The path of discipleship, its difficulties. The cross and its meaning. The danger of wealth. The young man who loved wealth more than he loved Christ. Parable of the rich man and Lazarus. *["Pearl of greatest price."]
NOW, Jesus and the twelve went to another town, and as they entered it they said, Peace be to all; good will to all.
2 A multitude of people followed and the master said to them, Behold, for you are followers for selfish gain.
3 If you would follow me in love, and be disciples of the Holy Breath, and gain at last the crown of life, you must leave all there is of carnal life behind.
4 Be not deceived; stay, men, and count the cost.
5 If one would build a tower, or a home, he first sits down and counts the cost to be assured that he has gold enough to finish it.
6 For well he knows that if he makes a failure of his enterprise he may lose all his wealth, and be the butt of ridicule.
7 And if a king desires to take the kingdom of another king, he calls his trusted men and they consider well their strength; he will not measure arms with one of matchless power.
8 Count well the cost before you start to follow me; it means the giving up of life, and all you have.
9 If you love father, mother, wife, or child, more than love the Christ, you cannot follow me.
10 If you follow wealth or honour more than you love the Christ, you cannot follow me.
11 The paths of carnal life do not run up the mountain side towards the top; they run around the mount of life, and if you go straight to the upper gate of consciousness you cross the paths of carnal life; tread in them not.
12 And this is how men bear the cross; no man can bear another's cross.
13 Take up your cross and follow me through Christ into the path of true discipleship; this is the path that leads to life.
14 * This way of life is called the pearl of greatest price, and he who finds it must put all he has beneath his feet.
15 Behold, a man found in a certain field the croppings of a wondrous mine of gold, and he went forth and sold his home and all he had and bought the field; then he rejoiced in wealth.
16 Now, there were present, scribes and Pharisees of wealth who loved their money, and their bonds and lands, and they laughed loud to scorn what Jesus said.
17 Then Jesus spoke to them and said, You are the men who justify yourselves in sight of men; God knows your wickedness of heart;
18 And you must know, O men, that whatsoever is revered and is exalted by the carnal mind, is an abomination in the sight of God.
19 And Jesus went his way, and as he went a young man ran and knelt down at his feet and said, Good master, tell me what to do that I may have eternal life.
20 And Jesus said, Why do you call me good? No one is truly good but God himself.
21 And God has said, If you would enter into life, keep the Commandments of the law.
22 The young man asked, To which commands did he refer?
23 And Jesus said, You shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not do adulterous things; you shall not falsely testify;
24 And you shall love your God with all your heart, and you shall love your neighbour as yourself.
25 The man replied, These things I have observed from youth; what lack I yet?
26 And Jesus said, One thing you lack; your heart is fixed on things of earth; you are not free.
27 Go forth and sell all that you have, and give your money to the poor, and come follow me, and you shall have eternal life.
28 The man was grieved at what the master said; for he was rich; he hid his face and went in sorrow on his way.
29 And Jesus looked upon the sorrowing man and said, It is so hard for men with hoarded wealth to enter through the door into the kingdom of the soul.
30 And his disciples were amazed at what he said.
31 He answered them and said, I tell you, men, that they who trust in riches cannot trust in God and cannot come into the kingdom of the soul:
32 Yea, it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for a man with hoarded wealth to find the way of life. And his disciples said, Who then can find the way? Who can be saved?
33 And Jesus said, The rich may give his gold away; the high may kiss the dust, and God will save.
34 Then Jesus spoke this parable to them:
35 A rich man lived in splendid state; he wore the finest garments men could make; his boards were loaded with the costliest viands of the land.
36 A beggar, blind and lame, whose name was Lazarus, was wont to sit beside the waste gate of this home that he might share with dogs the refuse from the rich man's board.
37 It came to pass that Lazarus died, and angels carried him away unto the bosom of our father Abraham.
38 The rich man also died, and he was buried in a costly tomb; but in the purifying fires he opened up his eyes dissatisfied.
39 He looked and saw the beggar resting peacefully in the bosom of his father Abraham, and in the bitterness of his soul he cried,
40 My father Abraham, look down in mercy on your son; I am tormented in these flames.
41 Send Lazarus, I beseech, that he may give me just a sup of water to cool my parched tongue.
42 But Abraham replied, My son, in mortal life, you had the best things of the earth and Lazarus had the worst, and you would not give him a cup of water there, but drove him from your door.
43 The law must be fulfilled, and Lazarus now is comforted, and you are paying what you owe.
44 Besides, there is a great gulf fixed between your zone and us, and if I would I could not send Lazarus to you, and you cannot come up to us till you have paid your debts.
45 Again the man in anguish said, O father Abraham, I pray, send Lazarus back to earth, and to my father's house, that he may tell my brothers who are yet in life, for I have five of them, about the horrors of this place, lest they come dowm to me and not to you.
46 And Abraham replied, They have the words of Moses and the seers, let them hear them.
47 The man replied, They will not hearken to the written word; bit if a man would go up from the grave they might believe.
48 But Abraham replied, If they hear not the words of Moses and the seers they would not be persuaded even though one from the dead stood in their midst.
49 And Peter said, Lord, we have left our all to follow you; and what is our reward?
50 And Jesus said, Most verily I say to you, that you who have left all to follow me shall come into a newness of a life hid deep with Christ in God.
51 And you shall sit with me upon the throne of power, and judge with me the tribes of Israel.
52 And he who conquers carnal self, and follows me through Christ shall have a hundred fold of that which is the wealth of life on earth, and in the world to come, eternal life.