Sayings of Jesus

In the Light of Theosophy

[The Theosophical Forum, December 1937, pp. 424-25; the following, held in the archives of the Theosophical Society, Point Loma, is a copy of an original article, or what appear rather to be hastily written notes, in the handwriting throughout of William Q. Judge, hitherto, we believe, unpublished. -- Eds.]

The references herein are taken from St. Matthew in the revised version. In Chap. 4 account is given of Jesus being led into the wilderness to be tempted of "the devil," which means, theosophically, the trials of the disciple in the world or wilderness of his own nature.

The tempter suggests first that bread be made out of stones after the long fast. But Jesus replied:

"It is written. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

After a period of prayer, or aspiration, the mystics in all ages had first to resist the temptation to at once satisfy immediate bodily wants and then on triumphing they receive instruction and benefit from "God" who is the Higher Self. The Higher Self is the god they all, including Jesus, aspired to and spoke of as God and Father. Usually the clash and roar of the lower nature prevents the words or "voice" of that Father from being heard. Shakespeare knew the value of fasting to release the inner, for he said that when the bodily encasement was reduced the inner self came forth more easily. And here Jesus is only repeating what all the schools of real occultism teach, that is, that the real man has his own appropriate food, or the communion with the Monad which is not perfectly conscious on this plane, but must be sought for in its own proper habitation.

Then the "devil" took him to a high place suggesting that he throw himself down and be saved by the angels, to which Jesus replied:

"Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."

This could not mean that he adjured Satan not to tempt him -- his God -- but rather that it was neither common sense nor the act of an occultist to show his powers for no end but vanity. This is one of the rules of the Lodge, that if you have occult power you shall not use it except for the benefit of others.

The sermon on the mount is of high importance theosophically. If taken literally it is a string of meaningless promises which are broken every day, but adding Karma and Reincarnation they are the old declarations of all great teachers and holy books prior to the alleged time of Jesus.

The first beatitude, that the poor in spirit will have heaven is that which was always taught as the result of humility. For only when the personal self is thoroughly eliminated, and the idea of separateness is destroyed by that of universal brotherhood, does the illumination from within, desired by all earnest students, come to one. Many neglect this injunction, being carried away by scientific phrases or having personal ends. One needs not be a "Christian" to see and accept this injunction of Jesus, since it was only repeated as of old by him; carried on, as Confucius did his ideas.