This is a series of lectures given by Mr. Edward Rabel, member of the faculty of S.M.R.S.
Winter semester 1976 - 2nd. Yr. Class. Part of Lecture 19 given on February 22, 1976
6:14When therefore the people saw the sign which he did, they said, This is of a truth the prophet that cometh into the world. 6:15Jesus therefore perceiving that they were about to come and take him by force, to make him king, withdrew again into the mountain himself alone. 6:16And when evening came, his disciples went down unto the sea; 6:17and they entered into a boat, and were going over the sea unto Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 6:18And the sea was rising by reason of a great wind that blew. 6:19When therefore they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they behold Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the boat: and they were afraid. 6:20But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid. 6:21They were willing therefore to receive him into the boat: and straightway the boat was at the land whither they were going.
This is another one of those incidents which constitutes an acted out drama. There is quite a number of these: the feeding of the 5000 is another example. Whether or not the actual events described were physical phenomena or not doesn't really matter here. The way it is described is what matters because the description contains elements of metaphysical Truth which have important meaning for every person, and all of the symbols used in the description of this incident are known to us, so this is not a difficult allegory to interpret, even though it isn't a spoken one. We know that a boat or a vessel of any kind in the Bible has the same meaning that a city, or town or a house or a dwelling place because when one is at the sea what does the boat become? A dwelling place; so it stands for the individual consciousness and the conditions it is manifesting. Water in the Bible, though is a multi-symbol, it changes according to the way the water is described or presented in the passage. In this case, it is just the sea where the boat travels; so it would mean, then, ordinary life, the sea of life, the waters of life, typical life and the boat an individual consciousness.
The boat starts out with the twelve passengers but minus Jesus. This means, every individual, whether he knows it or not, has the twelve spiritual powers but not every individual has spiritual awareness present in his boat at certain given moments. Jesus was absent from the boat at the beginning of this incident. As it is typical of all individual-consciousness-journey through life in general, things are not always smooth going, there are winds and there are waves; they affect us according to the condition of our consciousness. In this case Jesus is absent, so there is not the factor of spiritual awareness in the first part of this incident and it is a very accurate description of what can happen in ordinary life; the wind begins and the waves occur. This sometimes can take the form of an exaggerated or violent kind of a form and without spiritual awareness, alarm, fear can be felt by the individual. The waves in the symbolism mean the ordinary ups and downs which every ordinary life characterizes. The wind again is a multiple symbol depending on how it is used. Sometimes wind is used to mean Holy Spirit but sometimes when it is used in a neutral sense it simply refers to the way things are going or appearing in movement to the consciousness. This particular movement is specified.
The wind was contrary, which means, the things are not going the way we wanted them to go when the movement of conditions or factors in our life is contrary to the way we want, against our inclinations or expectations and the sea was troubled, the waves were disturbing and; of course, this is very easy to observe especially, with high insight. When we are really grounded in spiritual awareness and things seem to be going contrary to the way we felt they ought to, then the waves seem to get larger, the upseas become big upseas, and the downseas become very down downseas; our life seems to become a pattern of extremes, you go into a period of great good fortune and enjoyment then this is followed by depression and discouragement and one day everybody loves me and the next day everybody hates me and this sort of a thing can go on. If it does it can be frightening, it can be very frightening but along comes Jesus walking on the water.
Jesus at first is believed to be an apparition to the disciples; and this is the attitude of many people who for the first time hear these words “God is my help.” “You people are using self-hypnosis to get yourself out of trouble, you are ostriches who put your heads in the sand or you believe in apparitions.” “God is my help in every need.” In this case, of course, it will be Spiritual awareness in me will always come to my help; but at first the ordinary consciousness sees this as wishful thinking, as an apparition. Jesus persists and the first of the twelve to actually show willingness to believe is, of course, as usual, Peter, Faith, the ability to say "yes" to Truth, the affirmative faculty and the faculty which connects us with the substance of Truth; it is the first to see that this might not be an apparition, this might just might really be the real thing. So he tries to test it out, whether it is right or not, and he says,"Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee upon the waters," and Jesus says, "come" so Peter steps out. We call this, "stepping out on faith," but it really is Faith stepping out. In this case, it steps out by itself, just faith alone.
You recall the chapter in Lessons in Truth in which something was discussed called "blind faith?" That is the term that means, faith trying to operate all by itself. It gets so far in imitating the Christ but it isn't the Christ; so this imitation of Christ in this sense will go only so far and then no farther. How about when love tries to step out all by itself, did you ever hear something called, "Love is blind?” The same thing as blind faith, it is trying to function unaccompanied, all by itself; it too will get only so far and no further. You can’t take any of the twelve faculties and expect any of them to do the job of Christ or imitate or duplicate Jesus Christ successfully, only to a degree. So, Peter can walk just so far on the waters and then because he is alone, which means vulnerable, he sees the wind. "But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and beginning to sink,.."
Faith is the affirmative power in the mind, the "yes sayer" but now, instead of looking at the Christ who he is seeking to duplicate, he lowers his vision and sees the wind and begins to be afraid. He starts to see the way things are going instead of the presence of the Christ, which is its rightful motivation. So often this happens, folks; we go along so well, so confidently, so courageously and strong on just faith but then we begin so see the contrary wind, that old sinking feeling, don't all of us know it well? Is it not always the result of letting our faith become fear? Well, it doesn't become fear, but Peter is a human symbol here; and he changes the meaning of himself from faith to fear. The moment fear based on how things are going out here causes that sinking feeling but since Peter is primarily a symbol of faith he does not let things happen, he does not actually sink, he just "begins to sink" and the thing that saves him from sinking happens to be the same thing that keeps any person from sinking, he asks for help. It is that simple. "I don't need to ask, I just claim my divinity ... brrrck." If you were claiming your divinity you would be Jesus Christ; you would be walking on the waters. The fact that we are able to sink means we still have need to ask. And one of the best things in the whole world to ask for is not for things but for help; and help will always be given. The writer makes a point of designating, "Jesus immediately stretched forth his hand." Jesus did not stand there on the water and scold. He told him why he was sinking first; this is something you and I often try to do to counselees. Notice Jesus immediately stretched forth his hand, and took hold of him, brought him back to the boat, then baled him out. A sick patient in the hospital, for example, are you going to tell him to change his consciousness first? Are you going to use your consciousness to help him get back into the boat, then say, now, look, where is your faith, where is your belief? Do you know about the divine idea of health and wholeness and life? Give him the instruction when he is safe, not when he is in danger of sinking? get him safe and as comfortable as possible.
After Jesus brings him back into the boat, Jesus himself enters the boat. Here is a very subtle point and a very heart-warming metaphysical point. All metaphysical points aren't challenging and cold and hard boiled and all of that; many are very warm and beautiful and reassuring. After this little rescue incident, Jesus himself climbs into the boat. Spiritual Awareness is now present and accounted for, and they were very conscious of him and began to worship him. What is the meaning of this? Even in these life-experiences where you and I get ourselves into jams, dangers, gettoes, and even though we have misplaced our faith and we cry out for help and we get help from the Christ, this makes us so grateful to the saving power, the saving principle, the rescuing activity of God, whether it be Jesus Christ or any other thing; but the very fact of being saved before I change my consciousness makes me so grateful to that aspect of God that then I change my consciousness. Jesus got into the boat after the saving was done. It .does not mean, you have to come into the consciousness before you can be saved; you have to have Spiritual Awareness come into your boat before you are saved. You can be saved by spiritual consciousness even before it is in your boat. That is part of the grace of God, and a beautiful thing it is.
Spiritual Awareness will do this for you sometimes while it is not part of your conscious at the moment awareness; it is there as a potential, Jesus was outside the boat, He is still part of the scene but he wasn't in the boat. He was acting from without the boat, but he was still there. This way our spiritual awareness will often save us from useless unnecessary suffering; it is not at the moment in our boat, in our personal state of mind at the moment, but it is still within our being; it is still on the sea with us. It is still part of our wholeness, of our total equipment and it will act in this sense for us instead of from us or through us, but that isn't to be permanent, that is an expediency and in times of emergency and danger only, but most of the time we want Him there in the boat with us so that all action that proceeds then are done rightly. This is very similar to a peculiar term Charles Fillmore uses in the chapter on imagination in Christian Healing where he talks about the two different ways man can think. First he talks about how man can acquire knowledge and then how man can think. He says that man can think, and mostly with the imagination, by connecting his mind to divine ideas and then expressing through thought and word this divine idea, and that is duplicating the original creative law, the original creative pattern. But man can also, Mr. Fillmore says, connect his mind, his imagination, to something already there and base his thinking on that out there. This he calls an inversion of the original creative process.
Most of the time, in order to see foreseeable results, understanding faith rather than blind faith, meaning that we cannot really foresee the outcome of this expression of faith, we would face all of our expressions of faith and thinking and belief with Jesus in the boat, Jesus here within, spiritual awareness connected with divine ideas. Then it would express in the original created pattern and we could foresee the results of our creative thinking or formative thinking. But there are times when, for many many reasons, we can’t do this; we are basing our thinking by inverting the original process, we are looking out here and basing our thoughts and our beliefs on what is out there, which is what Peter did here. The creative law is inverted in its pattern, but it is still creative, it still reproduces itself.
Based on outer things, our thinking will reproduce the outer things we are basing the thinking and the belief. But you notice something? In Peter's case he doesn't let that just happen; he asks for help. Here is the whole difference, he realizes he has done something which poses a danger to his well being. He asks for help and his help seems to come to him from without. Jesus’ hands stretch forth, then he is pulled into the boat and Jesus goes back into the boat. Now you have a person who has learned a lesson; and he realizes that when he bases his thinking and believing on outer phenomena, on outer products, he is in danger, though not all of his thoughts and all of his results will necessarily be bad. The possibility is there of error, of danger; whereas when the thinking and the believing are always originating in spiritual awareness and divine ideas, there is no danger, there is no wrongness, when that is the case, when we are following the original creative pattern set by God.
Text of the original transcript page 112 through the first paragraph of page 115.
Transcribed by Margaret Garvin on 03-30-2014