“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!”
Jesus said He is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. (John 14:6 NASB) Does this not imply a journey, a standard, and a destination for us, all of which occur after we meet Him?
I do not find Jesus ever implying or stating clearly, “Once you know Me and what I did for you, you are good to go.” Why? Because He was not good to go! He had something to do and we do also.
Jesus said, in Mark 8:34 (NASB77)
”…If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
The word “deny” is aparneomai Strongs G533. to deny utterly, disown, abstain: deny.
The cross of Christ was a curse that blessed us as it helped Him depart. Our cross is a blessing that helps us avoid the curse as it helps us depart.
We know Jesus, as the Son of Man, learned obedience by the things He suffered. (Hebrews 5:8) He also learned how difficult obedience could be as the Son of Man, full of the Spirit of God. The Garden testimony proves this as He sweats as it were great drops of blood in facing His trial. He doesn’t ask to be excused once but several times, of course obediently submitting to the Fathers will and plan. (See Matthew 26: 36 – 44)
Why would we not also expect to have to learn obedience to God through the things we struggle with? Relating to Jesus as the Son of Man is not only critical but very encouraging. It is critical to eternal life and encouraging because He proved a son of man could do it!
God said to Moses in Deuteronomy 5:29 (NASB77) “They have done well in all that they have spoken, Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear Me, and keep all My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their sons forever!”
So what does this have to do with purifying ourselves? Historically we have come to understand that keeping all the various laws would be impossible. This does not apply to our means of escape into eternity. We did not gather the heart of the law. That is, to love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself. Doing that sums up the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:40 NASB)
Pure as He is pure? Is that possible? If we are going to see Him as He is, we must purify ourselves. 1 John 3:2-3 (NASB) “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
How do we do that? The same way He did! Remember He is The Way?
Everything we look forward to, proven after Christ’s resurrection, is the result of what He did before His resurrection!
Remember the sins that were upon Jesus, our sins? If all of our sins were laid upon Him as the sacrificial Lamb, how is it that this Lamb survived? Yes I realize He is in His resurrected form now. Still the Son of Man survived this ordeal. He gained the resurrected life we are seeking.
Remember this verse? Philippians 2:5-8 (NASB)
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Note He, “emptied Himself” to come here. I believe it is clear that in order for the Son of Man to accomplish His Father’s goal, to die as our reconciler and return home, to “accomplish His departure in Jerusalem, (Luke 9:31 NASB) Jesus had to escape these earthly bonds. I believe the clear evidence of how He did so is in His specific actions. Jesus had to do the same thing to leave here as He did to get here. He emptied Himself to leave! Make no mistake this is our divine task also.
How did He empty Himself? Was it, “committing suicide by cross?” Of course not! What DID He do on the cross? What did He NOT do? There were no railing accusations, no curses, not even in those last “forsaken hours.”
Jesus accomplished His mission when He forgave us, when He emptied Himself of all earthly baggage, the offenses, the injustice, the stuff like that which is in our souls today; stuff that will never be smuggled into heaven! Never! Only hearts at peace having made peace will enter in.
Romans: 12:18 (NASB77) “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”
Hebrews 12:14 (NASB77) “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.”
We have a mission also, one we will die for in a divine death if we can grasp the glory in Christ. It is a reconciling rescue mission. Our purity, in the fear of the Lord, will get it done.
His mission was not just to die for us. Teaching us by the power of the Holy Spirit, expressing the Father’s instructions, simplifying the law as a new husband, the former husband dying (figuratively) as Jesus satisfied the Law Himself being the last and perfect sacrifice. (see Romans 7:1-6) Jesus, ordained by His (and our) heavenly Father, pointed to the heart and Spirit of what the law was supposed to accomplish. Jesus as the Son of Man gave us a key of all keys, opening the Way, the path of righteousness, to eternity. (See Romans 5:21) It is the path He took, the key He used, to accomplish His departure! What path? What key?
While bearing the weight of our sins, (not His) He forgave us, no He went further and interceded for us! We beat Him half to death; we rejected Him, He was innocent but many called Him guilty, a fake, a false prophet, a blasphemer. He remained silent until the Word of God came to His lips.
So what did Jesus do? Jesus forgave everything we had done up to that moment. He implemented the Word of God to accomplish His departure.
Matthew 6:14 (NASB77)
“For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”
He became sin legally as the silent, the perfect Lamb led to slaughter. As good as dead by crucifixion but not yet dead, He forgives us, interceding and poof…. Like a confetti balloon, all those sins are gone! He has purified Himself just as we can! Jesus goes and gets the keys to death, hell and the grave not as the biggest sinner (bearing our sins) but as the spotless, pure Lamb, the Son of Man our majestic Savior, the Christ!
It appears Jesus thought that once He forgave us (on the cross) He would depart immediately. Jesus cries out to God, thinking in His heart, “Why hast Thou forsaken Me?”
Do you remember this verse? John 10:17-18 (NASB77)
” For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”
Not only do we see now how Jesus through grace and intercession purified Himself of our sins, I believe this verse above explains why Jesus remained on the cross for those extra hours.
Even “forsaken” Jesus did not curse us or betray the Father’s plan. As a Spirit filled Son of Man Jesus proved WE could endure as Spirit filled sons of men. At some point in the future we may also wonder, like John the Baptist did when Jesus left him in prison, but God never really forsook Jesus. How do I know? In spite of His physical condition, the Word of God was still hidden in the Lord’s heart. Finally…. I believe the Holy Spirit brought back to Jesus His own words just as He will do for us.
Jesus was not dead yet because He had not laid down His life! Nobody was to take it. He was to lay it down! (John 10:18)
Once He did….
Luke 23:44-46 (NASB77) “And it was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 the sun being obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, INTO THY HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.” And having said this, He breathed His last.
Oh loved ones. Let us purify ourselves as He is pure. Let us purge ourselves of all unrighteousness. By God’s grace reigning in our lives, ruling over our conflicts through forgiveness, let us as generously grant grace after having received an abundance ourselves. Yes we must receive grace and now we know why it is far better to give than receive.
Remember Jesus granted grace, and departed successfully.
“If we remain in His grip, how far from His heart can we be!”
In the guardianship of Christ,
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