In our journey as God’s children, I am so encouraged that we are not limited to just raising the dead, aren’t you?
Shocked by that statement?
John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. (ESV)
In the last few (or many) posts I’ve talked about how we are in no way separate from God. Not any person, in any place or in any religion (even Christians have Jesus in them). None of us are separate from God, no way no how. Check out these “no separation” posts starting with this one.
So if we are not separate from God, then what, what now? The easy, simple, most basic answer is “enjoy your eternal life.” The problem is we can’t just “cave up” and live as if the rest of the world was OK, right? As children of God we can’t help but want to help. We want to “change the world!!! (insert big anthem music here).” Don’t we want to “make a difference” and “make the world a better place?” Of course we do, especially when we are free from religion.
Religious concepts have people living in separation. No really, think about it. In a religious construct there is “us” and “them.” “We” need “them” to believe what “we” believe so that the mythological “angry g.o.d.” doesn’t get them and torture them for all eternity. Maybe you have heard this story. I’ve spent countless posts trying to get our minds renewed to understand that Jesus does not reveal to us “that” mythological g.o.d. Instead Jesus reveals to us our Abba. He reveals the God that is one with us. He reveals the God, the one and only real God, that loves His children and His creation in such a deep and rich and glorious way, we can’t even fathom the depths. Jesus reveals the God who IS love not just loving. He reveals a God who is in and among and with and within us. He reveals a connection to a creator that goes beyond our simple understanding. His revelation transcends our mortal reality to bring us into His greater eternal reality. Yeah, it is mystical and mysterious and simple and solid. It is so solid, as a matter of fact, that many stumble over this simple truth. God is with us. We are in God and He is in us. Through Jesus we can finally “see” God in the “light” of His true nature. He is love.
Sadly Jesus had to deal with an entire world of broken thinking and understanding. The religious paradigm of the time (who am I fooling, it is the same today) forced” Him into interacting in a particular way. The Hebrew culture and tradition and religion required that a “messenger from God” must be validated as authentic. These people (and sadly the people of today) need to “see a sign” or “see a miracle” or “see a prophesy come true.” That was the standard of verification for the “man of God.” Jesus does all that. Why? Because He loves us. He comes right down into the middle of all our dysfunction and silliness and stupidity and ignorance and tradition and doctrines and dogmas and even religion to reveal God to us. So He does the miracles and performs the signs. Still they don’t get it. Still they don’t believe. Still they all leave Him alone on the cross to die at the hands of a mankind that rejects Him to death. But….and this is a big butt….are we any different today?
Let me be very clear right here for the record. I believe in miracles. I believe in a loving God that heals people. I have seen it and been a part of it. I have seen crazy good stuff. I want desperately to see kids get out of wheel chairs and women delivered from deep wounds of abuse and lame walk and deaf ears hear and blind eyes see and so much more. I want to “change the world” as if I had a magic wand that makes it all better. But….dang it…I don’t think that’s IT. Sorry. I actually think IT is more than that. I actually think that what we are doing, as lots of Jesus’ running around, is to reveal the Father just like Jesus did when He walked the Earth. Jesus is still doing it today in union with us, using our uniqueness and gifting and compassion and passion and desires and hopes and dreams. We aren’t limited to an archaic, religious-based tradition insistent way of operating. We aren’t limited to “just raising the dead.” We instead get to reveal our union. We get to pass on the “good news” of “no separation from God” just like Jesus did but in our way and our time and our individuality. We get to “demonstrate” that “I and the Father are one” and not be limited by a Hebrew culture that required a miracle for authenticity. Instead we are speaking a truth that the Holy Spirit has already been revealing in everyone.
OK, that is some serious diatribe stuff, but I hope over the next few posts we can iron out some of the wrinkles that have formed especially over the last 100 years or so. Yes it was necessary to “overreact” to a horribly destructive doctrine of cessation. For a bunch of really bad reasons and disappointment and, to be honest, frustration that came from “trying to change the world” we developed a doctrine of “no miracles” that stuck for hundreds of years. God had a different plan. The Holy Spirit has been working in and among us in powerful ways to “get our attention.” But, did we miss it? Did we take a sign post and turn it into a doctrine or a destination? Did we take an “outpouring of the miraculous” and make it a religion of its own? Did we limit His intentions by making the miracles a focus? Was God trying to reveal something bigger than “magic wands?” Was God trying to show us that changing the world means changing us? Maybe, just maybe, God has always been trying to show us that when we see HIM as HE really is, we are transformed and so is everything else. We, humans, in His image, as Jesus, like Jesus, acting as Jesus, living in the reality of unity with our Abba………..this is IT.
Want to take a journey of discovery? Can you “let go” of any past “certainties” to entertain the “possibilities” of something that we might have missed? I do. I hope you will go with me. As a starting point let me present a Lance Literal of the first part of John chapter 14. Often this passage, in particular the verse above, has been used to say “and we will do miracles too, even bigger ones” or something like that. What if IT is bigger, like I am suggesting? OK, here you go with some commentary:
John 14:1 “Don’t be agitated in your inner self or mind. Have faith and trust in God; have faith and trust in me. 2 In my father’s family are many abiding places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I journey and die to make ready an opportunity for you? 3 And if I go and prepare an opportunity for you, I will come again and will take you to inter-twine with me, that in wherever I am you may be also. 4 And the journey I am taking, you remember and appreciate.” (LLT)
Jesus is telling them, as plainly as He can given their limited understanding, what is about to happen will change them from the inside out. After they see Him dead and raised again, knowing that He is God, they can’t be the same. I think we miss the impact, the raw emotion of it all. When mankind rejected and killed God in the most demeaning way imaginable while cursing Him and spitting on Him and ridiculing Him and shaming Him and so much more, this culture with their limited understanding would have expected their version of God jump out of the tomb and wipe them all out. Can you see? When Jesus shows up after the tomb He tells them to not be afraid. Why? If YOU killed someone who didn’t deserve it and they “came back to life” wouldn’t you be afraid they would seek revenge? Come on, we make horror movies about that kind of stuff. Now can you see the significance of what Jesus is trying to tell them?
John 14:5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not remember what you are coming under. How can we remember or appreciate the path?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the journey, and the reality, and the God breathed life. No one comes or goes to interact with the Father if not back and forth through me. 7 If you had experienced me, you would have remembered and appreciated my Father also. From now on you have experienced him and have perceived him.” (LLT)
Jesus explains what He is saying in 14:6. When He says He is the way, the truth and the life He is saying that we don’t have a path to and from God without Him because only through His life and death and resurrection will we “see” who God really is. To experience GOD we have to experience JESUS. Otherwise we are trying to worship a fictional g.o.d. that has us hiding in the bushes.
John 14:8 Philip said to him, “Lord, demonstrate to us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not intimately know me, Philip? Whoever has perceived and discerned me has perceived and discerned the Father. How can you say, ‘Demonstrate to us the Father’? 10 Do you not have faith and trust that I am in and among and within the Father and the Father is in and among and within me? The rhema, God breathed, promises that I utter as the final word to you are not “babble”, but the Father who dwells in me does his actions that complete His inner desires. 11 Have faith and trust in me that I am in and among and within the Father and the Father is in and among and within me, or else believe on account of the actions, that complete His inner desires, themselves. (LLT)
This is the crux of my supposition. Jesus is talking about way more than miracles of healing here. He is saying that His promises and instructions and sayings and declarations….everything that Jesus has told them is solid and real and can be trusted. What Jesus has revealed is God’s will on Earth. What Jesus has “demonstrated” to them is to be “intimated” as His person and nature and character. God’s “works” are His inner most desires coming into our reality. Finally, we can “see” who God really is. That may take the form of a miraculous healing but it will always take the form of something bigger and better and greater and more significant than our circumstance or our condition or our experience. We will “see” God. We will “know Him.” The knowledge of His nature and character and kindness and love and goodness and so much more will become our “eternal life.” We will be made whole in our person. Our eternal self will find it’s origin and identity in Him. We will know where we came from and where we are going and where we are right now in this moment. Yep, that is His promise.
John 14:12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever has faith and trust in me will also do the actions (that complete Our inner desire) that I do; and more important actions (that carry out His inner desire) than these will he do, because with the Father I move. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 And whatever, in any way, you request or demand or petition in the character and reputation and essence of me (in the revelation of Jesus and the Father are one) I will do it so that this “Father in and among and within the Son” understanding will become real to you.
Our “power” is always in and from the very nature of Jesus. “Who He is” is the foundation of our identity, a child of God. What He has revealed is our reality. Who He has revealed is our eternity. Come on, you have to be excited. We get to reveal God, the real God, the God who is love, to people. Can’t you imagine how fantastic that is? Can’t you begin to see how that would change people’s lives? Can’t you see that a revelation of our Abba to all His children would turn this world upside down in a good amazing and awesome way?
Maybe our “changing the world” has always been what Jesus demonstrated to us. Maybe we aren’t limited by miracles because we aren’t in the proving business. Jesus has proved and demonstrated and illuminated and still does. He, the Holy Spirit, has been poured out on all mankind. We already “know” something, someone, a greater truth. In our relationships with one another we “confirm” what we already “know.” This is our “works” that are far greater than just another demonstration of power. Our “magic wand” is the revelation of the Father in Jesus to all His children. Maybe you are beginning to see that our “works” are way more than just raising the dead. More to follow.