18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
We are told here that having the Spirit will cause us to groan inwardly. We groan because we eagerly await the completion of our salvation, because we know there is more. We are confident in the glory that will be revealed. We know this because of the Holy Spirit within, bearing witness to our spirit. That is how we know we know. We don’t understand this peace beyond understanding, yet we have it.
In our weakness, we are unable to translate our yearnings and desire into the language of the kingdom, for we are bound still by the flesh of creation and the finite. The Spirit speaks for us, even as we are without words, for He knows the language of the infinite. Just as the spoken words of the Father sound like thunder or the rushing of mighty waters, the words of the Spirit can be likened to groaning to our primitive ears.
The Spirit has been given by God and dwells in our hearts, and has become one with our’s. It is God Who searches the heart. It is with His Spirit we are able to answer. It is with His Spirit we have the answer. That is His plan. This is His will.
Mark 12:28-31 ESV 28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all? ” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. ’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ’ There is no other commandment greater than these. ” Jesus says in many places other than here that there is one God. Our undivided and total love is due Him. Verse 31 states the second commandment, which seems say that after giving everything to God, that more love is required for our neighbors and ourselves. If we are to give God our all, how can we be expected to have anything left over to give to someone else? When we love others, we show our love for God. They are one and the same thing, just as the Father and Son are one. We love God with our love for others.
38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me. ” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will. ” 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. ” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.
I have always assumed the flesh Jesus speaks of is that of His disciples. They fall asleep as they wait for Him, but Jesus also has a body of flesh and He finds it to be weak. He faced the same temptations that are before all mankind. His spirit is willing, but He is also man, and that is why His soul is sorrowful, "even to death". The utter despair of those words comes from the lips of the One Who is the light and life of the world.
But He would overcome the flesh and thus overcome the world. He goes to the Father in prayer, as in all things. He brings this before the Father three times before rising in obedience. In contrast, Peter would soon deny Him three times after the Lord was taken. I don't see anything said about Peter praying before he boldly asserted what he would do. Maybe that is a type of sleep, a weakness of the flesh, even for a spirit that is willing.
34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Ephesians 1:3-4 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
Creation moves toward the kingdom which is yet to be revealed as the new heaven and earth. God is making a people that are holy, therefore able come into His presence. It is only then we are able to find our rest in Him. Choosing God, obeying Him, has always been the desire of the Father. He has given of Himself, lavishing us in a love that is both unmatched and without end.
We have been invited back into the Garden if we would but pick the fruit from the tree of life. He has chosen to make the choice ours. It has always been ours, from the beginning.
Exodus 3:3-4 Amp
3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burned. 4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the midst of the bush and said, Moses, Moses! And he said, Here am I. A mysterious thing caught the eye of Moses. Instead of passing it by, Moses went over to the bush to find out more. When God saw this, He spoke to Moses, calling his name. Moses answered, "Here am I". The bush could signify eternal life. It is not a flower that withers, or grass that fades, for it is lit with the fire of God and by His Hand. A sign in the desert. First Moses seeks what can be found. God reveals Himself. Moses answers. God calls to all of us. It remains with us whether we turn aside.
Luke 23:46 ESV
46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit! ” And having said this he breathed his last.
34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani? ” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? ” It is His human spirit He commits to God the Father on the cross, not the Holy Spirit. It was His human spirit which was sacrificed to death, His life given instead of our life taken. The Holy Spirit departed as the sinless one became our sin. It is because of that act of love that Jesus tells us He is with us always, that this is even possible.
12At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, 13and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
God told Moses that Aaron was to lay his hands on a live goat, confess the sins of the people and send it away into the wilderness by the hands a man who is able and ready. Jesus was ready. He entered the desert that proved too much for the people of Israel. It is too much for any and all of us. For this reason He came.
The wilderness of the heart is the journey we must all undertake. We would fall and fail without Him by our side. without Him in our hearts. His was the power of heaven, and angels attended Him. He makes this power available for us. As we face the wilderness within us and in the world, we can place our faith and trust in the One Who Overcame the world. The one who endures will be embraced by the One Who Endures Forever.
4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
We sometimes will point to the idea we are made in the image of God, and the Bible says that, but also says when Jesus took on our image He became nothing, in the likeness of man. We don't point to that verse quite as often. Some might read this as another example of why the Bible is unreliable, or take one verse and forget the other.
Another thought for consideration is that both statements are true if considered in context. Genesis tells us that man was created in God's image, but tells us that death entered creation through man's disobedience. Collectively, we fell and death became part of the human form.
God was not satisfied to leave us in that state. He came and took our fallen shape, a likeness of our own making. He became obedient to the point of death, for due to disobedience, that's where we are. He came to restore us to the glory we lost, for His glory.
Obedience is required, just as in the beginning. Jesus has shown the way, truth, and life.
John 3:1618 NIV 16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
Discounting the Bible, or being unfamiliar with it, one might say God loves everybody and that everyone will be saved. This is another way of saying there is no sin and if God sent His Son to die for us, then that was a mistake on His part, perhaps a careless error.
It is true that God so loved the world as it says in verse 16. However, if one continues reading there is more said. Ignoring this is of no benefit to anyone eternally, though it might make this "God" thing more palatable for some here and now.
Saying that God got it right in verse 16 but didn't in verse 18 would be laughable if it were not so sad. Both are true, or neither one.
The world is hostile to this truth. That is the bad news of the good news. But if you hold out the good news maybe another one will be saved or encouraged. This is the gospel of love and it is for the world.
Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt that day
But Pharaoh said it isn't going to end this way
Moses found himself at the edge of a sea
Pharaoh's army close at hand
And he knew it was here
He would have to make his stand
He cried out to the Lord
I need a little help oh Lord
I need a little help oh Lord
I stand in need
I need your strong arm to see me through
I need a little help oh Lord
I place my trust in you
Mark 1:9-11 ESV 9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased. ” Out of Nazareth, out of the Israelites, in the fullness of time, the heavens are opened as the Son begins the work He has come to do. He has opened the gates of heaven.
Later, when He is given over to death, the veil in the temple is torn providing access to God. His work is accomplished. No one is able to close what He has opened, or open what He has closed, for He is the gate and the way.
Jesus sees heaven opened, the Spirit descend, and hears the Father speak. No longer does the Spirit only hover over the water, but comes down and remains.
The Father gives witness. It doesn't say anyone else saw or heard. I think this speaks to the internal evidence of the eternal truth. This is the witness of the Father.
It is the same with us. The Holy Spirit testifies to our spirit and is revealed in our lives.
We have the power to open or close a door as well, the one to our heart. Jesus has opened the heavens and issued the invitation. He goes from door to door and knocks. We decide whether to open or not. No one else can do so.
Some say we are only body. Some say that we are a living spirit. The Bible says we are both, that Jesus took on our flesh, died, was resurrected and then took on an immortal body. If you are able to accept this gospel, it also says that we will be like Him, as He is now.
14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith. ”
Paul felt an obligation, an imperative to spread and make known the gospel of Jesus Christ, "for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,".
He was eager to share such a revelation and truth, for it contains salvation and life. It tells the story of love, the sacrificial love of God. Included in this simple gospel is what God did and what we are to do, and it is simply wonderful.
7 And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. ”
Baptism with the Holy Spirit is superior to water for it is accomplished with the living water.
Just as Jesus is superior to John, so are their respective baptisms.
John's baptism represents the preparation for the Son of God as expressed in the Old Testament. The baptism of Jesus ushers in the new covenant with God. He turns water into wine.
This baptism is poured out from heaven, rain for a parched earth, the flame whose light guides us into the things of God and secures His own.
Jesus did not use water. That was the task of His disciples, a thing that pointed to what He was about to do. It would not be a sprinkling or immersion in water. His baptism would be a deeper thing and take place on the inside. It would cleanse the heart.
32 And the priest who is anointed and consecrated as priest in his father's place shall make atonement, wearing the holy linen garments. 33 He shall make atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tent of meeting and for the altar, and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly.
Jesus took our place in place of His Father. We become one with the Father in the tent of meeting. We meet in the person and sacrifice of Jesus. He is in fact the place of meeting. We can then become the tent of meeting as we abide in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and they abide in us.
23 “Then Aaron shall come into the tent of meeting and shall take off the linen garments that he put on when he went into the Holy Place and shall leave them there. 24 And he shall bathe his body in water in a holy place and put on his garments and come out and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people and make atonement for himself and for the people.
Jesus would disrobe and wash the feet of His disciples, who were becoming His body, that is the church. He said later they would understand.
He discarded the garment that had become sin, and put on the garment of the resurrected body. In the tomb He left behind the grave clothes, folding the covering that was on His face. Mortality is defeated. The world overcome.
The tent of meeting represents God in creation, Emmanuel(God With Us).
The landscape was desolate, mostly rock and sand. Life existed, but survival was a hard fought battle that took place everyday. Nothing was taken for granted. Nothing was given.
He sat in the meager shade of a rock. It was his only protection from the merciless rays of a sun that seemed to have come too close to the earth. It wasn’t much, he thought, but enough. The stillness around him was profound, offering no distraction or enticement. Life here was as hard as the rock that gave him shelter, with no sympathy for the human condition. This was understood and accepted.
Why am I here? He had asked himself this question countless times, even as he knew the answer. He was waiting, just as he had been waiting all his life. He came from a people that waited, that clung to hope and a promise made long ago.
As far back as he could remember, his parents had spoken of the visitations of angels. In words of awe and wonder they recounted these visions concerning their unborn child, foretelling his role in the unfolding drama of God. Their joy and certainty were without question. He had grown up with these stories and he had grown into these stories. He had come to understand and confirm these things within himself. There was a witness in his soul that said yes, though the details were not yet known.
He would announce the arrival of the long awaited Christ, the Savior of his people. He would make them ready for the Mighty One of God. He was to lift his voice to speak the very words of God, “Prepare...”. His name was John, but he was here to speak of someone else.
Though long in coming, he sensed that the time was at hand. Everything that went before was giving way to the now. It was like a finger poised above water, not yet troubling the surface, yet somehow the water was aware of the coming immersion.
People came out of the towns and cities to hear him. They left their creature comforts to listen to this man, beyond the limits of their normal lives and for reasons that weren’t exactly clear to themselves. They heard in his voice something that drew them. “Repent, turn to God”! It was not a new idea, but somehow it was as it came from the lips of this man. A restlessness was stirred. An unspoken emptiness was touched. They went to see.
What they saw was a man of no pretense. He lived simply. His clothes were rough. His food consisted of what he found to eat around him. At times it could be honey, but more often than not, it was locusts. He did not seem to bothered or concerned about food the way some would. Something else occupied him, quite beyond the day to day. He appeared to be focused on something beyond the ordinary. A man on a mission.
His message was as uncomplicated as it was compelling. “Repent of your ways and return to God!” For some reason this was quite different from the usual fare heard from their religious leaders, with all its requirements, laws, and interpretations. They assumed with confidence that God was with them, that they spoke for God. For some reason, all of that seemed empty in this place of emptiness. There were no walls here to block one’s gaze. The noise of town life receded into a silence broken only by a heartbeat.
Mark 1:2-3 (NIV) 2It is written in Isaiah the prophet:
"I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way" 3"a voice of one calling in the desert,
'Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.' " The messenger would be the last of the prophets that would speak for God prior to the arrival of Jesus. God had not spoken through a prophet for a very long time. Now the silence would be broken. The Old Testament serves as testimony of another wilderness journey that took place. God chose a people out of the wilderness to make Himself known, to prepare the world for His coming. The time had come.
Mark 1:1 (NIV) 1The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Commonly viewed as the first written gospel account, it is a recollection and recounting of that personal experience. A witness is given of the breath drawn, the touch of His hand, the words of His mouth, death on the cross, and the power of His resurrection.
Creation is like a play that has been staged, but one where the actors write their dialog. Some will even look at the props and declare they just happened, denying the play writer and director. Kinda funny from the audience viewpoint, but sad at the same time.
A choral work, or composition, uses different voices: soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. The differences add to the complexity and richness in the music. In the same way, the gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John reflect the one Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are woven and sung together to fill the air with the intent of the composer, which is the Holy Spirit. There is more music in the heart and mind of our Father in heaven, but these are given that we might begin singing even though we don't know all the words. There is much more.
3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"11 "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more."
If one speculates that Jesus was writing the names and sins of her accusers on the ground, we might go further and say that what was written there was still there when they left. Then Jesus stopped writing, maybe before writing her name. Only He and the woman remained. No one was able to condemn her because they were no better. I imagine gentle words, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more". We are told elsewhere that when we place our faith in Him that our sins will be remembered no more and that our names are written in the Book of Life. Maybe that is done with His finger dipped in His own blood, for it is by His blood we are saved. A wonderful "from now on" begins.
Psalms 145:16 ESV You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. We must choose wisely because we will reap what we sow. God may harden a heart, but a man chooses the shape, according to his desire.
10 “Thus says the Lord God: On that day, thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil scheme 11 and say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will fall upon the quiet people who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates,’ 12 to seize spoil and carry off plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places that are now inhabited, and the people who were gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell at the center of the earth.
This is where world interest and conflict is focused, Jerusalem where the Bible says God will dwell. The pattern of conflict between Cain and Able continues to play out in actions taking place today. Cain didn't listen to God then and his seed does not now.
3 Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. 4 And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him. ” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments. ” 5 And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head. ” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by.
6 And the angel of the Lord solemnly assured Joshua, 7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my charge, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here. 8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch. 9 For behold, on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven eyes, I will engrave its inscription, declares the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day. 10 In that day, declares the Lord of hosts, every one of you will invite his neighbor to come under his vine and under his fig tree. ”
The angel takes away the filthy garments. Who can remove our iniquities but Jesus?
Who is the Branch other than the root of Jesse?
What is the stone with seven eyes other than the stone that causes men to stumble, that is filled with the Spirit of God?
His Word is written on our hearts, not on tablets of stone.
A man's vine will be the Lord and his fruit will prosper. They are a sign, and so are we.
16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops? ’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry. ’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be? ’
The rich man in this parable thinks he is preparing for himself, but learns otherwise. He was indeed preparing for his future, but not in the way he thought or would have liked.
That happens when one exchanges truth for something else.
John 3:5-8 5Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, 'Youmust be born again.' 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."
He's speaking to Nicodemus here, a man of the Pharisees, of the new thing that God is about to do. I remember somewhere it says that God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy.
Israel has been the "the son of God", but now the Son of Man is about to redefine what it means to be sons and daughters of the living God. His Spirit is given to all and goes forth outside the boundaries of Jewish nation. As Isaiah said, they would be ever seeing and ever hearing, but would not know. They didn't see that coming, in fact missed the whole thing, even with all the clues given in their law.
Those reborn have that Spirit and are of the Spirit. They know from where it comes and where it goes. He is the Alpha and Omega.
The world is unable to perceive that same Spirit today. They may be able to "hear its sound", that is see evidence of its passing, but attribute it to anything but God. Those with the Spirit give witness to and move with its power.
Jesus spoke Spirit words for He is the Word. Without the Spirit, His words are undecipherable. There is just a sound.
No one else will occupy your space. It is not possible for someone else to be better than you, for no one else is you. Your witness of His creation and the life you live is like no other. The only one on earth that can be better than you is you. The only way that is possible is to be you in Christ.
26"When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. Other translations render the Counselor as advocate, intercessor, helper, and friend, but not Savior. There is a distinct function and Person in the Spirit of truth. He is also sent from the Father, but Jesus makes it happen. He makes this possible, for He has paid the price of sin. Truth and grace came through Jesus. Through His grace and mercy, truth is given to the world, yesterday and today.
The Spirit is from and goes out from the Father. He is of the same essence of the One God. Just as Jesus spoke the words of the Father, the Spirit will testify about Jesus. Those that hold on to the word of God and the testimony of Jesus will endure. This happens when the Counselor comes and the word is written in the heart. We are brought into that Holy relationship, the kingdom of God.