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Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Christ Jesus”
for Feb.24-March 1, 2020

By Kerry Jenkins, CS, of House Springs, MO 314-406-0041

Sometimes we can make following Jesus more complicated than he taught, more difficult than it truly is. He showed us, during his short career that God is understandable, that good is demonstrable. He did this with parables, or stories that people could understand, and through healing, showing that God's goodness is right here, among us, speaking to us, leading us, shepherding His flock. He demonstrated in his ministry that man is truly one with God, a creation of Spirit, not subject to material law, but to abundant, spiritual Life. This does not mean that it requires no effort to follow in the path of Christ Jesus. It does, in fact, require much of us.

We have to be willing to leave the lure of materialism, to have a genuine desire to serve and bless, and we need to be persistent. We also have to practice, practice, practice! "Spiritual living and blessedness are the only evidences, by which we can recognize true existence and feel the unspeakable peace which comes from an all-absorbing spiritual love." This is one way to think of that "abundant life" that Jesus promises us in John 9:10, part of our Responsive Reading this week. It is telling that Mary Baker Eddy (MBE) says "spiritual living". This is more than living a good human life. That is certainly a step towards "spiritual living", but casting aside the material sense of reality as diligently as we can, is the only way to really follow the Master as he asked us to do. This is not impossible. It is eminently doable as we take up the instructions in this week's Bible lesson.

Our Golden Text and Responsive Reading outline our task for the week. We are to follow this "good shepherd"! [Hear Ken Cooper’s poem “The Good Shepherd” at,] Jesus is referred to in the Bible variously as the "Lamb of God", the "good shepherd", "the door" to the sheepfold, among other things. These "sheep" comparisons were especially powerful in light of the importance of this animal to the way of life in his day in that part of the world. All who heard this were at least familiar with shepherding, with sheep and their characteristics, even if they weren't personally involved in the work of shepherding. Remember, it was even shepherds who came to bear witness to the arrival of Christ Jesus in the stable!

The Responsive Reading emphasizes the way that Christ—the shepherd in this case—calls each sheep by name. The sheep respond to the voice of their shepherd, and theirs alone! Not only does the Christ, which is like God's voice to man, speak to us, but Christ knows us, knows our identity (name), and is always providing guidance, comfort, and goodness to each one of us.

In the first part of John 10, just before the verses in the Responsive Reading we have this: "Believe me when I tell you that anyone who does not enter the sheepfold through the door, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a rogue. It is the shepherd who goes in by the door." In verse 6 of John 10 we are told: "Jesus gave them this illustration but they did not grasp the point of what he was saying to them. So, Jesus said to them once more, "I do assure you that I myself am the door for the sheep. All who have gone before me are like thieves and rogues, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If a man goes in through me, he will be safe and sound; he can come in and out and find his food." The New Testament in Modern English by J.B. Phillips.

There are no human shortcuts to living an abundant life. The "thieves" that I see as most tempting to us, are the thoughts that tell us we can find happiness through material means, money, the right spouse, the right activities, the right job. But it is through following Christ, listening for the Christ voice, God's spiritual communicator, that we find our way into that abundant life.

Jesus left us an example that was so astonishing that a new calendar was established to mark his coming! His life example and shepherding messages are spelled out in the New Testament, and Mary Baker Eddy summarized for us many of his “imperative commands” with detailed instructions on how to live a spiritual life right here and now that will lead us to an understanding of our oneness with God.

Section 1: Christ Jesus was born in meekness to lead with the spiritual power of Christ.

True government falls on the shoulders of spiritual meekness. This meekness was summed up in the birth of Jesus, and was demonstrated in the way he embodied the Christ through his healing and preaching. Jesus was the man who was anointed by God to show the Christ among us. The Christ "…is without beginning of years or end of days"(S1).

We see many examples of the power and presence of Christ in the Old Testament, long before Jesus. But Jesus embodied Christ so fully that we named him "Christ Jesus". No one can ever take the place of Jesus, but every one of us can learn to embody the Christ and heal with his meekness and an understanding of our oneness with God.

The Christ gave Jesus his useful power to heal. This is symbolized in citation B2 by the references to the "girdle" of loins and reins. This is explained in both the My Bible Lesson and the Bible lesson notes at the back of this week's Sentinel. The term "girdle" refers to a belt-like piece that was worn to hold a knife or coins, but also to hold the long robes that were worn, out of the way so that work could be done. So, think of this girdle as something that made work more effective, held matter "out of the way". Also, "loins" and "reins", referred to Hebrew words that translate as metaphors for "strength" and "vigor". Think back to how Christ Jesus was prophesied to be a powerful leader, or ruler. These clothing references help to illustrate that point. This power came about humbly, not as a human warrior, leading Israel to victory, but as a shepherd who healed and "fed" his flock!

Section 2: Leave our nets and follow Jesus!

We really want to be good sheep. Sheep might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of what you want to be, but Mary Baker Eddy defines them as: "Innocence; inoffensiveness; those who follow their leader." Society definitely does not hold these ideals up as models. We are encouraged to be "leaders", to be assertive, powerful, clever—not at all sheep-like! But throughout this lesson we find clear evidence that the power that Jesus demonstrated came not from cleverness, self-assertion, or traditional sense of being a leader. Rather they came from his desire to bless and serve mankind, to teach and preach for our benefit.

Jesus began in humility, healed and taught the humblest in society, and was killed in the most humiliating manner of the day. His elevation through the ascension came wholly from God, not from man or society. In fact, human society can often be an entangling net of material pursuits, of desire for fame or wealth, or even for comfort. These are the nets that the disciples left literally and symbolically.

The disciples heard the voice of their shepherd and they left their father even, with his hired servants! How quickly we pass that over without thinking what that must have been like! We too can leave the nets of material desires and follow the Christ. It is a radical departure. Think what leaving their father represented to them rather than equating it with leaving our own family today. This was what they had trained to do their whole lives, this was their "family business". There is fearlessness there, like the sheep that hears his/her name and willingly, trustingly follows their shepherd.

Mary Baker Eddy tells us this: "Those who are willing to leave their nets or to cast them on the right side for Truth, have the opportunity now as aforetime, to learn and to practise Christian healing" (S10). This is possible now!! We can learn to heal by leaving what might get in our way of hearing the Christ message to us today.

Section 3: Jesus revealed God to us.

The church leaders of Jesus' day were blind to the nature of God and of man. In this section they could only see that Jesus was preaching to "sinners". Jesus' actions showed his spiritual mission of compassion and tenderness. They reflected the nature of Love, of a good shepherd! Jesus taught the multitudes with stories that they could understand and relate to.

Jesus also gave man a "ladder" [or a graded stairway], if you will, by taking the laws that Moses established and helping people to see them in a higher, more spiritual light. This was the "gospel" or good news that he preached. It was not a disposal of Mosaic law, but a new view, a rethinking or "repentant" way of viewing God and holy law.

This new viewpoint of Jesus was the “God’s eye” view that brought about healing. It was the view that Mary Baker Eddy describes in citation S14 when she says "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick. Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy." [SH 476:32] This explains why Jesus spent time with the "publicans and sinners"—he saw them in their wholeness, and healed them!

Section 4: To be good shepherds we must serve, comfort, feed.

As with our Responsive Reading, it is helpful to look at the context in which Jesus said to his disciple "whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all." [Mark 10:43, 44, B10] We find this statement in the middle of an argument among his disciples about who will get to sit on either side of him in heaven. He ends the argument by speaking these words about service. This is another glimpse into the radically different kind of leadership that we are finding in this week's Bible lesson. It is a leadership that serves.

Jesus showed this servant leadership model notably when he washed his disciples’ feet when they ate during their last Passover supper together. In this section he has compassion on the multitudes that have been listening to his preaching for three days! He showed them God's love by healing, then how Love's laws operate to compassionately and abundantly feed them, care for their human needs. We have seen this care in the Old Testament too, but Jesus here is illustrating that this care is still present and available to all.

Mary Baker Eddy gives us some "rules" to follow, and qualities to nurture, if we would do the works that Jesus did here. Citation S18 gives us a list, but underlying these qualities and the willingness to follow, dwells a genuine desire to do these things. That is something we can each day nurture and tend so that it blossoms in our life.

Section 5: True shepherding is meek, loving, not burdening.

The Scribes and Pharisees left church goers feeling burdened and heavy in spirit. Jesus spoke in Matthew 11:28-30 of giving rest to the heavy-laden! He told them that his "yoke" was easy and his burden light! But he encouraged us to take up that "yoke"! If we find ourselves bogged down and burdened in our study of Christian Science, it is a sure sign that we are losing the spirit of this Science and getting stuck in a too strong sense of "rules". [As Warren sometimes reminds CedarS staff “If you’re not having fun practicing Christian Science, you’re not practicing Christian Science. And, not obeying one of the last commands of Jesus to ‘be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”’ (John 16:33).]

Christ Jesus came to lift burdens from man, to lift heavy, worldly misconceptions of God and of man. He untangled us from the "Adam man", and showed us the potential of the Christ man! This requires humility on our part. Mary Baker Eddy tells us that we do not get to "choose for ourselves"!! [30:30, S21] We must be meek and willing to [cheerfully] follow the Master's example.

Section 6: The Shepherd helps the entire flock to progress.

Jesus gave us the example to follow. He prayed for all to be "one" with the Father. He demonstrated that oneness through his healing works. And he encouraged us, as his "flock", to do the same. This doesn't happen, as Mary Baker Eddy tells us through "blind belief", or through a "human understanding" of God, but through the kind of humble prayers that Jesus made, that "…were deep and conscientious protests of Truth, – of man's likeness to God and of man's unity with Truth and Love" [12:10, S23].

Jesus’ humble protest prayers lead to that more abundant life spoken of in the Responsive Reading; they are echoed in citation S24 where we are told that it is "Spiritual living and blessedness…" that will lead us to see "true existence" [264:24]. True existence is spiritual being. This is something that we are constantly striving to glimpse and can glimpse here through obedience to Christ Jesus' demands. It brings that "unspeakable peace which comes from an all-absorbing spiritual love" [264:26, S24]. There is no other way to feel this, though material sense will try to convince us otherwise! Spiritual living is something we can do now, we don't have to wait for some kind of "afterlife" to do this. It just means that we are willing to be sheep, to follow our Master in the way that he taught!

Section 7: Christ continues to urge us to leave our nets and "feed my lambs".

I love that we have “come full circle” here. Early in the lesson Jesus asked disciples to leave their nets. Here, after his resurrection, he finds them entangled in their old ways, having experienced the sharp disappointment of their Master's crucifixion—what they viewed as a failure. Have we ever felt like God has failed us, has left us high and dry after having found so much good in Him before?

Perhaps when we are tempted to feel abandoned or disappointed is our moment to answer the question Jesus asks Peter: "…lovest thou me more than these?" [John 21:15, B15] We have all been there, turned back to matter in some way to try to answer a question, or to feel some level of comfort. But, divine Love gave us Christ Jesus to show us that the eternal Christ is here, today, always, to help us follow him, and to reflect his shepherding qualities today by healing, comforting, blessing mankind.

[As you find yourself in this Christly, servant-leader mindset,] "Working and praying with true motives, your Father will open the way" [326:20, S27]. Christ—your ever-loving Shepherd—is holding the door wide-open for you – even right now!

Mine precious GEMs from Christ Jesus from this Bible Lesson meant for you and yours! .[For more than two decades Warren Huff has enjoyed freely offering Christianly scientific application ideas from insights shared by Bible scholar Cobbey Crisler, poet Ken Cooper and others.] Blessings are "bound to abound" to all whenever we daily invite the application of priceless, inspiring gems from God's Word to "enrich the affections of all mankind and govern them" ("Daily Prayer," Church Manual, Mary Baker Eddy)


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