February 13, 2019

Jesus knows all about the brat in me . . .

Recently I noted that Jesus knows all things except when He will return, showing that He is our example in how the things of God are known. They are revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. I believe that this is true about Jesus when He lived here on earth. In becoming a man, He showed us what we should be as His children, relying on God for everything.

For instance, Jesus does not know the day of His return but He was totally aware of the day of His departure.

They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know, for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him. (Mark 9:30–32)

Even though He told the disciples, they didn’t get it. The Holy Spirit needed to open their minds to this truth. This explains why people can read the Bible, even the very words of Jesus Christ yet not understand them.

Jesus also knows our hearts and ambitions. He and the disciples were on their way to Capernaum. When they got there . . .

He asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” (Mark 9:33–37)
Jesus knew what they were doing and told them what was wrong with their attitudes. The passage does not say that they understood this either. What part of being like a child and receiving Him like a child did He mean? How can receiving Jesus be the same as receiving the Father who sent Him? This must have been puzzling to these twelve men. Their lack of understanding is revealed in what Mark wrote next:
John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. For the one who is not against us is for us. For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward. (Mark 9:38–41)

John, perhaps the most loving and gentle of the twelve, wanted to stop others from doing the work of Christ because that other person was not in their group. This attitude has been repeated throughout history causing division such as church splits and even wars. The sinful human heart is all about “us four, no more, shut the door” creating cliques and exclusiveness that is far from childlike and far from the will of God. We need to be like children who, if not instructed otherwise, don’t notice differences on the playground; they simply play together.

Jesus knows the human heart, the causes of our divisions and the pride that keeps us from acting like the children of God that He declares believers to be. However, my experience is that I can read His words many times, but not understand it until He gives me that understanding. His truth is not about IQ or any other human attributes; it is about having my eyes opened by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus, while it isn’t spelled out in these verses from Mark, the New Testament often shows that what You reveal to me is connected to my obedience. That is, if I do what I already know, more is given. If I get hung up on a truth and fight it with a proud “I don’t want to” heart or the attitude that “I can do this myself” then usually You will show me only what I need to get over this impasse and obey You as I should. I’m glad to be Your child. At times the word ‘brat’ might be a better description, yet Your loving grace and patience is always there, treating me from Your big loving heart, the heart of an all-knowing and good Father.

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