Through the millennia, Christianity has focused on the cross and resurrection. But Jesus did have a teaching mission. What was he trying to convey? Did a unified vision inform his parables and sayings? This book examines the text to answer these questions.
The following sayings and parables of Jesus are taken from the Gospel of Matthew. They are here brought under a general survey to demonstrate their unity of meaning and purpose. Was the outlook of Jesus gentle or harsh? Was it embracing or exclusionary? In other words, did he truly believe the God he called “Father” is inclined to destroy a proportion of that of which he alone is the author? It is the opinion of this writer that Jesus’ message was intended to be gentle and embracing.
The word “gospel” means “glad tidings.” Thus the emphasis is positive in tenor. In spite of certain eschatological statements in the text, the general spirit of these teachings is neither condemnatory nor judgmental. It is compassionate, empathetic, and joyful. It exhibits a God who embraces rather than divides.
The King James version of the Bible has been employed here to avoid copyright issues. The use of this older translation is considered acceptable because the discrepancies which exist in it are minor and do not affect the overall meaning of Jesus’ message. However, some alterations have been made by the present writer.
Where the text is quoted, a few word substitutions have been indulged in, such as replacing “thee” or “thou” with “you” and removing the “th” endings from verbs. Other word changes here and there, carefully considered so as not to alter the meaning of the text, have been made to render it closer to modern English prose.
Should the reader have doubts concerning any of these alterations, the text can be found in the Gospel of Matthew. It is presented here in the same order as it is there. This includes what in the common English prose of today would be considered some rather odd punctuation. But all specific references to chapter and verse have been omitted. This has been done to improve the flow of the reading. Nevertheless, any verse can be easily located in the original by noting its order of presentation in this work.
The individual scriptural citations are each followed by an interpretation. The interpretations are based on three principles: (1) God is universal spirit. (2) There is but one spirit. And (3) all material things are a direct and full, though limited, expression of spirit. By “full” is meant that there is but one spirit, one universal consciousness. And it is undividedly expressed in each earthly thing, living and inanimate.
Such a distributed presence without division is the possibility of spirit, which is not the case with the material things which emanate from spirit and condition the perception and conceptualizations of the human mind. Of particular interest is the fact that spirit is fully expressed in each human being. It is the consciousness of that person. But, though there is but one consciousness, as there is one spirit, what a human being is conscious of—that is, the content of his or her consciousness—is less than the complete awareness of universal spirit.
In other words, if spirit is universal consciousness, then each individual human consciousness is that universal consciousness in a self-limiting mode of expression. Accordingly, it can be seen that human existence, though generally unbeknownst to the individual person, is deeply embedded in universal spirit. Thus every human being (every man, woman, and child) is in spiritual fact and moral potential a son of God.