Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Christ’


PerfeHebrews 12 What makes the course worth runningction

And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect[1]. Hebrews 11:39-40

  • teleióō; complete, mature. To complete, make perfect by reaching the intended goal.

Gods Purpose for us is Sonship by FaithWhat makes us perfect? Why did the Old Testament Heroes of faith have to wait on us to be made perfect?

Becasue they could not have Sonship until the Only Begotten Son had proven Himself to be the perfect Son! God’s purpose for our lives is to live as Sons by Faith. Faith will bring us to the perfection God has in mind for us-Sonship. In order for that to happen, we must agree to run the course God has for us, and run it not in the flesh, but by Faith in Jesus Christ and His power for life!

Faith Brings us to Perfection

Faith is essential to making us perfect! Faith is more than a belief. It is belief that expresses itself in two essential life changing components – the hope for God arising from need, and the resulting desire to demonstrate the reality of God’s Kingdom in our daily living. (Hebrews 11:1,6)

Faith in God has always been Essential

Faith Makes You PerfectGod wanted his people to realize the importance of living by faith. He outlined a life of faith in the first five books of the Bible. He gave them a way of living that He hoped would lead them to live a life of faith, and they turned it into a burdensome set of rules and laws. There was no demonstration of the supernatural reality of God’s Kingdom. Their obedience was not relationship based but a fleshly fear and tradition religious observance. There was no faith that arose from a heart-felt need for this loving and awesome invisible God. God’s Kingdom became a list of physical chores that was impossible to complete in the flesh. Their lives failed to demonstrate the invisible God who desires to walk and live among us. The Jews followed a religion as best they could in their own strength, and in so doing lost sight of the power of this awesome invisible God. The God of Awesome Power became a God of the past to the generations who followed. They grew up hearing, but no longer saw for themselves.

We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old. Psalm 44:1

A few verses from Leviticus (26:1-4) illustrate God’s heart for His people and His desire for them to understand the need for living by faith:

“You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the LORD your God.”

1. I am the only God that can meet all your needs. I am invisible, and there is no image that can adequately express me. Your lives are the means of my expression.

“You shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.”

2. Simply demonstrate my reality by doing something the whole world will be in awe at: observe the Sabbath, and reverence my sanctuary as if I was really there (I AM). (Understand that most heathen places of worship were anything but reverential)

“If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them,”

3. Follow the Way, the Truth and the Life (Need for Jesus Christ)

  1. Walk in (He is the Way)
  2. Observe my (His Word is the Truth for our living)
  3. Do them (His life is to be our daily life)

Their lives were to be lived in the power of God’s Word and God’s Way. His Word contained designs for living that would do miraculous things in their health, finances and safety, far beyond their fleshly abilities. God wanted them to live in full need of His provision and power.

“Then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.” Leviticus 26:1-4

4. I Will…

  1. If the people’s faith led them to live lives in demonstration of His reality, God would do amazing things.
  2. The picture contained in the verses paint a portrait of the Garden of Eden (although tainted by sin)
  3. God would walk among His people because they were living representatives of His Kingdom.

Why did the Jews fail to see God’s desire for a relationship in His Law? Why did they turn God’s design for relationship into a religion of burdensome laws that failed to reproduce God’s life in them?

Failure of the Law

The failure was the Law. Hebrews 8:7 says it was flawed. It contained the elements of a relationship, but made no provision for a fundamental change in the heart. This was critical, because this relationship with God is not a matter of fleshly obedience. As Paul says:

For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. Romans 2:28-29

Life Changing Faith Requires a New Heart

Christ ministers a New HeartFor faith to be life-changing, there must be a provision for a changed heart. The flesh with all of its desires and corruption is too much to overcome. The power of the flesh had to be destroyed.

This was accomplished once and for all by Jesus Christ. He overcame all! He became the living power behind the “Way, Truth and Life” request of Leviticus 26:3. Instead of God waiting upon man to “walk, observe and do” before “He will”, God acted and gave us His Son as our “Way, Truth and Life.” (John 14:6)

Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, we now have the promise of a new heart, a heart that has the power to “walk, observe and do…”(from Lev 26:3). We have the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:39) and the promise that we are no longer servants of sin and the flesh (Romans 6:6-7). The power of Satan has been completely destroyed (1 John 3:8). This is why Paul can confidently assure us:

„ and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:5

„ But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, Romans 6:17

The success of our living by faith and enjoying a supernatural relationship with an invisible God depends totally upon having a new heart! The writer of Hebrews confirms this when he illustrates the power of the New Covenant in Jesus Christ:

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. Hebrews 8:7-11

Once more Paul brings this home in Galatians.

For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. Galatians 6:15

Our works do not matter unless they come from a new heart created by the new birth of the Holy Spirit. Faith is the only means of pleasing God (Heb 11:6), for faith alone is the transformative power whereby we are declared righteous (Heb 11:7,Rom 4:3), declared justified (Rom 5:1) and declared to be God’s Son (Gal 3:26).

Ridderbos has this to say on the connection between faith and the entire Christian life:

“One can conclude nothing other than that faith is the way in which, having died and risen with Christ, life through the Spirit, putting on the new man, being renewed after the image of Christ, regeneration, in short, the new creation of God, is realized and individualized.”[2]

So it is by faith that we walk in God, observe His design and do His will. It is by faith that we have life that is overcoming and eternal. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world (1 John 5:4).

Sonship is God’s Design of Perfection for Us!

Perfection is SonshipGod is bringing all who by faith give their lives to His Son for His intended Goal and that is complete Sonship.

to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Galatians 4:5-7

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption[i] as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:3-6

God’s design and plan for all born again believers is achieve “toga virilis” status in the Kingdom. “Toga virilis” was the ceremony whereby the father declared his boy to be a true “Son”, a man, mature, able to vote and conduct business on the father’s behalf. Indeed, the son was to be regarded as an extension of the father. The son was to be the manager and heir of the father’s estate. All that the father had was the sons. A father could even go outside the family if he did not think his boys were worthy. He could ‘adopt’ another young man and place him as the Son to manage his goods and inherit everything.

We are to be worthy heirs of all that is His, placed as Sons by His grace. Sons who will reign as Priests with the authority of Jesus Christ over the New Heaven and New Earth, which will be joined, for the desire of God dwelling with man will be realized for all eternity. Paradise will be found, for Christ has secured the “Title Deed” to the Earth (Rev 5:1-11)!

Fulfilling God’s Design to receive adoption as sons is why Hebrews 12:1 & 2 are so important. There is a great deal at stake in our completing the course. Following Christ and being conformed to His likeness as Sons is not a leisurely stroll. It is not a 50 meter dash. It is not a onetime confession you make as a youth. Attaining the Adoption and “toga virilis” status of Sonship is a life-long journey that requires endurance and a faith commitment to Jesus Christ.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

Hebrews  is  all  about  our  Perfection  as Sons

  • Hebrews is about our Perfection as SonsFor it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. Hebrews 2:10
  • And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, Hebrews 5:9
  • (For the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. Hebrews 7:19
  • For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever. Hebrews 7:28
  • (Which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, Hebrews 9:9
  • But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent ( not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) Hebrews 9:11
  • For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Hebrews 10:1
  • For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. Hebrews 10:14
  • Since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Hebrews 11:40
  • and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, Hebrews 12:23
  • Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:21

Jesus Endured the Cross and Achieved Complete Sonship

  • For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. Hebrews 2:10
  • And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, Hebrews 5:9
The Perfection of Christ as Son enables our perfection as Sons

Sonship Requires a Decision

I am not talking about children of God. You can remain a baby or a toddler if you want. Babies don’t have faith; for they are too busy feeding off their surroundings. They do not have the ability to reach up and grow in faith. Toddlers are too busy trying to avoid falling. They do not need faith because they are too focused on the obstacles round them, or the bright shiny toys.

Only those who desire the toga virilis require faith, those who want to be Sons of God, who want to reign with Him. Sons must grow up, train, and endure tests and trial before they are awarded the toga virilis. Do you want to be a Son? Then step forward by faith and start living as if you are a Son of God! Start running the Course God has for you by Faith!

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

Faith gives power for SonshipFaith Provides the Power for Sonship

1. Run the Course

Therefore. Reaching back and gathering together all the heroes of faith, who by faith endured so much for promises they never obtained in this life (from chapter 11). They never knew Christ, but we have!
They are our witnesses[3]

  • does not mean spectators, but those who have born witness to the truth,

2. Run[4] with endurance[5].

  • Run with both passive endurance and active persistence.
  • Bear up under, patience, endurance as to things or circumstances. This is in contrast to makrothumía, long-suffering or endurance toward people. Hupomoné is associated with hope (patience of hope-1 Thess. 1:3) and refers to that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial.

3. Lay aside fleshly encumbrances[6]

  • A tumor, mass, magnitude, weight, burden, impediment
  • Lay aside swollen pride, dependence upon the flesh. These are fleshly things which tend to trip us up from living by faith!

4. Lay aside sin[7]

  • Sin of self reliance, not wanting God’s design in your life
  • Guilt that accompanies your sin

5. Run the Course that God Assigns You.

  • The specific word for a race (dromos) is not used, the general term for an athletic contest (agon) being chosen. The words “set before us” (prokeimai) give one the idea that a certain type of race is placed before the Christian.
  • The idea in the word prokeimai is that of something lying before you. It is like a road that stretches out before one’s gaze[8].

Sonship requires Determined Choices

So we must consider the course before us, and determine to run it, no matter the cost. We must realize this is a marathon, and trials will be great. There can be no turning back. There can be no excuses. Remember all those who testified before to the worthwhile pursuit of this course. But also remember the one who is our ultimate example…Jesus Christ!

Running the Course with Faith Produces SonshipLook to Jesus Daily
There is No Faith for Sonship Without Jesus Christ

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

1. Looking[9] unto Jesus

  • Fix your mind intently upon Jesus.
  • The word “looking” is aphorao “to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something.” The word also means “to turn one’s mind to a certain thing.”[10]
  • Let this mind be in you (Phil 2:5)
  • Be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom 12:2)

2. The author and perfector of our faith[11]

  • (No “our”). He is the author and the completeness of faith.
  • This means that Jesus is the one who initiates (and completes) faith in the souls of men.
  • In the context faith is treated as a way of life. The author summons a “cloud of witnesses” whose lives testify to the reward of the life of faith. Jesus stands as the chief witness for it was He who blazed the trail and gave us the ideal model of “the faith[12]

Nazi Prisoners go crazy without purposeAn Illustration from a Nazi Concentration Camp

In a Nazi concentration camp in Hungary during the Second World War prisoners were forced to do nauseating work in a sewage plant. But it was work; and something was accomplished. Then the plant was destroyed by allied bombers. So the Nazi officers arranged for the prisoners to shovel sand into carts and drag it to the other end of the plant and dump it. The next day they ordered them to shovel it back into the carts and bring it to where they started. And so it went for days.

Finally one old man began crying uncontrollably; the guards hauled him away. Another screamed until he was beaten into silence. Then a young man who had survived three years in the camp darted away from the group. The guards shouted for him to stop as he ran toward the electrified fence. The other prisoners cried out, but it was too late; there was a blinding flash and a terrible sizzling noise as smoke puffed from his smoldering flesh. In the days that followed, dozens of the prisoners went mad and ran from their work only to be shot by guards or electrocuted by the fence (Charles Colson, Kingdoms in Conflict, p. 68).

You can run the course that you want, but you will drop out, go crazy or kill yourself without running for the purpose God has for you! Why don’t you lay your course at the cross and die to what you want and have planned, and tell God that you want to run for Sonship, by Faith in the power of His Son, Jesus Christ!


[1] teleióō; contracted teleió, fut. teleiósō, from téleios <G5046>, complete, mature. To complete, make perfect by reaching the intended goal. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 1373.

[2] Herman Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of his Theology, trans. John R. de Witt (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 1975), 233.

[3] Witnesses (μαρτύρων) does not mean spectators, but those who have born witness to the truth, as those enumerated in ch. 11. Yet the idea of spectators is implied, and is really the principal idea. The writer’s picture is that of an arena in which the Christians whom he addresses are contending in a race, while the vast host of the heroes of faith who, after having born witness to the truth, have entered into their heavenly rests watches the contest from the encircling tiers of the arena, compassing and overhanging it like a cloud, filled with lively interest and sympathy, and lending heavenly aid. Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, (New York: Scribners, 1887), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, under: “Hebrews Chapter 12″.

[4] Ὑπομονὴ includes both passive endurance and active persistence. Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, (New York: Scribners, 1887), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, under: “Hebrews Chapter 12″.

[5] hupomoné; fem. noun from hupoménō <G5278>, to persevere, remain under. A bearing up under, patience, endurance as to things or circumstances. This is in contrast to makrothumía <G3115>, long-suffering or endurance toward people. Hupomoné is associated with hope (1 Thess. 1:3) and refers to that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, under: “ὑπομονή”.

[6] A tumor, mass, magnitude, weight, burden, impediment. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, under: “ogkos”.

[7] Sin, missing the true end and scope of our lives, which is God. An offense in relation to God with emphasis on guilt. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 130.

[8] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 214.

[9] aphoráō; contracted aphoró, fut. apópsomai, from apó <G575> an intens., and horáō <G3708>, to look. To look away steadfastly or intently toward a distant object. Metaphorically, to behold in the mind, to fix the mind upon (Phil. 2:23; Heb. 12:2).Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “áphorao”.

[10] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 214.

[11]Christ is the archegon, the chief leader of this faith in that He “furnished the perfect development, the supreme example of faith, and in virtue of this He is the leader of the whole believing host of all time.” He is also the finisher of the faith spoken of in these chapters. The word is teleioo which means “to carry through completely, to finish, to make perfect or complete.”Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 214.

[12] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “árchegos”.


[i] Barclays has this to say about Roman Adoption process…

“We must understand how serious and complicated a step Roman adoption was that we really under stand the depth of meaning in this passage. Roman adoption was always rendered more serious and more difficult by the Roman patria potestas. This was the father’s power over his family; it was the power of absolute disposal and control, and in the early days was actually the power of life and death. In regard to his father, a Roman son never came of age. No matter how old he was, he was still under the patria potestas, in the absolute possession and under the absolute control, of his father. Obviously this made adoption into another family a very difficult and serious step. In adoption a person had to pass from one patria potestas to another.

There were two steps. The first was known as mancipatio, and was carried out by a symbolic sale, in which copper and scales were symbolically used. Three times the symbolism of sale was carried out. Twice the father symbolically sold his son, and twice he bought him back; but the third time he did not buy him back and thus the patria potestas was held to be broken. There followed a ceremony called vindicatio. The adopting father went to the praetor, one of the Roman magistrates, and presented a legal case for the transference of the person to be adopted into his patria potestas. When all this was completed, the adoption was complete. Clearly this was a serious and an impressive step.

But it is the consequences of adoption which are most significant for the picture that is in Paul’s mind. There were four main ones. (i) The adopted person lost all rights in his old family and gained all the rights of a legitimate son in his new family. In the most binding legal way, he got a new father. (ii) It followed that he became heir to his new father’s estate. Even if other sons were afterwards born, it did not affect his rights. He was inalienably co-heir with them. (iii) In law, the old life of the adopted person was completely wiped out; for instance, all debts were cancelled. He was regarded as a new person entering into a new life with which the past had nothing to do. (iv) In the eyes of the law he was absolutely the son of his new father. Roman history provides an outstanding case of how completely this was held to be true. The Emperor Claudius adopted Nero in order that he might succeed him on the throne; they were not in any sense blood relations. Claudius already had a daughter, Octavia.

To cement the alliance Nero wished to marry her. Nero and Octavia were in no sense blood relations; yet, in the eyes of the law, they were brother and sister; and before they could marry, the Roman senate had to pass special legislation.

That is what Paul is thinking of. He uses still another picture from Roman adoption. He says that God’s spirit witnesses with our spirit that we really are his children. The adoption ceremony was carried out in the presence of seven witnesses. Now, suppose the adopting father died and there was some dispute about the right of the adopted son to inherit, one or more of the seven witnesses stepped forward and swore that the adoption was genuine. Thus the right of the adopted person was guaranteed and he entered into his inheritance. So, Paul is saying, it is the Holy Spirit himself who is the witness to our adoption into the family of God.

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Hebrews has the Fulness of Jesus Christ in View.

He is superior in every aspect of His earthly life. His is superior to the angels, the old covenant, the Priests, the sacrifices. He is the realization of the Old Testament. He is the hope that substantiated their faith. He is the visible demonstration of the unseen and invisible God. What made Him superior to every aspect of what had come before was His Sonship.

sonship_toga_virilus

But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. Hebrews 1:2

  • Because of His Sonship, Christ has a better relationship with Creator God. (1 vs. 5)
  • Because of His Sonship, Christ has an eternal throne (1 vs. 8)
  • Because of His Sonship, Christ is the faithful manager of God’s House. (3 vs. 6)
  • Because of His Sonship, Christ is made our Great High Priest (5 vs. 5)
  • Because of His Sonship, Christ suffered and learned obedience (5 vs. 8)
  • Because of His Sonship, there is punishment for all those who spurn Him (10 vs. 29)

Hebrews presents the truth that we can share in His Sonship

Sonship brother of JesusIn illustrating vividly the power of the Sonship of Christ, God wants us to realize the power of our Sonship! Hebrews is a book about the Potential of our Sonship! God makes that crystal clear early in chapter 2:9-16:

But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.” Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham.

As Sons of God by faith, we are the offspring of Abraham, whose offspring are the children of promise.

Just as Christ grew in His Sonship through obedience during suffering, so we are challenged to grow through endurance in the face of hardship and tribulation. This requires FAITH!

togavirilustoga virilis ceremonyThis is where we are in Hebrews, at chapter 11, discovering the importance of Faith for our growth as Sons of God. The Hebrews in Rome knew fully what it meant to be the declared “Son of a Praetor”. Or a Senator. The father, who had absolute authority over his family, would declare one of his sons “toga virilis” and there would be a ceremony and celebration for the father has declared a son to oversee the inheritance when he was gone. The son had passed every test and endured years of training and education. Now he was a man, the “Son” of the Praetor, or the Senator. Birth into the home did not guarantee you would achieve toga virilis status. If there were no sons worthy, or no sons at all, then one would be adopted into the family. Sonship was everything in ancient Rome!

Hebrews 11 has OUR Sonship in View.

Without Faith, there can be no “Toga Virilis” Sonship!

Vs 1: Faith is two things-Substantiating and Demonstrating. Faith empowers our Unseen Hopes and Unseen Things.

A. Faith has three essential Attributes as noted in three men of faith:

  • The Attribute of Sacrifice – Abel
  • The Attribute of Pleasing God – Enoch
  • The Attribute of Salvation – Noah
  1. Faith Substantiates His Reality in your life (HE IS)
    1. Sacrifice (Abel)
    2. Serving (Enoch)
    3. Saving (Noah)
  2. Faith Empowers (Proves) God’s Rewards
    1. Abel offers blood sacrificeAcceptance (Abel)
    2. Ascension (Enoch)
    3. Heir of Righteousness (Noah)
    4. Jesus Christ is the Center of our Faith
  3. The Sonship of Christ is the Focus of our Faith
    1. Abel pictures the perfect atoning blood sacrifice that is Jesus Christ.
    2. Abel pictures the acceptance that all Sons of Faith share in Jesus Christ.

B. Faith is the only way you can please God (Be well accepted)(Heb 11:6)

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. Ephesians 1:6

  1. Enoch pictures the Risen Christ, who pleased God (This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased)
  2. Noah pictures the Righteousness that is Christ and the Salvation we have in Him alone.

The Result of our Faith

Not necessarily to heal or make you rich or a mighty preacher of God. The ultimate result of your Faith is to bring you into Full Sonship of God! As Christ is formed in your life by faith, you attain Sonship.

But as many as received him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: John 1:12

sonship11For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:14-17

And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:23

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:29

As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’ ” “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ ” Romans 9:25-26 (Quoted Hosea 2:23)

The Importance of Faith in our Growth as Sons of God

Why is faith so important in our attaining Sonship? Look at these examples of faith and see that they typify the very author of faith-Jesus Christ! Faith is Jesus Christ. Our Sonship is through Jesus Christ. There is no sonship without faith, because faith and Jesus are synonymous!

By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau.

  • ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called’” (Hebrews 11:18) Isaac is a type of Christ. He is the Son of Promise. We receive our sonship by trusting in the Promised Savior.
  • Isaac was taken to be sacrificed, yet at the last moment God stopped Abraham and said, there is a sacrifice, for I am Jehovah Jireh, God will provide. Jesus is our sacrifice.
  • Isaac blessed his two sons. We are blessed in Jesus Christ, by faith.
  • By Faith you can bless your children and grandchildren.

Jacob at PenuelBy faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff.

  • Jacob was the son chosen to receive the birthright, for his brother was a fleshly man (Jesus the second Adam)
  • Jacob wrestled with the angel of God, and his name was changed to Israel, for he had power with God and man.
  • Jacob-leaned on his staff Heb 11_21Jacob here is blessing the sons of Joseph, worshipping God, and leaning upon his staff. He is a picture of the Savior, broken through the discipline of the Cross, and through his suffering, bringing blessing to sons.
  • Jacob is a reminder that our sufferings and trials will bring blessing as long as they lead us to lean upon our Savior.

By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.

Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” Genesis 50:25

  • Joseph is a type of Christ. There is no mention of any failing in his life. He was sacrificed by his brothers, which later led to their salvation.
  • The Passover Lamb was not to have any bones broken.
  • Jesus had no bones broken, because He is our Passover Lamb.
  • So when Joseph gave instructions about his bones, it is a reminder that God gave directions regarding the bones of His Son.

And Ephesians says: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. Ephesians 5:30

  • Our strength of faith is in His bones!

Mom saves Baby MosesBy faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

  • There is no greater beauty to God than His Son Jesus Christ
  • Mary & Joseph took Jesus into Egypt because of the edict of King Herod.
  • God protected His son from the onslaught of Satan.
  • By faith we trust God to protect our children.

By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.

  • Jesus denied the temptations of Christ, choosing rather to follow the will of His Father, rather than his own will.

Moses My IdolHe considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.

  • Jesus set His face as a flint to the Cross, enduring the pain and shame, looking to the joy before Him

By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.

  • Jesus endured the Cross, never fearing the anger of the crowd, for His face was set upon the joy of His Father

By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.

  • Jesus became the Passover Lamb, sprinkling His Holy blood upon the wrath of God upon man, destroying the destroyer, death and sin.

By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned.

  • Jesus walked on water as on dry ground, and promises His power in the storms of life, but all those who embrace the world will be overcome and judged.

By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.

  • Jesus entered the walls of Jerusalem with the shouts of Hosanna ringing throughout the city. Seven days later He tore down the veil that separated Holy God from sinful man.

Meet Rahab the ProstituteBy faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

  • Rahab hung a scarlet cord outside her window. By that cord she was saved. Jesus hung on the bloody cross, securing forgiveness for the vilest sinner. He underscored that when he lovingly dealt with the woman taken in adultery.
  • Jesus is a friend of sinners. His great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother was a converted prostitute. 

And what more shall I say?

GIDEON-faith to blow the trumpetFor time would fail me to tell of Gideon,

  • Gideon brought a solitary action against the adversary
  • He built an altar, and himself offered sacrifice, as though he were a priest.
  • The altar was named Jehovah-Shalom — the Lord of Peace.
  • His own people cried out against his worthy action.
  • A sign, a prophecy, of dew — first on the fleece, the ground being dry — and then on the ground, the fleece being dry: thus is foreshadowed the work of the Holy Spirit, first in Israel and later more fully among the Gentiles.
  • Those who were gathered unto him, by the sound of the trumpet, were reduced to a faithful remnant, being separated to him by water, and the expression of their abhorrence of all false worship. Those who lapped like dogs foreshadowed Gentiles, faithful to their leader.
  • The destruction of the Midianite host prefigures the greater destruction of the Last Day oppressor, in the same plain of Jezreel.
  • A victory without weapons for the Lord’s people who “look on me and do likewise”.
  • These enemies meet their end at the very place which means an entering into inheritance for the people of God (Jdg 8:17,18).
  • Gideon’s words: “The Lord shall rule over you” — it is the Kingdom!
  • Seventy sons correspond in number with the nations of the world. (Gen 10 lists 70 names.)

barak_debBarak,

  • Barak the judge displays a timid and cowardly spirit,
  • Jesus is meek and lowly of spirit.
  • Barak would not battle without Deborah.
  • Jesus could do noting apart from His Father, and battled Satan in the power of the Holy Spirit.
  • The message of the Cross is that the weak and lowly triumph over the strong and arrogant devil.
  • His name means “lightning flash[1].”
    • For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. Luke 17:24
    • From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, Revelation 4:5

Samson destroys templeSamson,

Everything about Samson and Jesus Christ is connected with three things: a promise, a sacrifice, and a name.

A PROMISE

  • Samson was born, lived and died according to the merciful promise and purpose of God to save his people (Jud. 13:5).
    Judges 13:5  “For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”

A NAME

  • Everything about this man was related to and for the glory of the name by which the Angel of the LORD revealed himself to Manoah and his wife (Jud. 13:18).
    Judges 13:18  “And the angel of the LORD said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?”
  • Jesus is Wonderful (Isaiah 9:6)
    • It is his name which is the name of salvation (Acts 4:12).
    • It is in his name that we are accepted of God and forgiven (Eph. 4:32; Rom. 12:1-3; 1 Pet. 2:5).

A SACRIFICE

  • Everything Samson was and did for Israel was connected with, arose from, and pointed to a sacrifice (Jud. 13:19-21).
  • Judges 13:19-21  “So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on. 20 For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground. 21 But the angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD.”

His Love Choices

  • He loved harlots
  • Jesus loved publicans and harlots, the sick and needy

Jephthah,

  • Name means “He will open” (Jesus is the Way)
  • Mighty man of valor (Jesus is our Victory)
  • Born of a harlot (Jesus was born of one accused of adultery)
  • Rejected by the leadership because of his birth (Jesus was rejected becasue he was from Nazareth)

of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection.

What does a life of Faith do for You?

1.  Spiritual Fullness in Christ.

Christ is the very definition of faith. Faith is built upon the qualities and characteristics of Jesus Christ. Take Jesus away and there is no faith.

walking-after-the-spirit-the-life-of-sonship2.  Sonship with Jesus Christ.

By Faith, TODAY, you can:

  • Conquer the world
  • Grow Justice
  • Live in Promises
  • Stop the accusations of Satan
  • Quench his fiery arrows
  • Win in battle by the Sword of the Word
  • Become strong in your weakness
  • Become mighty sons of God
  • Put the enemy to flight

Sonship comes on the shoulders of those who have suffered for Christ

Christian Martyrs in Neros GardenSome were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, and they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy— wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

No matter what you may endure, Jesus Christ is always with you in your sufferings. His faith will sustain you in your weakness. His faith will empower you to reach the finish line.

And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Hebrews 11:20-40

Martyrs_Last_Prayer (2)We are Sons of God, and those who have suffered before us share with us in our Savior, our brother, Jesus Christ.

What Does This Mean to You

  • You are not alone if you are living in Christ by Faith
  • His promises are sure, no matter the struggles you face.
  • This life is but preparation for Life with Him
  • As His Son or Daughter, “Be strong in the Lord and in the Power of His Mighty!” Your faith is in Him and His promises.
  • You are important for your faith joins you with faithful martyrs of the past.

We share faith with those who never received the Promise

nero murdered christian martyrs“In the year 64 A.D. during the reign of Nero, fire broke out in Rome. For six days and nights the fire burned. The greater part of the city was laid in ashes. The rumor got around that Nero himself had caused the city to be set on fire. This aroused great hatred in the people of Rome against the emperor. To turn this hatred away from himself, Nero accused the Christians of having set fire to Rome. The accusation certainly was not true, but large numbers of Christians were arrested and a terrible persecution followed. Many Christians were even crucified. Some were sewn up in the skins of wild beasts; then big dogs were let loose upon them, and they were torn to pieces. Women were tied to mad bulls and dragged to death. After nightfall Christians were burned at the stake in Nero’s garden (human lamp stands!). The Roman people who hated the Christians were free to come into the garden, and Nero drove around in his chariot wickedly enjoying the horrible scene” (The Church in History, by B.K. Kuiper, p.8).


[1] Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: ” ‏בָּרָק‎”.


Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. John 20:1

Mary-at-empty-tomb

Mary was astonished to see the stone rolled away. She had come expecting to find the corpse of Jesus, and now she was disappointed. Who had taken him away? What cruel prank was this? She told the disciples, and Peter and John were bold enough to risk capture by going to the tomb. They looked closer, but returned home, although John recorded that what he saw made him believe something else had occurred.

Mary was still bewildered, and stood outside the tomb sobbing and wailing uncontrollably. Where had they taken his body? She saw someone standing there, and peering closely, concluded it was just a laborer, probably the gardener. Had her faculties of sight altered? Was her sight obscured by all her tears?

No, Jesus had changed, for He had been resurrected! The means of knowing Jesus had changed as well! Only through Him speaking to her did Mary know Him, and so we find the truth of divine revelation. We can search for God all we want, but we will never, never find Him if we are seeking to know Him in the flesh. When Mary rushed to hug Jesus, He said, “do not touch me.” He had truly changed, and there was to be a new way of knowing Him, a way which transcends the senses, a way which transforms our lives.

The inner clarity of recognition that came to Mary when she heard Him call her name, she could not explain in human terms. She just knew, and that was enough. And so it is with our knowing Jesus the Christ. You can watch all the movies and read all the stories about Jesus, but that is all He will be to you, a fanciful story or amazing leader. Your life will be the same. You can never truly know Jesus with your physical senses. But when Jesus speaks to your heart, and you willingly respond to Him as Lord, your life will be changed! There will be no mistake about it! The resurrection will be no magical story, for it will be the reality of your life! This is what Paul said when he proclaimed, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection.”

mary weeping outside tombMary wept. Seeking a corpse, she mistook Jesus for a common person. Many of us mistake Jesus as someone common, not the life-changing Son of God that He actually is. We all have things that we cry over, struggle with or feel stressed about. We may reach a deadlock, a dead-end, and feel as if there is no possible way out. Only when we reach the end of our fleshly strength will we be ready to listen to His voice. When you realize that you need God, need to know His resurrection power, be quiet, for you are likely to hear Him calling you. You can search for Him with all your might, but He can never be found in the strength of your flesh. He has changed! He has risen. He is known only in the Spirit now, and your flesh wars with the Spirit.

Christ “after the flesh” was crucified. Knowing Him in that way results in a corpse vainly searching for another corpse. Mary searched in her flesh and knew not the Resurrected Christ. When her tears were drained, and she was at the end of herself, she was ready to hear His voice. Are you still relying on your own strength and abilities? Are you seeking to know Jesus after the flesh? Give it up, lay aside who you think He is, humble yourself before Him, and ask to hear His voice. Only when you give up on the flesh is the Spirit ready to take over. And the Spirit delights in making Jesus Christ known to your heart!


Slide23John chapter 12 follows an ever-popular Jesus into the final days of His walk on earth. The Cross is confronting Him, weighing heavily on his mind. His close disciples and friends seem oblivious to what is before Him, even though He has told them many times before. His emotions must be running high. In John 11 we see him breaking out in tears after John describes Him as being troubled in spirit. Luke 19:41 describes Him weeping over the people of Jerusalem. Jesus admits that He is troubled in John 12. Why does He weep?, why is He troubled?

Could it be the Cross that looms before Him? Could it be the way His friends and disciples seem oblivious to His deity, His power over life and death? I think it was all of this weighing heavily upon His heart, His heart that carried the great reservoir of God’s love for mankind. A heart that wept at their blindness to God’s love. A heart that wept at their blindness to who He really was, and what He was about to do.

God wants us to peer into the heart of Christ by focusing on a minute moment in Christ’s life that is recorded in the latter half of John 12. This is the moment following His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, which followed hours after His resurrection of Lazarus from the dead. This was at the height of His popularity with the masses. They were declaring Him King after the line of David! He could have demanded whatever He wanted, and the crowd and His disciples would have immediately obeyed. Yet in this moment, Jesus chose to hide himself and disappear. Why? What can we learn from Him? What does He want us to grasp for our lives?

People around Jesus (1)In John 12:17-43, we find 4 groups of people circling Jesus Christ, the indicted man-God, the immortal God-man. We see a group of intoxicated people, a group of Incredulous people, a group of interested people, and finally a group of Influential people.

Let us look at these folks, and consider the words and reaction of Jesus Christ, and then explore the ramification for our lives in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Intoxicated

The Crowd was wild about King Jesus!
  • Vs 9 – When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. John 12:9
  • Vs 13 – So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” John 12:13
  • Vs 17 – The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign.

It seemed as all Jerusalem was hailing Jesus as King! He had achieved rock-star status! They were declaring Him a King after the lineage of David! And Jesus refused to discredit their cries. When the Pharisees told Him to rebuke his disciples, he declared “I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” (Luke 19:40)

intoxicated-crowd1-If you can imagine the drunken, drug-fueled crowds at some Rock concerts, I would imagine this crowd would not be too different (minus the drugs and booze).

What attitudes would you have had if you were part of this crowd?

I imagine you would be jubilant because you imagined a better life with Jesus as King.

Gone would be the iron boots of Roman soldiers. Taxes would be lower. Your way of live would not be restricted.

You would think that Jesus would improve your life and so you were excited. After all, He had this amazing power; He could raise the dead back to life, He could turn water into wine and a tiny lunch into a feast for thousands. You wanted to join His parade, because it meant a better life for you! So yeah, you joined the bandwagon and bowed before Him as King! He was the King you wanted and needed! Yeah!

Incredulous

Incredulous-men1Pharisees can’t figure out this Jesus fascination

Vs 19 – So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.” John 12:19

We find another group, smaller, but more important. They are the religious leaders of all Israel, and they are the real power reigning in Jerusalem. They rule in the shadows, openly pretending to be righteous, but secretly revealing their greed and lust for power. They cannot believe what the people are saying. They are incredulous that the populace is following an ignorant, uneducated man from a town like Nazareth. They sense their power and influence being usurped, and they despise this Jesus. They despise him so much they will soon hatch a plot to murder him.

What attitudes would you have if you were an incredulous Pharisee?

I imagine you would be incredibly self-focused. Your world would mean everything to you, your power, wealth and influence. You loved the way people regarded your ‘status’ and all the perks that went with your position. You looked down your nose at this Jesus, because he really was nothing, of no importance. He could not hold a candle to your pedigree, training and wealth.

He probably had gotten into your head though. You remember those confrontations, those things he had said that made you so boiling mad. You tried to shut him out of your life, so much so that now you resented even the sight of Him. The only way to stop him from threatening your nice privileged life was to get rid of him. He was of no consequence, after all, and soon the crowds would move on to some other fascination.

Interested

interested-man-person-looking-through-binocularsGreeks wanted to see Jesus…

Vs 20 – Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” John 12:20-21

We see another group of folks, strangers to the religious Jews. They share some of their beliefs, but they are more worldly, more educated, less likely to rush foolishly after someone like the Jewish crowd was. They were more in control of their lives. After-all, they were more ‘enlightened’. However, they had heard such marvelous stories about the Jesus. They had heard of countless miracles, of teachings that were so ‘outside the box’. They desired to further enlighten their lives by meeting with him, by getting a sense of whether the stories were true. Perhaps he would see how important they were and honor them with some of His wisdom.

What attitudes would you have had if you were one of these Greeks seeking an audience with Jesus?

I imagine you thought pretty highly of yourself. You considered yourself above these mendicant Jews. You were more worldly, more advantaged, but you wondered if Jesus should be a part of your world. After all, you considered God as important, especially when it came to your standing and consideration as an ‘enlightened’ free-thinker.

You thought you should at least see how Jesus could benefit your worldly standing. Plus, your friends would be jealous when you told them you had secured a private audience with Jesus!

Influential

The disciples

influential people1It is no coincidence that the visiting Greeks approached Philip to secure an audience with Jesus. People of importance never did anything themselves, they always used an intermediary. They recognized Philip from the old neighborhood, and perhaps even knew him. They saw that he was in the inner circle of Jesus, so would be influential in getting them that meeting.

The Disciples indeed were the “gatekeepers” of Jesus. They were with Him wherever he went. People around them recognized their influence, and the disciples were starting to realize their position. There had already been arguments about who would have the greatest influence when Jesus began His reign. This week must have been intoxicating as well to the fleshly disciples. To be a part of this madness, this idolization of Jesus would have had their ego’s swelling with pride!

What attitudes would you have had if you were one of these influential disciples?

I imagine you would have felt quite good about your decision to follow Jesus. After all, it had been quite a hardship to give up everything to follow him. Now you could feel the possibilities of fame and standing. You could imagine yourself reigning beside Him, perhaps as a governor or mayor. Your life was about to take a drastic turn and you were getting excited. People would whisper about you, come up to you and ask “are you one of His disciples?” Proudly you would declare your position with Him. They would ask you all sorts of questions about Him. If there had been paparazzi back then, your face would have been in all the magazines.

Yes, your attitude would have been pretty good about your decision to follow Jesus right now. After all, it had greatly benefitted your life.

Indicted

Jesus of Nazareth

Indicted-ManWe find one more person who is central to this passage, Jesus Christ. I prefer to refer to Him as the Indicted one, for He stands in their midst fully aware that He is a condemned man. Oh, He did nothing wrong, but He has willingly agreed to bear the full weight of all the sins of mankind. He has confessed the crimes and now faces the sentence, crucifixion upon the Cross.

Some argue that He was a helpless pawn, but His words in response to Philip and Andrews request for a private audience with the Greeks reveal His full knowledge of what was going on.

Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.”

Was Jesus influenced by the adulation? Was His head swelling with the possibilities of His new-found popularity? Was He already picking His Kingdom advisors? NO! Jesus, even with His emotions swirling, was totally focused on His mission-to save mankind from the horrors of the judgment of Hell, and usher them to true life-eternal life with His Father, God.

He began by saying something that His disciples and anyone else listening would never understand. He declared that “the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” I can just see the disciples trying to restrain their excitement. But Jesus meant something just the opposite of what they imagined. Jesus spoke of His death by crucifixion, the most shameful and horrible manner of death at that time. There was no ‘glory’ in being crucified. The disciples were so intoxicated with possibilities that they would never believe Jesus was about to be crucified.

The Indicted Son of Man made a startling declaration, one which all the groups surrounding Him were unable to understand. Jesus declared, “Whoever loves his life loses it and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” Each group featured in this microcosm of those in the Life of Christ was there because they loved their life. The Intoxicated were there because they wanted Jesus to improve their life. The Pharisees were there because they wanted to protect their life. The Greeks were there because they wanted to increase their life, and the Disciples were there thinking they were about to really enjoy life.

Jesus was there because He wanted to give people real life, but real life would only come though His death. His death must precede His glorification. His death must precede His gift of Life for mankind.

This is why Jesus said: “And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.”

Why was Jesus Here?

I believe that what even most Christians miss from this exchange is that Jesus did not come to this Earth for our benefit, for His benefit, or even to be crucified. All of these happened, but the truth of His coming is revealed in this one phrase, “for this purpose I have come to this hour; Father, glorify your name.”

Most translations put a period after “I have come to this hour.” The casual reader infers that Jesus came for the purpose of crucifixion, of death. However, the Greek is quite clear. The statement “Father, glorify your name is the cause of His ‘purpose’.

Explained by glorify thy name. For this use, namely, that the Father’s name might be glorified[1].

Jesus came to this world to glorify the Name of His Father! Why? Because He and His Father were one!

  • I and my Father are one. John 10:30
  • And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. John 17:11
  • That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. John 17:21

How could Jesus bring glory to His Father? He emptied himself, and then humbled himself to death, death on the cross:

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:5-9

Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. John 12:23-33

Why Did Jesus Hide?

Knowing His ultimate motivation, why was Jesus troubled so? Why was He so emotional? Why did He hide himself from His disciples and adoring public?

Could He have been troubled because the people did not connect Him with His Father? Could He have been troubled because His disciples failed to understand His relationship with the invisible Father?

Could He have been troubled because they could not see His Father because they were so focused on their own lives?

Could He have hid Himself because He did not want the people to focus on Him, but rather He wanted them to see the Father?

What is the Lesson for us?

see-jesus-crucified-for-youAll those who truly follow Christ will know one day, but now we can only speculate. I believe that there is a ‘take-away’ here, one that is vital to our growth as true followers of Christ.

If we want to really “see Jesus”, we must die to our lives, and give ourselves without reservation to the will and glory of God. If we value anything of our lives above God and His glory, then we will not see Jesus. He will withdraw from our lives, and go into hiding.

God is jealous of our attention and devotion. Too often we say we love Him and follow Him but we are really doing it because of some perceived benefit. We want a God who is always at our side, who is always there for us no matter how much we sin against Him. We want a God who accepts us as we are and doesn’t want to change us or demand too much of us. We follow a God on our terms, not His.

If this is true of our interest, then we are fooling ourselves. We may have all the forms of godliness, but we are in denial about the true power thereof. There can be no godliness apart from the holiness of God in our lives. That is only possible as we die to what we want and live for His glory.

Christ did that and proved it by His obedience. When we do it we prove it by living IN CHRIST! But before we can live in Christ we must die to our life, our wants, and our selfish interests.

Is God Distant to You?

Does God seem distant to you? Do you wonder about the mess you are in? Are you troubled because God doesn’t seem to care?

The truth is that He may have hidden Himself from your life. He is waiting for you to get to the point where you hate this life and are willing to die to yourself, and finally willing to live in Jesus Christ. After all, Jesus said, “I am the Way the Truth and the Life; no man comes to the Father but by me!”

Immortal

Jesus Christ is the Way of Eternity

There was another person there in the crowd. He was the Immortal One. All the folks saw him as Jesus, but God saw Him as Immortal. He would live forever at His side, for He would overcome.

Regardless of your attitude toward Jesus Christ: intoxicated, incredulous, interested or one who thinks you are one of His; He will hide from your life as long as you are in it for yourself. Until you experience the Cross, and die to what you want or desire, He will remain distant, even hidden.

If you should ever take the serious step of actually experiencing the Cross, then you shall experience Jesus Christ! The glory of the Father will be open to you; the power of the Father will be upon you; for the Cross, the ugly curse of the Cross that Jesus gave Himself to for the Glory of His Father, is actually wisdom and power of God!

The Cross – a Great Mystery

cross-silhouetteThis is the great mystery hidden to all those in the crowd that day. This is what Paul meant when he penned:

But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 1 Corinthians 2:7

The wisdom of God is hidden in the Cross. You will never experience His wisdom until you experience the Cross for yourself. The Cross is the key to you experiencing the Glory of God!

What are you seeking from Jesus today? A better life, an influential life, a better status or acceptance? Perhaps you are satisfied with what you have. Regardless of what you are seeking or not seeking, you will lose everything at the judgment. The only way to gain the Life that Jesus holds is to die to your life, your wisdom, your riches and your might.

Consider carefully His Words of Life:

And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.” John 12:44-50


[1] Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, (New York: Scribners, 1887), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “John 12:27″.

 

Read this past post: “Do You Really Want to See Jesus?

and this:”Do You See Jesus”


Modern American Christianity and First Century Jesus Christ Christianity can mean two different things.​ Most American Christians consider Paul a fanatic, but they understand his fanaticism in light of the need of developing a new ‘religion.’ Paul would probably be considered too extreme in most American churches. Most Pastor’s have encountered Paul ‘wannabees’ and have watched them flame-on and then fizzle out. Most mainline Pastor’s have seen the need to be ‘spot-on’ with regard to their congregants. Not too extreme in either direction. It seems in America the best pastor’s are the most ‘liked’ pastors. Ask the average church member about their pastor and they will say, “he is such a great guy!”

Paul desired to know Christ and Him crucified on the CrossThe thing which would have made Paul an unlikely American Christian pastor is one statement that he made, and which he lived by. It is a statement that seems to be missing in most American Christian churches. As such, it is missing in normal “American Christianity.” 

Paul remarked to the Corinthian church:

“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified”. (1 Cor 2:2)

Paul followed a crucified Savior. In those days NO ONE followed anyone who had been crucified. To be crucified brought shame on all the relatives and family. You did not even mention crucifixion in polite society conversations. It was the same as if your father was a convicted pedophile, or a John Wayne Gacy. You would change your name, never mention your relationship to such a heinous character. The statement that Paul made would send shudders down the back of “decent folks.” For Paul to say what he said ment he was drawing a line in all his relationships and ministry functions. That line centered upon the Cross. Paul lived his life, engaged his ministry and related to folks in the shadow of the Cross. 

American Christianity has taken the shame of the Cross and covered it with gold or silver. It is a pretty talisman we wear on our neck or put on our car. The meaning of the Cross has been lost. The Cross is about shame and about humility. It is about the power of God and not the power of the flesh. There was no boasting at the cross, no stylish clothing, no vanity, and certainly no latte’s. ​

Gal-6_14-Cross The difference between 21st century American Christianity and Paul’s Christianity centers upon the power of one thing-the Cross! The reason Paul was so jealous and passionate about the Cross is that he understood it was the Power of God! There could be no power to transform, no power to resurrect, no power to build a Christ-centered church apart from the Power of the Cross!​ So Paul, to a fractured and powerless but socially acceptable church at Corinth exclaimed with all his passion:

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Cor 1:17-18)

A Pretty Cross​The difference between modern American Christianity can be seen by what we hold dear. Paul held a bloody and shameful Cross proudly as he reached out to a sinful and dying world. American churches have changed the Cross into a bright and shiny steeple or a stylish Cross. We hold out a stylish, likable Jesus as we reach out to a sinful and dying world. We want them to come to a trendy comfortable building where they will find excitement and practical advice for their busy lives.

Paul would simply smile and so, that is so Corinthian. You are missing the point of following Christ. If it doesn’t begin at the Cross, it doesn’t begin at all. The Cross is the Power of God unto Salvation.​

This Passion week is all about the Cross. Are you holding onto the Cross? Have you died to your life and your way? Have you exchanged your sinful life for the Righteous life of the Lord Jesus Christ.? That only happens when you understand the shame and ignominy of the Cross, and accept it as your own. Paul lived for Christ, not as a fanatic, but as one who knew his life was not his own, for it was bought with a price. That price was paid at the Cross.

So go ahead and drink your cup of latte. Please, never forget that Jesus drank the cup of God’s wrath for you. What are you willing to do for Him? All He asks is that you give him your life by dying at the Cross, and then seeking to know Him as your ‘crucified’ Lord!​


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