And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were recorded one by one [in detail], I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
I am writing this post today from a place of thoughtful frustration. I am not writing out of anger or indignation, but rather from disappointment and exasperation. Let me tell you what I am seeing that has me in such a state … As you know, the Lord has opened the spiritual eyes, minds, and hearts of my husband, myself, and a small [but growing] number of our fellow Christians. We are receiving new revelations as we read His Word about just how Big He is; how He wants to work with us [through spiritual dimensions] to accomplish His will on earth; and just exactly what that partnership looks like, in terms of His power and authority which He has entrusted to us.
We are understanding that we truly are made in His image, which means that Jesus [as God Incarnate] came to model what that looks like for us, who are spirits housed in these temporary shells called bodies. But my frustration comes from the evidence I have seen by which the established Church wants to limit our picture of what Jesus modeled and how it pertains to us. In other words, when a devoted Christian studies the Word as a Berean would, and tries to bring a new concept to the Fellowship of the Church, they are often ridiculed or silenced because this knowledge is not recognizable to this century’s version of Christianity.
And for those of you who do not know what a Berean is, they were the inhabitants of a small town called Berea (in what was northern Macedonia, or Greece) where Paul and Silas preached, and the Bereans were known for “having received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things [Paul preached about God] were so” (Acts 17:11).
It is apparent from the context of this verse that Paul was bringing new meanings or significance to their ideas about God. And what was their reaction? I will tell you what it wasn’t: “Wait a minute, we can’t accept this because it’s not what we’ve been taught”. And it wasn’t, “That doesn’t fit with my theology, so you are wrong”. And it most certainly was not, “We are just going to discount what you say because it’s beyond my ability to comprehend such a supernatural God”. No! In essence, what the Bereans had were open hearts to receive a greater image of not only Who their God was, but who they were as people made in His image!
They took the time to carefully study the Scriptures [that were available to them] to see if Paul and Silas were preaching accurately. And they spent time in the Word every day, carefully examining Paul’s claims about God to see if they were true. They didn’t automatically dismiss them out of an arrogance that their knowledge of God was complete and absolute.
And that is where my frustration lies with the majority of “Church people”. I am not doubting their love for God or their faith in Him. But I am disappointed when a faithful Believer is discouraged from sharing a view of God (and/or their relationship with Him) in terms that might be unfamiliar to the Church’s experience. And I am disappointed that instead of searching Scripture themselves to see if what is being presented expands their image and understanding of God, they are all too willing to stay in their “comfort zone” of 21st Century Christian traditions; keep God limited to their image of Him; and deny that there can be any new revelation of His Power and Glory.
Take for instance, the verifiable acts of Jesus in the New Testament: His physical healings; His spiritual healings by casting out demons; His ability to see into the spiritual realm, and even travel in the spirit from one place to another. If you doubt any of what I just said, let me show you where in your Bible we are given these Truths.
In Luke 8:1-3, we see both physical and spiritual healing: Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them[a] out of their means.
In Matthew 16:21-23, Jesus sees in the spirit: From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Now, I’m pretty sure the Modern Church reads these verses and says Jesus was just upset with Peter for not believing what He prophesied. And, sadly, they will discount all the times that He tells us that He only does what He sees the Father doing; showing us that He has the ability to see into the spiritual dimensions, and there’s a pretty good possibility that He actually saw Satan whispering his lies into Peter’s mind in an attempt to corrupt his thinking.
As far as Jesus traveling in the spirit, have you ever noticed how many times Jesus was slipping away and reappearing mysteriously? After praying all night on the mountain, Jesus appeared to the Disciples a distance away on the Sea, walking on water (Matt. 14:25). He also vanished from the sight of the men He met on the road to Emmaus, only to miraculously reappear to a different group a short time later (Luke 24:31-36).
These are just a few of the miracles and signs Jesus performed and about which the Bible records specifics. If you would like to see the complete list and their Scriptural addresses, click here. But I want to make my point very clear … here we have irrefutable examples of Jesus’s power and authority over the Enemy and His ability to work with the Father through spiritual dimensions. AND, as I have pointed out ad nauseum, He told us that those who believed in Him would do the same things, only greater (John 14:12).
Yet, how many of our fellow Christians have read their Bible and connected those dots? I mean, really read their Bible? I’m not talking about sitting in the Church building and listening to a Pastor (no matter how learned or scholarly) tell them what their Bible says — but read the Word for themselves “whether those things [preached] were so?
Think about it! We can’t even get Western Christians to think about what it means that He healed sicknesses, healed people oppressed by demons, could see into the spiritual realms, and could interact with Heaven [while still on earth]… and that we, like Him, are made in God’s image to do the same things!!! The Bible tells us He did those things, and He tells us we can do them, too! But the Western Church is so constrained by their closed hearts and minds that they can’t even see it!
So, that brings me to the verse that I have selected for today. Can you see how the Modern Church and modern Christians have limited their perception of Jesus, God, and themselves?!? If they can’t [or won’t] even acknowledge the things clearly written about and proclaimed, then what about all the things Jesus did [and we are capable of doing] that all the books in the world cannot contain?
Can you see how indifferent, ineffective, and incapable we have become in provoking the world to Godliness? Jesus came with miracles and signs to shake up the world to listen to His message! But what are we Christians doing? We are busy within the four walls we call “Church”, reassuring ourselves [and each other] that by coloring inside the lines, we are ensuring safe passage to Heaven. But that looks nothing like what Jesus called the Apostles (or me!) to do.
His message was radical for His day, and it is still radical for the world today! Yet we have become too comfortable in our own image as Western Christians; and sadly, we seem not to recognize the true image of Christ; the image we are to aspire to.
I know I can’t expect the Church to just wake up tomorrow and the scales be removed from their eyes; or that their hearts and minds will be opened to the vastness of God and our potential to serve His Kingdom … but for goodness sake, let’s quit silencing those among us who are diligently searching the Word because they want their fellow Christian to see Jesus for ALL He is, and to see ourselves for ALL we can become!
As the website BibleHub comments, “Jesus Christ, Himself, is the one perfect manifestation in history of the complete work of the Holy Spirit in man”. He wants that work to continue in us! Why are we stifling it? God wants to do the same work in us as He did in Jesus, and it can be accomplished … if we just obey Jesus’ command to Follow Me. Notice, He doesn’t say, “Follow man’s traditions in the Church”. He doesn’t say, “Keep to a rigid theology that excludes what I can do in you”. And He doesn’t say, “There are no new revelations of Me”. He sent the Holy Spirit to us as our Helper; to reveal what Churches, Sunday Schools, Pastors; and yes, all the books in the world, cannot do … show us Christ in His fullness, and us in His image.
So let me finish by saying this … I am not making a blanket indictment of the entire Church. I am simply pleading to my fellow Believers, who like the Pharisees, show skepticism, contempt, and disdain for anyone who threatens to upset their long-held belief system. Let’s shake off our normalcy bias, and let us encourage each other and celebrate the hunger [that] those among us have to know Our Savior. After all, God can still send forth men and women [who like Jesus, the man] can be His messengers to share a divine or supernatural disclosure of Himself. Let us not limit God or His ability to use us!