I continue with my commentary on Baha’u’llah’s Tablet of the Son. The entire commentary so far can be found here.
Baha’u’llah begins quoting a letter he wrote to a Christian priest. From the translation, it is not clear when this quotation ends, but it must run on for some time, after which Baha’u’llah transitions seamlessly into his own discussion again. I think it is cute the way Baha’u’llah tells the priest, by way of introduction, that he has answered the priest’s question even before the priest asked it!
In this opening section of the letter, Baha’u’llah emphasises the greatness of his message and hints at the bounties in store for the priest if he was to recognise it. Baha’u’llah refers to the story, found in all four gospels (eg, Matthew 26:69-74), about how the apostle Peter denied Christ three times; but, subsequently, was steadfast and ultimately crucified for his belief. Regarding this sequence of events, Baha’u’llah says that God prevented Peter from straying, and established in him certainty. My guess is that Baha’u’llah is using this story to illustrate the grace available to the priest if he was to make the courageous move and believe in Baha’u’llah. He would be forgiven the past and would discover certain knowledge of the truth. He would recognise that Baha’u’llah’s message is a continuation of the message of Jesus and a fulfilment of the promises Jesus made. Peter is even now in the afterlife enjoying the benefits of the everlasting bounties. As for those who have rejected Baha’u’llah, he says it would be better if they had not been born – however, what has happened is as God decreed.
 God said: Your letter arrived at the kingdom of your Lord, the All-Merciful, and we have grasped it with spirituality and fragrance, and have answered you even before you posed your question. Think, that you might know, for this is a grace from your Lord, the Mighty, the Help in Peril. Blessed are you, insofar as you have attained thereto, and though it is hidden, it shall be revealed to you should God will and desire. Then will you see what no eye has witnessed. You, who are immersed in the sea of mystical insight and are gazing toward the precincts of your Lord, the All-Merciful – you must know that this cause is great, very great.  Consider, and make mention of the one who was named Peter in the kingdom of God. Despite the loftiness of his rank, the splendor of his destiny, and the greatness of his station, his feet nearly strayed from the straight path. The hand of grace, however, grasped him and safeguarded him from stumbling, and bestowed certainty upon him. If you were to recognize this bounty, of which the dove warbles on the twigs of the tree beyond which there is no passing, then you would be certain that what was mentioned formerly has been fulfilled in truth. Behold, in the kingdom of God he partakes of the eternal, everlasting bounty, and drinks from the fountain of realities and the spring of meanings. But the people are behind a thick veil.  It would be better for those who heard this call and were heedless of it and hesitated in this cause if they had never been born. But what appeared has appeared, and the matter was decreed by God, the Mighty, the Glorious, the Sovereign.Baha’u’llah: Tablet of the Son, paragraphs 15-17
Now Baha’u’llah launches into a full-scale proclamation, which carries on for many paragraphs. Baha’u’llah declares that he is Jesus come again, that he says what Jesus said, and that he has died (figuratively speaking, presumably) as Jesus did, out of love for all. Jesus’ sacrifice of himself led to the diffusion of grace throughout the world. This grace is responsible for the appearance, in subsequent times, of the sages, scholars, scientists, craftspeople and monarchs that came into the world and helped it to advance.
 Say: People, the Spirit (Jesus) has come again, to fulfill for you what he said aforetime. Thus were you promised in the tablets, if you only knew. In truth, he says now that which he said formerly, and has given his life, just as he did the first time, out of love for all who are in the heavens and on earth. Know that when the Son surrendered the spirit, all things wept for him. But by giving his life he bestowed a new capacity upon all things, as you witness throughout the creation. Every sage from whom wisdom appeared, every scholar who showed forth knowledge and sciences, every craftsman who produced crafts and industries, every monarch who demonstrated his power – all these persons derived their gifts from the confirmation of his spirit, the Exalted, the Sovereign, the Radiant.Baha’u’llah: Tablet of the Son, paragraph 17
From here, Baha’u’llah continues on with the theme of how the Manifestations of God – in this case, himself and Jesus – released a spirit into the world that resulted in unprecedented development globally. Baha’u’llah’s purpose here is to follow up the idea he spelled out in paragraph 13, which I believe is the central theme of the second half of the tablet.
“do not think that the manifestation of the Eternal Truth is limited to causing outward knowledge to appear or altering some well-established laws among the people. Rather, at the time of revelation all things become bearers of divine emanations and infinite capabilities, and in accordance with the exigencies of the time and earthly circumstances, these become manifest.”Baha’u’llah: Tablet of the Son, paragraph 13
I will stop here and continue on with this theme next time.