PARTNERS WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT: PART LIII
Jesus claimed that He came from the “Eternal World!” And Jesus gave, to those of us, who believe in Christ, a glimpse of what that world is like (John 8:42). Jesus told the Jews that He had a chat with Abraham, before He came into this world to help man find his way back to his origin; namely, God. Abraham delighted in Jesus’ intention to be with Abraham’s offspring for a time. Jesus came from a world where the Spirit of God and the spirit of man is not limited to space and time. It is a dimension that is not physical! And it is a dimension where the “spirits” know one another. Abraham and the rich man are centuries or even millennials apart, and they existed in different worlds! Yet, they knew each other! In the “world of the spirits,” we will all know each other because our spirits do not die. We will also know what we have done or left undone. The Holy Spirit revealed to the recipient of the Book of Revelation this fact:
And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord henceforth.” “Blessed in deed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” (Revelation 14:13).
JESUS TOLD THE JEWS THAT THE DEAD ARE “NOT DEAD OR DEAF”
People who were regarded as dead, Jesus held that they were “sleeping” and they woke up when He ordered them to get up out of their graves and caskets. The little daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:39-43), the widow’s son at Nain (Luke 7:11-17), and Lazarus (John 11:42-44) obeyed the “Voice of Jesus” and they lived again. During Jesus’ transformation, He appeared in His Spirit-form with Moses and Elijah before Peter, James, and John (Mark 9:2-8). In the “Resurrection of the Just,” humans beings become like angels! And therefore, they, no longer, enjoy any physical pleasure (Matthew 22:23-33). The people, who died and still die with and for Christ go straight to paradise (Luke 23:39-43; Revelation 6:9-11). Jesus also noted that the spirit of Elijah had influenced the spirit of John the Baptist (Matthew 17:9-13). The “risen souls” in heaven are not idle. In Revelation Eight, they pray and they plead to God to grant us, here on earth, strength to endure and survive the constant onslaught of Satan’s forces on earth (Revelation 12).
The Jews answered Jesus, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” Jesus answered, “I have not a demon; but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it and he will be the judge. Truly, truly, I say to you, if any one keeps my word, he will never see death.” The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, as did the prophets; and you say, ‘If any one keeps my word, he will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you claim to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing; it is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is your God. But you have not known him; I know him. If I said, I do not know him, I should be a liar like you; but I do know him and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see m day; he saw it and was glad.” The Jews then said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they took up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple (John 8:48-58).
“Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombe will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment (John 5:25-29).
JESUS TOLD THE JEWS WHAT KIND OF WORK ABRAHAM WAS DOING IN THAT “EVERLASTING WORLD”
Abraham was taking care of Lazarus and doing the things for this neglected man, which the men, in the world, had failed to do; and who therefore were not allowed to enter the world of comfort and ease, where Abraham and Lazarus enjoyed their eternal residence. Abraham told the rich man that he could not help him; however, Moses could help the rich man’s brothers. Think about this: “Are our loved ones in the good world worrying over us?” Heaven is the place where the people, who had a tough time on earth doing what is right, and who are doing the “Will of God” shall be comforted and tenderly treated.
There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at the gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, full of sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table; moreover thedogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried; and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes,and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to them, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead’ (Luke 16:19-31).
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothes in white robes, and hence have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night within his temple; and he who sits upon the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 7:13-17).
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM JESUS’ RESURRECTION?
First, we need to hear what Jesus had to say about His death. Jesus told the Jews that no one could kill Him, unless they have permission from “Him and from God in heaven.” The Jews and the Romans, including Judas, did only what Christ and God, in heaven, had decided they could do. The drifting away of the world from God could only be halted by the “Death and Resurrection of the Son of God.” The decision was made by God in heaven before the foundation of the world was laid that the Son of God had to die to save the world. In fact, the Son of God chose his followers before the world was created (Ephesians 1:4; Hebrews 9:23-28; Revelation 13:8; 17:8). God and His Son left nothing pertaining to saving his image and likeness (man) unattended. No one, but Jesus decided what had to be done. Note: Jesus’ key determination statements stressing the word “must” (Greek dei) that left no room for any other solution to the redemption of mankind.
And Jesus began to teach them that the Son of man MUST suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said it plainly.
And Peter took Jesus, and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciple, he rebuked Peter, and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not on the side of God, but of man” (Mark 8:31-33).
Three times, Jesus prayed for a change of plans, but there was no other way and there was no one else who could take His cup.
And they went to a place which was called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou wilt.” And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? (Mark 14:32-37).
I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father (John 10:14-18).
Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him. And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and arrayed him in a purple robe; they came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again, and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you, that you may know that I find no crime in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing a crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no crime in him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God.” But Jesus gave no answer. Pilate therefore said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore he who delivered me to you has the greater sin” (John 19:1-11).
The Jews condemned Jesus, the Romans crucified Him, but Jesus, Himself, gave up His Spirit.
And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders hearing it said “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” And one ran and, filling a sponge full of vinegar, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” ANd Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that he thus breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:33-39).
After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the scripture) “I thirst.” A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished”; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit ( John 19:28-30).