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GEMs of your always-preserved safety in oneness with God!
Sparkle with insights by Cobbey Crisler, Ken Cooper & others from The Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“God the Preserver of Man”
for December 13, 2020

GEM#1: An example of one of Cobbey Crisler’s Sunday School students who relied on God as “… the one who saves me from violence.” (II Samuel 22:3, Golden Text, citation S4 (SH 410:14) quoting 1 John 4:18, Isa. 43:5,)
[Cobbey Crisler on handling thoughts of fear;] In Job 3:25 … Job says the very well-known statement, one of the most well-known in the entire Bible, “the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me.“ The Hebrew literally is this, “I feared a fear and it came upon me.“ The second part of the verse repeats it because it’s poetry, “and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.“ Look at the revelation, if we can use that word here about the nature of fear that we have. Had we already identified fear in Job’s thought earlier? (Voice: “Yes.”) Why did he get up every morning and go through that (ritual in Job 1:5 of offering burnt offerings for his children)? He says, the thing I greatly feared,” way behind, suppressed very deeply.

He was just keeping ahead of that fear through his religion. Nothing happened, and therefore he was very religious. Now everything is blown sky high. What’s going to happen to his religion?

What about this fear? What effect did it have? He saying, “the thing which I have greatly feared.“ What is its relationship to the fear itself?

(Sound of writing on the chalkboard) Here is the fear. And here is the thing we fear. Resting in the thought of everyone, especially today, with so many things that seem to be happening unexpectedly. Is that all accumulating in the form of suppressed fear? Look at what Job says happens. What is the relationship between the fear and the thing? (Voice: “Attraction.”) It is, isn’t it? In other words, this thing heads in the direction of the fear. It’s magnetic.

If we understand that to be true about the quality of fear in thought, would anyone be afraid again? Would anyone in his right mind want to be afraid again? If we that all that fear was doing, was attracting the thing that we were afraid of, right to us? Just think of the disservice so many Hollywood movies do, if this is correct. Also, ask yourself, if it is a coincidence, that right after we see certain movies, that we suddenly find the same disasters are occurring? The focus is human thought!

This is one of the most beautiful exposures of the nature of this to-and-fro evil to attack humanity. Our effort must be to break that magnetism so that the thing feared cannot come to man individually or collectively, because there’s nothing in thought to attract it.

The textbook gives us the solution to fear, the textbook of the Bible. Because I John (4:18) gives us the solution to fear. What is it? “Perfect Love castest out fear:” What kind of love? It’s got to be perfect, not a chink in it, in the armor. Is that stating to us that only in thought is a complete defense, or panoply (a complete suit of armor), with the threat of something that otherwise would be fearsome indeed?

One of my Sunday School students once had the rest of the class on the edges of their chairs as a result of an experience she had just that week. It illustrates this. She was walking home very late at night after an extension course at a local college in a very poor area of town, not lit very well. As she was walking through suddenly she heard a car behind her. It squealed its brakes, stopped at the curb, and out jumped four leather-jacketed “gentlemen.” They ran right towards her, grabbed her, and started dragging her into the nearby woods.

Here comes the big question, like it came from Noah, like it came for Daniel, like it came for Job. Here it is still a question mark in her thought. That girl had been used to studying the Bible. She was pretty good with it theoretically. Here came an opportunity to see if it had any practical value. Of course, you don’t think too intellectually at times like that. She said to the class that all that came to her was something she hadn’t even recognized was from the Bible. She never even remembered reading it. It was (from Isaiah 43:5) “Fear not for I am with you.” She kept shouting that at the top of her lungs, “Fear not for I am with you.”

Here was a mob scene. Something in the human nature of one of those boys was touched by that higher sense because it broke the mob up slightly. He said, “Hey, wait a minute, let’s let her alone. She’s not that kind of a girl.” That brief stopping of what looked like the inevitable was sufficient for car, just coming around to catch the scene in its headlights. It was a police car. The boys dropped her fast, got into their car and took off. The policemen, sizing it up quickly, stopped, went over to this gal and picked her up and said, “Would you like a ride home? Are you alright?” She said, “Yes, thank you very much.” She rode in the car with the policemen back to her house and the driver said, “You know, little lady, how lucky you are. This isn’t our regular beat. Our beat’s one block up from here. But my buddy said, ‘Hey, tonight, why don’t we just go down and check that area?’ So, I agreed and we went.”

That gal, in really reaching out for the only possible help—there was no human help — had apparently touched the solution for her experience that could be the solution for all of us. What needed to be counteracted in thought was fear, because look what came to her, “Fear not!” Why? The textbook answer, “For I am with thee.” Just that mustard seed was able to counteract what would have been the magnetic attraction to the thing she greatly feared. It was also apparently enough to, not only reach the thought of one boy, but perhaps even to alert the policemen to an idea that they had not contemplated on the previous night.

And everything arrived at once. You can imagine what that meant to the kids when they heard that in Sunday School and to me as well. I’ve always kind of taken it as a beautiful example of what Job is saying here in revealing the nature of fear.

There’s a movie ad I read not too recently showing that we’re almost gluttons for punishment as far as human nature is concerned. That movie ad—maybe you’ve seen it—it promises audiences in big, bold headlines, “AT LAST—TOTAL TERROR!” (Laughter) Who wants total terror? But people are paying money for it! When they leave that theater, what’s dancing on their eyelids and their mental memory as far as these things are concerned? What does a knock on the door, or a scream in the night, or anything else now mean in terms of the helplessness of man and man shoved back into no-dominion-at-all, but fatalistically waiting for what comes?”
“The Case of Job,” by B. Cobbey Crisler**

GEM#2: Exalt the God of your salvation!
CedarS campers, staff and families love it when what we call “The Rock Song” is in the Bible Lesson because it reminds us of a favorite CedarS camp song by that name. Part of this song is found in Psalm 18:46 of this week’s Responsive Reading. “The Rock Song” was selected by former CedarS counselor, Erin Williams, for “CedarS Round-the-Clock” Trilogy of CDs that she put together as a campership benefit project for CedarS 50th anniversary summer of 2011. You can hear Erin leading this call-and-response song by clicking on: (You can skip the ad.)

Erin sang and played the prelude and opening hymn for CedarS June 7, 2020 Zoom Hymn Sing. If you want to see a video with the traditional CedarS motions along with the audio, below is a link to Stephen Hanlin, a CedarS counselor and a CedarS 365 Hymn Sing leader, doing the motions while singing “the Rock Song” (in a round) as found in Psalms 18:46. Here’s the link:

GEM#3: See lovingkindness drawing all mankind to God for solutions to world problems!
Cobbey Crisler on Jeremiah 31 (and citation B1, Jer. 31:3)

“In Chapter 31, which is Jeremiah’s greatest chapter, he predicts the new covenant will come. He defines it. In Verse 3 he shows that the new covenant is definitely based on the comprehension of God as love. It’s that very “lovingkindness” that will draw all mankind to God for the solution of the world problems.”— [to make “their soul (spiritual sense) as a watered garden.” (Jer. 31:12)
“Heal the Sick”: A Scriptural Record, by B. Cobbey Crisler**

GEM#4: Live in the kingdom of heaven (right within)! Daily expect and USE these all-inclusive features of your “royalty benefits package” (as “the spitting-image” of your forever Queen Mother/King Father) in the divinely royal kingdom within you:
1) a complimentary, personal fitness & health care system (with the Best Physician always “on-call” for you 24/7/365);
2) a free, built-in security system constantly monitored by “the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal” Security Go(uar)d (SH 587:5);
3) a perfect travel-planning system with free, “trip insurance/assurance” (“going out & coming in forever”);
4) systems for personally-planned, food service & waste management (“going out & coming in” as in Ps 121:8);
4) an ideal match-making service (to preserve right companionship & even your “going-out” … dating);
5) an income (“coming-in”) preservation service from your Soul/sole Provider of “infinite resources”;
6) and, best of all, it’s FOREVER! —Cobbey Crisler on Psalm 121:3, 8 (B2) No off-hours

[Prequel, by Cobbey:] “Psalm 121, Verses 3 and 4. Let’s remember that the Bible tells us that the Great Physician has no off-hours; “He that keepeth thee will not slumber.” There are no busy circuits, no vacations, no fully booked calendars. You can get right to God, and there is a security system built in Verse 8*, “The Lord shall preserve thy going out* and thy coming in* from this time forth, and for ever.”
“Leaves of the Tree: Prescriptions from Psalms,” by B. Cobbey Crisler

*[W: Psalm 121:8 is annually a key metaphysical citation for CedarS Express. We all apply it to help affirm divinely-safe arrivals and departures when hundreds are travelling to and from CedarS from all over the world.]
**[Here’s a semi-humorous, Warren’s wordplay offering: “Psalm 121.8 establishes a helpful divine basis for those seeking right relationships and supply. “You can rest easy that it’s God who cares for your “going out” (your dating and companionship) and who provides for your “coming in”(or your in-come) forever!”]

GEM#5: Give “his angels charge over” you even midst Titanic challenges! (Ps. 91:2-11, cit. B7)
In his testimony in an October 1912 Christian Science Journal, Titanic survivor Lt. Charles H. Lightoller, explains how he prayed with the 91st Psalm (as citation B7 in this week’s CS Bible Lesson. He especially loved the thought that “He shall give his angels charge over thee” and how angel thoughts and thought-forces led him to save many others as well as himself miraculously.

Reprinted in part below in case you have not yet signed up for JSH Online which you could/should do here:
“I want to emphasize strongly this point, that as soon as I collected my thoughts after taking to the water, I remember saying to myself, "Now, I'll see how much I have learned from Christian Science." A doubt never entered my mind as to the possibility of my surviving; in other words, of the ability of the divine power to save me. I think I can conscientiously say that with this thought all fear left me, and I commenced again to realize the truth of being.

It was at this moment that I was drawn into the water, still realizing the truth, and while I was below the surface these words from the [ninety-first] Psalm came to me so distinctly that I seemed to realize their full import: "He shall give his angels charge over thee." Immediately, I think, I was thrown away from the blower, and came up to find a piece of wood in my hand which seemed to be attached to the top of the funnel by a wire. I remained still, while the water rushed past me carrying the people with it away from me.

A second time I went down, still holding fast to the truth, and again came to the surface. My piece of wood was gone, but alongside me was the flat-bottomed collapsible boat which I had thrown down on the other side of the ship. This I laid hold of, but made no attempt to board it.

I want it to be understood that during this time in the water the fact came calmly and clearly that there was a divine power which could be utilized in a practical manner, and also it seemed perfectly natural to rely on this power with the spiritual understanding which is so often spoken of in the Bible, and which is explained in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mrs. Eddy.

Now, with the sinking of a great ship like the Titanic, there was also the fear of suction to overcome, and at this time the forward funnel fell, throwing the boat, myself, and other survivors about twenty feet clear of the ship, so that of suction we felt nothing. About thirty of us floated the remainder of the night on the upturned boat, and I could not overcome the intense cold experienced, yet when a man handed me a bottle of something that smelt somewhat like essence of peppermint, the thought of material means was nothing short of repulsive, and needless to say, it was not taken.

At daybreak we found two life-boats floating nearby, into which we were taken. I was the last member of the Titanic to board the Carpathia, and after interviewing her captain, discarded my wet clothes in favor of a bunk, in which I remained for about half an hour, and was not in bunk or bed again till we arrived in New York. Reaction or effects from the immersion—which I was confidently assured would take place—there were none; and though surprise has been expressed by very many, it only goes to prove that "with God all things are possible."

Lieut. C. H. Lightoller, R.N.R.

Reprinted from the October 1912 issue of The Christian Science Journal.”

GEM#6: Know that your "Ability & Opportunity are coordinate ideas" and then "Rise to the Occasion!" Application ideas offered by Warren Huff on citation S12, 571:16.

"Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil." Science & Health, 571:16

“What occasions or opportunities are demanding your best these days?
1. Hard assignments, unbelievable work load and killer deadlines?
2. Important tests of our abilities or our faith and resilience?
3. A big game, presentation or performance?
4. Group Leadership role(s)?
5. An important date or social event?
6. A sticky situation where taking a moral or ethical stand and integrity are needed?
7. Challenging restrictions that keep testing your patience, equanimity and reliance on God?

Whatever opportunities you face, you can meet them as their master by obeying this powerful two-word command.
"Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil." Science & Health, 571:16 (S12)

“Know yourself as God knows you – as an ever-perfect expression of "infinity, freedom, harmony and boundless bliss." (see S&H 481:3) Totally accept and simply express each of these elements of your divine identity to eradicate their illegitimate opposites. Without a body-based sense of self, you will be open for God to eliminate from your experience: all of matter's debilitating drag of limited energy, funds, intelligence, speed, inspiration; all its sapping slavery of restrictions (injuries, illness, red tape, tie-ups); all its regular rub of inharmonious relationships and its constant cloud of frustration and unhappiness. All gone! These are all just fables that were never part of you or of those you love.

In the next couple of days, "your assignment, should you choose to accept it," will be to simply do your part—know yourself spiritually—and watch God do Her part, to supply you with all the wisdom and occasions where victories are wanted. You may also enjoy highlighting in every lesson all of God's jobs in one color and all of yours in another color.

A friend shed new light on this passage with this one-line insight:
"ABILITY (the wisdom) and OPPORTUNITY (the occasion) are coordinate ideas."

By accepting this divine law and knowing yourself spiritually, you will never have ability without being given opportunity to express it. (no unneeded bench-sitting) And, you'll also never be given opportunities (like the seven listed at the top) without having the God-given abilities to rise to the occasion!”

Warren Huff originally posted this on CedarS website on December 5, 2002

GEM#7a: Go where there’s receptivity, like Elijah, Elisha & Jesus did—even when it’s outside of your hometown “comfort zone”. Expect and receive fulfillment and healing.
Cobbey Crisler on Luke 4:14-33 (citation B11)

See a video by “Free Bible Images” at the link below about Jesus speaking in his own synagogue in Nazareth and almost being thrown over the brow of a cliff before walking through those who intended to kill him.

[prequel by Cobbey:] “Luke indicates that he understands this [Jesus’ period of temptations in the wilderness] has been a power test for Jesus because in Verse 14 he uses that word, "Jesus returned" not in any form of power that Satan had tried to impose upon him [“to take personal power, political power, and priestly power”]. But rather, "in the power of the Spirit into Galilee"—[“in the law that relates man directly to God, the source of the only power there is. (CC)]

“He appears in his hometown of Nazareth. Here is a hometown boy that has made good, locally, mostly in Capernaum, not far away. He comes back. "His fame has spread." They invited him to do some of the reading publicly (Verse 16). They hand him Isaiah (Verse 17). If they handed him a scroll, he would have had to spend some time unrolling it to find exactly what he was looking for. This particular verse is very close to the end.

Isaiah 61, Verse 1, is what Jesus is reading. Notice, it's very specifically a prophecy of the Messiah. The word related to Messiah appears in the word "Anointed. " In Hebrew that's the word relating it to the Messiah. "The Spirit of the Lord (is) upon me." Notice, Luke has just said in Verse 1 of this Chapter that "Jesus was filled with the Spirit." Here the prophecy says (in Luke 4, Verse 18), "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.

Jesus is saying this in the congregation of the synagogue of his hometown. He's simply reading the Old Testament. If he read Scripture like he cited it spontaneously, like he healed with it, you can imagine you probably would have heard a pin drop in that synagogue. Add to that the fact that Jesus knew he was fulfilling every word of that prophecy in himself and in his own career. Think of the impact in that environment.

Here, then, is God's definition of the Messiah through prophecy:

Number one, the Messiah would do what? "Preach the gospel to the poor.”

Gospel doesn't just mean "good news," It means, in particular, news of victory.

What's the second one? "Heal the brokenhearted.”

The third, “Preach deliverance to the captives. "

The fourth, “Recovering of sight to the blind. "

The fifth, “To set at liberty them that are bruised.”

And finally, Verse 19, “To preach the acceptable year of the Lord."

Having said all those things, having defined the Messiah in the Bible, he closes the Book and he sits down (Verse 20). There is a long silence. Everyone is looking at him. He adds (in Verse 21), "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

Unfortunately, his hometown reacts violently (Verse 28), especially to Verses 25 through 27, where he goes back into the Bible for two very significant events in the history of the Jews, and certainly in the history of healing. One was the widow that Elijah visited (Verse 26). In the midst of the famine, she had an endless supply of oil (1 Kings 17:16, 26). The next one in Verse 27 is Elisha's healing of Naaman's leprosy (2 Kings 5:8-14).

Why would the audience at Nazareth be so incensed by what Jesus is bringing out in these stories? He was talking about foreigners, wasn't he? When you read it, think of this emphasis. He said, "I tell you quite factually, there were many widows in Israel. There were many Jewish widows. But Elijah didn't go to any of them. (Verse 26) Instead he went to a Lebanese widow."

Is it really nationality that makes the difference? Is it really gender that makes the difference? Or age, or economic status?

No, it's receptivity (that makes a difference), isn't it? You couldn't find it in Israel, but you could find that in Lebanon. In fact, that’s the only place Elijah found it.

It's quite a commentary on the lack of faith among the monotheists of Israel. There were many lepers in Israel during Elisha's time, but he didn't go to any of them. He went to the commander in chief of the enemy forces, the Syrian general. There was more receptivity in Naaman's thought than he found in Israel.

Remember how often Jesus says to some of those he cures, like the centurion and some of those who were not Jewish, he says in Matthew 8:10, "I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel."

The receptivity message is that God is universally accessible. They didn’t like that message. Verse 29, They "thrust him out of the city." They nearly killed him. That was the attempt. (Verse 30,) "But Jesus passing through the midst of them went his way.

I suggest to you, as my father suggested to me once in discussing this incident, that it is easier to accept prophecy than it is to accept fulfillment. With prophecy, one may have been trained to respect and revere it over the years. But when fulfillment occurs, who's ready for that, especially in one’s own home town? That's the point Jesus said (in Verse 24), “No prophet is accepted in his own country."

Later we find Jesus telling his followers to search the Scriptures (John 5:39).

They will find him there which more or less implies that if we can't find Jesus in

Prophecy, we can't find Jesus.

Luke 4:33, This first specific healing is the one of the unclean devil. Many of these healings require steps. There is a sequence in healing, in many cases, three specific phases that Jesus goes through before the healing occurs.

One asks the question, "Why? Couldn't Jesus heal instantaneously?" We know he did. But look at the value for us in having the method that he used preserved step by step.”

“Luke, the Researcher,” by B. Cobbey Crisler**

GEM#7b: Hear a Bible monologue about Luke 4:16-35 (Bible citation 11) from Ken Cooper. Enjoy on YouTube Ken's insights on Jesus' stirring visit to his hometown synagogue in Nazareth. Hear Ken read a custom, moving monologue called "A Life changed and Preserved." from one in the crowd who could have been a boyhood friend of Jesus.
[Ken wrote:] “God does not need to protect us from anything, because there is nothing unlike what God is, – the infinite ever-present, in which there can be only the expression of good. Man is inseparable from God’s Love, and this “canopy of Love” maintains what we are. The infinity of God guarantees our maintenance, assures us that we are held in His everlasting arms, and no violence, harm, plague can ever enter our being as God’s reflection. God rests in action and our preservation in Him is an active, fresh, and unfolding goodness.

This is indeed the Christ message of God to man. This is what Jesus saw so clearly and constantly proved. He declared: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” This is the Christ made manifest, a message to us all, that we too feel the anointing of the Spirit, our discipleship with the Lord.

In the monologue A Life Changed and Preserved we hear the imagined testimony of someone that knew Jesus since his school days. He was in the synagogue when Jesus shared the prophecy of Esaias, and became caught up in the hysteria of mortal mind. The unconditional Love of Jesus saved him, changed him, preserved his true nature, and led him to be a disciple. In Truth, his life was not changed, rather revealed. What a cause for gratitude!

When we get caught up in any form of violence, – the belief that mortality is king, the belief in a power apart from God, we have the understanding of God’s Love that brings the infinite power of Mind, Love, into reality, and we feel and know the tender hold of God’s everlasting arms. The truth of God’s infinite Love preserves man forever intact and free.

The related PDF versions are attached to CedarS online version as upper right Downloads.

GEM#8: Consider the W.A.L.L. Treatment (in cit. S16, 495:14) when tempted to believe your “back’s against the wall”—or the C.A.L.L. treatment to know “who you gonna call?”
On page 495, lines 14-24 Mary Baker Eddy gives you (and the whole world) four powerful (and memoizable) sentences to guide your thoughts to healing when you are tempted to believe in the reality of some illusion or ghost of fear or doubt that seems to be in your face.

W.A.L.L. Treatment (cit. S16, 495:14) These four sentences begin with the letters W, A, L, L—hence the W.A.L.L. treatment. This was a memory devise that came to me and has made it easier for me to remember the whole paragraph and use it often as a cornerstone for healings.

  • When the illusion…
  • Allow nothing but his likeness to abide in your thought.
  • Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow…
  • Let Christian Science instead of corporeal sense, support your understanding…”

Or it could be called the C.A.L.L. Treatment (cit. S16, 495:14) A different acronym/memory device can be made by using the first letters of the directive verbs in each of these same four sentences. They are Cling, Allow, Let and Let again—hence the C.A.L.L. treatment. This alternate memory devise came to me when tempted to be afraid of some illusion or lingering “ghostly” belief from the past, present or future (like Scrooge was in “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens). Mary Baker Eddy unknowingly answered in-advance and brilliantly the question “Who you Gonna Call?” (from the 1984 movie “Ghostbusters” soundtrack song by Ray Parker Jr.). She treated all such “ghosts” as illusions in her ultimate, metaphysical “Ghostbuster” treatment that has served as a cornerstone for thousands of healings. –“When the illusion… tempts you,

  • Cling Steadfastly to God and His idea.
  • Allow nothing but his likeness to abide in your thought.
  • Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your Clear Sense and calm trust…
  • Let Christian Science instead of Corporeal Sense, support your understanding of being and…”

(Reread carefully and consider memorizing the FULL, 10-line Christian Science treatment on page 495:14-24 (cit. S16). Note the four pairs of consecutive words (which I capitalized, highlighted and bolded above) which begin with C and S!

Lately we’re faced with the barrage of news articles on a global pandemic and other forms of lawlessness as well as with the hopefulness of peaceful protests which attempt to transform and uplift mankind out of hateful habits and often unconscious biases of racism. To stay with the allness of God in the midst of this seeming somethingness of this evil we can always spiritualize thought as we C.A.L.L. on God and:

C. Cling steadfastly to God and His idea [Christ]

A. Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought.

L. Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust, that the recognition of life harmonious — as Life eternally is — can destroy any painful sense of, or belief in, that which Life is not.

L. Let Christian Science, instead of corporeal sense, support your understanding of being, and this understanding will supplant error with Truth, replace mortality with immortality, and silence discord with harmony.” (S24, 495:14-16, 20)

Such CALL-ing on God gives us something certain to “cling steadfastly to,” and overturns what appears to be a worldwide fixation on fear. The C.A.L.L. treatment is a sure defense. It protects us as we follow the Wayshower, to find comfort and healing for our whole global family. “Jesus marked out the way. Citizens of the world, accept the 'glorious liberty of the children of God,' and be free! This is your divine right.” (cit. S21, 227:23-26)

GEM#9: Use freedom’s power to “do as we ought…for the purpose of service… in the interests of love,” NOT “to do as we like” to find ourselves in “the deeper bondage to the flesh.” The Interpreter’s Bible: A Commentary in Twelve Volumes. Vol. 10, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians. Nashville: Abingdon, 1951–57.

In our Bible citation B16 from 2nd Corinthians 3 verse 17, Paul puts it, "Wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." (II Corinthians 3:17 New Living Translation)

From a Bible Lens published in The Christian Science Sentinel:
“To Paul, liberty goes beyond release from physical bondage, Roman occupation, and the restrictions of Jewish law to the freedom of serving God. As a Bible authority explains, “True liberty is not the freedom to do as we like; it is the power to do as we ought.… [U]nless we use our liberty for the purpose of service,in the interests of love, we shall find ourselves in a deeper bondage, the bondage to the flesh.” The Interpreter’s Bible: A Commentary in Twelve Volumes. Vol. 10, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians. Nashville: Abingdon, 1951–57.

GEM#10: Be open to God’s unique ways to save you—even in a “basket-case” escape like Saul’s/Paul’s down the wall!
Cobbey Crisler on Acts 9:19-25, cit. B18
[Prequel and comments by Cobbey:] “When Ananias meets Saul (after his road-to-Damascus encounter with the Christ), and speaks with him, in Acts 9, verse 17, “from Saul’s eyes fall scales – his past outlook dropping away completely. And he was seeing things from an entirely new point of view.” (paraphrased from text below)

Acts 9:17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

Acts 9:18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Acts 9:19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.

“It is not very long before Saul is actively engaged in preaching “the way.” (paraphrased from text below)

Acts 9:20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

Notice in Acts 9, verse 20, where we are told “he straightway preached Christ, or the Messiah, in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.” There is point one in the preaching of Paul that “the Messiah in Bible prophecy is also the Son of God.” (paraphrased from the above)

You can imagine what those who heard him must have thought since they already had been well acquainted with Saul’s reputation earlier.

Here was “the key persecutor of Christianity now preaching in the name of Jesus.” (paraphrased from Acts 9:21) …

[BONUS: Acts 9, verse 22, gives us the second point in “Paul’s preaching, showing that he used the scriptures, obviously, to prove that Jesus was the Messiah.” (See below, paraphrased)

Acts 9:22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.

This was his technique, his method. There was no other way, was there, to convince a group of intelligent Jews, well trained in the Scriptures that anyone could have been a claimant to the Messiah unless he went back to the authority of the Scriptures? So, Acts 9, verse 22, tells us “he proved that this is the very Christ.” (See above, paraphrased)

That brings up a question for us as students of this account in the Book of Acts. Why is it that Saul, without any indication of instruction humanly on the point, suddenly is so thoroughly convinced that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies?

Let’s remember that Saul is the first real scholar to become converted to Christianity. We have dealt with fishermen. Saul is a Pharisee and a son of a Pharisee, the student of Gamaliel, one of the most highly respected rabbis (rabbanim) in Jewish history.

He knew the Scriptures inside and out. Once he grasped that Jesus not only fulfilled the scripture, but his very life opened up as a key does in a lock, passages of scripture that the Jewish nation has never focused upon before.

Where did he get this concept and idea? Is it possible that unrecorded in the account, the walk to Damascus for Paul was also the walk to Emmaus?

Did that great light which came upon him illumine the scriptures as well? Did everything suddenly come together for Saul? – all his previous Bible instruction lifted out of ritual, out of theory, into the living fulfillment of the present with Jesus as the prophesied Messiah?]

[Cobbey on citation B18:] “Well, Acts 9, verse 23, shows us that it does not take very long before the same techniques of persecution are applied to Saul as he had applied to Christians earlier.

The entire city of Damascus is watched. “The gates are guarded with the intent to assassinate Saul when the opportunity arose.”
(paraphrased from text below)

Acts 9:23 And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him:

Acts 9:24 But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him.

Saul’s favorite escape occurred: “His disciples take him in the middle of the night and carefully let him down the wall in a basket.”
(paraphrased from text below)

Acts 9:25 Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.

This must have meant a great deal to Paul because he does refer to it at least one other time. One might say that Saul, at least at this moment in his history, was putting all his “exits” in one basket. (…”Sorry.”)
“After the Master, What? The Book of Acts,” by B. Cobbey Crisler**

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