Obedience facing the Red Sea and the cross brings healing!

Another amazing Bible lesson!  Sacrament! 

Traditionally in Biblical times people sacrificed first born animals or even their own first born children to appease the “gods” for their sins and to stop the suffering.  When the children of Israel put the blood of a lamb over their door in obedience to God’s command, their first born sons did not die, but were spared.  When Moses led them out of their ‘bondage to Egypt’ (material laws, medical opinions, bodily pains and pleasures, the five physical senses), things just seemed to get worse—much worse!  They began thinking, “Perhaps being enslaved to matter and medicine isn’t as bad as the uncertainty of trusting God.”

But God was teaching Moses and the children of Israel (that is, all of us) that it is not sacrificing things dear to us which brings freedom from suffering, but rather learning to be obedient to God’s laws and to trust His unerring, harmonious care for us no matter how aggressive the picture of evil may seem!

When the material picture looked overwhelming to them (Pharaoh and 600 armed chariots bearing down on them, trapped at the Red Sea), Moses turned his back on the threat of death and lifted his eyes and heart up to God, desiring only to obey God.  As we know, God led them safely through the Red Sea and disposed of all the enemy threats of death.

Throughout the Old Testament, God explains through His prophets that He does not want us to sacrifice or lose anything dear to us—not our health nor our lives, not our loved ones nor our livelihood.  God’s desire is only that we obey His voice without questioning; trusting that Spirit, not matter, is the reality; totally trusting divine Love to deliver us.  (I Samuel 15:22)

Since that is easier said than done, for most of us, God sent His only begotten Son, Christ Jesus, to demonstrate for us what it means to be God’s beloved children and what it means to obey God implicitly.  That is why Jesus knew that his final demonstration for all of us would have to be his willingness to submit to betrayal, denial, abandonment, torture and crucifixion, so that he could demonstrate the healing power of obedience to the two great Commandments:

  1. In the Garden of Gethsemane, knowing that he had the ability to call down 72,000 angels to deliver and defend him from crucifixion, instead he prayed the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy will be done!  Not my will, but Thine be done.”  He knew no one would believe that someone in the flesh could overcome the world’s hatred and violence, if he did not demonstrate through his unwavering love for and trust in the omnipotence of infinite, everpresent Good to deliver us.  His obedience to God’s ‘will’ helps to redeem us from our disobedience and suffering!

  2. On the cross, when reviled, ridiculed and rejected by all but John and the women, he demonstrated the second great Commandment, saying, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”  God is of too pure eyes to behold evil, so God’s reflection, Man, cannot possibly know evil or do evil.  It is simply the carnal mind, ignorant of itself, that is trying to put on an aggressive, but illusory show of evil; however, it has no power.

What stood out to me reading the lesson this time, and reading the whole story in Mark, was when Jesus cried out on the cross,  "My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?"  Too many people think that Jesus believed God had failed him. But that's not what was going on here!

Jesus is quoting the Scriptures which prophesied his crucifixion and resurrection, affirming that God is in complete control. That quote comes from Psalms 22:1, but the whole Psalms prophesies in specific detail his crucifixion – – they pierced my hands and my feet; they divided up my clothes, and cast lots for my vesture; they see me and scorn me saying, "He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let Him deliver him...". Psalms 22 ends by saying, future generations will share his words and the story of his resurrection and ours!  He will succeed in overcoming this aggressive picture.

Jesus knew the Bible—Word of God—intimately and was going through it to affirm the truth of God’s Word.  Ps. 22 is of course followed by the 23rd Psalms!  What a powerful, comforting prayer for Jesus--walking through the valley of the shadow of death, and realizing he dwells in the consciousness of divine Love. 

The Gospel of Mark says that he then “gave up the ghost.”  And when the centurion saw that Jesus had already passed on so quickly (in only three hours he made the demonstration over the belief of life and sensation in matter, whereas they said most men hung on a cross suffering for days)*, the centurion said, "Truly this man was the Son of God."

Lee Strobel, in his book and DVD, "The Case for Christ"**, says that this is what turned him from atheism to Christianity, when Bible scholars showed him that there were 48 specific prophetic passages in the Old Testament written hundreds of years earlier, and in some cases, over a thousand years earlier, long before Romans came up with the idea of crucifixion.  

Strobel interviewed a college professor of math and science who said that “the odds of any human being throughout human history being able to fulfill [all 48 Old Testament] messianic prophecies [through his healing work, his crucifixion and resurrection] would be one chance in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion!”  All of these events have been confirmed by many eye witnesses, including rulers and his own enemies, and by historians during that early period.  Strobel (and the Centurion in the Gospel of Mark), concluded, “If he came back from death, that is conclusive evidence that he is the Son of God.” 

In Matthew 15:34, where he appears to be crying out to God in hopelessness, he is actually turning away from the body and pain totally (he already rejected the drug offered him to allay the suffering) and is instead turning to God’s Word, God’s law, affirming the Scriptural prophecy of God's unfailing government.  His example can be very inspiring and strengthening to all of us when we seem to be going through overwhelming challenges!  God's Love never fails! 

But in order to have that kind of strength, moral courage and steadfastness, Jesus had to first learn:  "Thy will (may God's will) be done!"  He had to first trust, teach and demonstrate obedience to God’s will.  He showed that God’s will is that we prosper and be at peace, but we can demonstrate it only through trusting Spirit as the only power, the only Mind, the only Lawgiver, and then remaining faithful to this truth, no matter what seems to be going on. 

My take-away from this story?  The sooner we let go of self-will and self-righteousness, let go of our love for self and body and the material world, and the sooner we focus totally on the allness and supremacy of Spirit, infinite Good, divine Love, and obey God’s will, the sooner we find ourselves in the promised land of healing.  Since Jesus taught that we are all one in him as he is one in God, therefore, we are all capable of breaking free from the bondage of materialism!  Jesus promised that we too could do the healing works that he did, and see the dream of suffering disappear—for all mankind!

Christine Driessen

* Mary Baker Eddy talks about the brevity of Jesus’ time on the cross:
Mis. 163:5
No 33:13-17

** "The Case for Christ—Investigating the Evidence for Jesus", by Lee Strobel.  DVD with 6 sessions; 2008, 2013.  Strobel was a Chicago Tribune investigative reporter for many years and an avowed, adamant atheist, until he began researching the case for Christ, and the evidence was so overwhelming that he became a Christian minister!