And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.
To what were their eyes opened? To themselves. To their weakness. It was a very uncomfortable awakening. They had to take action. They made clothing out of leaves.
But this covering was not enough. When they heard the Lord, they ran and hid. Some say they were motivated by guilt. I don’t think so. Listen to Adam: “I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” He says nothing about feeling guilty. He says he was afraid because he was naked.
Why do they feel so vulnerable? Their new separation from God made their self-awareness nearly unbearable.
Contrast this to the revelation of Jesus to the open eye of faith. This is a view that looks outward. We see the same Lord as Adam having come to rescue us with more than a covering of animal skin.
We respond in faith not in fear. We run towards him not away from him. He offers us a robe of righteousness. He has purchased this robe with his own blood, not the blood of animals.
The result is an awareness of God not ourselves. We already know we are weak and alone. That is why the rescue of God is so wonderful. We see his strength. We see the man who did not fall to temptation. We see our true hero, our Saviour.
This is a much better eye-opening experience that Adam. And make no mistake. If you see Jesus as the Son of God, it has been revealed to you by his Father. Your faith in response connects you to God.
We have received the grace of God. We know God as Our Father. Adam walked the earth as disconnected from God. Yes, he walked in clothing given to him by the Lord but he did not experience the closeness he had before.
Why not? He gave the wrong answers to the questions of the Lord. He blamed another not himself. He might have received immediate forgiveness. We can’t know because he refused to accept blame.
We never hear from Adam again. We don’t know his reaction to the curse on the earth. We know he raised a family and found that the curse on the earth did not prevent him from farming but only made it difficult.
But we find the Lord offering us living water. He says, “Whoever drinks the water I give will never thirst again.” He offers himself as the Bread of Life. And Jesus said unto them, “I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger.”
Jesus speaks in simple words that we can understand. But they are spiritually understood. This bread is not gained by the sweat of the brow, but received as the gift of God to needy yet undeserving people like us.
He knows our needs more than we do and has come to satisfy our greatest need. He is the Tree of Life, the Water that destroys thirst, the Bread from heaven, the True Manna and more.
He says, Come and buy, without money and without price. He knows we could never afford the price and so gives it to us free instead, having paid the price himself.
Although God has a dwelling place on earth, it is not a temple with great adornments. It is not a cathedral with an awe-inspiring ceiling. It is not even a standard Protestant church with a discreet steeple. And it’s not a plain building with a fancy name.
No, it is none other than the human heart. Are you surprised? You think God stays at the church when you go home? When the Lord says:
we do not think it’s a literal door made of wood. We say, it’s the ‘door of our heart’.
Jesus is not a home invader. He can only be invited in. But maybe we are not ready for him. It’s a mess in here, come back later, Lord. But he does not care. He wants to be with you. He doesn’t evaluate your dwelling beforehand.
He knows your place is a fixer-upper. He has seen worse. He doesn’t care. He is there to improvement your life. But he doesn’t start with that. No, he wants to sit down and have dinner with you. Even if it’s Chinese take-out. He is there for the company, your company.
But I am not worthy for you to stay with me, Lord. I need to fix things up. Go ahead, he says, I will help. Do you want suggestions? That stack of magazines can go. I was just thinking of taking them out to the trash, you say. When you return, there is a new rocking chair in that place.
He is not there to make you feel guilty. He is there to help you feel clean. He wants you to have a clear conscience. Look, I am going up to clear out the attic, he says. You do what you think best down here.
But that attic is full of a lot of old worthless junk! I know, he says, we are not going to let the past hold you back.
Later, he says, I’ve been looking at your record collection. Do you think something more hope-filled could be better? It’s a rather depressing catalog. It is, you say, I used to be depressed a lot. I don’t feel that way, so much, now that you’re here.
What do you say to better food in your refrigerator? We can have a diet of better things. Yes, you say, I’ve been chewing on guilt and envy too long. What about mercy and pure love? he asks. That does sound better, you say.
Lord, when I would lay down, my mind was full of worry and frustration. Now, that you are here, my sleep is peaceful.
Lord, I had my doubts when you knocked on my door. Now, I have no doubts. In fact, faith has replaced doubt. The order you have brought allows me to have a clear conscience. Light fills my rooms now that we have brushed away cobwebs and cleaned the dirty windows.
How do we approach God? There have been many books written about this. But it comes down to this: Each of us must find God in their personal relationship with him. Enoch walked with God. We have no more details. He walked with God for 300 years. He “walked” with God. He did not run. He moved through life at an unhurried pace.
First, we must be patient. God is not in a hurry. We must slow down to meet him.
Be still and know that I am God.
We are encouraged to slow down. To be still. Even to stop.
And Enoch was constant. He continuously walked with God for many years. Do we think we can “know” God in one encounter? We can “meet” God in one encounter. Enoch kept walking with God, year after year.
Do you want to sense the presence of God? Do the will of God. Part of the will of God is to “Be still and know that I am God.” We can’t be in tune with God unless we know his nature. We must begin with God to know his will.
God is the most attractive Being. But, like the sun, he is dangerous. His holiness, goodness and purity are beyond our comprehension. But he has the ability to make us his friends who were once alienated from him. He can actually make us holy. His forgiveness is so thorough that we can draw close to him.
Maybe as we are being still, we can realize we are seated in the heavenlies. This means we are secure in our relationship with God. Now, we begin to “do the will of God” by taking a clear statement of Jesus and putting it into practice. “And this is the will of God, to believe on the One whom he has sent.” Or, “You believe in God, believe also in me.” We learn the will of God by doing the will of God. If you want to “know” the will of God, begin by doing the will of God you already know.
Why would God give us more specifics of his will if we are not doing what he has revealed already? We can listen to the experience of Abraham’s servant. “And I bowed down my head, and worshipped the Lord…who had led me in the right way…” He had followed Abraham’s instructions, but he needed more direction. He found it in doing what he already knew. It will be the same with us.
How can we know God? We may believe that if we do, we will have peace and joy in our lives. So, we want to pursue him. We can learn about God, about his nature from his Son, Jesus. But we are in a quandary. God dwells in the human heart after two modes namely, by knowledge and by love. Everyone who knows Him loves Him, but nobody can love Him without knowing Him.
Someone who wants to find out about another person’s character and inner thoughts gets on friendly terms with them and is often in their company. They find out who are their friends. And if they see this person as worthy of their love, they can open their heart to love them.
Let us find out where God is and question his friends concerning him. He is faithful, if it is not in him to deceive people. If he freely pardons those who sin, then he is kind. If he shows pity to persons in trouble, then he is merciful. And he is lowly, if he rules his people not by oppressing but by helping them. If he is faithful, then he merits praise. If he is kind, if he is merciful, if he is humble, then he deserves our love.
It is difficult to have faith in God because do not see this kind of love in our daily lives. We see love that trades this for that to get something. We see love for family, but we are not in that family. We see love for others, but it is limited to those like-minded. We see love that has its limits. We do not see love that is unlimited. And God is invisible. We can’t see him.
Our method is faith. Do you say that you have no faith? Of course, you do. If you sit on a chair, you have faith. If you get into a elevator, you have faith. You and I have faith about many things, every day. You say, I have faith in the chair because I saw someone sit on it. I have faith in the elevator because I saw someone get out of it.
Okay, find someone that has faith in God. Ask them why they do. They should have an answer. If they don’t, find someone else. Ask them how God treats them. We can even learn from those who have a grudge against God. Does God deserve their hate? See if you agree that their hate for God is deserved. Some are mad at God. They say he doesn’t care because he won’t fix the world. Have we thought what that would mean: the end of free will.
There is a reason to forget God. If you want to exercise that free will and do what you want. And God will let you. You always get a choice. You don’t get God if you don’t choose him. But remember this: he is all good and wants to bless you. And he always has.
Draw close to God and he will draw close to you. He will not impose. It says, he stands at your door and knocks. Do you hear that knocking? If you answer the door, he will come in. And if you ask him to stay, he will do that, as well.
Now, therefore, enter your own inmost heart, and make a dwelling-place for God. Make Him a temple, make Him a house, make Him a pavilion. Make Him an ark of the covenant, make Him an ark of the flood; no matter what you call it, it is all one house of God. In the temple let the creature adore the Creator, in the house let the son revere the Father, in the pavilion let the knight adore the King. Under the covenant, let the disciple listen to the Teacher. In the flood, let him that is shipwrecked beseech Him who guides the helm.
“Let him kiss me with the kiss of his mouth.”; “stay me up with flowers, encompass me with apples, because I languish with love.”; “your lips are a dropping honey-comb, honey and milk are under your tongue, and the smell of your garments is as the smell of frankincense.”
Can you think of words more pleasing and sweeter? These words are delightful. Can they possible be spiritual as well as romantic?
Can we put these words together to describe the spiritual? This may be the reason we like these words. They speak to both parts of our nature. It’s a thing that fills us with wonder.
We heard words from Jesus that are difficult to process. When we read words from the Song of Solomon that are almost embarrassing to hear, do we turn the page or try to use them to find the spiritual meaning? The first is a hard saying. The second is too much to be polite. Try reading those passages from Song of Solomon out loud at your next meeting.
Yet, we are told that both speak of a spiritual relationship with God. So important is an intimate relationship with you that God will use any means to get you into that love relationship.
Why does the first commandment tell us to love the Lord your God with all…? Why does Jesus use himself to give a new commandment? Love each other as I have loved you. Because God knows no other relationship. It is love or nothing with him. He knows you and he loves you. He knows you have done wrong and he forgives you. He knows you have been far away and he wants you close to him.
This is the story of God and man: God made man like himself. Man chose to go away from God. God has always wanted to bring the man back to himself. He wants a deeper relationship with you than he had with Adam.
We think of Adam as perfect, and he was. But he was perfect in innocence. And he did not know God very well. How can I say that? If he trusted God, he would not have eaten the fruit of the Tree of Knowing Good and Evil. He would have remembered the words of God and withstood the wily creature. I mean the serpent not Eve. If he had loved God, he would have not chosen to eat from that tree and put his relationship with God in question.
Both Adam and Eve blame others. He blames her. She blames the serpent. Neither is sufficient for God. He gave his word to them not to any other creature. Nor will he accept that Eve is all at fault. You notice neither one accepts any blame.
What is true is that Adam and Eve were not in a final state. We are more knowledgeable of Jesus than they were. We know what he said and did. And we have been given a gift greater that innocence. We have been given his Spirit. Yes, the Spirit of God lives within us. Not so for them.
It reads, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2
He had life as a living soul. There was no reason for him to die. He had the Tree of Life available to him.
So, we have a way to connect with God that Adam did not. And we understand more of the nature of God. He wants to give us eternal life, better than Adam had. He wants to have a closer relationship with us than Adam had.
We don’t know how the path of Adam could have gone. We do know how to reconnect to God. Jesus explained it. God has removed all obstacles to getting close to him. We have, like Adam, no excuse.
How can we understand that which is spiritual? We may read in the Scriptures, light is where God lives, “Because He dwells in light unapproachable.” We want to understand that immaterial light is inhabited by the incorporeal and invisible God.
And just as the material light falls on the eyes of our body, so that divine light illuminates the eyes of our mind. So, by pointing to the nature of visible objects, we rise to think of the invisible. Therefore, we convert to its spiritual meaning certain things we read in the Scriptures.
Jesus said at one point, “You need to eat my flesh and drink my blood, if you want eternal life.”
Then Jesus said to them, “I am telling you the truth when I say to you, Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. “
Jesus said to his disciples, “Does this offend you? It is the spirit that quickens; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life. ” John 6
Eating the flesh of another human is a terrible thought. We call it cannibalism. Yet, Jesus uses such language to make his point. He was using bread to make his point but switches to this. Why?
There can be only one reason. It is of the highest importance. Some said, we cannot listen to this man any longer. They left. Jesus then spoke to his closest disciples. Of course, it is spiritual language. What good would eating any kind of flesh be in gaining eternal life? It is spiritual language, spiritually understood. These words are life-giving.
He, later, institutes eating bread and drinking wine as a way to remember him. He says, “This is my body, broken for you; this is my blood, poured out for you.”
The physical has spiritual meaning. We understand the invisible by the visible. Even more so, acting out the spiritual by doing something physical like eating bread and drinking wine, we understand something wonderful.
To even approach this subject takes some nerve. Many would say, “It’s too personal.” They would probably be right. If you know what worship is, read no further. Maybe you think no person should be worshipped.
But why do we worship? What do we worship? Let’s use the word ‘admire’. “I admire your self control. I get mad real easy.” You can admire a character trait of another. These used to be called virtues.
But it goes deeper. We have a need or at least, a desire to admire a person, a leader. If this was not true, how would we explain the influence of one person over many. “They would follow him anywhere.”
We have an internal image of a great person. If someone fills that with reality, we follow them. If you go to a museum, you will see a statue on a pedestal. People will admire it. Take the statue of Venus. This is a made-up person that represents something. The statue I’m thinking of does not even have arms. It’s still on a pedestal.
We will remember a hero. A great leader is represented by a statue. Even if people take down the statue, it is significant. Because they feel this person of the past is no longer to be admired. But the statue was there for years.
So, we have statues of real people. We have statues of unreal people. In the east, there are many statues of Budda. In China, there are many statues of Mao Tse Tung.
If you read about Jesus, you may admire him. Let’s take only what he says because some choke on the miracles. We may admire his wisdom. No matter what he was asked, he has an amazing answer. Some try and trick him. Should we pay tax to Caesar? If he answers ‘yes’, he will find resentment at doing this. The Jewish people found the overbearing Romans to be oppressive. To demand taxes was too much for some. Yet, if he answers ‘no’, he will be opposing the Roman government directly. What does he say? Does anyone have a coin? Whose picture is on it? They answer “Caesar”. Give it back to him. But give to God what is his.
We could go through many such events of Jesus being asked such questions. His popularity was resented by the Jewish leaders. We can admire his wisdom.
More than this, we see him reacting to something. Someone asks him a legitimate question. How can I be sure of eternal life? Jesus suggests he follow the commandments. He gives a list of ones about how to treat others. The young fellow says he has kept these closely since he was young. Jesus says, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” It is too much for the guy. He cannot bring himself to do it.
Is it unreasonable? I think some would say so. Why should this be a requirement? But the point is that Jesus is asked a serious question and gives a serious answer. Around him stand men who have done this. They are astonished at the conversation between this man and Jesus. Why does Jesus ask him to dispose of his riches? Didn’t God bless this man with wealth?
We are looking at the wisdom of Jesus that is amazing. Can we admire him? I think so. Now we will look at a reaction of Jesus. Suddenly a leper came and knelt before Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Yes, it is a miracle, but look at what Jesus did. He reached out and touched him. No one did this. The leper was an untouchable. How did leprosy go from person to person? No use asking for trouble. Stay away from lepers. But this man appeared suddenly before Jesus and had faith that Jesus could cure him. Jesus reacts by reaching out a grabbing this man by the shoulder and saying, I want you to be cured. (I am not only willing to cure you but I will touch you before you are cured. He didn’t have to do this. He could have just said, Sure, be clean! )
We can look at how Jesus reacts to people. Once, a woman snuck up on him in a crowd and touched him. She was immediately cured. Jesus says, “Who touched me?” His disciples say, “Everyone is touching you. It’s a crowd around you.” But He kept looking around to see who had done this. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him trembling in fear, and she told Him the whole truth. “Daughter,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be free of your affliction.” This woman was not allowed to go out in public according to Jewish law. This why she did this covertly. But Jesus wants her to know that she is not resented by him. Rather, he wants her to have peace in her heart as well as healing.
Again, leaving the miracle aside, he reacts to an outcast from society. He wants her to know she is accepted by him. This man is to be admired not only for his power to heal but his attitude toward people.
There was a man born blind. His disciples ask Jesus how he could be punished by God before he was born. Jesus puts mud on his eyes made of dirt and his spit. He sends him to a place of water nearby to wash it off. He is taken to the authorities because no one can deal with this man who now can see. The leaders tell him to thank God for his sight and forget about this Jesus person. He won’t give it up. He keeps talking until they throw him out. Jesus finds him. He asks him an important question. ” Do you believe on the Son of God?” He answers, “Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?” Jesus answers back, “You have seen him, it is he who is talking with you.” The man answers, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshipped him.
What? He worships Jesus. Jesus does not correct him. He does not say, “Don’t worship me, worship God! I am just a man.”
Why does Jesus look for him until he finds him? He has been a forgotten beggar all his life. Now he is cast out by the authorities. This meant he was not allowed to go to synagogue. He was again an outsider. But this time for sticking up for Jesus.
This man was someone to whom Jesus revealed his true identity. We see that Jesus is admirable and also the only man in history to be worthy of worship. Others have demanded people worship them; the emperor of China demanded his subjects to worship him. The emperor of the Roman Empire expected worship. But Jesus demanded none of that from his followers. He just said, “Follow me.”
There was a man named Nicodemas who was bothered by a question. Who was this rabbi? More to the point: what was his message? The others in his group dismissed this rabbi as an outsider. First, John was an annoyance. He insulted them when they went to see him. This one did the same.
They could not believe that they, the ones who were saving their religion, could be the bad guys. When the temple was defiled, who started the local synagogues? Who were the examples of piety? Who instructed the people and kept all the traditions?
Nicodemas had an idea. He would find out about the man. But he would visit him at night. This way, if his teaching was nothing, he would not be associated with him.
Nicodemas was always referred to by this. He came at night. Jesus talked to him at length but we know Nicodemas did not give up his position and join Jesus.
But there is another man. He was born blind. Even the disciples saw him as cursed by God although it was puzzling to them.
Remember how Jesus said, Blessed are the poor? This man was who he was talking about. He couldn’t work and make a living. He was reduced to begging. And he was ignored by everyone. He had no future. He couldn’t help his parents. He was exactly who Jesus meant when he said, Blessed are the poor in spirit. Hopeless.
Jesus gives him sight! But in a different way. The man must go a distance and wash the mud off. When he returns, Jesus is gone.
The man born blind is no longer blind. Those familiar with him do not know how to treat him. They were warned about this man, Jesus. They decide he must go to the religious authorities. That will keep them out of trouble.
He does go. Think of this man, ignored, forgotten, an object of scorn, a pitiable sight. Yet, Jesus spoke of the glory of God. Now, what? The leaders must regard his sight as real. But they demand he forget about this Jesus. He can’t. What did these men ever do for him? Why should he listen to them when he was given sight?
He rightly points out that no one has ever recovered from this blindness. And I’m supposed to disregard him? They call in his parents. What about it? They are afraid and refuse to acknowledge Jesus as the healer of their son.
Now this man who refuses to bow to them is kicked out. Really, he just had a chance to rejoin society and he lost it.
Jesus hears about this and finds him. How many people does Jesus look for until he finds them? Not many. Jesus looked for Phillip. “The following day, Jesus went into Galilee, and found Philip, and said to him, Follow me.”
But this man, Jesus responds to his treatment by the authorities. He finds him.
He asks him an important question. ” Do you believe on the Son of God?”
He answers, “Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?”
Jesus answers back, “You have seen him, it is he who is talking with you.”
The man answers, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshipped him.
These two men could not be more different. One is rich. The other poor. a beggar. One comes to Jesus by night. The second is given sight during the day. One keeps it to himself and does not speak up for Jesus. The other stands up for the man who gave him sight.
Which one does Jesus look for until he finds him? Which on does Jesus reveal himself to? The one who will not change his story about Jesus. Which are we more like? Do we make our stand with Jesus or do we just kind of believe like Nicodemas? Which one is with Jesus in heaven? Sure, Nicodemas helped bury Jesus. He spent a lot of money on the burial. Does that mean we will see Nicodemas in the kingdom?
No, it does not guarantee Nicodemas a place in the kingdom of God. But what about the man that gave up his chance to get back into polite society. This is the man that Jesus searched for until he found him. This the man to whom Jesus revealed his true identity. This is the man who said to Jesus, “Lord, I believe.”
For some reason, these four words scare us. But should they? If we believe God created everything, then when we hear a bird singing or see a flower push up through the soil, this is the will of God.
Jesus said, about the birds, “Your heavenly Father feeds them.” Of the flowers, he says, “God makes their clothes.” These may be forgotten by us, but God does not forget them. If you find a place where no one goes, you see wildflowers growing there. The will of God is beauty. The will of God is singing. If you cut your finger, what happens? It soon begins to heal. You can clean the cut, but healing begins. The will of God is healing.
Another thing that is the will of God is love. When Moses got some commandments from the Lord, the first thing on his mind was love. In fact, Jesus said, “You only really need two commandments, Love God, love others.” John later writes, “God is Love.” Jesus said, “I’ve got a new commandment for you.” Wow, here it comes. Another commandment. I knew it. “Love each other like I have loved you.” Oh. He couldn’t give it until he demonstrated over and over how much he loved them. This is the will of God: love. And Jesus says, “Not just any love will do: Love like I love.
We focus on Jesus in the garden. Not my will but yours. But what about the rest of the time? When Jesus was healing, and teaching and demonstrating the love of God? Did he strain at this? No, he did the will of God with joy. He compared it to eating food. It was satisfying to him.
What is the alternative of doing the will of God? I say “doing” because the will of God can only be done. People say, “How can I know the will of God?” You can’t. If you want to know the will of God and then make a choice about doing it, you are asking for trouble. You already know some of the will of God. Are you doing that? If not, why ask for more knowing?
Let’s look at some real examples. “What college should I go to, God?” God doesn’t care. He cares what you do at whatever college you go to but what college? What college did Jesus go to? Go to that one. Jesus could have found a rabbi and learned stuff. Paul said he studied under the best one.
Second one. “God, who should I marry?” Well, let’s see. Do you want the perfect mate? Are you perfect? So, you want someone perfect who wants someone not perfect. Why do marriages fail? Neither person knows how imperfect they are. Their expectations are unreasonable. The will of God in marriage is how you treat your mate. I know a couple that broke up. They were both great people. She knew the will of God for her husband. He should cherish me. She was right, I suppose. But what was the will of God for her? She didn’t say.
Our mistake is that we have a method of evaluating based on the knowledge of good and evil. How did we get this knowledge? We stole it. We took something that wasn’t for us. It was never intended for humans. And what good has it done us? We could listen to our conscience. It would help keep us from splitting ourselves in two. If you go against your conscience, you become two people that get further apart. There is the you that knows it’s wrong and there’s the you that does the wrong. The psychiatrist is waiting for you.
To live under the knowledge of good and evil is to progress towards death. Dying, you will die. When is conscience celebration day? I don’t think there is one. What did Adam say? “Yea, I got a conscience now! Eve chimed in, “Me, too!” It didn’t happen. Adam says, “I am naked.” He means, all I have is me. Everything else is “Other”. God, wife, animals, plants, everything is not me. I am alone and I am naked.
Does God want you to live like this, alone. He never did and he doesn’t now. He wants you to live in relationships of love. He has done everything to allow you and me to return to a good relationship with him. Sin, guilt? He dealt with it. Conscience? Always evaluating which is better? Throw it away. It will never lead you to goodness. Eternal life is live, in the moment, in contact with the Spirit of God, proving the will of God is good by doing it.
They would bring either/or questions to Jesus. He never chose A or B. Do we pay taxes to Caesar? Yes or no, Jesus? Let’s look at a coin. It came from Ceasar. His name is on it. Give it back to him. But what did God give you? Give that back to him.
Or: Who is my neighbor? Ooh, it sounds so wise. It was more like, how big is my neighborhood? Jesus tells a nearly ridiculous story of kindness to one in need. The hero is a Samaritan! The question Jesus answers is a different one. How does a really good neighbor behave?
Why doesn’t Jesus answer like they want? He goes by life and death not good and evil. He was The Life. He lived in the moment with God. He never went by conscience. He never talked of bad, worse, better, best. He never said, go by your conscience, choose good over evil. No, he said, “Follow me.” Do what I do. He loved to do the will of the Father. The will of God is only one thing at any moment. The world of possible actions is swept away. I came to do the will of God. Did he look sorry or solemn? No, I think he looked joyful.
He created excitement around him. He attracted people. He was a magnet. Sometimes people lost track of the time. His disciples said, “It’s getting late, send the people on their way to find their dinner.” Jesus is caught up in the moment and says, “No, you feed them!” His faith is exuberant. They try to show him practicality. He won’t have it. It’s like water from a rock. Food from heaven time. Tell them to sit down. I ask you this: where is the ‘work by the sweat of your brow’? No, it’s manna time to Jesus. The next thing you know, food is being passed around. Plenty of it. This is Jesus doing the will of God.
The will of God is live in the moment. It is not a thing apart from God. That’s why you can’t separate the will of God from God. You can’t know the will of God as a possibility among possibilities. The will of God is connected to God at all times. It does not live somewhere that we can contain it as knowledge. It is quite different.
Rather than process possibilities, we live by inspiration. Why is Jesus always running afoul of ‘the rules’? Because they were added on later. Do you think God wanted to write some rules on a stone and give it to his people? That was what they wanted. Give us some rules and back off, God. We’ll take it from here.
When Jesus comes, they throw the rules in his face. The Sabbath was made for man not the other way round. Do good to others on the Sabbath. “Your disciples are harvesting, that’s working on the Sabbath.” Here was a day of rest used as a bludgeon. The will of God is not a means to condemn others and justify yourself. Jesus makes the astounding statement, “I judge no man.” Or woman. “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”
The will of God comes forth from him for you in real time. You have the Spirit of God. If you don’t, you can. He will not have his will as a possibility among other possibilities for you to evaluate. You can be moved by his Spirit to act. Or you can decide for yourself what to do. Those are our choices.
It seems the longer you know God, the less able you are to explain him. John wants us to be sure of three things about Jesus: That he existed since the beginning. He is co-equal with God. That he was a real flesh and blood human being. That’s clear enough. Much later, he says “God is Light”. This is not that helpful since we hardly know what light is.
When John writes about our behavior, he is much clearer. But just as we are beginning to understand that our faith in God must result in better behavior, he hits us with “God is Love.” John proves that the more we know God, the less able we are to explain him. The reason is that God is unknowable. But that does mean we can’t know him. Huh? Imagine yourself standing knee deep in the Pacific Ocean. You are in the ocean. You are off the shore. But what do you know of the ocean? You know something. Can you know more?
But God being unknowable is no reason not to pursue him. Paul says, we know in part. Wouldn’t Paul know God pretty well? Yet, he writes of a strange limitation. We see in a mirror, darkly. A mirror? What do we see in a mirror? Ourselves. Is he saying that we are limited by ourselves as humans in knowing God? Darkly? And we do not even see ourselves clearly.
Does anyone explain heaven? Why not? Jesus says he came from there and that he was going back. I’m not sure why we would want to go there when we have no idea what it is like. It’s good. I’m sure it is good. God’s will is done there unlike here on earth. But can we pray “thy will be done” and not do it?
How can we do the will of God? Do we even want to? Why would we? There is only one motivation according to Jesus. “If you love me, do as I have told you”. This is an echo of the first commandment to love God with all. But it is now personalized by Jesus. “If you love me…”
What did Jesus make a particular point of? “A new commandment, I give you…” A new one? Love God. Love our neighbor. Doesn’t that cover it? “Love one another as I have loved you.” Once again, it is personalized. “…as I have loved you.”
How much does Jesus love you? People tell us that Jesus loves us. There are signs with it written. I’m not going to answer it for you because it’s too personal. I have to answer it for me. Then I have to love him that first loved us. Have to? If I don’t, I can’t begin. Unless I am reacting to his love for me, I can’t begin.
How does all this relate to our title” “Explain God”? Jesus said his life explained God. “If you have seen me, you have seen The Father.” Jesus explained God for three years, by living. He said, “You believe in God. Believe, also, in me.” Such a simple statement. Yet, it also says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be rescued.” Believing becomes loving. Loving leads us to do what he said. Doing what Jesus said changes us. Not just a little. A lot.