Relationship Manifested Through Jesus
A good friend once made the comment to me that prophecy is not meant to be a detailed map of the future. Rather, it is a glimpse, into tomorrow, given to remind us that all things are a part of God’s sovereign agenda. The full meaning is realized upon its fulfillment. Often it is recognized only by those who are led by the Spirit of Him Who gave the prophecy.
Thus it was with the New Covenant. The prophets were given glimpses of things to come. 1 Pet. 1:13 mentions that even the angels desired to look into these hidden things but they were not revealed to them. They were given for the benefit of the New Testament saints who alone received a full understanding of their interpretation. The Mosaic Law and the ordinances pertaining to the tabernacle were cryptic foreshadows of the future.
God had something new in store for His people which began when Jesus was born. While many were aware of the prophecies, none could have imagined the form of their fulfillment. God coming down to dwell with His creatures, becoming a man born as a baby, was beyond human imagining. As the happenings of Christ’s life began to unfold, God spoke to both men and women. He enabled them to understand that this was Messianic prophecy becoming reality.
The incarnation is indisputable proof of God’s desire to relate personally with mankind. However, Jesus taking upon Himself the limitations of a man and then giving us an example of a perfect life shows us more of the same truth. His life was one of uninterrupted communion with the Father. His disciples recognized the fact that His times of prayer were a crucial part of His ministry. It is worthy of our notice that they did not ask Him, “teach us to preach” or “teach us to cast out demons and heal diseases”. Rather they asked, “teach us to pray”. They appeared to realize that the time spent with the Father was the source of His wisdom and power. How tragically we fail to learn this crucial lesson from His life!
John 5:19, 20 “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.”
These words suggest that the time spent in the Presence of the Father was when He received instructions for His work. It is no coincidence that He spent a night in prayer before undertaking the task of choosing the twelve. If the Incarnate Son did nothing independently, how can we do God’s work without both seeking and receiving His counsel? There must be active two-way communication with God. It was the way taken by the ancient men of God; it was the way taken by Jesus and it is the only way for the saints of today to effectively serve Him. While most will give assent to this truth, I have only met a handful of believers who actually live this way! May I be one of them!
Another crucial fact of Christ’s ministry was the descent of the Spirit upon Him at His baptism. John the Baptist describes Jesus as “having the Spirit beyond measure”. Because He was sinless, unlike us who need to be “born of the Spirit”, the Spirit would have always indwelt Christ. The visible manifestation of the Holy Ghost descending upon Him as He began His ministry may have been meant to be an example to us. It showed the absolute need for God’s anointing in order to do the work of the Kingdom. Also, even a sinless man without God’s indwelling Presence could not fulfill the Divine calling. This portrays just how closely God desires to fellowship with His creatures, created in His image.
Over and over in Old Testament history we read about the “Spirit of the Lord” coming upon individuals who were called to a special work. Even King Saul was given this anointing when he first became king. He is described as having been “given another heart”. Sadly, this priceless gift was taken from him when he yielded to pride and rebellion.
It appears that such an outpouring was primarily reserved for those with unique responsibilities. Conversely, in the New Covenant, the Spirit is given to every believer. This is what we will address in the next blog.