This was the conversation and the debate which the Master had with himself. There was the question, “Why did these men forsake me? Why did they not receive my message?” and there was the answer, the answer which came to Jesus during this debate with himself: “I have finished the work Thou hast given me to do. I have proved, once and for all time to come, that in the deepest degree–and there is no deeper degree of human iniquity than for a friend to betray his friend, for a student to betray his teacher, for the disciple to betray his master–I have proved in this experience that even that deepest degree of iniquity, even that is not power.”
The celebration of Easter is not to commemorate an event which took place two thousand years ago, but to reveal a principle; so that when we face a world filled with wickedness in high places, whether they be high spiritual places, high political places, or high commercial places, we can know the impotence of human scheming, human planning, human ambition, evil, degradation, and iniquity. We can stand fast in the faith that God, Itself, is our power, God, Itself, is our presence. It makes no difference what religious holidays we celebrate if we do not take from them the principle that they show forth. For us, the principle is all.
The Master never asked for recognition or for gratitude from the world for the work that he did, but there must have been a hope, an anticipation, that those who heard his message would stand firm in the faith and carry it forward. And from this experience of his, we can learn that God is the bearer of It’s own message and needs no human agency. God needs no human Messiah. God needs no human disciples. Whether or not there is a spiritual teacher on the face of the earth, God will deliver to the consciousness of men the healing grace, the healing power. God, Itself, will speak the Word into the consciousness of men, and raise up seed, raise up the revelation and the understanding until the leaven works.
All of us have thought, at some time or other, that the carrying of the spiritual message was dependent upon a human avenue, and in that thought we have lost our healings, because we have accepted the belief that God must work through a person, thing, or thought. The Easter lesson is the high revelation that God works in us, and through us, without mediation. Never believe that without a book, a teaching, or right thinking, you can lose your demonstration; never believe that salvation is dependent on a man, on a thing, or on a thought. Watch the Master make the final demonstration after the loneliness of the Garden of Gethsemane, without the loyalty of disciples, without the benefit of human aid, even without the help of human thought. He stood alone in Christ, alone with God. There was not a single disciple to watch with him for one hour. Nevertheless, then as always, we see that with every human aid removed, “I and my Father are one.” It is only in this realization of oneness, only in this realization of I-ness that the experience of resurrection and ascension can take place: “‘I and my Father are one.’ I and the Father ascend and descend from the cross; I and the Father are buried in the tomb; I and the Father walk out of the tomb. Finally, I and the Father ascend above human sight in the realization of oneness, unity, completeness, perfection.”
There will come a time in our experience when we are in that courtyard, and when we know that before us lies inevitability in one form or another. Before us stands the desertion of we can take the higher step of witnessing the spiritual aid, the spiritual wisdom, the spiritual angels, which are sent to us and which never leave us nor forsake us. Remember, “I will never leave you; I will never forsake you.” This is not a man talking; this is an angel, a guardian angel, God’s own witness within our consciousness, saying that if mother or father deserts us, It will never leave us. We know through this symbolic lesson that there is that which did not desert the Master everything and everyone upon whom we have placed reliance, and we find ourselves alone with God. It is in that aloneness with God that we find the spiritual reality of wholeness and completeness.
But this cannot be seen unless it can be seen, too, that the mission of the Master was not merely to multiply loaves and fishes, nor was it to transform physical bodies from sickness to health, nor to raise them from the dead. The mission of the Master was to take us into a new dimension of life in which we find spiritual reality. Bereft of temporal aids, of temporal good in any and every form, we find then and there the spiritual dimension, the spiritual reality of being – eternal, infinite, omnipresent – in which no true thing is ever lost. This is the highest phase of the Christ message and mission. Through it, we rise above human-ness, above human experience, above improving humanhood, into the revelation and realization of the kingdom of God. In the kingdom of God there is no loss, no lack, and no limitation. In this kingdom within, the Master finds, not human beings to desert him, but angels to bear him up.
I bear witness to you that in proportion as our human dependencies depart from us, in proportion as we lose our faith in purely material means of help, their place is taken by angels, guardians from on high, from the infinite consciousness deep within–and we find a new world and a new life.
The only reason that we have the symbolic teaching of a Master deserted by his disciples is to show us that wherever our human trust has been, we might be prepared for that desertion; so that, and which enabled him to reveal to the world that the desertion of human help leads to that elevation of consciousness necessary to the realization of divine help.
It is not necessary that we be crucified; it is not necessary that our friends or relatives forsake us or that we be betrayed. That lesson was an extreme one to illustrate the fact that we must not place our faith in human avenues. If we do so, one of these days the medicines will not heal, the banks will not loan, and the friends will not stand by. But if through the Master’s revelation we begin here and now to give up our dependency on disciples, on relatives, on friends, on capital, or on investments, then we shall find that we are picked up by angels, by spiritual power. Spiritual power! Do we really know, do we really believe that there is such a thing as spiritual power? Are we aware of the spiritual power which is called angels, guardians, or messengers from on high, which are no more or less than realizations of the divine Presence and Power within us? Do we know that this Power is more real than the disciples, the friends, and the relatives on the outer plane? The entire mission of the Master was to reveal that there are guardian angels – that around us are the everlasting arms. Are we willing to recognize that there is an unseen Presence and Power, upon which we can rely with greater faith than on anything in the visible?
What I want to see from this Easter unfoldment is that this invisible Presence, Power, or Force is able to pick us up, but that It can do that only as we avail ourselves of It, as we release our hold on earthly powers. The Infinite Invisible does not reach us and does not take over while we are relying on that which is visible, finite, and temporal. Only as we release our mental hold on these, only as we give up our faith and trust in the visible, does this invisible Power take over and reveal to us the inner world of reality.
Remember, the Master said very clearly, “My kingdom is not of this world.” In that statement, you have the Easter lesson: “My kingdom is not of this world. My disciples did not come to my aid; the people I healed and fed did not stand by or even testify for me. But watch and you will see the invisible angels, the invisible Power, which will enable me to walk out of the tomb and ascend above all mortal discord. Human beings will betray; human power will fail; but I can call on angels. Yes, I can call on angels. Watch these angels pick me up. Watch them lift me from the cross and take me from the tomb. That is the glory of the Father’s message. That is what the Father has been trying to say through me, and you have not seen it. Have ye eyes and do not see? Have ye ears and do not hear? I am bringing you a message, not of greater good in this kingdom, but of a Power and of a Presence from the invisible kingdom. My kingdom is not of this world. I have overcome this world. Within me is this divine Presence, this tremendous Force, and I tell you of it. My message is to tell you that within you is the kingdom of God – not out there in personal dependencies, not out there in faith upon crutches that break, but within you. You have seen my disciples desert me. You have seen those I healed and fed leave me alone. Now I will show you the Invisible. Stand still and watch It’s power.”
Remember that the emphasis of this message is on the Infinite Invisible and on developing a consciousness of dependence on that which is not seen, on that which is not visible out here. In my own experience I have witnessed that the inner Light shines only in proportion to my withdrawal from the outer world – not by my leaving the world, or its pleasures and joys; but by my leaving my dependence upon it, by my discarding my faith in person, place, or thing. We may think this makes us stand alone. We may think that in his hour of desertion and betrayal the Master stood alone. This is not true. The Master never was betrayed and never was deserted, except by the unreal personal sense. The Master was always in the company of the children of God, on earth and on the cross. At no time in his ministry did the Master walk alone. On the mountain top, although he appeared to be alone, in his realization of the unreal nature of the outer world, he communed with the children of God. He showed his disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration that the prophets were there with him; they were with him on the cross; they were with him in the tomb. When we seem most alone, we are most heavily engaged in divine company.