As a leader and a pastor and a friend I get “opportunities” to encourage people. Who am I kidding, I look forward to the chance encounter to see someone touched by God. It is so amazing to see the look of amazement or hear the joy and excitement as revelation hits them square in the noggin. I love to see people healed and watch as they just can’t believe what has happened. I love to see the Holy Spirit move in and just do something amazing. So that is my expectation always. I actually get excited to go to the store or out somewhere in public because likely today God will use me to bring Him and when He shows up it is always unbelievable. His love is beyond our capacity to understand fully. His goodness is overwhelming. When people see His love and experience His goodness they are forever changed. They move out of the bushes and step into the arms of their loving Father. It is a “Hallmark moment” for sure.
So with that as a background I have to say I am absolutely perplexed when I share the same Jesus with a “believer” and their response is “your faith really aggravates me” (actually some say it makes them so mad they want to punch me). I don’t get it. If I say to someone who doesn’t know Jesus that they need Jesus and He shows up they are always excited for more. So why does the person who says they know Jesus get furious with me when I say “you need more Jesus?” I am at a total loss. Maybe if I said “I need more Jesus so I can bring more of Him into this situation?” Maybe if I said “here is Jesus, He wants to help you?” Maybe it is the delivery and not the message? Can I say honestly that I KNOW I need more Jesus? I really really really really need more and more of Him. I don’t have enough, not yet. There is still “the stuff of life” and “the works of the devil” that take center stage. I want Jesus at center stage. When that happens He happens. When He steps in everything changes. When He steps in people are set free from “stuff” or sickness or illness or broken hearts or broken relationship or broken bones or broken lives or…well everything that is not of God. So He sets us free from all the stuff that keeps us from living in the goodness of God.
Then I asked God about all this and of course He showed me right away. It may not be “all the answer” but it is a piece.
Jesus had the same issue. Really He did. All He wanted to do was reveal the nature of God as expressed by Him. That is what John means when He says “the word became flesh.” This word “word” is the “logos” or very nature and essence of who God is. Jesus also brought “revelation” of the Father in His living words or Rhema. Check out this definition of Rhema:
4487 rhḗma (from 4483 /rhéō, “to speak”) – a spoken word, made “by the living voice” (J. Thayer). 4487 /rhḗma (“spoken-word”) is commonly used in the NT (and in LXX) for the Lord speaking Hisdynamic, living word in a believer to inbirth faith (“His inwroughtpersuasion”).
Ro 10:17: “So faith proceeds from (spiritual) hearing; moreover this hearing (is consummated) through a rhēma-word (4487/rhḗma) from Christ” (Gk text).
That is cool isn’t it?
So with that understanding check out this passage from John ch 12. I’m going to chop it up a bit with some “thoughts” which I pray are Rhema for you.
John 12:35 So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them.
We tend to think of light and dark as God stuff versus devil stuff or clean stuff versus dirty stuff or good stuff versus evil stuff. Check out the last post. I really believe that this light/dark thing is all about “seeing” who God really is. When we step out of the bushes (dark) and into His goodness (light) we can finally see who He is, really. We have no more grounds to blame Him for anything. Now we can “see” His reality and the influences in our lives. The “stuff of life” and “works of the devil” become apparent in the “light” of Jesus. So why did Jesus depart?
37 Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him,
This makes me cry. This is what I feel when they say “you just aren’t real” or “how can you believe that” or “your constant declarations of a good God really make me angry.” Come on. More JESUS please Lord. Then John shares the why. Want to see?
38 so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
This is a quote from Isaiah Ch 53. Please take a moment and go read the chapter. See what Jesus has done. See what Jesus came to do. See how good your Father is. Why couldn’t they come out of the bushes to see? My guess, their religious pride, their selfishness, their insistence on self-effort. What I hear when people reject more of Jesus is “how dare you accuse me of not having or doing or being enough!” Again, we all need more and more and more. That is why I have eternity. There is never enough. Then John says this:
39 Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, 40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.”
The word “He” is inserted and not included in the Isaiah passage. I think the next verse gives us a clue as to why.
41 Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him.
I believe Isaiah was beside himself likely feeling the same thing that I do when people are angry at my faith and insistence on a good God. Isaiah saw God. He was in His presence. He saw His train of glory (manifest goodness) that went on and on and on. Isaiah was blown away. In his heart he said “God must have made them dull to all this because how could they resist?” I don’t believe it is what God did but just Isaiah’s explanation. They couldn’t see or hear just like so many today. Again that is why we need more of Jesus.
42 Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.
Maybe this is what is going on? Maybe people really do know they need more of Jesus but are embarrassed or something. Maybe they are afraid of being rejected if they run around and talk about how good God is when their friends are certain that He isn’t. Maybe it is part of that “club” thing that says I need to agree with my friends and my circumstance to fit in? Maybe.
44 And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me.45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.
And there it is. When we see Jesus we see God. When we get more of Jesus we step out of the bushes and into the light of the goodness of God. This next part is the best.
47 If anyone hears my words (rhema) and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.
I added the explanation. See it? Jesus does not reject us when we reject His revelation. He keeps seeding revelation because it saves us. When the “world” can see the goodness of God then they have stepped out of the bushes and into the light. And then He says this:
48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words (rhema) has a judge; the word (logos) that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.
In the end (whatever that looks like) we will be standing in the light completely. The bushes will be gone and all that is left is the complete and total goodness of God. His intense love will be all over us and around us and in us. If we have been hiding in the bushes what will that be like? Will it be so intense that our heart breaks, we are consumed, we ball up in the fetal position and cry like a baby? What if we have held onto our pride so tightly that our very “life” is from that identity? What if we just can’t “live” anymore when that identity is brought into the light?
49 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. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”
These last two verses are my goal, my purpose, my reason to write this post. I really believe that if I have faith in the goodness of a loving God that even these words will be His words. I believe that if I have faith in a good and loving God and know that I am His child then even my “words” should bring revelation through the Holy Spirit. So any more I pray God gives me Grace to not feel rejected. I pray that God brings the ones that want more of Jesus. I pray that we all can “see” and believe that we really need More of Jesus.