1997-10-23 - Woven Witnesses
The Cross Series, Part 14
John 16:13-15 "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 "He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you. 15 "All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and will disclose it to you.
Jesus did not run around telling everyone that He was indeed God in the flesh. He had no ad campaign going, no organization touting His exploits or His position. When the Lord healed the leaper, a miracle of stunning proportions, He instructed the man to present himself to the priests and to make his offering required by the Mosaic law. And Jesus told him to tell no one Who had cleansed him of the disease. (Matt 8:1-4) When Peter made his great profession of faith, Jesus again commanded those present to tell no one. (Matt 16:15-20) When Jarius' daughter was raised from death by Jesus, He instructed her parents to tell no one. (Luke 8:54-56) This is not to say that the Master never publicly claimed His deity.
John 5:17-18 But He answered them, "My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working." 18 For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.
When Jesus was directly questioned by Caiaphas as to whether He was the Messiah, Jesus answered Caiaphas directly and to the point:
Matt 26:64 Jesus said to him, "You have said it yourself nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven."
The point is that Jesus did not shrink from claiming His rightful position, nor did He holler it from the roof tops. This was allowed for individual revelations to people, like Peter, as to Jesus' deity. In many ways, it is a far more powerful, moving moment when that realization strikes and individual. More so than to have someone step up and prove it, even by miraculous means. We see a pattern in each of the three persons of the Trinity of confirming the other members.
Witness of the Son
John 5:37-38 "And the Father who sent Me, He has borne witness of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form. 38 "And you do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent.
Witness to the Father
John 12:49-50 "For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me commandment, what to say, and what to speak. 50 "And I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me."
John 10:37-38 "If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38 but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father."
And the Son bears witness of the Spirit in the verse we started with (John 16:13-16).
There is an example of humility in this witness that weaves itself between the members of the Godhead. And there is some common sense too. Someone can make a rightful claim, or have the claim made for him. But who is more honored? And which method engenders more respect for the person and the position?
Phil 2:5-8 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Don't hide your light under a bushel. But at the same time don't light someone's nose on fire by sticking your candle in their face. Your life will always be a greater witness to others than your words. The power of a kind act in a time of trouble or in the face of insult or persecution will utter volumes. That will open the doors to their hearts, and the questions and comments that offer opportunities to witness to them will come. But the Spirit will have already used your life to bear witness to their hearts of the reality of your Lord.
Jesus - Thank you for Your example to us in so many area. In this moment, we are grateful for the example that shows us the power the world does not expect or understand in the hearts and lives of those around us. Help us see those opportunities that You open before us. And teach us to be sensitive to Your leading in those critical moments. Give us the strength to stand firmly for You allowing Your grace and mercy to shine through. Amen.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.