“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

"What does this say about Jesus?"

“Hmm, what does this say about Jesus?”

“[Ye] Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me. And ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life.” (John 5:39, 40, margin).

In the original Greek, John 5:39 can read as a command, “Search the scriptures”; or, it can read as an indicative statement, “You search the scriptures”. In other words, His statement, “in [the scriptures] ye think ye have eternal life”, Jesus was saying that 2,000 years ago the scribes and Pharisees were searching the Old Testament Bible because they believed the words to hold some kind of mystical force. They believed that the words themselves, rather than the words of a Person, held power. They did not comprehend the relationship that David saw together with the high standard and Jesus, their Author. “Thy precepts” (Ps. 119:4), “Thy commandments … Thy righteous judgments … Thy statutes … Thy word” (Ps. 119:6-9), “the judgments of Thy mouth.” (Ps. 119:13). David’s praises of the Law were also, and more so, prayers to the Lawgiver. To David, His commandments were not boring, bland, monotone “The Law”, but exciting, relational, life-giving, “Thy Law”. To David, there was a huge, loving Person above and beyond the holy, just, and good Law of God. They were Jesus’ speech which David heard in his spirit. They were the wonderful event in the life of Matthew, still arousing his warm memories of blessed times with Jesus, when he wrote, “Seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain: and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him: and He opened His mouth, and taught them, saying…” (Matt. 5:1,2). David’s sanctified spirit answering to the Spirit of the Person behind the Law, to the One authoring the Law, made His commandments filled with interaction and power to obey—full of life and health, success and prosperity. But, the Jews received no life from the words of the Law, or from the Person inspiring the words, because they could never see His words as promises, “in which it [is] impossible for God to lie” (Heb. 6:18). “But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament; which vail is done away in Christ.” (2Cor. 3:14).

“What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed.” (Rom. 9:30-33).

Without a friendship with Jesus—no matter how holy and just and good could be the words—the words were unpalatable and unwanted to hearts estranged from God and His Spirit. The scriptures, apart from the revealed love connected with their loving Speaker, created resentment and pride, reacting in anger toward everyone around, and resulting in self-sufficiency and hypocrisy. Separating the written truth from Jesus—who is the Truth incarnate—is the psychology of sin, the mystery of iniquity.

Contrariwise, joining with the Word of God who, “from everlasting” (Hos. 5:2) dwelt in the bosom of God, and abiding with Him and His word, are the psychology of righteousness. This is simple science, yet wise science. “If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.... Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:31,32,34-36).

Not receiving love from the Author of the scriptures, they received no life from the scriptures, and thus neither any peace and rest. The words’ deeper, spiritual meaning was inconceivable to them, and therefore empty of motivation to obey. The rabbis, however brilliant, could not comprehend the meaning that Jesus put into the Holy Writ. Without seeing Jesus in His words, they could have no faith in Him, neither receive His gift of the Spirit and rest. “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His.” (Heb. 4:9,10). They could not enter into the experience that David had with the scriptures. “They could not enter in because of unbelief.” (Heb. 3:19).

Every opening of the scrolls should have been a time of worship. Each reading could have been their time of intercourse with Jesus, as it was with their father, David. But, the religious leaders weren’t reading the Bible as words sent from above. Theirs was atheistic Bible study. That may sound like a contradiction in terms, but it was atheistic worship of God. Can God accept such worship? No, of course, not. Essentially they were worshipping and learning from a false god, because the god they worshipped and studied under―though studying the inspired scrolls―had a whole different character than the character of the “only true God” (John 17:3). Their god was the Law. Their god was script and concepts, which, separated from the personality of their Author, only kill and steal and destroy by further emptying needy hearts. Their god wasn’t a God of attentive love and tenderness as Jesus was and is, but an enervating god of chilling letters and numbers. To them the Bible was literature for glorying in the Jewish genius, and science and tradition to battle the Hellenizing and Romanizing inroads upon their Jewish young people. The leadership wasn’t sitting at the feet of Jehovah, but at the feet of Satan. They weren’t eating from the tree of life, but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Could that be happening today in the church? The eternal principle that history repeats itself still applies today. “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.” (Ecc. 1:9,10).

“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1Cor. 10:11,12).

We can easily run into the same problem today that plagued the Jews of old. Unbelief. Where did their unbelief come from? It came from learning the wrong God, studying under an empty god of only letters and information. They weren’t studying the God of the Bible, Jesus, who was full of more than just information. He was full of communication and communion. His words communicated love and life.

But, I have fallen victim to the trap that the Jews of old fell in—reading the Bible for only information. I didn’t believe that God could love me, just as billions around the world think. Sinners who see their sin to be “exceeding sinful” (Rom. 7:13) naturally have a hard time believing anyone could love them. That would include God and Jesus, in spite of John 3:16. They have been surrounded by people who didn’t love them, or who had no patience with their shortcomings and mistakes. Why should the holy God, the God who can’t live with this world, the God who is surrounded by loving, loyal servant angels and doesn’t need to be worked up by trouble-makers on Earth, why would He want to be bothered with us? If we were in His shoes, we wouldn’t want to be bothered with street urchin untouchables.

But, we don’t know God and His only begotten Son, and we don’t desire to wear Their shoes. We don’t know the divine self-sacrificing love, self-sacrifice being all that They know. Two verses alone prove that.

“And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted His raiment, and cast lots.” (Luke 23:33,34).

Loving these kinds of enemies, forgiving those who persecute us. That kind of love for vile people like us is unearthly. We don’t find that love in anyone else within humanity’s past, present, or future. Cursed is the human who trusts in another human for that kind of love. It’s only found in our King and in His only begotten Prince.

“For [God] hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him [Jesus].” (2Cor. 5:21). Satan has sought to make us personify sin. But God made Jesus to personify sin long enough for the reconciliation to happen between us and God, and then Jesus could help us personify the same righteousness of God.

Even though God making His Son “to be sin” can initially seem foreign to our thinking, esteeming and deeming a Child to be abhorrent, and treating Him like the devil, isn’t so hard to understand. Isn’t that what makes child abuse? Isn’t children seen as abhorrent by parents and others a common practice on our planet? If treating others like sin would never happen there would be no child abuse, child slavery, prostitution, murder, inquisitions, and so many other causes of misery in the world. All who are enslaved and abused have been viewed as a plague to the world, a pestilence that must be destroyed. They must learn to conform to the Christless, loveless, joyless, miserable rulers of this world; and if they don’t conform, they are kicked out of the group and treated as hopeless. They must therefore be hated and beaten into submission, re-educated, re-programmed, and made void of all joy; otherwise, they must be driven from this world.

Hard-hearted people excommunicated them and cut them off. How did the self-imposed Jewish leaders become as hard-hearted as the world’s religious leaders? It came by feeding on a loveless, joyless god. Maybe they were introduced to this god through their parents and grandparents, who had also fed off of the same loveless god. This has been the problem from the very beginning, and Solomon says everything from the past continues to repeat today. The evil education we see in people today was the same education in Christ’s day that descended all the way down from Cain’s day. Nothing has changed. We’ve been studying from a subtle, vindictive master who hungers to devour the children of God in order to dig at his hated Creator.

So the subtle, vindictive master provides humanity with a version of the “word of God” that is without a knowledge of God’s love. Humanity is kept back from seeing Jesus, the beautiful, loving, godly and holy, only Begotten One. They aren’t allowed to believe the hidden nuances of the only Begotten’s righteousness. And they weren’t permitted to ask about His love and become familiar with true love, that is, a parent’s self-sacrificing love. Satan wouldn’t let them conjecture, with imagination trained by the Bible, that God and His gift of His Son both love Their flawed, little children with an everlasting love, loving them as children to die for. “The accuser of our [the angels’] brethren” (Rev. 12:10), “he who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger” (Isa. 14:6), kept hounding them with their shameful past so that they would assume that the Creator could never desire to be with them forever. They believed themselves to be unwanted, uncared for. But, the Bible shows a different heart and mind in God. (By the way, did you catch that the angel’s call us their brethren? Even the angels have forgiveness and pity for our plight due to choosing Satan as our master.)
So, back to our original thought, Is our God a real Person, a God full of love, or a god of empty letters and numbers? Are we learning of Jesus, or of Satan? Is information all that we get from studying the Bible, or do we hear His loving voice from the Bible still communicating with people today? What are we studying in the Bible? Or better yet, Who are we studying in the Bible? The right question makes a big difference. Are we searching to see Jesus? Do we go to the Bible to hear the voice of a Wonderful Counselor? Do we go there to unite with a faithful and true Friend of sinners who is also faithful to and loved by His Father, thus He is provided as the perfect go-between us and the great Judge? Why do we “search the scriptures”? Have we fallen into the same trap as the scribes and Pharisees, the rabbis and priests of old? Are we seeing or are we missing the generous compassion of the Son of God? Do we have something to say about Him to the poor in spirit ones around us? Are we having difficulty gathering gems of His beauty, for a word in season to him that is worthy?
If Jesus hasn’t been materializing in your thoughts, ask the very effective question as you read the Old Testament, “What does this say about Jesus?” Try this question when reading the Bible or some other Bible-related book. Try it when walking through the woods or when meeting with people. “What does this say about Jesus?” It’s a simple question, but it is full of power; it’s full of life. Let that question become your prayer; let it be your habitual prayer. You will be surprised at what pops into your head because you opened your mind to Jesus and to His works.
Something happens between our soul and the Saviour when we ask how a verse or promise or story relates to Jesus, the Creator of that verse and promise and story. That question makes an opening for Jesus to get Himself into our hearts and minds by His Spirit. He made us in His image; we are spiritually-genetically like Him. At creation we received His spiritual genes. Even the worst examples of humanity have His Spirit codified in them. Everyone is like spiritual Uranium ore, sparkling with potential radiation and worthy of divine-atomic power “dunamis” (Mark 9:1, cf Luke 1:35), if they will be purified through His processes. Even the weakest of us are on His wavelength; He can detect us all. Some may be a stellar Christian, like a mighty Mercury tightly bound to the Son and whirling around Him doing His business. Others may be only a poor in spirit Pluto, barely hanging on to the Son’s gravitational attraction. They may be in and out of a perfect path, wobbling as they go. Yet He’s got them; the focus of their paltry Christian walk is in Him. Nevertheless, our whole race’s openness to His spirit has been confused, corrupted, damaged by sin, and in great need of His justification and His sanctification.

Hence, the need for the holy, habitual question from everything we see, hear, and read, “What does this say about Jesus?” “What does this open to me of Jesus?” “How does what I’m reading or seeing or hearing reveal Him to me?” “Lord! I need to see your love!” When we ask this question, He will show us how it all reveals Him. When we make this question our habit, He will walk with Jesus. Christ’s love will keep us from wobbling and falling; and with exceeding joy He will present us faultless before His Father’s glory.

That question needs to be asked constantly as we go through the day. When we are out and about, whatever we see, whatever we hear, ask yourself what it all says about Jesus. Everything around us are all His creations. “By Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers” (Col. 1:16). The works glorify the hands that made them. This is what Jesus said.

“Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake.” (John 14:11).

“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. If not, believe because of the things I do.” (John 14:11, GNB). All of His works testify of Him. He dwells in their praise. “Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” (Ps. 22:3).

For instance, when we looked at the film, “Johnny Lingo”, we asked: “What does this say about Jesus?” Well, we had known that Jesus is our Lord and we, the church, are His spouse. But, in a new way we saw illustrated to our minds and hearts how Jesus delivers us from our old man, and how we become His. Isn’t that what we see between Johnny Lingo, Mahana, and the old man who constantly degraded her? Her father worked as accessory to her destruction, exacerbating that old man in her and making her condition more intolerable and hopeless and dead. The father’s anger at life (maybe his bitterness began from the loss of his wife), his natural selfishness, was misdirected at his only daughter. Added to all that, in many cultures around the world, it’s considered a curse to have a daughter.

Mahana was redeemed from her ugly old man when she was bought by her discerning, respectful, and attentive Johnny. And likewise we are bought back and restored by our Jesus. During His work of healing, “Jesus did not suppress one word of truth, but He uttered it always in love. He exercised the greatest tact and thoughtful, kind attention in His intercourse with the people. He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave needless pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness. He spoke the truth, but always in love…. His life was one of self-denial and thoughtful care for others. Every soul was precious in His eyes. While He ever bore Himself with divine dignity, He bowed with the tenderest regard to every member of the family of God.” Steps to Christ, p. 12. And no clearer picture could be seen, of His deepest care and His constantly overlooking our great evils, than on the cross. It was not only to ensure our faith in His soon-coming heavenly ministry for us, but it was because He couldn’t help Himself when He said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” seems like the Father’s grand statement of all eternity. These words to begin Jesus’ great heavenly ministry He must have memorized and practiced before His Father and rethought upon from forever, something like Neil Armstrong’s “One giant leap for mankind” statement, which he must have memorized and NASA had planned to be splashed upon American minds as he descended the steps of the lunar module onto the Moon. The announcement of Christ on His cross went viral throughout heaven and the unfallen worlds of the cosmos.

“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God…. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” (Rom. 7:4,6).

“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” (Rom. 6:6).

“The Angel...redeemed me from all evil.” (Gen. 48:16).

In Jesus’ angelic, holy example He presented the standard which He would require of us, and by His self-forgetful and considerate gentleness He proved to us that He truly wanted us. This beautiful picture we see in Johnny Lingo toward his childhood crush, Mahana. What does this say about Jesus? Johnny spent an exorbitant amount to buy Mahana and restore her. This is the message of the Bible. Jesus spent an unheard of amount to buy us, all that He owned—He mortgaged even His own eternal life, to give us His eternity with His much appreciated Father—to gain our trust and to awaken in us love for Him.

Why? Because nothing short of such a demonstration of determined and joyful love can bring to life our dead hearts’ affections for Him and For His beloved Father. And He knew this. So, He went over and above to prove to His Father and to all heaven that His overtures to us were proper and upright, and would never to be questioned in the eyes of the whole universe. He not only communicated to us that He only wanted our good, but He taught the deepest lesson ever known to the unfallen beings, the lesson of the true Law of the kingdom—self-sacrificing love for the least lovely, the least in moral worth. And His gift of a new heart and a new life of obedience, manifested to the eyes of the billions in the heavens, drove His lesson home to the hearts and minds of His universe of perfect people. His demonstration of self-sacrifice so pleased His Father that His Father regained the right to sweep away all the old man’s nasty accusations, and make His Son’s earnest hope His great reality—to have us forever without any regrets in the hearts of His Father or of the angelic hosts, in light of the insubordinate, repulsive, abominable old man who had lived in us.

Like Mahana saved from bondage to her old man through Johnny’s love for her, in the tenderness and care from Jesus we have new life; we have new hope, new purpose. We have a new will to obey His commands and to do His work. We want to please Him in all things and to serve Him. His love for us, believed by us, redeems us from all evil. Our old man could never die without the grace and kindness of the Son of God. Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus our blessed Redeemer! All this we experience by proxy in the transformed, humble, wondrous Mahana, in her love and happiness, and through others in the Bible who Jesus bought back.

“If so be that ye have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.” (Eph. 4:21,22).

“Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.” (Col. 3:9,10).

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1Pet. 1:18,19).

“Remember Thy congregation, which Thou hast purchased of old; the rod of Thine inheritance, which Thou hast redeemed; this mount Zion, wherein Thou hast dwelt.” (Ps. 74:2).

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28).

“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1Cor. 6:20).

Mahana could have rated a dowry of ten cows! And the church of Christ will rate the praise of all heaven. And Jesus will sing over His transformed, humble, and wondrous bride. 

“The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing.” (Zeph. 3:17).

Because Jesus made everything happen, all that we see in Johnny Lingo can be transferred to the Son of God in the plan of our salvation. “All things were created by Him, and for Him.” (Col. 1:16). Everything lovely testifies of Jesus. If there be any virtue, if there be anything to praise, it all testifies of Jesus.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Phil. 4:8). To everything true and honest, just and pure, lovely and of good report, ask, “What does this biblical/ extra-biblical person/ event/ experience/ object/ concept in this life tell me about the Prince of heaven? What details does it add to my paltry knowledge of Him?” Think on these things because they all testify of Jesus’ uprightness, His purity and loveliness, His praise-worthy character and good news to us.

The great Physician now is near,
The sympathizing Jesus;
He speaks the drooping heart to cheer,
Oh, hear the voice of Jesus.

Sweetest note in seraph song,
Sweetest name on mortal tongue;
Sweetest carol ever sung,
Jesus, blessed Jesus.

Let the healing image of Jesus in our forehead, derived from Johnny Lingo and from others we have met, lead us like a script that guides the mouths and body movements of actors. Let the grand over-arching question remove all misconceptions and lies about the holy Son of God, and prepare the way for His Latter Rain, “when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you” (Acts 3:19,20). Let the question that reveals Jesus guide us to remove all obstacles and idols, when “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached unto the whole world for a witness to all nations” (Matt. 24:14). Through the big question may we be a “voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isa. 40:3). “Behold the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him.” (Matt. 25:6).

“We are to be earnest in our efforts to clear the King’s highway, to prepare a people for the coming of the Lord. Fervency of spirit must be brought into our service for the Lord. The lamps of the soul must be kept filled and burning.” Christ Triumphant, p. 46. As much as He longs to remake the broken connection with us, before Jesus will come to us we must choose to see and know Him. “This is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40).


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