The Gospel Study
A brief summary reported by John-Peter Gernaat
The Gospel Study in July considered the first eleven verses of the Gospel of Mark and a seemingly perplexing passage from Matthew’s Gospel in chapter ten. Thereafter a winter break was declared as Michaël would be spending the midweek days in Cape Town until late in August.
Why was the word ‘Gospel’ chosen when these books were written by Evangelists? The word in Latin is ‘Evangelium’ and the English translation could have chosen the word ‘Evangel’ for these books. But the word was too reminiscent of Catholicism for the Protestant King James who decreed the translation of the Bible into English and therefore the Anglo-Saxon word Godspell was chosen instead, and became Gospel. Note the word ‘angel’ in the middle of the word ‘evangelist’. It is a new born message brought by an messenger, an angel.
From Mark 1: 1-11 what was John the Baptist renewing and preparing through the baptism by water? His cry was to prepare the way of the Lord. Who is the ‘Lord’? The Lord is the ruler of one’s innermost self. He urged a complete turn around in all the faculties of soul: the thinking, feeling and actions. The change in the constitution of the human being could occur through the complete immersion in water to the point of asphyxiation that loosened the formative life body. Water also has a connection to the Water of Life, the formative forces. When one looks at bones they appear as if sculpted by water, the Water of Life. The formative life body of humanity was dying as a result of the separation that occurred at the beginning of time. The baptism of John brought about a reconnection.
The grammatical structure of Mark’s writing indicates that it was Jesus who saw the heavens tear open and the Spirit descend like a dove. The man Jesus needed to be opened through the baptism by water to receive the Spirit of Christ into himself. After this baptism, the baptism by water had been accomplished and it was time for the baptism by fire. This is the fire of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus shared the mystery of the “I am” which is the mystery of the Christ, that will grow and develop into the future. The ruler of the inmost self is the one who guides me and is my Lord. The Lord has the power of rulership over me. When I take hold of myself it is through my Lord. The conscience is awakened by the power of my Lord in me. This power of the Christ-in-my is of a tiny lamb. It will not take over. If I do not access it, it will not grow.
The passage of Matthew 10: 24-39 may read as contradictory to our understanding of the mission of Christ. When we understand the sword that separates, as a power to discern; the two-edged sword is the word of discernment. Christ did not come to be accommodating, he demands that we discern ‘yes’ from ‘no’. The peace of Christ comes after the truth has been spoken. The truth may cause division. We will no longer find solace in group identity; we will find the peace of Christ in individuality. The new community of Christ is based on truth and not on family or generational affiliation. We must find responsibility in individuality. The sword is the uprightness of individuality. Truth is discerned through one’s own process.
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