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| Walking With The Master
The Absolute Otherness of Jesus
A Study by Pastor John © July 2000 (revised 8-8-2006)
- I received an e-mail a few days ago that asked an interesting question:"I don't think there's any need to [quote] "draw nigh unto God." It's good to presence Him in our lives, to talk to Him and to keep the Divine in our thoughts, but God dwells within us. Every breath we draw, and every fiber of our being, is an expression of Him. How can we get any closer to the Lord when we are Him? This seems to me to be sort of like saying to my hand, "I need to put you closer to me." If we are the "body of Christ" and the fire of God lives in us and gives rise to our being, how can we be any closer?"
- My friends, this needs to be understood. While it is true that as the Body of Christ nothing can separate us from our Head, it is also true that in our conscious minds we often are separate from God to varying degrees. When we "Draw nigh unto God", we bring our minds, spirits, intellects etc. into closer harmony with Christ's Will and Headship.
- Remember how Jesus prayed that we might all be one with him as he is one with the Heavenly Parent? Jesus would not have prayed this without cause. We truly need to draw ever closer to our Lord and Savior because we are often so very far away.
- In this age of Secular Humanism, we are taught that we can achieve anything we put our minds to by our own inner power and intention. Now, I believe that God has given us tremendous potential, for both good and evil, but the writer, true to the pervasive philosophy of our age, asks the question: "How can we get any closer to the Lord when we are Him?"
- Scripture does refer to the Church as the Body of Christ. Does this mean that we, either individually or collectively, are Jesus? No. There is about Jesus an Absolute Otherness that we will never approach. Jesus made his Otherness manifest throughout his 3 ½ years of active ministry.
- At the wedding feast in Cana, you will recall that his mother approached Jesus with a problem. The host had run out of wine, a potential social disaster. Now, Scripture doesn't say what Mary had in mind when she approached Jesus with the problem, but she clearly wanted him to do something to save the party. But how did Jesus reply? He said, "Dear woman, why do you involve me? My time has not yet come." You see, they had different concerns, different motivations.
- Jesus' was always on drawing people to God, on loving people to God, while Mary's was on the mundane concerns of the host and couple. Still, Jesus utilized the situation to further the Gospel and performed his first recorded miracle.
- Do you sometimes feel as though you and God are on different wavelengths? You try and do the right thing but it seems to blow up in your face time and time again? You are so sure that you know what God's will is, and yet after doing your best everything just seems to fall apart. Last year when the Rainbow Cross Walk fell apart, I sure felt that way! It's disappointing when what we think is right goes wrong and it can challenge our faith. We think, but I did my best! I try so hard to do God's will but it seems like it's never enough!
- Peter could sure relate with this! At one point Jesus removed his clothing, wrapped a towel about his waist, knelt before his disciples, and began to wash their feet. Now Peter just KNEW what he should do! He announced that there was no way Jesus was going to wash his feet! You see, Peter KNEW what Jesus was doing and what his role as a believer entailed! We are his servants, not he ours! But what did Jesus say? Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."
- You see, for all his certainty, Peter just didn't get it! Sometimes God's ways are so far beyond us that they are impossible to understand. On the surface, Peter was right! Jesus washed HIS feet! But being shown his error, how did Peter respond? "Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!"
- He still didn't get it. Jesus was talking about something much deeper, much more profound than washing feet (John 13:1-10). But Peter did his best.
- Both Mary and Peter were thinking about mundane matters even in Jesus' very presence. Peter was thinking that he wanted Jesus blessings and approval whatever that might entail. Peter loved Jesus. Mary, a woman blessed above all others, thought naught of her own needs but of others. She sought Jesus' aid in helping the host and the happy couple. Mary loved people and she loved Jesus. Aren't we like this? Sometimes we think only of ourselves, "Oh God, bless me! Accept me!" At other times, we go beyond ourselves and sincerely seek to do well toward others. But like Mary and Peter, our ways still are not always God's ways.
- Likewise, Jesus didn't pray that his followers would end hunger, stop war, end prejudices like racism and homophobia. Now don't reach for the rocks yet to stone me! These are all noble and just causes and I have no doubt that God blesses our efforts in such things. But we are still missing the heart of Jesus! Our ways still are not God's ways, nor our thoughts God's thoughts.
- You see, when we look within ourselves and then, based on our limited human wisdom and power, seek to do God's will, our efforts are tainted by our desires, our assumptions. We are doing what we believe is right. But what does Jesus want us to do?
- While it is true that God the Holy Spirit lives within each of us it is not we who please and serve God. It is always Jesus. "Christ in you, the hope of Glory" Scripture says (Col. 1:27).
- Two weeks ago I spoke about James 2:14-20 where it says, "Faith without works is dead" and we discussed the importance of active service. Now please don't misunderstand what I'm saying here. These are not contradictory ideas. On the one hand, we find the importance of active service to God, and on the other, we read verses like Isa. 64:6 that the best of our efforts are as filthy rags!
- When Jesus lived on this earth in human form he did it right, Amen? Jesus lived a life that pleased God and none of us can measure up to his standards. Compared to Jesus' sinless example at our very best we have no better than filthy rags to offer God. Yet we are called to serve God. To be Jesus' hands and feet in the world. So what to do?
- Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
- Peter had so many problems! He was so sure that in his power he could serve Jesus properly! But what happened to him? Three times, he denied that he even knew the Master! All of his self-certainty and determination fell apart. He would love Jesus, but he would not die for him! Not then.
- But of course the story didn't end there!
- After Jesus' death, burial and resurrection Jesus still had faith in Peter. Jesus still has faith in you too, no matter how many times you've stumbled or fallen. This is why we stress the importance of the Doctrine of Eternal Security here. In our self, we cannot even maintain our salvation! We therefore have nothing of which to boast (Eph 2:9).
- John 2115 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
- Peter loved Jesus. Jesus knew it, but Peter was weak, just like us.
- Three times the Master asked him. Yes, Peter insisted, I love you Lord!
- But would he now die for him?
- John 2118 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
- Peter loved Jesus! Jesus told him; if you love me follow me! It will be death for you. If you follow me Peter, you are going to die! Will you follow me Peter?
- Peter finally got it right! Amen? Well, it would be nice if the story ended here, but read on a bit further:
- John 2120 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?
21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
- "How about him?" Peter asked!
- You see, it’s never over! Peter was now ready and willing to die for Jesus, but he still didn't really get it. We must be always on guard in order to keep our eyes on Jesus! People will let us down. They will betray us. They may even kill us! Will we still follow the paths of God? The God's Church is not respected as once was. Many people would love to see the Church outlawed or at least legislated into impotence! Some day the Antichrist will arise and then, if not before, there will be full-scale persecution of those who exercise faith in the God of Israel. Will you still follow? Or will you deny your Master?
- Sometimes it seems as though other people get everything good while we get nothing but pain and sorrow. But really, nothing ultimately matters but the question, "Will I follow Jesus?" Regardless of what anyone does or says, will you follow Jesus? Will I follow Jesus?
- "What is that to thee?" Jesus asked! "Follow thou me!"
Follow Jesus no matter what anyone says. There are so many people, Christians and others, ready to tell you that you can't follow Jesus, that God rejects you, and that there is no hope. But Jesus says to you, "Just follow Me."
- Will you follow Jesus wherever he leads?
Go to Part Two of Walking with the Master: The Absolute Truth of Jesus.
- Jesus said that the truth will set us free but it's often not clear what that Truth is!
Till then, may God bless each of you.
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