abba's way

Jesus’s Laws of Faith


By Stephen C. Rose

The following text is the very start of an ambitious project: To identify and present in concise terms the spiritual laws that can be inferred from a careful reading of the canonical gospels. Comments are welcome. I will add, emend and edit as time permits. A publisher is sought as this develops into a book-length manuscript. Contact steverose(at)gmail.com

Spiritual Laws: Introduction

There are laws of faith based on what Jesus said and did. Jesus is the great healer-teacher of humankind. He never intended that his universality be compromised by the creation of institutions that turned him into an object of worship, of superstition, of reduced power. We need to go back to the source and see what his message is for us now, and that it calls us out of our false traditions and into the simple light of faith that operates universally according to the spiritual laws that he gave us.

The basic message of Jesus is that we are divine if we turn and accept our sinful state and also accept that Abba, Jesus’s father, is nearby, at hand, indeed is what Jesus called the holy spirit within us, able to transform our reality and realize the dream of the Lord’s Prayer, that this earth become as heaven. The basic message of Jesus is contrary to the development of an institution that would turn him into an object of worship, a figure in a creed and the occasion of trials for heresy, identifying his sacred name with acts of brutality, torture and genocide.

Jesus is in your face in the Gospels. The effort to suggest that Jesus is better understood with reference to various texts that are not included in the canon is part of an age-old practice of ignoring what the canonical texts actually say, and of reading these texts as authoritarian justifications for the creation of institutions bent on legislating morality, exerting power in the so called public square, and furthering small-minded concerns of a humanity unwilling to accept and live with incendiary gift which Jesus is offering.

The canonical gospels are a mixed bag. We have a text that behooves us to see Jesus in the eyes of the most ugly and rejected fellow human being. At the same time we have a text which superstitiously assumes that disobedience will result in the turning of persons into pillars of salt, with evident approval from on high.

This is why we are called to approach the text with discernment. No reader is perfect. No reading is without error.

The text of this book consists of a simple enumeration and explanation of the laws found in the four gospels in our canon: Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. The proof of the working of these laws is massive and pervasive. The real miracle of the world is that it has not yet fallen victim to the endless sins of fallible humankind. The real miracle is that many people are able to see through the veils of hypocrisy and cant and avoidance and understand that when slavery is defeated, the will of Jesus is done. And when the world takes a step toward heaven Abba is pleased.

We live within an ascending spiral of evolution toward divinity. This is not blasphemy any more than it was blasphemy for Jesus to explain that he was healing because God is near and is intrinsically involved with healing and wholeness. When we apprehend and understand our own potential for divinity we do not aspire to be somnolent, proud and venerated gurus. We simply absorb in a matter-of-fact-way that we have reason to be thankful every nanosecond for the wondrous power of Abba in our lives.

We eschew fame and success. If it comes we flee from it. We do not want it. We may think we want it, but it is part of the world that is more of the division Jesus imputes to Satan than the wholeness which he embodies. We take delight in small and unknown celebrations. We take delight not in the advances of religion, but in the transformations wrought whenever spiritual laws are observed and human beings reveal in their eyes the reality of Abba’s transforming presence.

Here in order are the spiritual laws I find in the Gospels. I use the King James Text, a literal translation whose cadences in English have never been rivaled. This language is royally ruined in newer, more pedestrian renditions. When the KJV texts are changed, my attempt has been simply to make them intelligible with least harm to cadences and with no harm to meanings.

NOTE: There are some Spiritual Laws that are not applicable to “us”, but they illuminate the intent or understanding of Jesus. For example, the instruction to those he heals not to make him known. In these cases I have placed the law in brackets and intentionally not repeated it at the close of the brief interpretation.

The Gospel of Mark – King James Version

Mark 1

THE TIME IS FULFILLED

[15] Jesus said, The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent and believe the gospel.

What spiritual law can we deduce from this primal statement of the good news in this earliest canonical Gospel? It can only be that earth is to become the scene of our transformation because of the forgiving closeness and disposition of Abba, Jesus’s Father. This is the good news. This is the gospel Jesus himself preaches. It is the gospel not of himself but of the realm or kingdom which Abba brings to us. The law is: When you believe this to be the case and turn to Abba the realm of Abba (heaven) becomes manifest, real, present, efficacious. THE TIME IS FULFILLED.

FISHERS OF ALL

[17] And Jesus said to them, Come on after me and I will make you fishers of all.

I have substituted all for men in this text because the clear meaning is that Jesus intends the gospel of Abba’s availability to be shared with all. This sharing cannot be accomplished by a creedal institution with its divisions and litmus tests. It needs to be spread by individuals on fire with the truth. We are fishers of all more readily on the Internet than within the confines of creedal institutions. This is the spiritual law of universal proclamation. It may be why the world still exists. The gospel is universal. It is not a religion among religions. FISHERS OF ALL.

COMMAND DEMONS

[22] And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. [23] And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, [24] Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with you, you Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God. [25] And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold your peace, and come out of him. [26] And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. [27] And they were all amazed, to the point of questioning among themselves, saying, What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.

We get nowhere in our understanding if we assume that spirit is not as real as matter. This is not a metaphysical proposition. This is simply a matter of evoking the reality of one’s mind, of the incredible machinery which is us. This machinery operates on the basis of inputs and most particularly inner processes determining what comes out of us. There are two forms of what comes out. One is simple waste which we all create and expel. The other is what comes from our hearts, the arena where we take what enters us, process it, and send it out in words and deeds. Jesus is concerned to make us whole:.people whose words and actions resonate with the cadences of heaven. Abba is capable and ready to help us, if we turn and repent and receive. What is unclean and demonic within us, can be evicted by directing Abba-energy (aka the Holy spirit) against it. This spiritual law does not preclude or oppose the use of physical sciences to heal and mend. It is in fact the engine of medical progress. Jesus brings to earth the authority to COMMAND DEMONS.

PRAY ALONE

[35] And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

Prayer is communion with Abba. Jesus almost always suggests that prayer is efficacious for the one who is doing the praying. And that solitude is the primary spiritual law when it comes to the practice of prayer. The inference: Prayer works for the one who prays. It is one of the practices of Abba’s Way. Ecourage universal prayer. Prayer changes the one who prays. PRAY ALONE.

Mark.2

FORGIVE AND HEAL

[3] And they came to Jesus, bringing one sick of the palsy, carried by four. [4] And when they could not come near him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where he was, broke through, and let down the pallet where he lay. [5] When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the one sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

Forgiveness and healing are part of the same spiritual law. Jesus inaugurates forgiveness as an efficacious human activity. This is blasphemy to his enemies and one of the most powerful reasons for his death at their hands. In this incident, Jesus chooses to make the linkage manifest. FORGIVE AND HEAL.

FORGIVING IS HUMAN

[6] But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, [7] Why does this man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only? [8] And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said to them, Why do you reason these things in your hearts? Is it easier to say to one sick of the palsy, Your sins are forgiven; or to say, Arise, take up your pallet, and walk? [10] But that you may know that the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins, he said to the man sick of the palsy, [11] I say to you, Rise, take up your bed and go home. [12] And immediately he rose, took up the pallet, and went off before them all; they were all amazed. They glorified God (Abba), saying, We never saw anything like this.

With Jesus comes the possibility of realizing the divine. Jesus says what he does, his followers should also do. His spiritual laws are for all who follow the way of Abba. FORGIVING IS HUMAN

ONLY SINNERS ARE SAVED

[16] When the scribes and Pharisees saw Jesus eat with publicans and sinners, they said to his disciples, How is it that he eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners? [17] When Jesus heard it, he said to them, Those who are whole have no need of the physician, but those who are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

This is an elementary spiritual law. It does not mean that we are worms, incurably evil, called to endless, conspicuous self-flagellation. It means that if we have transgressed against any of the basic commandments, we have sinned. If we have stolen or killed or lied or defamed or any of the other things the commandments proscribe, we are sinners. If we feel we are not, we delude ourselves. Our conscience is our primary source of dignity. Those who obey all the commandments are close to the realm of Abba and according to Jesus and we should not worry ourselves about their fate. We may assume that the bulk of “us” are sinners. This means that sinfulness is not a universal state as much as it is a history of acting against the commandments. We are responsible for ourselves and and if we wish to follow Abba’s Way then we simply say that Jesus has come to call sinners. Note that from those who are “without sin” Jesus would exact a greater obedience — that of selling what one has, giving to the poor and going with him. ONLY SINNERS ARE SAVED

BE MADE NEW

[18] … They came and said to Jesus, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples fast not? [19] And Jesus said to them, Can the children of the bride chamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. [20] But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days. [21] No one sews a piece of new cloth on an old garment: or the new piece will take from the old, and the tear is made worse. [22] And no one puts new wine into old bottles: or else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.

This spiritual law has little to do with old and new, except to imply that we are made new. We are freed from the weight of obsolete laws and traditions and we are enabled to obey the commandments that are essential. How are we made new? Our cells change all the time and become new. So to our inner being can become new. Our transformation can be complete. We do not add the new to the old. It would be impossible to sustain the change if we did. Our daily task is to BE MADE NEW

JESUS RULES THE SABBATH

[23] And it came to pass, that Jesus went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. [24] And the Pharisees said to him, Behold, why on the sabbath day do they that which is not lawful? [25] And he said to them, Have you never read what David did, when he had need, and was hungry along with those who were with him? [26] How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and are the shewbread, which only priests can legally eat, and gave also to those who were with him? [27] And he said to them, The sabbath was made for us, and not us for the sabbath: [28] Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

If nails are put into Jesus, he puts nails into religious conventions. Here and elsewhere, the Sabbath has no future as a mandatory time or place for prescribed religious observances. Our understanding must henceforth be that Jesus is most primarily concerned with meeting human need, making human beings whole. The spiritual law and its meaning is succinct: JESUS RULES THE SABBATH.

Mark 3

BE HELPFUL EVERY DAY

[1] And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there with a withered hand. [2] And they watched him to see if Jesus would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him. [3] And he said to the man with the withered hand, Stand forth. [4] And he said to them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath day, or to do evil? To save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. [5] And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he said to the man, Stretch forth your hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.

When Jesus is critical of the Sabbath because it poses religious observances over against the simple spiritual obligation to help others, he is presumably suggesting that all days should be infused with the spirit of helping. BE HELPFUL EVERY DAY

[DO NOT MAKE JESUS KNOWN]

[12] And he charged them that they should not make him known.

It is common for Jesus to downplay his powers and insist that his feats not be the subject of stories and speculation. But this is not a reason we should be FISHERS OF ALL His reasoning has to do with his disclosure to those who have already questioned him and will in the future see that he is executed for blasphemy — precisely for manifesting the power of Abba on earth and suggesting this spiritual law.

LOVE THE SPIRIT

[22] And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He has Beelzebub, and by the prince of devils casts out devils. [23] And he called them to him and said to them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? [24] If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. [25] And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. [26] And if Satan rises up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand but is at an end. [27] No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, unless he first binds the strong man; then he can spoil his house.[28] Truly I say to you, All sins shall be forgiven and blasphemies regardless where they are directed. [29] But one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. This is because they said that Jesus had an unclean spirit.

This spiritual law is the very center of Jesus’s sharing with us. Jesus heals because of the near presence and forgiving disposition of Abba. This presence manifests itself in persons and in the world. It does not produce fakery and magic. Jesus responds to his critics with incredible openness. He says he is binding the very powers of evil and destruction. Blasphemy against the Abba’s Spirit is unforgivable; it is like slapping Abba in the face. Abba’s spirit within us opens the gate to becoming fully human and fully divine, to becoming the citizens of heaven , to making earth more like heaven. Therefore LOVE THE SPIRIT

FAMILY OF SERVANTS

[31] Then came his brethren and his mother. Standing outside, they sent for Jesus, calling him. [32] A multitude sat around him and they said, Behold, your mother and and your brethren look for you. [33] And he answered, Who is my mother? Who are my brethren? [34] And he looked at those who sat around him and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! [35] For whoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

Another exceedingly important and too often ignored spiritual law. With Jesus, family ties based on blood relationship are secondary to community ties based on allegiance to Abba. Who does Abba’s will is part of the family of Jesus. FAMILY OF SERVANTS

Mark.4

[SPEAK IN PARABLES]

[10] And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.[11] And he said to them, To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but to them that are without, all these things are done in parables: [12] That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

To understand why Jesus speaks obliquely in parables, it is important to realize that he is introducing a new, perfected, evolved humanity into the mix. The formula he uses — seeing and not perceiving, etc. — is an utterance found in Isaiah 6 and also in the letters of Paul. It is a spiritual law with an edge to it. When a parable is used it is a means of presenting the truth in a form that will reveal itself only to those who can perceive and understand and who are disposed to grasp the new reality.

BE GOOD GROUND

[14] The sower sows the word. [15] And some the wayside hear, but Satan comes and takes the word away the word sown in their hearts. [16] And when the word is sown on stony ground; those who have heard receive it gladly. [17] They have no root in themselves, so when affliction or persecution rises for the word’s sake, they are immediately offended. [18] Then the is sown among thorns, [19] and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. [20] But when the word is sown on good ground; those who hear the word and receive it, bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.

Do not stand to the side. Do not deny your depths, your heart, your soul. Open it to the word. Do not get lost in the thorny thicket of worldly cares and quests. No. Observe the spiritual law. BE GOOD GROUND

EVERYTHING WILL BE REVEALED

[21] And he said to them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a candlestick? [22] There is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was anything kept secret, but that it should become visible.

It is an immutable spiritual law of the gospel of Abba’s presence that work initiated will be completed. All truths of this new creation will eventually be manifest. This progressive unveiling is underway. EVERYTHING WILL BE REVEALED

HAVE EARS TO HEAR

[23] If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

The choice is ours. If we choose to hear, we hear. If not, we don’t. HAVE EARS TO HEAR

HEED WHAT YOU HEAR

[24] And he said to them, Take heed what you hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and to you that hear shall more be given. [25] To one who has shall more be given: to one who has not, even what one has shall be taken away.

Imagine you drink from a fountain. Either you drink as you can and keep replenishing and increasing the flow. Or you turn away and even what you have taken in will evaporate. It is like this with hearing the good news. You either grow in it or you close your ears and whatever you had will diminish and eventually disappear. The spiritual law is clear. HEED WHAT YOU HEAR

CHOOSE THE BIG CHANGE

[30] And he said, To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? To what shall we compare it? [31] It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds in the earth:[32] But when it is sown, it grows up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shoots out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under its shadow.

Radical growth is present in many of Jesus’s sayings. The change wrought by accepting the good news of Abba’s power and presence and disposition to forgive and transform is huge. Not a matter of small degrees, No. Rather, the spiritual law of the realm of Abba is growth from minuscule to huge. CHOOSE THE BIG CHANGE

Mark 5

FAITH HEALS

[25] A certain woman had an issue of blood for twelve years. [26] She suffered many things from many doctors and spent all she had and was no better, in fact she grew worse. [27] When she heard of Jesus, she came through the the crowd behind him and touched his robe. [28] She said, If I can just touch his clothes, I shall be made whole. [29] And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.[30] And Jesus, immediately knowing that virtue had gone out of him, turned to the crowd and said, Who touched my clothes? [31] And his disciples said, You see the multitude and ask who touched you? [32] Jesus continued to look. [33] And the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had been done in her, came and fell down before him. She told him all the truth. [34] And he said to her, Daughter, your faith has made you whole; go in peace, and be healed of your plague.

Faith is active. It is not merely items of belief. It is actively believing that a certain course will lead to healing and wholeness. Jesus is the chosen messenger of Abba’s spiritual laws of of transformation. The woman rightly insists on getting to him. FAITH HEALS

Mark 6

GO IN TWOS; EXPEL UNCLEAN SPIRITS; PREACH THE GOSPEL, PROVIDE NO PROTECTION; MOVE ON WHEN REJECTED

[7] And he called to him the twelve and began to send them forth two by two; he gave them power over unclean spirits. [8] He commanded them to take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:[9] but be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats. [10] And he said, whatever house you enter, stay there till you depart from that place. [11] And whoever will not receive you, or hear you, when you depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them.

A pregnant five-part spiritual law. To say it only applies at the beginning, and then only to Jesus’s lower class followers, is denial on steroids. The whole goal here is to ensure that the twin messages of Jesus are received. The messages are 1. EXPEL UNCLEAN SPIRITS. 2. PREACH THE GOSPEL Jesus’s earliest instruction: GO IN TWOS; EXPEL UNCLEAN SPIRITS; PREACH THE GOSPEL, PROVIDE NO PROTECTION; MOVE ON WHEN REJECTED

Mark 7

OBEY ABBA ALONE

[1] Then came to Jesus the Pharisees and certain of the scribes from Jerusalem. [2] And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, unwashed hands, they found fault. … [6] Jesus answered them: Well has Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, writing, This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. [7] How vainly do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. [8] For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, with the washing of pots and cups: and many other such things you do. [9] And he added: Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition.

Jesus does not accept the written laws of the elders who for centuries have defined right conduct. Why so? Because obedience to these “little laws” enables avoidance of major commandments. The burden of the way of Abba is to honor the original commandments with the aid of the Spirit within — Abba enabling, forgiving and available. This is Jesus’s spiritual law and it should be ours. OBEY ABBA ALONE

REJECT HYPOCRISY

[10] Moses said, Honor your father and your mother; and, Whoever curses father or mother, let him die.[11] But you say, If a man tells his parents, It is Corban, [that is to say, a Temple gift, he is free of obligation to his parents for this amount. And you do not require that he do anything more.] [13] Making the word of God of no effect through your tradition … and you do many such things.

Corban or gifting the Temple is a loophole because these gifts can be returned. Jesus is spelling out the inner workings of hypocrisy. The command is honored with lips, but denied in practice. The practice is the sum total of available loopholes (aka Legalisms). REJECT HYPOCRISY

CORRUPTION IN EVERY CASE RISES FROM FROM WITHIN

[14] And when he had called all the people to him, he said to them, Listen to me each of you, and understand: [15] There is nothing from outside of you that, entering in, can defile you. It is what comes out of you that defiles you. [16] If any of you have ears to hear, then hear.

Jesus is a radical individualist and such individualism is what makes for right community. Today’s common division between individual and society is absurd if we parse Jesus well. The psychology is crystal clear. The person, the individual, can trump anything that comes in from outside. Nothing from outside corrupts, no “environmental” or “social” cause. This is a key spiritual law. There is a radical, largely-unheralded freedom within us that will either sow corruption or bring forth seeds of redemption. CORRUPTION IN EVERY CASE RISES FROM FROM WITHIN

EVIL COMES FROM THE HEART

[18]Jesus said to his disciples, Are you without understanding? Do you not perceive that whatever enters you cannot defile you. [19] Because it enters not into the heart, but into the belly, and goes through your colon and out. [20]That which comes out of you is what defiles you. [21] From within, out of your heart, come evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, [22] thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: [23] All these evils come from within and defile.

Evil comes from within us. If the heart is not right, if the inner being is not right, if the spirit within is not right, the temptation to evil flourishes. It ranges from thoughts to deeds, from foolishness to murder itself. This is not Jesus the spiritual lawgiver alone. This is Jesus describing how we actually function. EVIL COMES FROM THE HEART

Mark 8

MORE CREATES MORE

[14] Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, and on their boat they had no more than one loaf. [15] Jesus charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod. [16] And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread. [17] And when Jesus knew it, he said to them, Why do you reason it is because you have no bread? Don’t you perceive or understand? Have your hearts been hardened? [18] Having eyes, don’t you see? And having ears, don’t you hear? And don’t you remember? [19] When I broke the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up? They said, Twelve. [20] And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up? And they said, Seven. [21] And he said to them, How is it that you still do not understand?

In both cases, Jesus has performed a miracle, though I do not believe he sees it as being more than a natural result of the new age he is bringing to fruition. Therefore the answer to the seeming riddle he proposes is simple. The greater the miracle, the greater the surplus. More gains more. And in the context of the disciples’ incomprehension, by evoking a classic formula about perceiving and understanding, Jesus is essentially saying that they are among the multitude who could only turn and be redeemed if they could see and understand. MORE CREATES MORE.

 

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