peter jail break by prayer:
"And here at the Passover season, which seems to be the popular time for execution… Herod arrests Peter, throws him into prison with sixteen soldiers guarding him with full intent to bring him out and try him and execute him after the Passover festival. (…This is Herod Agrippa the First, who ruled all Palestine in the years 41-44 A.D. He was grandson of Herod the Great…) As one might translate the Greek in Acts 12, verse 5: “Instant and earnest prayer was made unceasing of the church unto God for him.”…
This focus collectively on prayer – does it have power? Well, that very night, we can see the effectiveness of such prayer because Peter suddenly, not knowing really what is happening himself, is fast asleep in the prison when he is awakened, told to “rise up quickly. His chains fall off from his hands.”… The angel, with a note of human practicality, “suggests that Peter put on his sandals. He does, still really not knowing what he is doing, thinking it’s almost a dream he is going through.”… “He goes out through the first and second ward and finally to the gate that leadeth unto the city. It opens, as if by itself. They go out together. The angel disappears.”…
Peter, for the first time in Acts 12, verse 11, realizes what has happened and states “now I know for sure that God hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod. Peter makes his way to what was apparently a favorite Christian assembly point. And that is called the house of Mary,” the mother of John, whose surname was Mark… John Mark being the one to whom the gospel has been attributed.

[The rest of the story, beyond this week’s markers:]
This may have been the house church in Jerusalem where the early church held many of its meetings. It was here that the church was praying for the release of Peter.
And now we’re about to be introduced to one of my favorite characters in the Bible. Her name is Rhoda. This Rhoda acts like many little girls I know, and I’m sure that you know. “Peter knocks at the door of the gate.” (Knocking sound) And everybody’s praying so heavily inside no one hears him “except for this child.” (Acts 12:13) Rhoda comes to the gate and recognizes Peter’s voice. Now do you think that Rhoda lets Peter in? No.
“She’s so excited she leaves Peter standing there and races inside the house and tells everybody that Peter’s out there.”… You can imagine what this adult church-going group said to Rhoda. “They turned to her and say, ‘You are mad!”… (See Acts 12:15)… Many groups of adults dismiss children in similar terms. And isn’t it a commentary somewhat on the conviction, or lack of it, behind their prayer? “Don’t bother us, Rhoda, we’re praying.” And yet, the answer to their prayer stood outside the gate, and a little child was trying to lead them there. Now, when it says “she constantly affirmed that it was so,” I think you could get very easily a picture of a little girl stamping her foot on the ground, insisting that Peter was there…
Finally, to shut her up, they are willing to concede that “it might be his angel,” something other than Peter himself, assuming perhaps that Peter had been executed… “But Peter persistently keeps knocking.” (See Acts 12:16) (Knocking sound) …
You notice it’s harder for him to get into John Mark’s Mother’s house than it was for him to get out of jail. And they come and open the door and are astonished.” (See above, paraphrased)
“After the Master, What? The Book of Acts” by B. Cobbey Crisler]

You can buy your own transcripts of most of Cobbey’s 28 talks at a new website: www.crislerlibrary.co.uk Email your order or inquiry to office@crislerlibrary.co.uk, or directly to Janet Crisler, at janetcrisler7@gmail.com ]

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