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Chapter 21 - Jesus
We forget we have a victorious Head; He is crowned, and all power is vested in Him in heaven and in earth. We are only cells in the Body. We don’t have to worry; just look at the birds, etc.
He is the center of everything; He is the center of the universe, and everything should verge to Him. Our hearts should all the time move toward Him.
If we know HIM; we know enough.
The glory is not a divine attribute; it is a divine effulgence. Jesus could leave that glory to redeem man. “He took upon Himself the form of a servant.”; the “morphe”; all the essential elements of man. (Phil. 2:7)
The divine Son of God is the core of His being. That can’t be tempted, but this human which He has wrapped around Him can be tempted. How many know there is a “tree” in the wilderness? From God’s side, the testing is to harden everything in Him like steel. From the enemy’s side, it is unto destruction. As Man, he says, “I can of Myself do nothing— not My will . . .”
Jesus’ vocation was to do the will of God. The Holy Spirit is the power by which the will of God is executed—the dynamic.
I want to talk about Jesus in one of the characters He bears. He has many names, and He represents many characters. He is One in Himself, but He has many phases of life and character. While He was here on the earth, He called Himself the SON of MAN many times. I made a study of it, and it has given me new perspective in my vision of Him. He is projected out there, and I see Him in greater light than when I am too close. Sometimes, some things need to be looked at, and examined very closely; other times we lose all perspective when we get too close. We have to get away from them. For instance, we can be right in the mountains, and not see them, but if we are at a distance, when the light is just so, we get a different effect of the mountains. The impact upon our sense of beauty is one that we don’t get while we are living tight in them, because we need perspective.
We need it in our thinking; we need it in our approach to God; we need it in our study. People become involved in their own individual problems, and their own interests—that’s good—, but too much of that is self-centered.
When I was caught in that jam, God pulled me out of it. He told me, “You have to have perspective. Don’t stay so close. When you are closest to the situation, you lose your sense of value, because there is nothing with which to contrast it. That’s very fatal; your perspective is wrong. Now, come on, leave your situation where you are tight there; now come on. I won’t hurt you; don’t be Scared. Now come along with Me Over here.”
It’s rather dating to get out of yourself for a minute. We are so self-centered. When he begins to dislodge us, and we stand over there, He’ll say, “Now, do you see how it is?” When we are too localized, we lose our sense of value. That’s one little fault we have as Christians, who love Him, walk with Him, serve Him. It took the Lord a long time to thrash that thing through with me.
We have to find out who we are, and a little bit about ourselves, because we are too self-centered. He wants us to trust Him with the most sacred items in our hearts, but if we are fearful, He can’t help us. We have to be dating enough to say: “Here is this situation, Lord,” and then let Him work.
Being identified with us, He calls Himself: Son of Man. He was the perfect ideal concept of man. What did God make when He made a man? He was not only Savior, but He was God’s ideal of a man. How do we know this? Because He calls Himself the Last Adam.
He calls Himself Son of Man 85 times in the gospels: 32 times in Matthew, 15 times in Mark, 26 times in Luke, 12 times in John.
The Holy Son of God could mask Himself. He was sinless, but dependent, just as much as Adam was dependent. No sin ever touched Him, but He assumed a role of deep humility, and said, “I will become that kind of man—dependent.” For example, when He worked His miracles, He said of Himself, “I do not do these by Myself; what I see the Father do, that I do.” Why does He say this? Because He is playing the part of that Adam, and the glorious aspect of the whole manifestation is Godward. He will redeem man, but His first thought is focused Godward.
“I will live unto the glory of God. I will become an obedient servant unto God, and in this plan will be the redemption of mankind. My first thought is Godward, that He might have the satisfaction He never found in Adam.” God found it in the Last Adam. He identified Himself as man at the baptism. He prayed because He had to pray.
On the Mt. of Transfiguration, the glory broke out from WITHIN. It was concealed all the while He was walking this earth. The Word is careful to say that the glory came from within; not that something came upon Him. Nobody knew the Miracle Who walked this earth. But you see, when Jesus comes to maturity, it is released, and He is glorified. His garments—His body were like a tremendous, shining light; transfigured. We shall yet reach such a state by a glorified body. Adam never should have seen death. He should have seen glorification. No idea of death was in God’s thought for Adam. The Last Adam moved to the place of glorification.
What isolation!—I think that Jesus must have been the loneliest of men because He had no one with whom to share His exaltation when He stood upon the mountain top; no one to understand His cryptic words, nor to decipher His writing in the sand. He chose an inner circle, but their vision was so dim that even by His side they were a world away from Him! I think, perhaps, when coming down from some transcendent place, the flame of mystic revelation was upon His face.
In the temptation in the wilderness, Jesus was with wild beasts, but none of them touched Him. He had dominion over them. He could speak to the fish, and they came up with a coin. He could speak to the storm that the devil was raging, and there was calm. The enemy is the prince of the air, you know: the prince of all those elements, and sometimes he likes to bring on a ferocious, terrific time. It isn’t God at all; it’s the devil. The devil was always out to kill Him. When He was a little baby, the devil tried to kill Him, and later, in Nazareth, he tried to throw Him over a precipice. He always wanted to get Him out of the way, but God wouldn’t let him. Jesus had authority over the elements: “Be quiet!” That was authority; the authority of a perfected man talking!
Jesus took the human nature in which He voluntarily chose to move. He took that nature up, and wrapped it about Him, but inside He was eternally the Son of God; the Eternal Son of God; one of the Trinity; but He chose to limit Himself. He laid aside so much; not His deity; not His divinity. He still maintained that divinity, but He said, “I will throw about Me this human nature with its limitation, and with its utter dependence. I have to be the Last Adam. Them was a first one. I have to be, before God, the Last Adam.”
What else did He have to be? The perfect man that God wanted Adam to become. He was demonstrating what that perfect human being should have done. I wish you would make a distinction, when you read of Jesus walking and moving—can you distinguish between a supernatural manifestation of God, and also a manifestation of a miracle that comes from Jesus?—for He moved many times as man, when people thought it was only God. No. It was the forces and powers of an ideal, perfected, human concept of life, without sin, limited and dependent, which could do things.
God said to Adam: “Now I have given you, potentially, powers for that in your human construction. If you will abide and live with Me in My will and purpose, these powers will all function in your life. Keep yourself exposed to Me; and I can cause these things to move naturally; not as additional powers added to you as a human being.”
That is the marvelous expression of what God wanted the first Adam to do, which he failed to do through sin and disobedience. But the restored; the real Adam; moving in God; in His will; could have this marvelous expression. He could have dominion over all the earth. He could say, “Fish, come,” and they would come. As the Second Adam, Jesus is a striking, wonderful example of what the first Adam could have been.
I want you to see His utter dependence in His manifestation as the Last Adam. Jesus doesn’t act independently in anything. He is the most dependent creature. He restricts His fashion of living to the fact that He is the Last Adam.
In creation, God made man limited and dependent; two chief characteristics of the human. Man is dependent upon God, for there is no life in himself; he is a created being, and he is limited to moving within the sphere of the natural bounds. Of the human nature, God said, “I will make it dependent and limited. I will make him dependent so that man cannot of himself do anything, but, as I give him life and strength, and My will is revealed, he will take his will and attach it to Mine, and We will work together.”
Man didn’t originate anything. God originated all the planning; Adam was to execute it as limited and dependent man.
Jesus was a completely consecrated instrument in the hands of God for the display of God’s grace and power. “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father. I don’t originate anything. The Words that I speak (the message), are God’s; the power that I have is God’s. I am the Last Adam. I am functioning, but there is no independence in Me; nor in any of the Trinity.”
Concerning the Spirit, He says, “When He, the Spirit, is come, He will take of the things that I have given, and show them unto you.” He will not speak from Himself—not: “He will not speak of Himself.” (‘Of’ is a poor preposition.) He speaks of Himself in His ministry hundreds of times, but He never speaks from Himself as an authority. “He will take the things that I have given, and speak them unto you.” Why? To keep that strange dramatic unity in the whole scheme: the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit:
The Trinity in His teaching;
The Trinity in His message;
The Trinity in His method of work.
So He says, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father, for We are One. What I do, that’s the Father working through Me; for I preach what the Lord God Jehovah gives Me; I am an instrument in His hands.”
I like His yieldedness and His absolute surrender. It astounds me! The more I see Him, the more I marvel at this Christ; the most tremendous character that ever walked the earth; the most sublime personality that ever touched the earth! (John 14:8-11)
The last thing Jesus ever offered back to God was His spirit. Jesus’ life was one of: Obedience, devotion; utter dependence.
He had to do a lot of things before He could teach.—Acts 1:1 “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach.”
In Jesus’ teaching, He never did too much with effect. He dealt with causation. In the Old Testament, God always dealt with the immediate: the act; that’s as far as it could go. Adultery— kill! Don’t you think Jesus was cognizant of wrong? Certainly. Did He pick at the wrong? He went back to causation, and helped the poor creature with the thing that caused it. Causation is our field of motivation.
The Old Law said, “That is wrong!” The New Testament says, “That is wrong; what made it wrong?” Listen to Jesus’ teaching:
“It has been said an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth . . . but I say unto you . . ., something has provoked that deed, let’s see if we can’t get that thing fixed. It has been said, thou shalt not commit adultery, but let’s go back to what caused the adultery. He that hateth his brother has already committed murder . . .” You say you can’t prove it; where is the knife and the pistol? That kind of murder isn’t done with knives and pistols. Don’t you know many people have been slain, because of a hateful spirit on the part of some person? The root of the thing is our field of motivation.
Christianity is not a philosophy. It is a way of life. We may make philosophic patterns for its detailed movings— that’s legitimate—but we cannot reduce it to any philosophic form with which we are familiar. We are treating it from one level when it is resting in another. It was never intended to be pulled down to fit into our modern thinking and ways.
Jesus didn’t come to bring a new philosophy by which we could live; He came to bring us life: a redemption to bring us out of the chaos of an old setup in every form, through a marvelous redeeming action. That redeeming action moves into every field of our lives and beings. It isn’t a philosophy; it is life. “I have come to bring you life.” He didn’t say, “I have come to redeem you from hell.” He has, hasn’t He? Yes, but He never allowed His teaching to move between these two points to which it has been reduced today. Our popular evangelism, and most of the popular teaching about Christ, move between these two: heaven and hell. Escape hell, and go to heaven. Jesus never taught that way. We never can find a message that he preached on heaven, or on hell. If those are the two great paramount issues, then why didn’t the Son of God ever preach about them?
What are the two pivotal points, then? They are life and death. So we come quite amiss; we come quite short of what He intended us to have. “I have come to bring You life.” If we have that life, we escape hell.—Don’t make issues of things He never made issues of at all.
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