CALVARY LEADS US INTO THE DIVINE HEART
J. Grant Swank, Jr.
"If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." John l5:l9
Sensitive believers are taken aback by the hatred bestowed upon them for being kind, moral and loving God. It does not make sense.
Welcome, then, to a world that does not make sense. Why then, in heaven's name, does the Christian forever seek to find full-blown heaven here? It is not here. We are spinning upon a spiritually traumatized planet. It is not balanced. It is very much off-kilter.
What the world calls love, should be hated. What the world hates should be loved. The Old Testament prophet said as much.
Therefore, basic postulate for learning from the divine mind is to get with the fundamentals: the world will hate you if you love God.
Consequently, take such hatred as a sign that you are loved by God. Further, understand that the more you are despised, the more you must truly adore Jesus.
Jesus has been quite kind in warning His own grace children ahead of time about the world's disdain for them. He has cautioned us ahead of time. Therefore, take Jesus most seriously. Do not try to pollyanna Jesus' gospel thrust. It is deadly.
Supposedly when family hates the believer it hurts the most. That is why Jesus instructed that His own must hate their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters--family--in order to follow Him. Hatred is stated to shock the believer into realizing how seriously this whole package is to be taken. It is not a simple concept. It is a most serious concept, though not complex. Therefore, it is to be adopted personally and dealt with daily--head on.
No one can take Jesus' place--not even family. Jesus is God. God comes first or He does not fit in at all. Deity is a jealous presence; rightly so. Therefore, deity demands prime place. Give Him that and be done with it.
When that is a foundation block of your very existence, then you will wake up mornings to face the world's sneer. Live with it. Pray for that world. Go on your way rejoicing in all things. Thank Jesus that you are truly one of His or you would not be so mistreated. Later on you will have eternity to be treated rightly.
In the meantime, count yourself one of His, wearing His badge. Do you not want to be like Jesus? Then be like Him--stand up courageously and prayerfully to the hatred of those about you. He did. He prayed for them: "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing."
Now that is taking the planet's hatred seriously.
Further, Jesus spoke to Father, stating that Jesus had given the words from Father to the disciples. The disciples had received the words.
In other words, the disciples had come to realize that Jesus was more than mortal; He was deity as well. He received "the words" from outside Himself. And His Source was heaven.
What was left to discover was whether or not the disciples then acted properly on the words they had received from Jesus who had received the words from Father. That would be the crux of the cross.
Spiritual knowledge in itself can damn. Acted upon rightly such data can bring life.
It is one matter to receive information, it is quite another matter to put it into practice.
Peter had been a disciple who had received "the word." However, in the test of the courtyard, he did not act properly upon "the word." Nor did so many of the other disciples as they hid in the caves while Jesus was put to the wall.
It is the same in every generation. There are countless souls who have the nomenclature, doctrine, wherewithal regarding verbalizing religion. That in itself can damn. It is whether or not same souls live out that knowledge. "To whom much has been given, much is required."
We start each day with the choice to listen to "the word" and then follow up with surrender or hear the word while becoming too busy to put it into the plan.
Today you have the chance to hear from the awesome God who indwells you by way of His holy presence. Not all mortals spinning upon the planet are into all that. Most are not.
The crucial question then is this: Will you take this precious information and implant it into your breakfast thoughts, then do the same on-goingly until you rest in sleep this evening?
"I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me: and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me."
Fine. Now what?
The cross carrier is forever confronted with the dark side's attempt to get doubt into the journey.
Jesus informed His own of His identity--God. They accepted that declaration as eternal mystery. Jesus knew full well that within a short time these same men would have that premise challenged. The Calvary massacre would test their postulate.
However, at the time that they stated that they got His point, Jesus then affirmed that they believed rightly: However, He did so with a question: "Do ye now believe?" In other words, things are all set up properly now; but what will it be from here on out?
So it was with cousin John. Jesus and John had grown up together. Now they were young adults in their early thirties. John had spent his young adult energy in evangelism. Jesus had just begun His messianic ministry.
In such a brief time, John's calling was cut short by being jailed. There he sat in a cell, wondering about the actual identity of cousin Jesus. Was He or wasn't He? Had John been fooled? Had the whole messianic deal been nothing other than an illusion? With a knife close to the neck, there might be an allowance for mental confusion. So it was that John's certainty began to waver--doubt about Jesus' real self.
Likewise, Jesus knew that the disciples would have their faith in Him put to the pressing point. With heartache, Jesus must have told them what He responded to John: "Do not be embarrassed by knowing Who I am, believing in Me."
So it is with each cross carrier. There will come the moment when you will be so utterly burdened by the anguish of the timber that you will cry out your own doubt. At that point, do not despair. It is one thing to doubt; it is another to despair.
In other words, back there when life was fairly on keel, you knew Him as God. To the question: "Do you NOW believe?" you shouted: "YES!" But right NOW, the knife is close to your neck and you are wobbly. It is frightening. The demons are crawling all over your brain. Nothing is working; life is imploding. NOW do you still believe that Jesus is God Almighty, in charge of all dedications, working every tiny strand for your good and the gospel furtherance?
The cross jaunt does include certain portions in which the carrier is put to the bloody wall along with Jesus on that Thursday night.
"Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me."
And so the Father is with you, too. And the Son. And the Holy Spirit. Somehow find it within your doubt to at least hold onto all that for in due time you will come to hug all that to your heart with relish. In the meantime, know you are in John's jailhouse company--and good company it is.
Hear Jesus say to you as He said to John: "Please, don't be offended by being close to Me. Sometimes this trek can get quite dangerous and uncertain to the flesh."