WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM? – #19

SEE MATTHEW 16:13-17

more about the holy spirit; god, the divine alchemist – he turns pain and sorrow into joy- john 15:26-27; 16

Dear Friends, 

 

Who do you say Jesus is? This is truly the most important question we will ever be asked. If we are in error in regard to who He is, and thus our response to Him, it has significant temporal and eternal implications. So let us continue to study and pray Paul’s passionate prayer regarding Jesus: “that I may know Him.”  (Phil. 3:10)

 

As Jesus continues to comfort His disciples and to prepare them for His impending death He talks more about the work of the Holy Spirit: Jesus speaks of ten different aspects of the work of the Holy Spirit:

 

1) “He will testify about me.” (15:26) No one can come to Christ apart from the witness of the Holy Spirit. Lost people are dead, blind and captives of Satan. (See Eph. 2:1; 2 Cor. 4:4 and 2 Tim. 2:26) Yet,

 

2) “you (we) also must testify about me.” (15:27 ) But this can only be done by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:8; Eph. 5:18) “He will convict the world of

 

3) guilt in regard to sin, and

 

4) righteousness and

 

5) judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me (rejecting Jesus is the unforgivable sin); in regard to righteousness, (Jesus’ perfect righteousness is the righteousness a righteous God must require for one to be right with Him – 2 Cor. 5:21) because I am going to the Father, (the vindication of Jesus as Lord – the proof of His Divinity -Rom. 1:4) where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.” (16:8-11) All those who reject Jesus are condemned and will be eternally condemned with the devil and his angels unless they repent and receive Jesus ( Matt. 25:41, 46). Sin is the problem. Jesus’ perfect righteousness is the answer, and judgment is the motivation to act – to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. As shown by the two thieves on the cross, there are only two possible responses to Jesus – accept Him or reject Him. He has offered everyone the gift of eternal life at the high cost of His death on the cross. By not receiving this gift we are rejecting Him. So do so today! (John 1:12; 2 Cor. 5:21) “When he, the Spirit of truth, comes,

 

6) he will guide you into all truth.” (16:13)  

 

7) “He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears (16:13) and

 

8) he will tell you what is yet to come.” (e.g., the book of Revelation and other future events)

 

9) “He will bring glory to me (Christ – not to Himself) by taking from what is mine and making it known to you” (16:14). “All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said

 

10) the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” (i.e., the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit -16:15; 1 Cor. 2:10-15)

           

 I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices (referring to His death). You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” (16: 20-22) God doesn’t take away our pain to bring us joy. He transforms our pain into joy. He is the Divine alchemist. A mother experiences the pain of labor in childbearing but soon forgets it as she rejoices over her baby. The disciples mourned when Jesus died (Mark 16:10) but were soon rejoicing when they saw Him resurrected. (Matt. 28:8; Luke 24:50-53) And they continued to rejoice even in the midst of great suffering and martyrdom until the Lord took them home. (See the book of Acts –e.g., Acts 5:41) This is a picture of the pain we experience living in a fallen world but only for a brief time, and the joy of our resurrection into heaven where there will be no pain or sorrow and great joy forever and ever. (Rev. 21:1-4, 19:7-9) Paul says our afflictions are light and momentary compared to the glory and joy of eternity. (2 Cor. 4:16-18; Rom. 8:18)  

    

 

Understanding this can be a life-changing principle. God doesn’t take away our pain or give us substitutes but He transforms our pain into joy as we come to Him in our pain. The parent that always quickly replaces every broken toy of her child teaches him to grow up expecting quick fixes and substitutes (“new toys”) when they have pain. As adults, this turns into new cars, new hobbies, a new house, a new body, even a new spouse as people seek someone or something (other than the Lord Himself) for that elusive thing called happiness. The Lord says He will be our comfort, our refuge, our strong tower and He will renew our strength when the pain of life makes us weak and weary – if we will come to Him. Why, O Jacob, do you say, and declare, O Israel, My way and my lot are hidden from the Lord, and my right is passed over without regard from my God?  Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not faint or grow weary; there is no searching of His understanding. He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound]. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and [selected] young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted;  But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.(Isaiah 40:28-31

 

Amp.) “Wait” in Hebrew means to “bind together” and as we wrap ourselves around God we receive His strength (in our weakness) and His power to finish the race marked out for us. 

 

Paul speaks of God as the Divine alchemist in Romans: “Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation. Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Rom. 5:3-5 Amp.)  In the King James it says patience in trials produces “experience” (rather than “character”). This means we can experience God in our pain and find Him able to be all we need and even able to bring us joy in our pain as we turn to Him rather than substitutes. God is never to be the means to an end but the End in Himself. We are to want Him for Himself and not just what He can do for us. (Psalm 73:25)

 

This all fits in with the last verse in this chapterIn this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (16:33) And in Christ, so have we. “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (See 1 John 5:4-5)   

                                                               

 

 Questions for reflection/application:                

 

Where have you seen or now see the Holy Spirit working in your life in these ten aspects Jesus speaks of?

What “substitutes” or “new toys” have you tried, or are tempted to try, to relieve your pain of living in a fallen world? Remember Jesus promises: “In this world you will have trouble.”

Recall a time when you found the Lord to be all you need and even more as He gave you joy in the midst of your pain.

Is the Lord Himself your goal, your end, or only a means to an end? See Jer. 9:23-24; Psalm 73:25; John 17:3.

                                      Wishing you God’s very best in 2007,                                                                                                             Len and Kristen

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