Numbers 31 / Proverbs 22 / John 4
"Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him."
Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man's testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.
What was in man that Jesus knew? Their fundamental nature, which wanted to believe in his name because they witnessed the miracles and wanted to believe that he was Messiah because they saw he could do what other men couldn't, and they wanted to use him for their own good, to promote themselves by promoting him to further their own cause of being great members of the ruling Israelite nation under the promised Messiah, as they were misdirected in their interpretation of the time of their promised (so they thought) rule of the regenerated world.
We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.
By savior of the world they didn't mean every person in the world, but that the world would be regenerated, so they thought, according to Isaiah's promises about how there would be a supernatural kind of peace that the world hadn't known before, even in the way that the animals acted. And they the Israelites (Samaritans also claimed the God of Jacob as their God) would be great among the peoples of the regenerated world because their God would reign via His Messiah with a rod of iron that would smash any non-conforming nation.
See, the Lord, the LORD Almighty,
will lop off the boughs with great power.
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
The motivation of wanting to follow this Messiah wasn't primarily about God, but about themselves because that is the curse of all the humans no matter who they think they naturally are. Those who beheld the one whom they thought might be Messiah were no different, which is why he made it clear to everyone that following him was going to be impossible. An animal who was driven by instinct couldn't do it; they would have to be changed violently from what they were into another being, fundamentally different than what they were. They couldn't be who they were and at the same time embrace him, which made following him not something one could do on a whim or because it sounded good to them to be members of the reigning Israelite nation whose rule would coincide with the world's regeneration.
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple.
He didn't say things like "Everyone come along and follow me because I'm here to save the whole world." He said things that went against the very fiber of their Israelite identity, what seemed to go against the law they claimed to uphold. From Moses' honoring father and mother came Jesus' declaration that anyone wanting to follow him had to hate their father and mother, because natural fathers and mothers are a purely animal recognition, and he was about the give birth to an entirely new family, with only One Father.
Do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.
To be sure they didn't follow him half-heartedly, he spoke the most reviling things to them that he knew they wouldn't be able to accept, which says something very certain about God's intention of keeping His truth, His life and His purpose, which were all wrapped up in His only Son the Messiah of Israel, a complete secret from the humans, except just a tiny handful whom He had chosen to be able to recognize the Messiah and remain loyal even though all the others fell away because he didn't look, act or talk right. One of the more adhered to commands of the law about not consuming blood he seemed to directly contradict as per what was going to be required of those who would follow him. Being good Jews, their reaction wasn't, "Okay, let's do it," but more like, "Let's go home, this guy's crazy."
On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?"
His reaction could have been one of despair that they all left, however it was his intention that they leave and he knew it would drive them away since they had no ability to recognize who he was if the Father had not given them the ability to see and believe that he indeed was their long-awaited Messiah.
I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.
But he was concerned about the group of 12 mean whom the Father had given him for his sake, so that he wasn't utterly alone in his work and purpose of actually being the savior of the world of God's secret family. God gave him that tiny handful of followers who actually could see who he was, even though all the rest wandered away because he asked too much of them.
"You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."
It's important that we have at least one other person who believes that what we think is happening, actually is. The rest of the world around us won't because they can't. The most they would ever do for us is humor us in our claim of being called and chosen in the highly secret way that the secret God has always called His own sons to come out of the world—as seen most clearly in the record of the real Jesus who was hidden in the fold of Israelite culture, then shaken out quietly as his natural life ended. His life though wasn't natural because he wasn't bound to the natural creation like all the humans are bound to it. His life and identity, dreams and aspirations were hidden with the Father who allowed just a tiny few to see who Jesus really was, the way the Father saw him and his value. The world of the natural beings and creation held no promise for him because he was aware of another world that the humans couldn't see. It is an invisible world only God is privy to, and who becomes privy to that world is controlled not by men.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Jesus knew that the recorded words of God told a secret story of His choosing a tribe of Israelites from the secret tribe of Joseph, which represents those who were truly and honestly devoted to finding the Father and being true even in those deep and secret places within themselves where they know He can see. He understood that the words weren't really about the natural human animals who populated the earth and called themselves Israelites by outward things done to their body. There is a way that a human can be on the outside where the natural reality exists, and there is a way a human can be on the inside, where only God can see which is a secret place where the man has his real identity before God—a completely different world than that which exists on the outside.
Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.
Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, circumcise your hearts, you men of Judah and people of Jerusalem, or my wrath will break out and burn like fire because of the evil you have done—burn with no one to quench it.
They were already physically circumcised, which obviously wasn't good enough to make them pleasing to God, as they assumed they were just because they were naturally born descendents of Abraham, as the words declared their position of being a chosen people. But the words aren't literal because then they'd have their only reality in the natural world, which the living God is separated from and which is separated from Him. What was written down and preserved told a story via the metaphors and analogies they represented, but which are themselves too incredible and other-worldly to be able to comprehend by a mind that is so tuned in to the natural and completely unaware of the world where God lives, which is unseen and not comprehensible to the natural beings that are flesh and blood and bones and fat.
I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?
By "we," he means himself, John and those who have been made aware of the Father's reality. He means all of the sons of God from before who have been true and devoted to Him even above their own devotion to themselves, who have been circumcised in the secret places of their hearts and who long to be found in the Father's family because they want to be conformed to another reality than that which is so meaningless and transitory, and not just because they want to get something from Him (a condition of being able to survive forever). By "you people" he meant the humans who think everything's about the natural, who think that they are privileged and pleasing to God just because of things done on the outside, which give them that privilege, and that the secret places of the heart may or may not count for anything. The living God isn't in the natural because the natural is by definition always dead. Everything in it is always dying and He is completely separated from it and it from Him. If He interacts with the humans it is very rare and is via the spirit that was alive in the OT sons, into whom He put His word and purpose (the prophets and righteous people), and in the first century on a semi-mass scale for just a little while. It is not via a made up spirit god, as part and parcel of the mythology that evolved in the landscape of christianity in all its forms.
"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone."
It's not a matter of good versus bad, toward which the humans always gravitate because it allows them to control their environment. With the humans it's a matter of all bad. There is nothing good in a man's heart that can make him redeemable, a thing that Jesus recognized about the humans. Only God is good, and only the life of God in a human can make him good. Otherwise he's just a creature that is and will remain separated from God because of the nature that is in him which leads and guides him by the wild animal instincts which define him as what particular type of animal he is—not a goose or a bear but a human. Jesus' authenticity, because of the life of God living in him which they could dimly recognize, prompted them to think that he could be something for them, to satisfy something they wanted. He was the One for whom all Israel waited who could make them great, and as long as they thought they could get something from him they were willing to follow him.
"I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us." Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."
The miracles he did proved that he was genuine, but they also prompted the self-preserving animal nature within them to figure he could be something to satisfy their own evil (human) desires, so they put their faith in him. However, it was only a temporary thing, and only lasted as long as Jesus performed miracles which increased their temporary hopes, as long as they benefited from what he did. They liked the fact that he satisfied their physical needs and they wanted to get him to be what they wanted him to be, not for his sake, or the sake of the Father, but their own.
I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.
That's the standard thing that the animal will always do. It's what the animal nature tempting Jesus himself tried to make him believe he could be—to use his position and his newly realized power for his own ends, his own personal gain, and it wouldn't have seemed very out of line in the world of humans for him to do it either. That's what they wanted him to do all along; from those huge crowds who ate from his hand to the men who were the very closest to him, they all wanted him to go the way the human would choose. Only he knew, because the life of the Father in him told him, what was the right way to go. Their direction of the way to go, being controlled by the animal nature, was that they should continue the progression of what their nature told them he could be and do for them, so they began to think and say what came natural to realize that purpose for him and themselves.
After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, "Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world." Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
However, the crowds who once wanted to believe in his name and make him king, thinking they were doing God's will but were instead opposed to it, dropped quickly out of sight once he began saying what was true, what they didn't want to hear. When they realized what he actually had to say to those who wanted to follow him, and comprehended that his teaching wasn't something they could accept because it was against what was in them and opposed to what they wanted within themselves—from him, for themselves—they abandoned him.
Those who didn't leave were those who were given by the Father, to Jesus, to teach about the Father and become the shepherd he was intended to be. They had been given a special, crucial ability to hear and accept his word to them, even if reluctantly. To teach these 12 ordinary men the new way instead of the human animal way, finally to the end that they actually did believe he was the Son of God even though he did not do what was acceptable to their selves, was the will of God for themselves and him. It was a hard thing for all of them, including Jesus. He appeared to obviously be a prophet from God at the very least, yet on the level of everyday living he was something very difficult for the humans to accept. Because he didn't meet their human expectations of what Messiah's work would look like, their choice to believe him was excruciatingly hard.
That's what the Father wants to give to those who are chosen to become His own sons—a real choice. Not the farce of a choice that the religious institutions peddle where a man can live his life in whatever way he wants—just like every other animal—and still guarantee himself a place in God's kingdom by conforming to their made up world of their fairy tale gods and devils. A real, compelling choice is something that has always been super important to God. It makes sense, because in the end who wants those who claim to love you there because they were compelled to be there, or because the choice wasn't actually real if the alternative to being there wasn't one bit alluring, meaning it was no choice at all. The sons deny the right to live like all the other animals because they understand that they don't have to, but they do it because they choose the Father over everything else.
You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
The disciples' position of being chosen by the Father wasn't just for their sake; they provided Jesus with another tangible form of the validation that he indeed was the Holy One of God, and that other sons were dependent on him remaining faithful to only what he knew. It wasn't so apparent, as we like to assume with all our wonderful hindsight. Jesus was required to have the most faith of all men. "From him who is given much (proof), much (faith) will be required" applies to him who said it first and foremost. He knew that his faith in who he was, and what he had to do, was what would enable him to be the Lamb of God; the good Son who would present the Father with what He wanted from the beginning (a family), and it wasn't always so apparent or believable.
It was his faith in this very thing which allowed him to even do the work which saves the sons. When all the others fell away on account of what he said, what he knew was true but was contrary to what the humans expected and what they were able to accept, he was able to comprehend the faith of the those who stuck around to validate that fact in him so he could continue in his own work of believing what was so hard to continue to believe because it never lines up with what's naturally acceptable. The men given to him were a gift from the Father to him, as well as a burden and responsibility. Because they gave him this thing, he recognized their worth to him as well, which created the ability to actually love them.
"You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."
By the faith that was created in the men, Jesus' own faith would be able to be strengthened so that he could do the otherwise impossible thing he had been chosen to do. In this respect, he drew something very necessary out of them that he needed, and was dependent on them and what they had to offer him in return for what they and all the sons were being given. That is another important reason the betrayal was such a heartbreaking thing.
This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.
The miracles he did were primarily for the benefit of those men because by it they would have something to give Jesus, the belief that he indeed was the Son of God. This back and forth giving is what creates the ability to love one another, not arbitrarily but because it was apparent to all of them that they needed each other, and were intertwined by this interdependency.
The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
He was prompted by the woman to do the Cana miracle; he may have not even been aware of what was going to happen until it was upon him. It was the Father, in Jesus' body, who was actually doing His work. But the Father couldn't do His work, He couldn't live in Jesus' body unless he was clean, unless Jesus chose to remain separated from the animal nature. In this respect, the Father needed Jesus to be something for Him, and was dependent on the Son to choose the right and reject the wrong.
Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.
Jesus may not have been fully aware of everything that was going to happen all the time, so that he wouldn't be tempted to try to make things go the way he couldn't help but figure they should go, based on what was not yet perfect in himself. Although the life of the Father lived inside him more perfectly than we will know it, he was still able at any moment to choose to be ruled by the animal.
The Father was doing in him what he does and will do in us—save us from our selves and the destiny of the mere animal who are bound to the natural creation via the nature that rules them. However, the desire to choose the right is for a long time outweighed by the urge/impulse/need to choose the wrong because we just don't know yet. That is expected in the child, but the good parent who is willing to train up the child expects him to learn and gradually be able to choose the right, even if it's because he remembers what keeps happening when he chooses the wrong, and the suffering that ensues from it. We desire to do the good thing, from right motives, but since the animal is still such a big part of our actual fiber and it is such a strong undeniable force within the animal, it will rule us and we will serve it, even if we thought we might be serving the Lord, because of the games it knows how to play by hiding and pretending. They are played out in the secret places of the heart, which is the place where one is either honest and truthful or not before God who is pure spirit (only He can see the contents of a man's heart).
A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.
An erroneous thing we will think is that we should be able to choose the right and reject the wrong straight out of the chute. That says little about the process that has to happen for one to be changed from pure animal to son with a pure heart, uncontaminated by the wiles of the serpent's scheming. That comes from the thought that everything's automatic, that we're changed somehow "in the twinkling of an eye." It comes from reading the book of Acts and thinking that it was all one big spirit circus all the time. It is not that way at all, but rather a mundane and tedious plodding along, listening and learning what the Teacher is saying to us. The miraculous things that happen to us are to keep us walking toward the Father. We will not get what we want if it is truly from God, because He is opposed to what's naturally in us to crave and get.
One of the most prominent things we'll crave but not get is validation from the humans about what is inside us. The life of God inside a human is as it was in Jesus, hidden and secret, unnoticed by the humans. Instead of accepting us they will reject us, specifically because of it, and because the Father wants us to have a choice that is real, so choosing to follow and obey the life that's in us will not be getting what we crave as per our animal nature; which is most of the time, acceptance from the humans from whom we most want to get it (those we naturally consider valuable).
Some time along the way we start wanting the more mundane (according to the God-hating nature that always wants something to gratify its self) thing of just wanting to stay close to the Father more than the urge to indulge ourselves with he cravings that the animal is dangling in front of us. That is the process of us actually learning to choose the right by suffering to learn the obedience, toward being clean sons with pure hearts who can worship the Father in spirit and truth because we have chosen to not bring the chaos and destruction of the animal into the land, which is the relationship between the son and the Father.
The Son would not entrust himself to the humans because their motives were not God's motives. God needed him to go opposite to what the humans would have chosen for him. They (including the animal nature inside his mind, as seen in the temptation) wanted to make him king of Israel by force; God needed him (as seen in his responses to it) to go the way that was hidden and secret, naturally becoming a humiliating failure in the eyes of those who wanted to make him king for their purposes. The Father desired him to be the secret, hidden reality within the OT scriptures that the humans were not privy to, according to His hidden purpose and secret will. In this way Jesus declared who the real enemy of the Father is, by not being what it needed him to be.
Look, these are the ones who led the Israelites by Balaam's word to betray the LORD's trust in the affair of Peor, and there was a scourge against the LORD's community. And now, kill every male among the little ones, and every woman who has known a man in lying with a male, kill.
The will of the Father for us, as it was for the Lord, is that every part of His enemy be killed in us so that we aren't able to be led astray so easily. Then He wants us to be and remain safe by continuing to choose to stay near Him instead of being lured away by what is such a powerful force in the natural world. The provision of the sons for each other is for the purpose that they help the other do what is otherwise impossible, never to use the other for their own purpose. When one is trying to get the other to do his will, there can be only grief. When one is able to offer what the other needs to actually accomplish the Father's will, to provide what he needs to continue doing what is so difficult, then love can happen because of the interdependence that's created. This is a hard path to walk.
Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.