"Believing is Seeing" by Rev. Christine Emmerling 5/1/22 (text)
“Believing is Seeing - Appearances of the Christ”
by Rev. Christine 5/1/22
Today I’m sharing with you a metaphysical interpretation of Jesus the Christ’s appearances following his resurrection through the time of ascension. I’ll be paraphrasing these stories.
We are told that following Christ Jesus’ capture his disciples scattered and hid in fear. Their faith had wavered. We will look at this as our own soul’s story of how our faith becomes our believing and seeing.
In John 20:1-18, It was early Sunday morning Mary Magdalene was the first to see that the tomb was empty. She wept, for she believed someone had taken Jesus’ body. Then she ran and came to Peter and John, and told them that someone had taken Jesus’ body.
Peter and John ran to see. Although John arrived first to the tomb, he looked but didn’t enter until after Peter had entered. They saw the linen clothes lying where the body had been, and the handkerchief that had covered Jesus’ face was wrapped up lying separately. John now believed. They did not yet understand from the scripture that he had to rise from the dead. Both of them then went back to their lodging place.
Mary Magdalene was still standing near the tomb weeping; as she wept, she looked into the tomb, and saw two angels in white standing by where Jesus had laid, one by the head and the other by the feet. And they asked Mary why she was weeping, and she told the angels that Jesus’ body was taken away, and doesn’t know where to find him.
As Mary said this to the angels she turned around and saw a man, not knowing it was Jesus she thought he must be the gardener. Jesus asked “Why do you weep and whom do you want?” Mary asked if he knew where Jesus had been taken. Jesus called to her by name, and then she replied “My Teacher!”
Jesus told her “Do not come near me; for I have not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father, and your Father, and my God and your God.” Then Mary brought the good news to the disciples, of her seeing Jesus and what he told her.
In this appearance we have Mary Magdalene, two angels, disciples Peter and John, Jesus the Christ. Metaphysically all these characters are aspects of one’s soul. A person’s name means their nature. Jesus means savior, while Christ means the individual expression of God within us, or the Christ consciousness being within us.
Symbolically Mary means that part of us that is devoted, serves, loves, and is our intuition (inner seeing, inner hearing, inner knowing). Being with grief Mary’s intuition is shutdown, and she sees and believes in a missing dead body. Angels mean the receiving of spiritual ideas and divine messages. An angel at the “head” means spiritual knowledge and the other angel at the “feet” means spiritual understanding.
When the unknown man calls Mary by name; this voice she intuitively recognizes as her master teacher - the Christ within. Jesus not fully ascended means the Christ Consciousness is not yet firmly established within us. Mary sharing of the good news of Jesus being alive, is our inner knowing of this new state of consciousness, but yet to be fully revealed to us.
Metaphysically each of the 12 disciples represent a faculty or power as part of one’s soul. Peter is the faculty of Faith, and John is the faculty of Love; faith and love support each other. Through faith and love the disciples can believe and see.
In John 20:19-22, that evening of the first day appearance, ten of the eleven disciples were gathered together in a closed upper room in Galilee. Jesus joined them in his glorified body and said to them “Peace be with you.” Jesus shows his wounds, and encourages them to wait and to receive the holy spirit.
Now the disciple Thomas was not there, and when they told him about Jesus appearing to them, he didn’t believe. Thomas said that he needed to see and touch the wounds himself to believe.
Metaphysically, Galilee means, “energy of life, life activity, soul energy, and power acting in conjunction with substance.” Going to an upper room means going into a prayerful and meditative state of consciousness.
When the disciples enter a Galilee consciousness they are renewed with life energy, this divine energy surrounds and permeates their consciousness of mind, soul and body. Although their consciousness is lifted there is still much to understanding. Thomas is the faculty of spiritual understanding. But in fear and doubt, this faculty is not active.
John 20:26-30, It was eight days later when Christ Jesus again appeared in the upper room in Galilee, and this time Thomas was with the disciples. Jesus the Christ said to them “Peace be with you.” Then he told Thomas to touch the wounds of his hands and side, and to not be faithless, but believing.” And Thomas answered “My Lord and my God.” Jesus said to Thomas, “Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
Metaphysically, Thomas represents the faculty of spiritual understanding. Being in a fearful state Thomas at first could not discern the things of the spirit. In the presence of the Christ consciousness comes forth with a great peace. The power of spiritual understanding is restored, and now he too can believe and see.
Luke 24:13-32, two disciples went that same day to a village called Emmaus. They were talking and reasoning what they had been told about Jesus’ missing body, and how the women were saying they saw Jesus. Now Jesus drew near, and went with them. They told these things as if he was a stranger to them. Then Jesus said to them, “O dull-minded and heavy-hearted, slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken; Did not Jesus have to suffer all these things in order to enter into his glory?”
He continued to teach, and when they came to the village he was invited in for the evening. He sat to eat, and took the bread and blessed it, and broke and gave to them. Immediately their eyes were open, and they recognized him. Jesus then immediately left them.
The village Emmaus means “A place in consciousness where the healing, restoring love and life and Truth of Spirit spring up and flow freely through man’s being.” Bread means “spirit substance” or “spiritual nourishment.”
The breaking of bread with blessings means “The stirring into action, in consciousness, of the inner substance of Spirit and concentrating of mind upon it as the real possession.”
Eating represents digesting of the spiritual food or lessons that Christ shared with them. These two students are learning, and in an up lifted consciousness their inner vision is opened, and can recognize the Christ consciousness with them.
In John 21:1-14, Jesus again showed himself to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias. Present were Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, John and James the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples. These disciples represent Faith, Understanding, Imagination, Love and Discernment. The other two disciples are not named. There were seven in all. Seven is the number of spiritual realization. It also represents the gifts of the spirit.
The disciples decided to go fishing, and they all climbed into the boat. When the morning came, Jesus stood by the seaside, and the disciples didn’t recognize him. Then Jesus asked if they had anything to eat, and they had caught nothing. He then told them to throw their net on the right side of the boat, and that they shall find fish. Which they did, and caught so many fish that they could not draw in the net.
Now John said to Peter, It is the Lord. Peter now took his cloak and put it around his waist because he was naked, and he jumped into the sea to go to Jesus. The other disciples came by boat; and they were dragging the heavy net of fish. When they came to land, they saw a fire of coals with a fish and bread. Jesus invited them to bring the fish they caught. Peter went and drew the net to land; there were 153 fish, and in spite of the weight the net didn’t break. Jesus invited them to dine, and took the bread and fish, and fed them.
Metaphysically: The boat symbolizes our soul’s consciousness. The Sea of Tiberias which means spiritual insight into things and discernment. Fish means learning a multitude of spiritual truth and spiritual law. Catching no fish is to be spiritually empty, and hungry for spiritual knowledge. Having cast their net on the wrong side of the boat means having a negative state of mind, and looking at things from our outer senses rather than spiritually. Through a positive mind set regarding things of the spirit they were now able to discern a multitude of spiritual ideas.
From this new spiritual insight John our love faculty recognizes the Christ consciousness, and tells Peter our Faith faculty and he too can now see.
Peter being naked means he felt shame and was spiritually confused. The jumping into the sea is to gain spiritual insight. When going into prayer or meditation we cannot bring our negativity, fear, shame, or anger with us. We must first clear our consciousness before going within to our holy temple.
Jesus had a spiritual meal ready to serve. Again this is the serving of spiritual truth and spiritual law. When they turned to spiritual law they brought forth 153 fish. This is a multitude of spiritual ideas that will continue to expand into good works. The number 1-5-3 adds to a nine. The nine as a sacred number means the regenerated, the evolved humanity of mind, body and soul. It represents service to others in brotherhood and compassion. Nine is completion of a cycle; the work is done, and it is time to commence a new work.
In Luke 24:33-52, the two disciples in Emmaus rose up the same hour and returned to Jerusalem. Jerusalem means “habitation of peace.” They found the eleven gathered together and saying “The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Peter.” And as they spoke Jesus stood in the midst of them, and said “Peace be with you; it is I; do not be afraid.” But they were confused and frightened, and thought they had seen a ghostly spirit. Then Jesus invites them to see and touch his hands and feet; and says “for a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see me have.”
Jesus then asked if they had any food. And they gave him a piece of broiled fish, and honeycomb. And, he took it and did eat. He then told them, “I send my promise of my Father upon you: but remain in the city of Jerusalem, until you are clothed with power from on high.” Jesus explained many things. Then took them to Bethany, and while blessing them he ascended into heaven.
Metaphysically Jesus was giving them spiritual nourishment. Fish and honeycomb represents the teaching of the deeper meanings of scripture and spiritual ideas. These teachings are being understood, expanded upon and digested. Their understanding was opened, that they could understand the scriptures, and his true purpose. They were to stay peacefully together while preparing their consciousness for their spiritual work in the world.
Bethany means a place of crossings; this crossing is like a thin veil between our awakened Christ consciousness and our normal state of awareness. Heaven is a state of consciousness where the soul and body are in harmony with Divine Mind. Ascending into heaven means the rising of our consciousness to a higher state of God awareness.
Accordingly, 40 days had past from the resurrection to the ascension. 40 is a sacred number meaning until it is done, the foundation laid, and ready for the next steps. During this time Christ Jesus was teaching and preparing his disciples for their spiritual work in the world. Now the disciples are to remain in Jerusalem and wait in peace until the Holy Spirit comes and empowers them.
What does this all this mean for us as a student of Divine Science or New Thought? What happens when we are challenged or have a great loss? Do we throw away everything we know of our practices, beliefs, faith? Are we totally lost, weeping in fear, doubting, confused and blaming others?
At first we may indulge in our fear, but when we can step back, we find that we do have a choice in how we deal with our challenges. There is a choice in whether we listen to our fearful mind chatter, or to go silently within to listen to the still small voice, the voice of our inner Christ consciousness.
The lesson here is that fear blocks are spiritual vision, but persistent love and faith will reveal divine ideas and provide inspiration. When we listen to the inner voice, we will be guided, and our eyes will be opened, and truth will be revealed. We will know ourselves as spiritual beings, living in a spiritual world, and understanding spiritual law and living in peace and harmony with one another.
As we nurture these truths in a peaceful consciousness, we will have greater realizations of the Christ consciousness. First just a faint glimmer, and then as a visitor that is gone in a flash. Then our faculties open as we purify and lift our thoughts and feelings. Christ within gives spiritual nourishment, which we discern with our spiritual faculties of mind. We are told to take time to embody, evolve, and wait until spirit stirs within us and guides us to our next steps in our life’s journey. “Christ in you the hope and glory.”