36th Sermon of Jesus… The Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican
“And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
A number of the Gospels which I have so far explained contained parables depicting events in everyday life through which My teaching, or rather My two commandments of love, are interpreted.
The main object of these explanations is to guard against other interpretations, since men, too often sticking only to the letter, think that what is not specifically mentioned in the commandments, is also not forbidden.
Since during My ministry on earth I was well aware of the narrowness of My disciples’ and other listeners’ concepts, I frequently chose examples, parables and analogies of material things with that which is spiritual and invisible, so as to leave no doubt in people’s minds how My teaching and the earlier religious commandments they had been given were to be understood. This Gospel shows how I gave to the Pharisees, who in their self-conceit always considered themselves better than the others, a parable especially dealing with their faults; for they believed that as long as they observed their religious customs, they had done all that was required and their God could be satisfied with them.
I told them about two people, one of whom, seemingly observing the various laws and customs of his religion, looked down upon the other with pride and contempt as if he were far beneath him, because that man had an occupation which in those days was regarded as not particularly honest. This comparison of the one, who in his arrogance thought he had not sinned or only very little, with the other, who in deep humility was quite conscious of his sins, as the result of human weakness, was apt to humble the mighty pride of the Pharisees. It also explained to My disciples and other listeners some of My actions that offended against the accepted customs of the Jews, showing them the difference between fulfilling a law according to the letter or understanding its spiritual meaning and observing it accordingly.
As an explanation of this example I said to My disciples: “For everyone that exaltheth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
In the following verses of this chapter, it is pointed out that no one may be called “good” except God, whereby I even did not make an exception of Myself as the Son of man. I did this to make them realize that the word “good” as an attribute is not easy to achieve and deserve, and that much, very much, is required to be able to lay claim to such a description; for in this case the word “good” would also mean “free from sin”.
Further in this chapter, when the children were brought to Me, I pointed out that men, if they want to claim My Kingdom, must be like children as regards the simplicity and innocence of heart and complete trust. For only he who possesses these characteristics of children will be able to force his way into My Kingdom with prayer. Therefore, the first verse of this chapter says that one should keep praying and persevere with it, which means that everything should be done with Me and My two sole commandments in mind. And to be able to do that, one must be capable of sacrificing if necessary one’s favourite habits, that which is hardest to do without. This I explained in the event with the ruler, for I asked of him to sacrifice that which was nearest to his heart.
The parable that it would be easier for a camel (a mooring rope) to go through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God, means that it is impossible for a man who is still attached to worldly things, to enter My Kingdom of the spirit. For to rise from the material level to the spiritual is only possible when all worldly things are subordinated to the spiritual goal.
That Peter on this occasion drew the conclusion that because they had left everything they were My disciples, only shows how easily men over-estimate their sacrifices, expecting a reward already on earth, whereas they may receive this only in the other world in the consciousness of duties fulfilled. My disciples did not yet have the right understanding of this, because they still depended very much on My visible person and therefore had been unable to mature. When I talked to them about My impending suffering, they did not understand for they believed that if they had already been promised beatitudes here and in the beyond because of their material sacrifices, this would apply all the more to Me who walked before them free from sin and pure.
They were as blind as the blind man on the road to Jericho; they did listen to Me, but did not understand the meaning of My words. And as I gave the blind man his eyesight because he believed firmly that My hand could heal him, thus when I poured My spirit over My disciples, their spiritual blindness was cured and only then did they fully comprehend and see in the brightest light what I had told them in parables and analogies during the three years of My teaching ministry. Only then did they comprehend who I was, what My teaching meant, and what their own mission was.
This Gospel tells you from beginning to end, in a few words, always the same thing. It tells you that in practical life the “being good” or “being without sin” is so very difficult and that the capability for sacrifice is so varied. Generally this Gospel aims at abasing the human self-conceit of being better than others. Therefore, the reference to humility. In the publican it revealed itself was a virtue, in the ruler it was demanded as a supreme sacrifice, in the little children it was evident as unconscious innocence, promised to My disciples as a future reward, and demonstrated by Me in My life on earth as a supreme example in My final suffering.
Here you can see the various stages of humility, the mortification of one’s own nature to achieve the highest spiritual perfection as demonstrated by Me as an eternal example.
Take heed of this Gospel wherein the most profound precept has been brought to your attention in words as well as in the example of My own life. Do not imagine yourselves to be something better because you are receiving My Word before many others, and you learn as if from My mouth how it is to be understood and practised in life.
Also among you there are still many like the rich ruler. For you, too, the hour will come when you have to renounce that which has been dearest to you in this world and which so far you have guarded anxiously. Then you may be sure that many of you will be sorrowful and go their way like the rich ruler. Then the touchstone will be used on your human nature to see how much spiritual you have absorbed from the bread of heaven with which I have so generously supplied you. Therefore, the words of the first verse “to pray and not to faint” are also addressed to you, that you might always have sufficient strength not to waver under the most difficult conditions, but to stand firmly by Me. For only those who persevere will be recompensed for their worldly losses in the beyond, and not those who have wavered and doubted.
Pray continuously that every trace of arrogance and pride may be eliminated from you and do put on the garment of humility! Become as little children! Have trust in My promises, for what I am telling you now is nothing new. Almost two thousand years ago I told this to My disciples and believers. It has been before your eyes – black on white as you would say -for a long time; but you are as blind as the beggar of Jericho, and you do not see the light that shines from these words. In the distress of your heart you often call to Me: “O Lord, make that I can see!” And those who trustingly give themselves into My care do experience that “to those who pray incessantly I will grant their requests”, for their faith will help them as the blind man’s faith helped him.
In these Sunday sermons, you are now receiving so much light that you can no longer have any doubts regarding the meaning of the words I once spoke, nor how they should be applied, and that the social and political development in your part of the world is leading towards the ultimate goal, the eventual spiritualization of the human soul.
I told My disciples of My imminent suffering and death, but I did not tell them that this suffering and death would be and remain the greatest triumph of the spiritual over human nature. I did not tell them, because they would not have understood Me; but now I say it openly that everything presses on to bring to maturity the seeds that I sowed in those three years of My ministry. Notwithstanding all the bloody and abominable happenings which it served as a pretence over the centuries, My teaching will in the end beb victorious when man will be compelled through suffering and distress to rid himself of all the filth still attached to him.
What happened to Me in those days – the suffering, struggles and even death, which became a victory through resurrection and ascension – is also happening with mankind at the present time. What I then suffered as a man, now also mankind will have to suffer.
What is worldly must be mocked, despised, crucified, if the spiritual within man is to rise and mankind is to become able to draw closer to My spiritual kingdom.
In those days I led the way with My example and today men must follow it. Happy is he who starts early to rid himself of all worldly ballast which impedes his rising to higher spiritual levels! He has a good start, but those who are too deep in matter and do not want to hear My call to awake, they will fare like the walls of Jericho which collapsed at the sound of the trumpets. They will not escape their annihilation since they, as matter only, cannot be received into the spiritual kingdom. These 53 sermons have not been given in vain. They have been given for you and all those who will one day be thirsting for the water of life. Everyone should realize what a wealth of love, truth and warmth of life is concealed in the Gospels once recorded by My disciples, for which, so far, the spiritual comprehension is still lacking with most people.
In order to reveal to you the Gospels which were sealed with more than seven seals and to build a road to Me and My heavens through these books, I am giving you these explanations. If they are to be of benefit they must not only be read but practised in life, so that the greatest measure of inner calm, peace, and comfort may come to those who aim at becoming My children. Amen.