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Main Page The great Gospel of John Volume 6 GGJ06-51 Chapter

Chapter 51 - On fasting and repenting. The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector

51,1. The fish tasted good and not less the wine. I Myself ate and drank heartily, so that some Greek Jews began to wonder how I, as a man completely permeated by the Spirit of God, could eat and drink as much as any other man.

51,2. When I became aware of this, I said: "The body has its requirements - and likewise the spirit; we now owe it to our limbs to give them a proper strengthening, and then we will not forget about the spirit.

51,3. Let no one imagine to do God a pleasing service by fasting and repenting in sackcloth before the world's eyes for his committed sins — but only he pleases God who gratefully eats and drinks what he is given by God, so that he can thereby fortify his physical strength for some useful work. In this way he can be very useful both to himself and to his neighbour, and if he does commit a sin, he should recognize it as such, repent and abhor it, does not do it again and thus truly betters himself.

51,4. There are, of course, unfortunately many who spend their lifetime only eating and drinking. They care only for their stomach and their skin. Neighbourly love is foreign to them and they spit at a poor man and forbid him to enter their house. Their always full stomach never allows them to feel the pangs of hunger and thirst. They are the true revellers, gluttons and drinkers who thereby keep their body always ready for all kinds of lewdness, unchastity, fornication and adultery. This then is gluttony and revelry, with which no one will ever enter the Kingdom of God.

51,5. Similar also all those hypocrites who fast and repent in sackcloth and make considerable sacrifices to the temple for their sins, so that the people might consider them justified and praise them, however, they scorn everybody else, despise him as an alleged sinner and avoid him already from a distance because they did not see him fast, repent in sackcloth and have sacrifice to the temple.

51,6. But I tell you: Such people are also an abomination before God, for their heart, mind and intellect are hardened. They judge their fellowmen without any consideration and forbearance; they sweep in front of the gate of the neighbour and yet fail to notice the great heap of dirt in front of their own door. Oh truly, I tell you: Exactly as these self-righteous temple saints now measure, they will be measured in the beyond!

51,7. I tell you: Whoever judges here will also be judged in the beyond; however, who judges no one but himself will not be judged in the beyond but will be instantly admitted into My Kingdom.

51,8. But I will give you here a parable of how human self-righteousness should be created in its purity and as the only valid way before God. And thus listen! (Luke18:9)

51,9. Two people went up into the Temple, one is a rich but otherwise strictly law abiding Jew and the other a tax-collector. (Luke 18:10) When the Jew came into the temple, he stood in front of the altar and said loudly: ‘O God, I thank You in front of Your altar that I am not like many others! Since You, o Lord, has given me a good and firm will and also all the other earthly goods, by which means it was possible for me to fully fulfil Your commandments, and how good does my soul feel now, to stand fully righteous before you at the end of my days!’ After still presenting many of his righteous and lawfully good action to God, he placed a rich offering on the altar and left the temple, in the highest degree content with himself and the best conscience of the world. When coming home his family were not exactly happy to see him because of his strict house rules, since his pure conscience, his strict sense of order and his legal justness spotted nothing but numerous sins and mistakes in them.

51,10. But our sinning tax-collector went to the Temple quite penitent in himself, remained standing at the back, and did not even dare to raise his eyes to the altar, in that he said to himself: ‘Oh Lord, You all-just, all-holy and almighty God, I am too great a sinner and thus not even worthy to raise up my eyes to Your sanctuary; but nonetheless be merciful and compassionate to me! (Luke 18:13)

51,11. Well, what do you think, which of the two people went home from the Temple justified?”

51,12. The Greek Jews looked at one another and did not really know what answer they should give to Me; for in their eyes no-one could be more justified than the Jew who fulfilled the law down to the last dot. The sinning tax-collector could not, according to their judgment, leave the Temple more justified than this particular Jew!

51,13. But I said to them: “You are mistaken in your judgment! The Jew did not leave the Temple justified by any means; for he praised himself loudly before all the people, attracted all eyes, ears, praise and wonder to himself and thus in this way rewarded himself. But is such pride not also an even quite evil type of arrogance?! Its fruits are in the end hate and contempt and a constant persecution of all those who are not recognized or judged by him to be of equals. Is such a person then justified before God? Oh, not at all! He still has a long way to go before getting there!

51,14. But the tax-gatherer is justified before God; for he is full of humility and considers himself to be much worse than other people. He hates and despises no-one and is glad that he is not even more despised than is already the case. Well, what do you all say? Have I judged correctly?” (Luke 18:14)

51,15. Now all of them said: “Oh Lord, You alone are right in all things, and we all are dark and sinful people! Our judgments are thus no different to what we are ourselves. Oh, that was a perfectly truest parable; for we often had the opportunity to observe such vindicators who knew how to present themselves as purely as the sun, and one could also not say that they had canted in the Temple, since they just too conscientiously observed all the laws. But because of this they were nonetheless quite unbearable people; for they did not observe the law because they had recognized the will and the ordinance of God in it, but instead only as if the law was their own work and that they as strict law abiding people could criticise even more abundantly and successfully the mistakes and vices of their family members and servants and admonish them. Since we have been able to make many such observations, we now see all the more the fullest truth of Your parable and thank You, oh Lord, for this very most truthful lesson.”

51,16. I said: “Well then, do not be fainthearted, and eat and drink if you have the desire to do it! I Myself will take some more of this fish.”

51,17. At this they all took of the fish and also allowed themselves to enjoy the wine.

Main Page The great Gospel of John Volume 6 GGJ06-51 Chapter