In Exodus we read that the Israelites were faced with the picture of a spreading disease that was much worse than what we are facing today. Since the Egyptians believed firmly in the power of matter and evil, they also accepted the suggestion that evil could harm them and so they appeared to suffer and die. And yet when Moses told the Israelites to put the blood of an unblemished lamb on their door, which they did without understanding yet its full significance, none of them were harmed by the belief of disease. Mrs. Eddy shows us its more metaphysical significance: our need to guard our consciousness with the purity and innocence of the Lamb—the Christ understanding of God’s spiritual man.
Later while wandering in the wilderness, trying to reach the promised land (of healing), they were told they needed to turn from the sin of worshipping matter and self, to instead worshipping and trusting Spirit as the only power. To atone for their sins, they began sacrificing something pure and innocent, something precious to them, (a lamb)—to show remorse and repentance for having worshipped material gods. The Greek and Hebrew words for atonement and propitiation include the idea of purification and a cleansing from all sin through this act. Later they came to understand that the real sacrifice God requires is for us to repent, obey his commandments, listen to His voice, do His will, keep His law in our hearts, to praise and be grateful to God and merciful to our fellow man, and to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God.
John the Baptist talks about Christ Jesus as the Lamb of God and this week’s Bible lesson explores the sacrifice Christ Jesus made in order to help lift us out of sin, by voluntarily allowing his enemies to try to destroy him through crucifixion. But the blood of the Lamb does not refer to Jesus’ actual blood, but rather to the purification and protection which come from absolute obedience to God’s commandments, and unwavering faith in the power of divine Love to eliminate all evil and prosper us.
Jesus demonstrated for us how to do this. He silenced human will, refusing to use prayer to avoid a confrontation with the material world; instead he humbly submitted to and trusted God’s will, knowing that it would lift him and all of us out of the belief of life in matter. He remained silent before his persecutors and on the cross said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do,” – recognizing only God’s man rather than reacting to the illusion of sinful man.
On the cross he did not take drugs to allay the pain nor did he pray to make the pain go away. He was conscious only of the fulfillment of prophecy and his need to demonstrate God as the only Life. And his purity, innocence and obedience to God are what lifted him out of that experience so quickly and demonstrated Life in Spirit, untouched by human hatred, by matter, or by material laws. He was willing to go through this supreme sacrifice in order to show us divine Love alone can lift us out of the bondage of sin—a pure love for God and obedience to His laws, and a pure love for our fellow man by seeing them as God sees them—good, pure and sinless.
My mother faced a cross-like experience in her early 70’s, during a period when there was great hatred directed towards The Mother Church and those who worked there. She seemed to have a serious fall down the marble steps at church, and in spite of her years of success in healing herself and others, her prayers seemed to be failing. The picture was one of hopelessness and great suffering. But when she turned away from trying to pray away pain or to pray the body into health, and instead just lifted her thought up to purify her love for God and her love for God’s creation—seeing that all of us dwell in the Kingdom of God’s righteous government eternally—she was lifted out of that dream of suffering and went on to have almost 20 more years of the most productive work she had ever done.
This week’s lesson shows so clearly how we each can and must demonstrate that pure consciousness here and now which provides absolute freedom from the false belief in disease and suffering. Jesus taught that the Kingdom of God—health, peace, dominion—is already within us, and to experience this dominion we need to become as little children—pure, innocent, obedient. His sacrifice was to show us how to do it, but not to do it for us. We must daily, hourly, moment-by-moment, follow in his footsteps—'through repentance, spiritual baptism and regeneration, putting off our material beliefs and false individuality.’ (S&H 241:31). And the Christ enables us to do this. We must overcome in ourselves and help others overcome the sin of believing in a mind or power apart from infinite Good, divine Spirit. Then we will each find that unfailing protection which comes from knowing every single person in this universe is “one with God, Spirit”—the true source of our being, so health is natural to us and can never be lost.
The lesson ends with Revelation 12, and if we read both verses 10 and 11, the Bible explains how we triumph:
“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, ...”
The “accuser” in Greek (Thayer’s Lexicon] is the devil which seems to constantly assail consciousness with pictures of mistakes, failures, corruption, sufferings, loss—accusing God’s creation of being a failure. But Christ Jesus demonstrated through his submission to crucifixion and subsequent resurrection that God’s man is pure and perfect, unassailable, unimpeachable, indestructible. The Greek verb rendered “overcame” means, “to conquer and thereby free themselves from the power of the beast; to deprive it of power to harm, to subvert its influence; to win the case at law, to maintain one’s cause. It is used of one who by Christian constancy and courage keeps himself unharmed and spotless from his adversary's devices, solicitations, assaults: the devil; to be victorious,” through the “blood of the Lamb”—the inherent purity and innocence of the Christlike man which each one of us can and must demonstrate.
[See Mary Baker Eddy’s three articles on this topic, No and Yes, 30 – 38].