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Sermon on the Plain

Posted by Roberta Grimes • September 12, 2020 • 27 Comments
Book News, Jesus, The Teachings of Jesus

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
 – Civilla D. Martin (1866-1948), from “His Eye is on the Sparrow” (1905)

The clerics at the First Council of Nicaea in the year 325 assured us that their work was being inspired by God. But it is evident now from the fact that the Councilors added things to the Gospels that contradict some of what Jesus said, and perhaps just as much from the fact that those that we used to think were dead are now repudiating those Gospel changes, that the Councilors’ main inspiration was their earthly boss, the Roman Emperor Constantine. What they were up to was building a religion, and the religion they were building was based on the notion that Jesus had come to die for our sins as the ultimate sacrifice to a judgmental God. So we flat-out cannot trust the Council of Nicaea’s product to be the Inspired Word of God.

But what about the four canonical Gospels that those Councilors included in their Bible? Might the Gospels, at least, have been divinely inspired? Until a few years ago, I would have been skeptical. But lately I have been forced to accept the fact that if I am channeling my guides, my fingers can’t move fast enough; but if I try to write on my own, I cannot complete a coherent sentence. And there was one two-week period five years ago when an enormously elevated energy that Thomas told me was the Lord Himself was in my mind both day and night, and we produced an entire book that needed no editing. I know now that when we give ourselves to God, we can be used in amazing ways!

So, yes, I think it likely that the Gospels as they arrived at Nicaea had been channeled. And the additions made at Nicaea were so clearly built around adding ideas that were prominent long after the Lord’s death, and those additions were so sloppily done, that it is easy to pluck them out. The Gospels the original writers produced just decades after the death of Jesus, the ones that Nicaea tweaked much later, then went on to survive two successive translations and the custody of the Catholic Church; and still, beings who are not now in bodies assure us that they are what Jesus said. This seems to be substantial evidence that the whole process of producing the Gospels as we have them now was first channeled, and then it was overseen by elevated Beings of the highest rank. This is something I still cannot get over! Three generations of primitive people played telephone with the Lord’s teachings, after which those precious words were written down and translated from Aramaic into Greek, and thereafter from Greek into English, and that was followed by centuries of custody by clerics whose religion was very different from what Jesus teaches in the Gospels. How could the Lord’s truths have survived all of that so well that the elevated dead will still vouch for them now? They have survived only by repeated miraculous interventions. Indeed, I am quite confident that the pre-Nicaea Gospels are in fact God’s Inspired Word.

The fact that the Gospels of Matthew and Luke contain many of the same quotations has long had Biblical scholars assuming they had to have a common source. This hypothetical source is now called “Q Source,” or simple “Q” (from the German “Quelle,” meaning “source”). And what seems to be the case is that much of Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount comes right from Q, while Luke’s briefer Sermon on the Plain contains fewer of the Q quotations.

It is obvious that the teachings have the same source, but the authors use it differently. In that, we can see what different people these two authors really were! We will give the writers the names of their Gospels, although we cannot know who they actually were; but we can see just by their differing uses of the source materials that Matthew was a deeply spiritual man who soared on the perfections of what the Lord had come to tell us, while Luke was more somber. More fearful and judgmental. His use of the Lord’s teachings feels rooted in earth-life, practical and not about spiritual growth. Just look at how different the Beatitudes are in his hands!

And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. 22 Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. 23 Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets. 24 But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. 25 Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. 26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way (LK 6:20-26).

The words that Matthew treats as profoundly spiritual seem to Luke to be meant just to comfort the disadvantaged. In Luke’s hands, the word “poor” – which must appear in the Source, since it is in both Gospels – seems to be about earthly wealth. This is not what Jesus taught at all! For Him, the problem with wealth is not that it is evil, but rather that it is a distraction that makes it harder for us to grow spiritually. He said, where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (MT 6:21). Matthew’s Beatitudes focus on spiritual growth, but I am not sure from Luke’s Gospel words that he understands even what spiritual growth might be, nor why it matters. He talks about our getting a “reward” in heaven for doing the Lord’s work here, which of course would be irrelevant to Jesus. And Luke’s four blessings are followed by what we might call “the four woes,” which seem to insist that good fortune must be followed by pain while we are still on earth. None of this is what Jesus taught! And these are not later revisions, but this is rather how the teachings of Jesus look when they are filtered through the mind of a man who has a less spiritual understanding of them. We should thank God for Matthew! Luke does, though, handle the Lord’s more earth-based teachings well, although he may not understand the point of them:

27 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. 31Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. 32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”

39 And He also spoke a parable to them: “A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher. 41 Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 42 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye. 43 For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. 44 For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush. 45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

46 “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.” (LK 6:27-49)

This is the last of five messages on the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain. These genuine words of Jesus have been miraculously preserved for two thousand years, and Jesus Himself told us that His teachings are the center of His earthly work. He said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (JN 8:31-32). These teachings are the literal Word of the Godhead, speaking to us freshly each time we read them, so it is tragic that none of the forty thousand versions of Christianity pays much attention to more than a few of the most famous passages.

But a friend of ours has loved these words for hundreds of years. He saw Jesus as a non-religious figure, the greatest Teacher who ever lived, even back when Christianity was still being enforced by law in many places. He elevated these teachings over the religion in a prominent prior lifetime in ways that still puzzle some scholars today; and his interest and understanding have matured over centuries in ways that those who know him now are uniquely able to follow. This blog is his work more than it is mine, and he teaches me here as he is teaching you. He has so far preferred to stay in the background, directing our work rather than being a part of it, but apparently he now sees an opportunity to give us all an interesting lesson. When he was Thomas Jefferson, he was an intelligent being so spiritually advanced that he was living his final planned earth-lifetime. How might his eventually having died and resumed his eternal mind, and his now being at or close to the sixth level of spiritual development, have changed his views of Jesus, of God, and of other things? Over the next two weeks we will look at my beloved guide’s own views of the teachings and the work of Jesus as he shared them from this side long ago, and also as they seem to him now.

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.
– Civilla D. Martin (1866-1948), from “His Eye is on the Sparrow” (1905)

 

Sunset thinker photo credit: Philipe Li <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/158244522@N06/47945395501″>Pensando</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
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Girl at tree photo credit: Alejandro Inostroza <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/23228275@N00/35779152873″>Thinking</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Man with view photo credit: homethods <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/146625745@N08/32190653103″>Visualizing Dreams – Credit to https://homethods.com/</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>
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Roberta Grimes

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27 thoughts on “Sermon on the Plain

  1. Hi Roberta, hi everybody!

    I am thinking I must be getting these ideas from my guide or her team because why would I know this, since I am not a scholar. Luke’s gospels tend toward a “leave the earth better than you found it,” which is a main tenet of Jewish tradition (I think this is true—someone with more direct experience could confirm). The author would not have been as focused on the next level of spirituality because the mystical attitude would have been that our limited earthly experience can’t fathom those levels anyway, so let’s focus on what we can handle.

    Incidentally some scholars who have studied the writing styles suspect that the writer of Luke and that of the Acts was the same person—or so I have been told

    1. Dear Mike, I would not be at all surprised to find that the author of Luke also write Acts! Both books do seem to have the same earth-life-focused and report-the-facts focused mindset. Since neither of these bents would have interested Jesus, who was all about spiritual matters, reading Matthew and Luke together makes you realize how much harder it would have been for all of us to grasp the spiritual depth and shining height of the Gospel teachings of Jesus if we didn’t have Matthew’s spiritual perspective! I used to wonder why the Beings who preserved these Gospels even bothered with Luke, since the other three writers seem to have so much better understood what Jesus was doing and what His teachings really mean; but I am past questioning the work of Spirit. These four were preserved and then chosen. One day we will know why!

      1. Luke presents himself as a chronicler writing to a specific reader, and he takes care in his intro to his report to state that he investigated the events. He isn’t exactly a historian, but his 1st century journalism gives us a record. When many modern people argue that there are no extant historical records from Jesus’ life, Luke provides us with one. So maybe that’s why he’s included.

  2. Could the difference in personalities and the way the 2 men looked at life be that Luke was physician ? I don’t know how different the training was 2000 years ago as opposed to today but I do know that many health professions are left brain thinkers ( I’m a dentist). I’m looking very much forward to hear what Thomas has to say in the future weeks.

    1. Hi David, Mike and Roberta.
      I have heard that Luke was a physician (not sure how much evidence there is for this). . If so, like most other doctors practicing now, he would be struck by the inequalities both in wealth AND lack of knowledge between the rich and poor. So, I can understand his take on the beatitudes. Certainly (verily), the advice on not getting hung up on one-upmanship with enemies / critics, indeed loving / praying for them make good mental health sense. Being focussed on the Kingdom of God, and allowing the hybrid virus / fear / debt pandemics pass also makes good sense now. It helps not to have a TV and not to buy newspapers!

      1. Dear Shola, I do think that the author of Luke is focused on earthly much more than spiritual matters, and he clearly wants to bring down the rich and comfort the disadvantaged. He takes to the Lord’s teachings on treating even our enemies with kindness as a duck takes to water. And he loves the idea of bringing the kingdom of God on earth, but he sees it as many churches see it now – he doesn’t think of it as the sixth level of the afterlife, so the kingdom of God on earth is spiritual, which is clearly how Jesus saw it! But rather, he sees it more as a kind of socialist utopia, based in earthly justice. And since Jesus makes it clear repeatedly that it is the spiritual-growth aspect that is the whole point of our being on earth, I see the earthly fairness that is Luke’s obsession to be just the natural result of spiritual growth, and not attainable otherwise (as modern-day experiments with forced socialism have amply proven).

    2. Dear David, this is a good point. My husband is a retired physician, and he has a distinct just-the-facts-ma’am attitude toward a lot of things. But I think it was the Apostle Luke who was a physician, wasn’t it? This author was born long after the Lord went home, so he wasn’t in the original Twelve who knew Jesus.

      I am looking forward to seeing Thomas’s take every bit as much as you are! I couldn’t believe it at first when he set us to talk about Jefferson next week, since he is so completely over that lifetime. But here he is jumping Jefferson in before a half-dozen posts that I had thought were meant to follow these five directly, since they use them in various ways. But since the president left a lot of information about his view of Jesus and the Gospels, I thought at first, “Hey, good idea.” But now it’s two posts – perhaps three – and he seems psyched about them (he has never in my experience been the type to get psyched about anything much except the Great Cause of raising the planet’s spiritual vibration). I don’t fully know what he is up to, and I can’t wait to find out!

  3. ilovedogs449@gmail.com

    Hi Roberta,
    Thanks for your good stuff always.

    I have to remind my uninformed friends when they say, Jesus says he’s God. That’s right but please notice Jesus never said, “He is the Father”. He says the Father and I are one. Just like the ocean water in my bucket is NOT the ocean but is one with the ocean.

    1. Dear Joe, this is such a wonderful point! I love it! And this is what all the most advanced beings who have communicated with us now tell us: we are inextricably part of the Godhead, but each of us literally is that one droplet, and not the whole sea. We are told that Jesus is from the highest aspect of the Godhead, which means that He came as literally God on earth; but still, He was speaking FOR the Godhead. He was a part of God, but no being ever could be all of God. So perfectly right!

  4. I so enjoy hearing your words weekly. They really take the pressure off that so many faith-traditions heap on us, to be perfect, to be more than human … and, therefore, as a result to fail and feel we’ve failed even God. I can hardly wait to hear what Thomas has to say. Thanks so much for doing this, and please thank Thomas on my behalf!

    1. Dear Sha’alah, I am so glad to be of help! I know what you mean about faith traditions and their reliance on inspiring fear in us. I hear occasionally from Christians who say their own denomination isn’t fearful, and I am sad for them because I know the one they adhere to and it is severely fear-based; and yet, my correspondent isn’t lying. She simply doesn’t understand that any faith-system that plays on her anxieties as hers does really cannot be of spiritual help. Heh – I also cannot wait to read what Thomas plans to say!

  5. We are living in some very interesting times. I see a lot of fear in peoples eyes and I just want to remind them as well as myself what Jesus said. Do not fear them. For they cannot kill your soul, only your body (earth suit). But fear the one who can kill your body and your soul. There is a lot of rapture talk going around now days also. While I do hope to be beamed up I still read where Jesus said SOME of us will be handed over and killed because of him. We don’t know which ones of us that will be. However, my suggestion is that we deal with this possible reality before that situation should arise. If we don’t remember any of this talk, please remember this. Many people have died, went to the other side, and then came back. NONE of them wanted to come back. They ALL wanted to stay there but were told it’s not your time. I can hardly wait.

    1. Dear Joe, of course the Rapture is based on the dream of a single nineteenth-century teenage girl, and it never will happen, but you likely know that. And the passage you refer to – Matthew 10:28 – is a classic example of a First Council of Nicaea addition, and nothing that Jesus ever said (fortunately!). I think the passage where Jesus says that some will be handed over and killed for Him has long since been fulfilled, and is not a reference to any future events (again, fortunately). And we know, too, that NDE-ers cannot have been to where the dead actually are, or they could not be here to tell the tale. But you are so right about these “interesting times”! Jesus talked about the tribulation, which would precede the advent of the kingdom of God on earth, and I do think that is what we might well be starting to witness. Very interesting times, indeed!

  6. Did Jesus really say “but fear the one who can kill your body and your soul”? I wasn’t aware that the soul could actually be killed or destroyed. Does anyone know what this actually means? Who is “the one” he refers to? And under what circumstances could the soul be killed?

    1. Dear Lola, of course MT 10:28 is a later addition – almost certainly by First Nicaea in 325. Jesus referred to the Outer Darkness, which indeed does exist, but every reference in the Gospels to destruction in hell is an anachronism from a later time of religion-building. The “one” referred to here would be Satan, a powerful being in opposition to God, which we know cannot exist because the more negative a being is, the weaker it is. In all my research over fifty years, i have seen hints that it is possible for a completely negative human mind to get to the point after repeated lifetimes of evil where it can be extinguished, but I don’t know definitively that it ever actually happens – and it certainly never would happen as a mere punishment!

      1. I saw that too a couple of times when doing research (possible extinction of the soul) but I feel it is likely very rare. It sounds more like another scare tactic, compliments of the Council of Nicea. Imagine how scared people would be if they believed they could be completely annihilated.

        1. Dear Lola, it really is appalling when you study Christianity to see the extent to which they have used fear to built the religion. Yes, fear of annihilation, true: but then again, if you were extinguished you wouldn’t have time to reflect on the horror of that, so they have to add the risk of damnation to eternal fire so you would be able to spend forever thinking about only pain and your ongoing eternal extinction. I think I have mentioned elsewhere that I recall reading about a priest late in the nineteenth century who taught that unbaptized babies were brought out of hell on occasion and allowed to witness the joys of good children whose parents had had them baptized, and then were consigned back to hellfire once again. The priest wanted to make sure that parents of children who died before baptism had to live with that particular horror forevermore. The depravity of some Christian ideas really does sometimes make your blood run cold!

  7. Dearest Roberta,

    Can any text be trustworthy? If any single text is universally regarded as divinely-inspired, doesn’t this mean that other texts have at least the possibility of being divinely inspired? And if that one text were a most important section or pericope of a Gospel, such as the Sermon on the Plain, wouldn’t that support the notion that other similar texts were divinely inspired, hence trustworthy?

    I hope so and I believe so and I further hope that all readers of this blog would agree. BTW, I can hardly wait to read Thomas’s own views.

    Yours,
    Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie, I think we have to be extremely careful to test every ancient text whose authors claim to have been divinely inspired. It is so easy to claim – even sincerely – that God inspired you to say almost anything! To me, that is the most important product of our having very good modern communications from people that we used to think were dead: they are back in their vast, eternal minds, and in a place where divine truth is available to them. They can clearly tell us what is true!

  8. Dearest Roberta and everyone,
    Luke’s Gospel here does seem to suggest Jesus teachings as seen through the prism of Luke’s own mindset. (Or so it seems to me.)

    I concur with Mike J-R’s comment above, that Luke’s ‘leave the world better than you found it’ approach is redolent of the Jewish tradition; especially the principle of ‘Tikkun Olam.’ This phrase (first documented in the Mishnah Period of Judaism (10 – 220 CE) means ‘to repair the world.’

    The principle of social justice is inherent in Judaism from much earlier times, but surfaced in the form of Tikkun Olam at the time of Jesus’ incarnation. So Luke could well have been seeing things from this perspective. Basically it involved continuously doing good works and not judging people as worthy of help or not. One should simply lift others up because they need help.

    Interestingly ‘Olam’ means ‘the world,’ but it also means ‘all of time’ and (strangely) ‘that which is hidden.’ This word is taken by Esoteric Judaism (including Kabbalah) to mean spiritual ascension that reaches the ‘timelessness’ of God and His ‘hidden’ nature in the reality beyond our perception. In this sense Tikkun Olam means becoming whole and one with God.

    I am no scholar, but I have been raised in traditional Judaism, where certain things have been etched into my mind for life. Therefore the social justice mindset is very, very familiar to me. Also Judaism, as you know Roberta, does not outline the Afterlife or Heaven. I reckon Jesus Himself spent more time talking of the Kingdom of God (in whatever way He could) than the Jewish Torah did over millennia.

    In Judaism the emphasis is on this current earthly life and not on the hereafter. How a person leads their life is of practical and spiritual importance. Focusing on realms we can’t see is not considered on point. So here may be another mindset that Luke had; an overwhelming focus on living this life well and fixing the problems of the world.

    Thankfully my dear Roberta, in modern times we relish learning all we can about the Afterlife and many of us wish to deeply imbibe and radiate the life philosophy of The Master Teacher, Lord Jesus.

    And heck, do I find that this knowledge DOES nourish and enlighten this life on this troubled planet.🙂🌎🙏🏼

    1. Dear Efrem, thank you for this interesting bit of Jewish lore! I haven’t much studied Judaism, but the fact that the Mishnah Period and its favorable concepts and beliefs coincided with the advent of the Lord’s mission is amazing. I’m sure that wasn’t a coincidence, but rather it was orchestrated at the highest levels to help to till the earth in which He would be planting the seeds of the next stage of human spiritual development. This is all so fascinating!!

  9. Good Morning Roberta,
    I really love how you are breaking down these teachings from Jesus and adding insight to the messages. It really does take an understanding of the early years of Christianity and the development of the Bible to appreciate the nuances of the messages. It is a miracle that the intent of Jesus’ message has been preserved based on all the meddling through the years, not to mention the early years of speaking and sharing the words. As we know today, it only takes one or two retierations of spoken word and the original message is often lost if not transformed into something completely different.
    An interesting observation came to me as we were on a Sunday drive this weekend. Like many, whenever I see a dog, I am immediately overcome with emotions of adoration, care and love for them. Actually, most animals I see, domesticated and wild. However, I do not automatically have the same response when I see a fellow human being. And I wonder if God has the same reaction to people that we experience when seeing animals? Appreciating their essence without expecting anything in return. As you might guess, my challenge now is to begin seeing other people in the same manner, no speculation, no judgement, just appreciation and love for their existence.

    1. Dear Timothy, from what we have seen, God’s minions apparently react to us pretty much as you react to dogs, but with an astonishing level of reverence added. Perhaps it’s more the way you would react upon seeing a majestic but gentle purple unicorn in the flesh?

      And where the Lord’s words are concerned, it would be impossible for us now to have even an approximation of those words as He actually spoke them if it were not for the repeated interference of beings not in bodies. We still do have some pruning to do, but enough of what is genuine remains. And that is truly, literally, genuinely a miracle of the first rank!

  10. Dearest Roberta,
    It is with glad anticipation that I too await the esteemed Thomas’ views on Our Lord and his own shared, beneficial lessons. He is, as you say, our friend and his elevated perspective will greatly enrich our understanding.

    When I think of how much I have learned and the ways in which I have changed inside, I can only feel grateful my dear. Actually, I have never felt more part of the Creative Force that we call Spirit. Now I relish being a soul who can transform and grow; who can learn continuously because this is what Creation does.

    Happily, I await next week with the sense that we are each a drop in the ocean, and we are also the ocean in a drop. 😉💧🌊

    1. Dear Efrem, now that we are starting to work on those next two posts, I think Thomas’s idea is a good one. There may be no non-religious figure in history whose views on Jesus and on Christianity during a famous lifetime are so clearly known as are Thomas Jefferson’s. They have changed some with his much greater present knowledge, but less than I had thought. And I am realizing, too, that his interest in the teachings of Jesus likely goes back for many lifetimes. I think that may have been a common thread for us during our seventeen prior lifetimes together, but he doesn’t want me to know any of that now. So I’m enjoying learning even the bits that he is willing to share for these blog posts!

  11. Dear Roberta. Maybe you’re planning a future post on this, but what are your thoughts on the Gospel of John, which I find to be a rather intriguing piece, quite different from the synoptics. It seems to be more accurate and authentic in some points, more mystical in others, and at least claims to be written by someone who was a paticipant in the events.

    1. Dear Scott, that is a pretty good summary: the Gospel of John is more authentic-seeming in some spots, but at the same time it’s more mystical and even fanciful. It wasn’t written by someone who knew Jesus or was alive when the Lord was alive – that is apparently a bogus claim. And since you bring it up, I have run the idea of discussing the Gospel of John past Thomas, but he doesn’t seem to be much interested: he says that we have already talked about the aspects of that Gospel that are useful. And at the moment, he seems to be amused by what we have been doing with the opinions of Thomas Jefferson!

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