Friday, April 10, 2009

From Cross To Crown: Part Two

(It is imperative that you first read Part One below)

What really triggered this for me several months ago is when I found the following verse. Look, if you will, at 2 Corinthians 5:16 which states, “Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.” Paul said that they didn’t know Jesus according to the flesh anymore. Of course, “anymore” references clearly that, at one time, they did. Some further questions then arose within me: “So what’s changed? Why do they no longer know Him as earthly Jesus? Is there significance in how it is worded?”

I feel that in the well-known verse preceding, there is something quite interesting that is seemingly overlooked. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

Read it again and see what stands out to you. It doesn’t say if anyone is in Jesus, he is a new creature, does it? Could it be that there is something to this? Is there a deeper understanding of the Gospel message than what is commonly told? I believe so. I don’t desire to only follow after the earthly Jesus, I long to intimately know The Christ as He is now. I believe that this is some of what Christ was referencing when He stated, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.”

His death and resurrection restored what the first Adam lost – intimacy with the Creator. No longer did sacrifices and religious efforts need to be exerted, for He was the final sacrifice for all time, restoring us to the Father. “He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time…” Hebrews 10:12

In John 17, immediately before He was betrayed, Jesus is found talking to God and says “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”

Jesus’ task was about to be completed. His earthly purpose was coming to an end.
So why does the vast majority of Christianity today never move past Jesus’ earthly life when “(Jesus) said, ‘It is finished!’? John 19:3

“It is finished” is “teleo”, meaning fulfilled, accomplished, paid, performed, expired, brought to a close, ended, passed, executed, completed.

What was finished? His earthly life - what was necessary for us to live as free from the bondage of sin and death! He had accomplished every task and purpose that His earthly life had been sent to accomplish. Again I reiterate, Jesus is no longer flesh that we should know Him according to it! That “part” of Jesus is over, completed, fulfilled and finished. Let go of the ‘ol rugged cross and live a “now” life in Christ!

So, the day is fast approaching when everyone dresses up extra nice, hunts for “Easter eggs”, buys pretty flowers and is suddenly spiritual for 24 hours. I urge you to be careful to not miss the whole point of the Death and the Resurrection. Don’t settle for traditions and doctrines of men. Even though they seemingly seem right and are often pleasurable, they lead to death and deception. See the great width and depth of what took place at the Cross. Look into the events that The Word speaks of regarding Who Christ is now and what that means for you! Please, don’t just go through another year of rituals and worldly celebrations! Celebrate the victory given us through Christ… in every season!

As the angels said to the women at the tomb, so I say to you today, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead?” (Luke 24:5) He has risen! Seek the risen Saviour! Go deeper and know Jesus as He is now - the Christ, the anointed Messiah!



NINA said...

Beautiful. My eyes began to water as I read it. I am familiar with these scriptures, but I can never be too familiar. It becomes new to me over and over again. It is a shame that we as believers only pay close attention to this matter at "EASTER" time. Because all of this took place so that we can live freely daily. Every day that we wake up, we walk in the benefits of the crucifixion. I stopped buying "Easter" baskets and new clothes for my son a few years back. As people we love to celebrate everything with traditions and trinkets. But I believe that believers should truly reconsider this if for no other holiday but this one. All of these things lessen the effectiveness and hinders the message. The resurrection message should not be taken lightly because it is the foundation of our existence. It should not be tampered with or shared with tradition. It should stand alone without the distraction of "things". We must learn to show more reverence concerning that which is sacred. Recognition is not reverence, however many people seem to confuse the two.I believe that it is borderline sacrilegious the way the churches have combined "Easter" with the resurrection because it is hands down the most sacred of any holiday. It should be taken to be as sacred and sensitive as fasting and holy communion. Thanks for this message.

Nathan said...

This really pushes my present understanding of Jesus. While much of it seems almost sacriligious, I feel compelled to look into it more for myself.

So do you think that it is in fact wrong to seek to be like earthly Jesus then?

Joel Spencer said...

Nina: When you said "recognition is not reverence" I could have jumped out of my seat as that is worded exactly how I intend it to say it! We have been dumbed down to believe that is somehow honoring to God - it is not. If we think that God is impressed with our "church clothes" and haughty-taughy demeanor on "holy days", we are sadly mistaken. God does not even see as man sees!

In the end, it is all about us - not Him. It makes us feel good. Pretty flowers adorning the beautiful wood pews inside the towering ediface with stunning stained glass. Children in pretty dresses and suits. This all makes us feel like we're doing Him some favor, but it is we who enjoy it.

How do I know? Because I did it for my entire "Christian" life (which was not life at all, by the way)!

Once again, thanks Nina for sharing your thoughts here.

Nathan: Good question. I think that striving to "be like earthly Jesus" is a fantastic goal. However, Jesus, as we have been taught Him to be, is in fact not Who He is now. He Himself said that we could do even greater things than He because He moved from Jesus of flesh and blood to The Christ, seated beside the Father.

So, while a lifestyle modeled after what Jesus taught and exemplified is not wrong, it is not the end. It is The Christ within us, our hope of glory that enables us to establish His Kingdom and Lordship upon this earth.

Again, I will never insinuate that we are not to look to what Jesus did while He walked upon this earth. However, I will also choose to see Him as He is now, for now He is not limited to flesh and blood, He is Spirit alone, returned to the glory that He once had before He came.

It is hard to explain here, but we must go further in!

David B. said...

I was lurking in the shadows on your myspace comment page and have seen what flack you're getting over this. I'm sorry that you're being attacked over urging people to study the Word (deeply studying is opening the door for "satan to play tricks" ? Wow.) Whether I agree with you or not is not the issue - it's about what the Bible says.

Studying for myself.......

Joel Spencer said...

David: Thanks for the encouragement - it was timely to say the least. You know what I'm discovering more and more? Anything that opposes religious doctrines and teachings absolutely enrage many people. I am seeing it more and more all of the time, even in many who think that they are so free and unfettered by them. We ALL have doctrines and teachings that we need to turn loose of and allow God to redefine.

If you challenge what people cling so tightly to, you had better be ready to get a pretty nasty recoil! It is time to allow the Word of God to be our ONLY textbook. I don't care what comes, I won't waiver from It.

Harriet said...

and amen again Joel!!
It makes me so sad when people don't "get it"..when they don't get past the cross..when ALL they do is cling to IT like it is going to get them through this life! It won't.. duh? only living hand in hand with the RISEN savior will get them ANYwhere.
Walking with the INDWELLING Jesus ever present is the only way TO walk.
Thank you for covering this in such a completely gentle manner.

Joel Spencer said...

Harriet: Living in the "now" Jesus is far different than living in the "then" Jesus. It is time we see Him as He is now - seated beside the Father in all His glory.