Two Trees

February 16, 2015

John 6:44-59
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. 45It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me. 46No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. 48I am the bread of life. 49Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. 50But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. 51I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
52Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
53Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Two Trees

Most all of us are familiar with the story in Genesis of Adam and Eve and how God placed them in a garden. In the midst of that garden were two trees, the tree of Life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God said of all of the trees of the garden you can eat the fruit thereof, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you do you shall surely die. Sure enough, when Adam and Eve yielded to temptation and partook of the fruit of that tree, death entered into the human race and the Pandora’s box of all of it consequences. Before this day it was perfectly acceptable to partake of the tree of life. We have come to know this tree as Christ Jesus who brings us into fellowship, unity and oneness with God. After the fall, the tree of Life was cut off. Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden; a mighty angel was stationed there to prevent their return. They know longer knew the realm of personal fellowship they had once experienced with God. They now lived in the realm of that tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was not all evil, good did exist there as well, but it was a mixture and was subject to the will of the flesh.
What we actually are hearing Jesus say here in this passage from John 6 is that the tree of Life has been returned to us by the Father to bring us again into a state of fellowship and personal relationship lost through the ages since Adam. Romans 5:18-21 says, “18Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. 20The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Once again we have been given access through the tree of Life back into the realm of Spirit and God is Spirit. There, in that place, we can once again walk with Him, talk with Him and find His rest. In that place we have unity and oneness in Christ and are a part of His family experiencing adoption as sons.
Here is a paradox. Just as the partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil caused Adam to die to the spiritual dimension of God and at the same time become alive to the realm of the flesh and soul, we who, now come into Christ and partake of the tree of Life, must also die. This death is now to tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the flesh and the soul, so that we can become alive in the Spirit and experience the eternal life of Christ. The apostle Paul gives us the key to this revelation in Romans 5: 1-14, “1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. 8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”
Where we struggle is that even though we become identified with Christ in His death and resurrection in our spirits there is a process of possessing and conquering the land of our soul and body. Just as God gave the Promised Land to the Israelites, they had to go in and conquer the land. Possessing the promise and disposing the former inhabitants in our case of the un-renewed mind, will and emotion; along with the giants of our imaginations and strongholds. Their victory was not in their strength, but it was in the reliance and obedience to the One who had promised. It is our identification with Christ, who He is and what He is, that is our victory within our own mortal being. When we take our eyes and identification off of Him then we find ourselves in the realm of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Which tree are you going to continue to eat from?

Blessings,
#kent

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Why did Jesus Weep?

December 11, 2012

John 11:35
Jesus wept

Why did Jesus Weep?

Well before we can answer that question we need some background about what has taken place. We need to read John 11 to get the context of what has taken place. Briefly we will summarize, but there is so much here I fear we do an injustice in doing so. Many of you are familiar with the story that Larazus, the brother of Mary and Martha of Bethany, had fallen sick. They were all close friends with Jesus. Mary and Martha had sent a messenger to Jesus saying, “Lord, him you love (so well) is sick.” When he says sick, he is not talking a head cold, he is talking as in sick unto death. Jesus then says, “This sickness is not to end in death; but [on the contrary] it is to honor God and to promote His glory, that the Son of God may be glorified through (by) it.” So even though is it says Jesus loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus dearly, he staid where He was for two more days before traveling to Bethany. Now Jesus finally tells His disciples plainly that Lazarus is dead, but then He says this, “And for your sake I am glad that I was not there; it will help you to believe (to trust and rely on Me). However, let us go to him.” When He gets there He finds a mournful scene as Lazarus has died and He meets up with Martha who has heard He is coming.
Now you can imagine the feelings that Mary, Martha and the rest are going through. They know who Jesus is as the Messiah, they know He has the power to heal and yet even when they called upon the one who says He loves them, He didn’t show up. In their hearts and minds they are hurt, disappointed, maybe even angry. Jesus, you didn’t answer my prayer. Perhaps there have been times when we have been in that place of Mary and Martha. We know and love the Lord, but at some crisis or need we prayed, but He didn’t come through for us as we thought He could have and should have. We have thought, “Lord, if you had only showed up I know the need would have been met.”
Martha converses with Jesus saying, “Master, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22And even now I know that whatever You ask from God, He will grant it to You.
23Jesus said to her, Your brother shall rise again.
24Martha replied, I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
25Jesus said to her, I am [Myself] the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on) Me, although he may die, yet he shall live; 26And whoever continues to live and believes in (has faith in, cleaves to, and relies on) Me shall never [actually] die at all. Do you believe this?
27She said to Him, Yes, Lord, I have believed [I do believe] that You are the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), the Son of God, [even He] Who was to come into the world. [It is for Your coming that the world has waited.]” Martha has a revelation of who Christ is. She knows Him as the Savior and she knows Him as the Healer, but she doesn’t really yet know Him as the Resurrection and the Life. Sometimes for a new revelation to come forth, the former one has to pass away. We have to let go of old paradigms and understandings in order to grasp a greater revelation of the unveiling of Christ. Jesus is speaking to her of this, but she does not fully comprehend it yet.
Martha goes to let Mary know Jesus is here and she comes running to him, followed by the group that have been mourning with them. It says in verses 32-38, “When Mary came to the place where Jesus was and saw Him, she dropped down at His feet, saying to Him, Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.
33When Jesus saw her sobbing, and the Jews who came with her [also] sobbing, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. [He chafed in spirit and sighed and was disturbed.] 34And He said, Where have you laid him? They said to Him, Lord, come and see.
35Jesus wept.
36The Jews said, See how [tenderly] He loved him! 37But some of them said, Could not He Who opened a blind man’s eyes have prevented this man from dying?
38Now Jesus, again sighing repeatedly and deeply disquieted, approached the tomb. It was a cave (a hole in the rock), and a boulder lay against [the entrance to close] it.” I believe Jesus really felt and had empathy with their sorrow and pain, but I think that it also grieved Him that they could not see beyond their disappointment and they still doubted Him. It reminds me of the times Jesus would say, “ Oh faithless generation, how long must I endure you?” Jesus wept because of their sorrow, but He also wept because of their doubt and unbelief.
If we really believe Romans 8:28, that, “all thing work for the good of them that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose,” then we have to be able to rest and trust Jesus even when we don’t understand why things happen as they do. Sometimes it is those crisis moments that create significant life changing events. They challenge our faith and belief system. They stretch us beyond our ability to explain and rationalize what has happened. Then we are faced with, “do I get angry and turn from Him, or do I trust Him.” Trust isn’t based in understanding; on the contrary, it is often trusting in what you don’t understand.
Jesus then had them roll back the stone where Lararus was buried for four days. He looked to heaven and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42Yes, I know You always hear and listen to Me, but I have said this on account of and for the benefit of the people standing around, so that they may believe that You did send Me [that You have made Me Your Messenger].” And then He shouted, “Lazarus, Come forth.”
“44And out walked the man who had been dead, his hands and feet wrapped in burial cloths (linen strips), and with a [burial] napkin bound around his face. Jesus said to them, Free him of the burial wrappings and let him go.
45Upon seeing what Jesus had done, many of the Jews who had come with Mary believed in Him.”
The Lord is taking us from glory to glory. He is resurrecting us into a new mind and way of thinking. He is loosing us from our formal burial cloth of religious thinking and ideology. He is raising us up into newness of life.
On this journey we sometime must relinquish the old so that we can embrace the new. The worse thing we can do is to believe things are as they have always been. This is what religion does. It builds its city on a truth, but becomes so cemented in it that it can never move on in the continual unfolding of the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Some of you need a spiritual healing where there has been disappointment, hurt and maybe even anger against God. God still loves you more than you can know. Even when you don’t understand His hand, trust His heart. Sometimes it is these seeming failures that really lead us into the greater glory, even as it was with Mary and Martha. Hold fast you faith. He will never leave you or forsake you.

Blessings,
kent

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