Genesis 39-40 / Psalm 44 / Matthew 26
It was not by their sword that they won the land,
nor did their arm bring them victory;
We think that we can come to some earthly understanding about the ability to stand up against the animal nature which is always pulling us into the ground, making us serve its instinctual pulling on us to follow it instead of the Son, who when faced with the same choice, chose the Father instead of what the animal was putting in front of him. The Father said to him who was chosen to be the Son of God, "Follow me," and he in turn said to those whom the Father had chosen to be his true family of brothers, "Follow me."
After I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.
The way of man is in thinking that he can arrive at a point where it is able to stand against the schemes of the devil like some honorable warrior of God, by his own strength or the ability to find an agreement within himself that things are fine, in the old way of finding our way that only led to death. Everything the animal wants to find which gives it the ability to continue from whatever false hope it can conjure up for itself comes from the animal nature; so it is a circular fight, like a dragon chasing its own tail, and the point of what Paul is saying about standing up to the old man becomes totally lost to our false agreement we manufacture so that we don't have to actually be stripped of the things that prop us up so we feel like we can continue in some kind of hope that we're on track, okay somehow via the old standard. It's a system we use internally to keep validating ourselves so it's worth going on in the drudgery of living, knowing that it's going to soon be over so what's the point.
Actually, the animal existence is quite an irrational one—living only to die, working until the body starts failing. The sons are given eyes to see the futility of what the humans spend so much of their time securing for themselves, only to have it all disappear. So their struggle takes on a different focus and their singular goal starts to become nothing that the humans would ever find valuable enough to throw every other of their little hopes away for. The sons' struggle isn't to become one of the "good people," as the members of any of the various religious societies *must* consider themselves—just another of the hopes they have taken on—in order to keep going because they think it will get them the ultimate survival aspiration of eternal life. The son must become one of the secret people, because the origin of their calling is secret, not disclosed. They don't choose the Father, the Father chooses them. And when they are chosen their life is not the same as it was when they followed the instincts of the animal that rules all of the humans, which Paul termed the "old man," because it needed to fall away so the new man could be born to God who chose that one.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old man, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new man, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
There is no possibility of fighting the old man with our own resistance or stamina, because it is us and we can't fight against ourselves. Because we're driven by instinct to survive we always invariably favor ourselves without even having to be thinking about it. This programming happens on such a subsurface level that there is no possibility of resistance from within because of that bias.
Now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
It seems like the only acceptable and rational way to be because it's built right in to us to be that way, which is why Paul also says that "all have sinned," not in a way that construes it to mean what the christians portray—that all the humans are bad according to their gods because they haven't conformed to their idiocy and anyone can just get to God by adhering to their abstract religious credo—but in the way that all humans are driven by instinct to survive so that they must instinctually consider themselves inherently good in order to do that continual surviving (or there wouldn't be any drive to continue). Because they're caught in this loop of being driven against their will to self-love, they cannot love according to God, which is to be good in His estimation, which is to be a son of God driven by His life in that one instead of a mere animal driven by the instinct to survive, self-preserve and self-love.
For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
The appetites and indulgences that make us unclean animals come from inside us, they are us—part of our consciousness and nature. They are born and live in our heart, so we can't separate ourselves from the enemy in order to fight it. There is no saying no to ourselves, which is why the Lord, via the spiritual process of his new existence, must dwell in our bodies, in our hearts via the material substance which isn't bound by the natural laws. For only he is capable of ridding ourselves of us, of doing what we would never do. He must live in the place where sin lives, in our heart, to take over and push it out of us by that invisible power.
You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
Otherwise we would remain unclean animals, unable to come near, talk to or live with our true Father. If the old nature is allowed to live there by us continuing to choose it, then the Father and the Son won't because they cannot commune with the filth of the animal, what each of the humans thinks is good about themselves. Allowing the old nature to live in us may not seem horrendous at all, but good because we love our own selves. It may just be benignly allowing ourselves to be satisfied by what the humans (we) consider good. It may be pursuing what they find valuable like finding a spouse and children, a career and identity amongst the humans, as one of them. That's what the humans naturally do, so it's fine for them. But what can a son of God give to his Father if he is burdened down with that load, making himself a slave to everything around him, what seems to be giving him freedom and purpose?
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Being a slave to what the humans love and run after is not good for the son, but shameful, because he cannot serve two masters—and that's just the beginning. AFter fully entering into the human way he then becomes a slave to a permanent, full time career to pay for all the things that union with the world brings. There is no possibility for separation from what contaminates when you surround yourself with what contaminates and enslave yourself to it. The warnings are fully intact; if there is a compromise, does it mean that God is wrong?
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
The Teacher's voice will be clear, and will illuminate what must be done, but the animal that is us will be resisting all the way, around every corner. It does not die easy, nor does it want to let us go down the road that very few even know exists. Not only as the enemy of God and His sons does it compel us serve it to fulfill its own ends, but the old man is also our accuser. It makes us doubt that we possess sonship, and that we are chosen and loved by our Father. It makes us believe that nothing that has happened has actually happened, that we just made it all up. By earthly terms it is too fantastic a thing to actually be real, and it shifts us to an earthly mode of viewing our situation, as all men view us because they are entirely of this creation. This is when what Jesus said to his disciples is important for us:
Those who heard this asked, "Who then can be saved?"
We invariably take it for granted when we read the gospels about the tenuous situation the disciples were in regarding Jesus and their position following him. Although it's easy to assume that they knew without a doubt that Jesus was the Messiah from the beginning, it's easy to overlook the torturous situation they were actually in. Although they saw what he did and heard him speak, they weren't ever completely sure about anything, because he was so different than what anyone expected Messiah to look like, act like, and talk like. The national expectation of Messiah was a glorious king, 100 times more fantastic than David, who would just come on the scene and start conquering all of Israel's oppressors. He would be a mighty prophet of God, an untouchable being whom all Israel would recognize as her national savior and righteous king. This situation of not knowing with their natural faculties meant they had to trust what they could not see, yet was promised to them.
The true Jesus wasn't like they wanted him to be in any way. He only wanted one way, of the Father, which is always opposed to the way of the humans because that's how God twists things and makes one thing appear as another in His ironic way of dealing with the humans and testing the sons. Having something seem like one thing in every observable humans way, yet like another in the secret place of the son's heart makes the son have to choose, just as the first humans had to choose. More importantly, it's just as the firstborn Son had to choose, which is the center point of the reason why the Father loves him, because he chose to do what he knew only in the secret place, where nobody else saw.
When the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near, Jesus' brothers said to him, "You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world." For even his own brothers did not believe in him.
Therefore Jesus told them, "The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil.
We also think that it must have been easy for the disciples to leave their lives to follow the Lord around like sheep following the shepherd. That leads to all kinds of unbelief disguised as belief among men, who think that they too are following the Lord, yet they think they can mesh their old lives with the new, that they can continue to be a human, like all the other humans defined by their old identities and lives—Mr. such and such, with this career and that family, respect and honor fully intact. In fact, each of these men who were chosen to follow the Lord had identities—lives, careers, families and reputations that they had to abandon and it wasn't just a slam dunk because they saw that Jesus did miracles, as the mental assumption goes. Whoever wasn't for Jesus was against him, and being for Jesus meant much more than anyone thinks it means.
It wasn't just some completely obvious thing to these men that this Jesus, who didn't instill very much confidence in their natural selves, would come through for them with anything that was actually worth giving everything up for. In the beginning, when they first saw all the miracles he was doing, they were excited about their position. However, their natural selves told them it would all go this way or that way (the natural kingdom of David would be restored), and because Jesus obviously had the power of God inside him—allowing him to even control nature—he would have no problem crushing the armies of the Romans and making them great along the way, as his right hand men.
What they didn't understand was that the kingdom of God wasn't a kingdom full of natural Jews, but a secret kingdom of sons. And the kingdom wouldn't be observed by humans, because it was hidden, and only happened in secret, inside the bodies of some humans.
The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, `Here it is,' or `There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you.
They had these misguided notions all the way up to the end, when he told them about what was going to happen to him. Then all their hopes and dreams came crashing down around them as they saw, within a week, their movement die. All the power they expected him to unleash turned to apparent impotence as they saw him being wrongly accused and he never fought back; he never called any legions of angels to aid him, never called on Elijah to pull him from death. And so they thought it was over, and although they knew that he said he would come back, they didn't understand how to believe him or how anything would happen.
The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. Men will tell you, `There he is!' or `Here he is!' Do not go running off after them. For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
It's hard to comprehend this period of time for them, how difficult it was to believe when everything to their natural senses told them it was over and he was dead, and they had to believe he was coming back as he promised, which seemed like a 100% impossibility. That's why it's such a dramatic statement when Peter said to him, "We have left all we had to follow you!" They were leaving what was familiar to follow him, because they saw and believed, by the power that was obviously in him, that he came from God. He took care of them, fulfilled their earthly needs of food, clothing and shelter, and gave them new identities with a future which was as good as guaranteed by the words he spoke and the promises he made to them.
More than that, he gave them a momentum and hope based not on what they could perceive with their natural senses, but that came from another place. A common mistake we make when reading about these things is thinking that the NT sons were constantly validated on the outside, by the humans, about what was happening inside them (the growth of the kingdom of God secretly among them). That's one of the more crucial things for the sons to understand now, because that animal need to be validated will lead to much grief, especially in the early stages. There is a craving as part of the animal nature to keep being validated, and the life that comes to the son is so real to him, but that genuineness is hidden within him. The reason it won't be validated is so the son will have to choose, and come away from what contaminates. The only validation will keep coming from the source, and hopefully from the other sons, which was why it was so important for the disciples to take care of each other after Jesus went away, and keep believing that he was who he claimed to be, and that he was coming back.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.
Ye from the time just before the passover feast until after he appeared to them in his resurrected body, they would experience a serious period of trauma and disbelief, when their natural expectations of personal greatness and honor would be shattered by the truth of God's way instead of their way, the way of the animal which always attributes greatness and honor to itself. But more than that, their teacher, master and caretaker would go away from them and it would appear that they were left all alone with vengeful, bloodthirsty Jews all around them.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews...
The first blow to their natural expectations was the washing of their feet, to show them what they had to do to achieve greatness before God. Not the drawing of a sword, fighting to the death in their master's defense, but assuming the very undesirable position of servant, even so lowly as to wash the feet of his brother.
The next was his reinforcing the prediction of his death, and at the same time telling them about their actual future, the expectation of them as his disciples. Not glory, honor, power and respect; not their master as glorious, conquering son of David, the mighty king of Israel backed by the power of God but an ignominious kernel of wheat that will silently and shamefully fall to the ground and die. Betrayed even by those disciples whom he taught and took care of for 3 years, who saw his power and authenticity but were overwhelmed by the unexpected turn from what they had put all their hopes.
Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?' Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief.
Even though they didn't understand, there was some tiny ability to believe him through all the disbelief and grief of the disciples' natural senses. This started next, when the Lord explained to them about how they were going to be put out of the synagogue and cut off from the all important social culture and family bonds surrounding it. They would soon be hated, persecuted and despised by the people from whom they thought they would soon be receiving honor, glory and respect. We can see how this would have produced a serious amount of fear, grief and disbelief in them as everything they thought and hoped for, indeed what they left their lives for, would all be shot to the ground in this moment and the next few days.
When we read the promises made by Jesus to them at this time—that he would send the spirit to comfort and guide them into all truth concerning everything, that he would be coming back to them—it's difficult to imagine how hard it was for them to believe him, because none of that jived with how they perceived things—from a purely natural standpoint (although they were clean by the intention of God to remember them, they were still 100% animal). We just take their experience for granted because we have all the information about their experience in front of us, and we can see that it all turned out well for them who did remain and wait—which is our teaching . But in the moment, they had no choice but to believe his promises to them, and they obviously had a hard time believing.
The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him...and he went outside and wept bitterly.
But they weren't rejected by God because of their unbelief like Judas was, because in their hearts they wanted to believe, and they were chosen by God to believe, which is what it means that they triumphed over their enemy and became sons. Their work was to believe even though everything in the natural pointed them toward Judas' situation of rejecting the obvious power and work of God in favor of what his natural senses and desires told him to do.
That is the fine line between them and Judas. They were able to overcome the natural tendency to believe only what they could see with their eyes, hear with their ears, and figure with their natural minds concerning what was happening to them, what they were being called to believe. That will also be the situation of every son whom God calls out of the natural world. It is a precedence set up long ago with our father Abraham, who had to go against everything that his natural senses wanted to believe and do regarding the situation he found himself in. He was at the end of his natural life, and so that child became his life—everything that was valuable to him at that point. The significance of what he was willing to do for the sake of God is easy to take for granted—because we know what happened—just as it is easy to not truly appreciate the disciples' situation.
This is why the Judas story is so critically important for us, because Judas was merely unable to believe, to do the work necessary to overcome the enemy of God—himself, and what he and the culture of humans around him considered valuable, no matter how noble the cause. And where did that enemy come from? His heart, because it was him—all of his desires and aspirations for himself and Israel, his natural plan conceived and formulated in his heart, where the animal lives. It wasn't just some external force, some external devil entering into him (the metaphorical speech as recorded).
It was him in all his nobility—his plan, his need not unheard of in Israel at the time to be someone, established and honored, respected as a great and honorable fighting warrior of Israel like king David, and like the national conception of Israel's long-awaited Messiah—all based on what the culture considered noble and godly (like being a responsible husband and parent). The parallels are pretty tight, because in this day there isn't a national identity or hope of kingdom to fight for. The way of redemption for the humans is through their family and children carrying their DNA along, which makes sense for animals to feel that way.
The animal nature works in such a way as to act as Judas, to diligently take care of its interests, to disguise them as some other noble interest so that it can fulfill its own while pretending to be honorable and respectable—some noble man of God who, for instance, always goes to meeting each Sunday and to Bible study on Wednesday, while he responsibly and honorably takes care of his family—someone you can count on for an exhortation that is stirring yet pleasing to the ears. The lie of the animal says that we can maintain our respect and honor among men, and still follow the 'Lord of the shameful.' Of course the animal wants to hold on to its life, its dignity among men, because that's all it has. The honorable, likeable jesus was made up by men in the second and third centuries, which is why that jesus will become so abhorrent to the sons of the true God.
If we're called to actually follow the shameful Christ, we will definitely have to make a choice like Abraham and the disciples had to make. It won't be a respectable decision made by an honorable man, but will be how to choose the right even though it looks so wrong—and we will look bad in everyone's eyes. The decision to follow the true Christ—not the made up one—invariably requires taking on the shamefulness of the life of a true follower of the Lord of shame.
It's not ours to say how each one's decision will go or what the circumstances that surround it will look like; yet nevertheless the requirements of God have already been laid out, as have the consequences for choosing to hold onto our life while merely pretending to follow while we justify our actions with the justifications of the self-preserving animal within us—that which lives in our heart to make sure that we do not choose God. Therein lies the enemy, always so perfectly disguised as something good and noble and right, especially to us.
That is what Matthew 7:21 ff. & 25:31 ff. are about. The animal within us makes us believe that the goats are some group of bad people, others we could never be. However, they were actually taken by surprise, which means they figured they were the "good people." They thought they were good with God because they did all sorts of honorable things in the Lord's name, which they figured justified them. Even today the animal nature in each of us will allow us to read the words of Jesus and convince us that the words don't apply to us, because we are special, we have the facts straight. That's why you'll hear wonderful exhortations about how we should all open up our homes and give comfort to each other, and that's the last you'll hear of it. Nice stirring thought, but not too stirring because we're too busy with our noble lives.
In the parable the goats were rejected by him because they didn't understand the truth of what it meant to truly, not theoretically, follow him—what is actually required of a follower of the real Jesus. Like the Jews, they didn't count the cost. The religious liars don't have to count the cost because the made up jesus doesn't make them—it's whatever they want him to be, working to their advantage. The fact that they did all these things in his name seems to count for nothing in the reality of the judgment seat, when the Lord judges the thoughts and intentions of their hearts, not the respectable things they did on the outside, for the sake of justifying themselves and the other animals around them, to keep their lives in order.
For the disciple of the Lord, this earthly existence is not a life enjoying the things the world loves, or even providing those things for our earthly family—whatever the animals consider valuable and run after. It is not about having the honor of being a responsible husband and father, in an earthly sense, to those we have fathered or married. It isn't about being a commendable brother who always comes through with the proper exhortation as part of his duty in the ecclesia. It is about being on the outside of respectability, being hated and despised, looked down on as someone who is a bad element; despised by the "good people." It is actually, not conceptually, taking on the Lord's shame, and choosing God even though it means all that.
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
It is a life of being cursed for Jesus' sake—not the made up, honorable Jesus who gave up his life so that we could maintain our honor and dignity while we pretend to follow him by the honorable things we do and the respect we maintain—but the real Jesus who was shameful and disrespected among men. He lived like an unclean pauper among and according to the humans, a despised vagabond undeserving of man's respect. He lived an earthly existence of grief, sorrow and heartache.
That is the life of the sons of God among men, who are able to take on and live these lives by the power of His life that lives inside us. Not to make our lives substantially better regarding the things that the world loves and runs after, but to give us the knowledge of the one hope that grows in us so that the desires of the animal can slowly fall away in our quest to get the one treasure that is worth getting—the love of God—which is worth throwing off everything that hinders us so that we can find and secure it because it's the only thing that lasts.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Our consolation in this earthly life is the kingdom that is secretly growing inside us, and the other ones who have also chosen God over their lives and everything which defines that. Although the animal nature in us will try to keep us even from that, the value of having a witness to this incredibly miraculous life should be a thing we grow to appreciate as we start to believe who our real brothers are, those whom God has chosen for us to be our brothers, forever to live with each other and become His house, where He wants to live.
The disciples knew this dimly, as they locked themselves in a room together, for fear of the Jews. They barely hung on to the Lord's command to care for each other, to love each other as he had loved and taken care of them. Eventually they were rewarded for the work they did, believing the promise that he would come back and that they would have a future with him, a new identity and a place with him in the Father's house.
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.