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Rev. Dr. Henry Lee Bates - Archived Messages

RevBates.tv Global - Weekly Message To The Masses for March 16, 2008 

              “Jesus wanted to share the unity he experienced with God, and therefore he often used the phrase abide in me.  The parable of the grapevine (one of the rare times that the Book of John quotes a parable) elaborates on the point.  Jesus declares that being cut off from God is sterile and fruitless.  The sap that nourishes the vine and causes it to bear fruit is God, the source of life.  By implication, the only life that escapes death is one that connects back to its ultimate source.” - Deepak Chopra, "THE THIRD JESUS ... THE CHRIST WE CANNOT IGNORE

        Traditional teachings regarding Palm Sunday tell us about Jesus' entry into Jerusalem.  The purpose of the entry was to fulfill a Biblical prophecy regarding the Messiah taken from the passage in the Book of Zechariah in the Old Testament.  It is thought by many, that the public enthusiasm for the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem was in seeing it as a declaration of war against Israel's enemies, rather than a message of peace.  Although in later years Jesus was referred to as the Prince of Peace, the people in those days did not understand this.  A warrior would have ridden a horse, he did not.  Palm branches lined his entry into the city and so in later years, the day was named Palm Sunday.

       At this point, Jesus was both at odds with the religious leaders and the Romans.  Although the people were enthusiastic about him, the religious leaders did not regard him as the expected Messiah.  The symbolism of the donkey, seen as an animal of peace gives us insight into the consciousness of Jesus.  He was aware that the authorities were out to get him, and yet he was at peace with the situation.  And this being at peace in the face of adversity, is the real message for us today.

      To be at peace in the face of adversity takes great faith.  Most of us have faced situations in which our peace has been disturbed, if not completely lost.  This is why Jesus taught that we must continually recognize God's Presence in our lives.  We lose our peace when we feel separated from God, or our Good.  It is through our constant recognition of God's Presence that we can face the situations and conditions that challenge us and transcend them.

      I have often found that many people do not reach out for help, or even pray, until their difficulties reach a crisis condition.  Often, I receive prayer requests from people who are facing eviction notices, foreclosures on their homes, discharges from their employment, or health issues that are alarming to them.  Do they lack faith?  No, I don't think they do.  But, their faith has been directed to the negative rather than to the positive.  They didn't do this consciously, none of us do.  It is because we have felt the feelings of loss or despair so strongly that our minds have been filled with worry and concern, not realizing that as we do, we are creating a pattern of thought that is going to end up in a result that we do not want.

    As with so many things about Jesus, his actions, were some of his greatest lessons for us.  Knowing that beyond the crowds of people laying the palm fronds on the ground in front of him and singing a song of triumph, were people who were seeking to entrap him and capture him.  Still, he was at peace with the situation, for he knew that as he "abided in God," he could be certain that God was with him.  And, no matter what we may face in life, this "abiding in God" ... will give us the same peace within and the same assurance that we shall transcend the conditions that we face.  Once a situation, condition, or even someone, takes our peace away, we have lost our power to transcend them.  Solutions do not come to our awareness when we are not at peace.  Our mind cannot be stilled, if we are not at peace.  And it is in this stillness of mind, that all healing, solutions, answers, come to our awareness.

     There are many ways in which we can "abide in God."  Meditation, prayer, spiritual mind treatment, or just sitting in the silence of our mind and thinking about God, can give us the awareness that we abide in God and God abides in us.  The greatest healing element we will ever experience is knowing that right where we are, there too, is the Presence of God.  This is the highest Truth we can bring into our mind.  And this is the Truth that Jesus knew as he rode the donkey into Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday.


Keep the faith!
Rev. Dr. Henry Lee Bates

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