I’m William Cooper.
[Pooh]: And I am Pooh. Merry Christmas to all little boys and girls everywhere.
[WC]: Ladies and Gentleman, tonight’s presentation is in honor of the birth of Jesus Christ approximately 2000 years ago. In keeping with the purpose of this broadcast, we are going to present the many different facets of parts of his life. And we are going to present it in a way that no matter what your belief is concerning this man, who is probably the most remembered man in the history of the world. For all the accomplishments of Julius Caesar, very few today are of any consequence and of any importance to what he did. However, Jesus Christ has presented a dichotomy to the world. For those who love him, he is the Saviour. For the churches, that dig the money out of the pockets of millions of people, he is a source of unlimited income. For those who hate him, he is the instigation of a constant turmoil. And while this man preached love, peace and understanding, more men and women had been murdered, killed, in the history of the world, in his name and for any other purpose in history. If he were alive today I for one would not believe that he would accept any of those organized institutions which call themselves Christian churches. And in fact I believe he would cast them out. I believe he would condemn all those who tortured and hurt and murdered in his name. I believe that he would have a few things to say tonight that will be reflected in this broadcast and I think if you listen closely you will understand why it is that I claim, that not many, who call themselves Christians, really are. For Jesus Christ accepted all, who came to him. He rejected no one. And he was found more often amidst the poor and the rejected and the criminals and the prostitutes than with any other class of people.
[Intro Music: Hosanna from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar]
Jesus is the greatest paradox in history. He appears in a region of minor importance in the Roman Empire, in a nation which its conquerors describe as „a contemptible collection of slaves“. Not once in his life does he emerge from among his people. Not once does he advance any desire to know the world of the learned, the politicians and the warriors who controlled the civil society of his day. In his own region, he spends at least nine tenth of his life in a humble little village, proverbial for its worthlessness. There he is simply a carpenter. For 30 years no one knows who he is except for two or three people who are silent as he. Suddenly, when he has past 30, he emerges into public life and begins a new activity. He has no human means of any kind at his disposal, no weapons, no money, no academic knowledge, no political support. He spends almost all his time among poor folk, fishermen and peasants. With particular solicitude, he seeks out publicans, harlots and others, rejected by the so called „good“ society. Among these he works miracles in great number and variety. He joins to himself a little group of fishermen, who follow him constantly as his particular disciples. And his activity lasts less than three years. He preaches a doctrine which is neither philosophical, nor political, but religious and moral exclusively. It seems to be composed of everything that all the various philosophies had rejected, of all that the entire world has cast as far from it as it could. What is evil for the world is for Jesus a good. What the world deems good, for Jesus is an evil. Poverty, humility, submission, the silent sufferings of insult and injury withdrawing oneself to give way to others. And these are the greatest of evils in the world and the greatest goods to Jesus. Conversely, wealth, honors, dominion over others and all the other many things which spell happiness for the world represent a total loss for Jesus or at least a very serious danger.
The world, in fact, sees only the visible and the tangible. Jesus declares, that he sees the unseen. The world fixes its gaze on nothing but the earth and it sees it from below. And Jesus fixes his gaze on heaven especially, and he contemplates the earth from heaven, from above. For Jesus, the earth takes its meaning only from heaven. The present life hast value only as preparation for a future life. It is a toilsome, an impermanent dwelling, but it has value as a runway from which to take off for the flight toward a permanent joy-filled home. The tenets of the impermanent dwelling who place their hopes in it alone and refuse to leave it compromise the kingdom of the world. Those who remain in it, only through obedience but aspire constantly to their permanent home, constitute his kingdom of God. Now, between the two kingdoms there is and will be relentless warfare, a constant battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil. The forces of the spiritual realm and the forces of the material world. And this battle will go on until one or the other is utterly defeated.
The respective strength of both kingdoms derives from love, but for different objects. For no man seeks the end of his life to be measured by evil. The subjects of the kingdom of the world love only themselves or what is useful or pleasing to themselves. And their goal is to make life happy, for when it ends, that is all. The subjects of the kingdom of God love God first of all, and then the whole hierarchy of beings down to those who are useless and who do evil. And for these they have a particular love. And they seek to do good to those who do evil or do not know how to do good. For them to give is to acquire. For therefore they know no hatred, which is the peak of Abras (sp?). Of this kingdom of God, the spring of which is the love of God, and of man, Jesus, the Christ, is the founder. You see, the kingdom of God is the kingdom foretold by the ancient prophets of Israel who predicted that its founder would be the Messiah promised to chosen people. In preaching his anti-world doctrine, Jesus is conscious of his identity as the Messiah, but he does not declare himself in the beginning, in order that the crowds, throbbing with political messianic hopes may not interpret his doctrine as a political proclamation and acclaim him as a national leader.
His personal mission is directed solely to the chosen people. The depositary of Gods ancient promises. And when those promises have been fulfilled, however, the effects of his mission will pour over all the peoples of the earth. ALL THE PEOPLES OF THE EARTH. And to this end, he institutes a permanent society, the church, which he says, exists, wherever two or more of his father’s followers gather in his name. But the majority of the chosen people do not accept his preaching and those most hostile to him are precisely the leaders of that people, the chief priests from the temple and the Pharisees from the synagogue. And these leaders are convinced of his miraculous power. And they would not take issue with him on many points of his teaching, but they do not forgive his outspoken denunciation of the hypocrisy of the ruling classes and his unflinching condemnation of the empty formalism, which is withering their religious life. He commanded to obey the law. After having unwillingly tolerated him for a time they arrest him through treachery, condemn him in the tribunal of their nation on religious charges and have him condemned a second time in the tribunal of the representative of Rome on political charges. This is in the best interest of Rome. Jesus dies on the cross. After three days, those that have condemned him are convinced that he has risen. His disciples, at first unconvinced, yield later to the evidence of their senses. For they see him and touch him with their hands a number of times and speak with him just as they did before his death. He died upon the cross, was sealed in the tomb, rose and returned after three days in the flesh and spoke with all those who have been close to him before his persecution.
But the paradox of Jesus continues unchanged, even after his death, just as in his first life, he was the antithesis of the world, so the institution which he founded continues in the most incredible manner, to be the negation of the world. And I’m speaking to those who really understand and truly follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. And you will not find that in an organized institution called a Christian church, no matter what denomination, or what name it sits behind. He left no echo of himself in the upper circles of the society of his time. In the entire Roman Empire the historians ignore him, the learned are unaware of his teachings. The civil authorities have the most noted his death in their records. The very leaders of his nation, satisfied at his disappearance from the scene, are more than ready to forget him altogether. His institution seems to have been reduced to the agony of his own tortured body on the cross. You see, the world gloats over his agony, just as the chief priests stood gloating at the foot of his cross. And instead, his institution, shuttering in agony, suddenly rises up. Again, to gather into its arms the entire world. And there are three centuries of persecution and slaughter. Three centuries which seem to prolong the agony on the cross and re-echo the three days in the sepulcher, but after the third century, civil society becomes officially the disciple of Jesus. The kingdom of the world is not overthrown however and the war goes on in different forms but with the same obdurate tenacity as before. Jesus, or his institution, becomes increasingly the sign of contradiction in the history of human civilization. His paradoxical and burdensome doctrine had been accepted by infinite numbers of men and practiced with intense love. Even to the supreme sacrifice. Infinite numbers of others rejected and hated rabidly, it might be said that the efforts of the most civilized portion of humanity had all been concentrated on this sign of contradiction, either to exalt it or to trample it under foot.
Certain it is, that Jesus is today more alive than ever among men and especially in this country at this time. All have need of him, either to love him or to curse him, but they cannot seem to do without him. Many men in the past have been loved intensely: Socrates by his disciples, Julius Caesar by his legionnaires, Napoleon by his soldiers. But today these men belong irrevocably to the past. Not one single heartbeat is at their memory and when their ideals are opposed, whether they are still being advocated, no one thinks of cursing Socrates or Julius Caesar or even Napoleon because their personalities no longer have any influence. They are bygones. But not Jesus! You see, Jesus is still loved and he is still cursed. Men still renounce their possessions and even their lives both for love of him and out of hatred for him. No living being is as alive as Jesus is today after 2000 years. He is the sign of contradiction. In his historical reality also, that the celebrated historians of the official world of his time are unaware of his existence is not surprising. For these historians, dazzled by the splendor of the Rome of Augustus lacked the sharpness of vision and even the documents to discover an obscure barbarian from among a contemptible collection of slaves.
But ladies and gentleman, this does not mean that the figure of Jesus is historically less documented and certain then that of Augustus and others of his famous contemporaries if you are willing to accept the writings in the Bible as being authentic. And certainly, we today desire to know much more about him than we do. But if the things we know are to few for our desire, in compensation the writers who have recorded them enjoy a prime authority. Of these four writers, two claim to be eye-witnesses who are at Jesus‘ side night and day for almost all his public life. The other two knew and abundantly questioned similar witnesses, and all four narratives are told with precious simplicity. And the lack of ornament and with a dispassionateness before the facts which rises far above their sympathies.
There is no doubt the four gospels are propaganda. Their authors wrote them to acquaint the world with Jesus and spread belief in him. But for that very reason they had to take the way of objectivity and truth, because thousands of witnesses very ready to contradict them, had these narratives been prejudiced or fabricated. But here, ladies and gentleman, as in everything else, the sign of contradiction is contradicted again. For it is said that the Jesus presented by the four historians cannot be true because he is supernatural. The portrait painted by the four evangelists must be reduced to natural rational proportions and the miraculous streamed away. And this is the program of rationalist criticism. And many, many, many, many of the theories of the critics, in contradictory of one another, on one point only do they agree perfectly, and that is, that the gospel narratives are not historical and therefore that the Jesus of tradition is false.
Now, all this is no more than one episode in the centuries long conflict between Jesus and the world. I said that the conflict will not end until one has completely defeated the other. And that is why the world defeats Jesus in the historical field by erasing as much as it can of his figure and personality. And I believe that if those who are engaged in this act of destruction really knew Jesus Christ and really understood his teachings they would reverse their efforts, for he did not teach what man has accomplished in his name … until one has completely defeated the other. For what has happened in the past and what, ladies and gentleman, will happen in the future, the gospel of the books of the Bible tell us that the Jesus whom the Pharisees sealed in his tomb rose again. History tells us, that the Jesus afterward killed a thousand times has always come back more alive than ever before and the conflict around the sign of contradiction will continue as long as there are men upon the earth.
[Interlude music: I Don’t Know How to Love Him from Jesus Christ Superstar]
Jesus was always, contrary to common opinion, in his day. The Sermon on the Mount is the most complete paradox ever asserted. No discourse on earth was ever more subversive, or better reversive, than this. Why it is not called darker gray but altogether black. In black is shining white. What has always been a good is now assigned to the category of evils and an evil is called a good. And this reversal of things is presented with a tone of crisp, concise, command justified by the authority of the speaker alone. This is so, because I, Jesus, tell you it is so. Others have told you white, but I tell you black. Fifty has been prescribed but that is only part a good, and I, Jesus, prescribe the whole hundred. And what are the sanctions of these new order of things? It has no human sanctions, only divine ones. No worldly sanctions, but entirely supra-worldly. The poor are blessed, because theirs is the kingdom of heaven, not a kingdom on earth. The sorrowful are blessed, because they shall be comforted, but in a distant and unspecified future. The clean of heart are blessed, because they will see God. Not because their purity is to be praised by men … [*audio cuts out several seconds*] … and thus, the new order has a true basis only for those who accept and await the Kingdom of Heaven. Finally, the Sermon on the Mount does not ignore historical facts but fits in with past and contemporary Hebrewism on many essential points. The Mosaic Law is not abolished, but integrated and indeed perfected and is kept as a kind of first floor to which an upper story is added. The chief concern is always for the moral and the spiritual, rather than for the material act in itself. Not even the economic and financial questions is slighted, but it is given a new setting, an act of faith and a vision of the providence of God.
You see, with Jesus, love governs all in its twofold expression toward God and toward men, love reigns supreme. The God is the father of the whole human family who knows when his children are hungry and requires only the tribute of their persistent prayer for bread. All men, children of the supernatural father, are brothers, one of another, so important is the love we must bear our fellow men that not even our love for God is true unless it is accompanied by this other love. That is the very basis, the very foundation, of the Christian faith. God is not pleased with offerings from one whose conscious toward his brothers is not at peace. The Sermon on the Mount follows quite a clear outline especially in Matthews version. The prologue which plunges into the very heart of the matter is represented by the Beatitudes. And this astounding prologue presents the general spirit of Jesus‘ program, or what is known as the messianic law. They conclude with the announcement, that this spirit must be as a salt to preserve the entire world from corruption and as a light to illumine all the earth. Matthews chapter 5 verses 13 – 16. In other context, Luke chapter 14 verses 34 and 35, and chapter 8 verse 16 and chapter 11 verse 33:
But immediately after this glance towards the future, the discourse turns back and faces the question of the relationship between past and future where the Hebrew law is concerned and the outline is as follows, pay very close attention. I don’t care what church you’ve attended, or how long you claim to have been a Christian, I can tell you right now, if everybody really practiced what this man taught, there would truly be peace in the world.
Whether or not you believed him to be of divine origin or to be God incarnate in the flesh or to be the Son of God or to be just a man walking upon the earth, there would be peace in this world. Jesus does not destroy the law but renews it. In part abrogating and in part retaining and perfecting it: Matthew chapter 5 verses 17 – 20.
The Messianic law perfects the Mosaic law in the precepts regarding fraternal peace and concord, chastity, matrimonial. The taking of oaths, revenge and charity: Chapter 5 verses 21-48. and it surpasses by far the practice of the Pharisees with regard to alms-giving, prayer and fasting: Chapter 6 verses 1-8. It is the one true treasure for those who accept it and frees them from all other solicitude. It demands more perfect charity and more constant prayer. It is a narrow gate, but a protection against false prophets and it induces good works. In short, the new house is a house built on living rock and will withstand the floods and tempest that beat against it. And even this catchy summary makes it clear that the Sermon on the Mount is intended among other things to counterbalance the law of Moses which it does not destroy but perfects. And this is also reflected by the setting in which the discourse was delivered.
You see, just as Moses, assisted by the ancients of the nation, had promulgated the old law on Mount Zion in the presence of the people, Jesus, attended by the twelve apostles, promulgated the new law on a hill in Galilee in the presence of the multitude.
The Sermon on the Mount is popular in style and oriental in expression. It contains no subtleties or abstractions but abounds in concrete examples which have always been dear to the people and from which they are expert in extracting the general rule. Typical oriental exaggerations are frequent, but the audience knew how to give them their true value, for it was their language. For an oriental phrases like ‚if thy right hand scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee‘ or ‚If one strike thee on thy right cheek, turn to him also the other‘ added flavor to the discourse, but Jesus‘ first followers never did cut off their right hands or offered the left cheek for the simple reason that they understood the way men spoke in their country and besides, they had good common sense.
The rest of the discourse follows, Matthew 5, Verses 13-19:
You’re the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses its strength, what shall it be salted with? It is no longer of any use but to be thrown out and trodden under foot of men. You are the light of the world. A city, set on a mountain, cannot be hidden, neither do man light a lamp and put it under a measure, but upon the lampstand, so as to give light to all in the house. Even so, let your light shine before men, in order that they may see your good works and give glory to your father in heaven. Do not think that I have come to destroy the law or the prophets, I have not come to destroy but to fulfill, for Amen, I say onto you, till heaven and earth pass away, not one jot or one tittle should be lost from the law till all things have been accomplished. Therefore, whoever does away with one of these least commandments and so teaches man shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but however carries them out, and teaches them, these should be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
And many have taken this to mean something that it did not. For just as you cannot force a child to sit on a desk and learn when he does not wish to learn, you cannot force religion upon someone who does not want it. Jesus knew this. He never accosted anyone on the road and made them sit and listen to him, he allowed those who wished to pass by, pass, without comment. Matthew, chapter 5, verse 20:
For I say to you that unless your justice exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Very clear and very strict.
You have heard, that it was said to the ancients, THOU SHALL NOT KILL. And that whoever shall murder shall be liable to judgment. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother, shall be liable to judgment. And whoever says to his brother ‚Raca‘ shall be liable to the Sanhedrin. And whoever says ‚thou fool‘ shall be liable to the fire of Gehenna.
Gehenna was a canyon, just outside of Jerusalem, where the poor where thrown with the garbage and burnt. The dead poor that is.
Therefore, if thou art offering thy gift at the altar and their rememberest, that thy brother have anything against thee, leave thy gift before the altar and go first to be reconciled to thy brother and then come and offer thy gift. Come to terms with thy opponent quickly, whiles thou art with him on the way. Lest thy opponent deliver thee to the judge and the judge to the officer and thou be cast into prison. Amen, I say to thee, thou wilt not come out from it until thou have paid the last penny. You have heard, that it was said, THOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY. But I say to you that anyone who even looks with lust at a woman has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if thy right eye is an occasion of sin to thee, plug it out and cast it from thee. For it is better for thee, that one of thy members should perish, than that thy whole body should be thrown into hell. And if thy right hand is an occasion of sin to thee, cut it off and cast it from thee. For it is better for thee, that one of thy members should be lost, than that thy whole body should go into hell.
It was said moreover whoever puts away his wife, let him give her a written notice of dismissal. But I say to you that everyone who puts away his wife, save on account of immorality causes her to commit adultery and he who marries a woman who has been put away, commits adultery. Again, you have heard that it was said to the ancients ‚Thou shall not swear falsely, but fulfill thy oaths to the Lord.‘ But I say to you not to swear at all. Neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God, nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of his feet, nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great king, neither do thou swear by the head, for thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your speech be ‚Yes‘ if it is yes, ‚No‘ if it is no and whatever is beyond these words comes from the evil one.
And that is why when you draw in the intelligence service, you affirm, that you will protect and defend the constitution of the United States of America, and the constitution of your state. And you pledge your life, your fortune, and your sacred honor.
You have heard that it was said ‚an eye for an eye‘ and ‚a tooth for a tooth‘ but I say to you not to resist the evildoer. On the contrary, if someone strikes thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also and if anyone would go to law with thee and take thy tunic let him take thy cloak as well. And whoever forces thee to go for one mile, go with him two miles. To him who asks of thee, give. And from him who would borrow of thee, do not turn away. You have heard that it was said THOU SHALL LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR and shall hate thy enemy. But I say to you ‚Love your enemies.‘ Do good to those who hate you and pray for those who persecute and calumniate you, so that you may be children of your father in heaven. Who makes his sun to rise on the good and evil and sends rain on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you what reward shall you have? Do not even the publicans do that? And if you salute your brethren only, what are you doing more than others? Do not even the pagans do that? You therefore are to be perfect, even as your heavenly father is perfect. Take heed not to practice your good justice before men, in order to be seen by them, otherwise you shall have no reward with your father in heaven. Therefore, when thou givest alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets in order that they may be honored by men. Amen, I say to you, they have had their reward, but when thou givest alms do not let thy left hand know what thy right hand is doing. So that thy alms may be given in secret, and thy father who sees in secret, will reward thee. Again, when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites, who love to pray standing in the synagogues and at the street corners in order that they may be seen by men. Amen, I say to you, they have had their reward. But when thou prayest, go into thy room and closing thy door, pray to thy father in secret. And thy father who sees in secret will reward thee.
And that, ladies and gentleman, is why I do not flunk my religion over these airwaves. Jesus has commanded me not to do that.
But in praying, do not multiply words as the pagans do, for they think that by saying a great deal they will be heard. So, do not be like them, for your father knows what you need before you ask him. In this manner therefore shall you pray. And those of you, who wish to, please, pray with me.
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also forgive our debtors,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
And that is from Matthew. From Luke, chapter 11, verses 2-4, is written thusly:
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins
for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.
For if you forgive men their offenses, your heavenly father will forgive you your offenses, but if you do not forgive men, neither will your father forgive you your offenses. And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites who disfigure their faces in order to appear to men as fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have had their reward, but thou, when thou doest fast, anoint thy head and wash thy face, so that thy mayest not be seen by man to fast, but by thy father, who is in secret. And thy father, who sees in secret, will reward thee.
You see, ladies and gentleman, those today who call themselves Christians, are really not. They are not practicing what Jesus taught. Those who attempt to shove Christianity down the throats of those who will not have it are not practicing what Jesus taught. Those who build crystal cathedrals and broadcast around the world, their hypocrisy and their great pageants, are not practicing what Jesus taught.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where rust and moth consume, and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither rust nor moth consumes, nor thieves break in and steal, for where thy treasure is there thy heart also will be. The lamp of the body is the eye. If thy eye be sound thy whole body will be full of light. If thy eye be evil, thy whole body will be full of darkness. Therefore, if the light that is in thee is darkness, how great is the darkness itself? No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will stand by the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore, I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, what you shall eat, nor yet for your body, what you shall put on.
And that is why in my family we have only one rule, one law, one council. And that is simply: „Trust in God and just do it!“ And if you call and ask me if I’m afraid, the answer has always been ‚No‘, will always be ‚No‘.
Is not the life a greater thing than the food? And the body more than the clothing? Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are not you of much more value than they, but which of you by being anxious about it can add to his stature a single cubit? And as for clothing: Why are you anxious? See how the lilies of the field grow? They don’t need to toil nor spin, yet I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed like one of these? But if God so clothed the grass of the field which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he cloth you, oh you, of little faith? Therefore, do not be anxious saying: ‚What shall we eat? Or what shall we drink? Or what are we to put on? For after all these things the gentiles seek, for your father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and his justice and all these things shall be given you besides. Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have anxieties of its own. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Do not judge, that you may not be judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged. And with what measure you measure, it shall be measured to you.
And there are many, many listening to this broadcast, regardless of what you think of Jesus Christ, that better remember that admonition: Do not judge, that you may not be judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged. And with what measure you measure, it shall be measured to you. And that is why I tell you: When you seek to silence someone because you do not like what you’ll hear from his mouth, you silence yourself also. For your judgment upon him is truly an eventual judgment upon yourself. And that is just one example, I can cite hundreds.
And with what measure you measure, it shall be measured to you. But why does thou seek the speck in thy brothers eye and yet doest not consider the beam in thy own eye? Or how canst thou say to thy brother: Let me cast out the speck from thy eye and behold, there is a beam in thy own eye? Thou hypocrite. First cast out the beam from thy own eye, and then thou will see clearly to cast out the speck from thy brothers eye. Similar to: Let he, who is without sin, cast the first stone. Do not give do dogs what is holy and neither throw your pearls before swine or they will trample them under their feet and turn against you and rend you.
And that does not mean, and I’m speaking directly to those of you in the secret lodges and the secret societies and the so-called fraternal orders and the brotherhood of man, those who call themselves the Illuminati, it does not mean to withhold the truth from anyone. You have taken the words of Jesus and you have perverted them. And you have used them to manipulate, deceive and lie to many. And the pain and the suffering that you have caused will come back to you.
Ask, and it shall be given you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who ask, receives. And he, who seeks, finds. And to him who knocks it shall be opened.
And I have learned that in my own life to be so true.
Or what man is there among you, who if his son asked him for a loaf, will hand him a stone? Or if he asked for a fish will hand him a serpent? Therefore, if you, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heaven give good things to those who asked him. Therefore, all things, whatever you would, men should do to you, even so do you also to them, for this is the law and the prophets. Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and many there are, who enter that way. How narrow the gate and close the way that leads to life and few there are who find it.
Beware of false prophets, and I have admonished that to you over and over and over and over again, constantly, in so many different ways. To listen to everyone, read everything, believe absolutely nothing unless you can prove it. For false prophets abound, I can assure you. Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing. Who sound good, dripping of honey, you really are attracted to them, and that is what makes a great con man great.
But inwardly they are ravenous wolves, by their fruits you will know them. Do man gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles? Even so every good tree bears good fruit but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruits, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire therefore by their fruits you will know them. Not everyone who says to me ‚Lord, Lord‘ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my father, in heaven, shall enter the kingdom of heaven. Many will say to me that day: ‚Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in thy name and cast out devils in thy name and worked many miracles in thy name?‘ And then I will declare to them: ‚I NEVER KNEW YOU. Depart from me, you workers of iniquity.‘ [Do you understand?] Everyone therefore who hears these my words and acts upon them shall be likened to a wise man, who built his house on rock. And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house, but it did not fall, because it was founded on rock. And everyone who hears these my words and does not act upon them, shall be likened to a foolish man, who builds his house on the sand, and the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house and it fell and was utterly ruined.
With the simile of the house, in both versions, the Sermon on the Mount, comes to a close. If one who heard and practiced its precepts was like one who builds a house on rock then this is true even more so of Jesus when he spoke it so far as the aims of his ministry were concerned. For as we have said, he too was building a shelter against the gathering storm.
[Ending music: I Don’t Know How to Love Him from Jesus Christ Superstar]
Good night. Merry Christmas to everyone and God bless you all.