Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Heavenly Things

In John 3:12 we read these intriguing lines: “I have told you of earthly things and you have not believed; how much more so would you not believe were I to tell you of heavenly things?” This sentence teaches us much about the Master’s mission on earth. His mission can be summed up into three key revelations. First, was his revelation of the Father: he showed us what God is like when he portrayed the God of boundless love, limitless mercy, and endless devotion – declaring that ‘you that have seen me have seen God.’ Second, he taught us that we are the children of the God he came to reveal. And thirdly, he taught us how the children of God live and conduct their lives: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

It is hard to imagine what must have been going through the mind of Jesus when he was deciding on the portrayal of the Father he would make. We do know, however, that he went with the conservative option. We know this because at key points in his life - when faced with unbearably difficult decisions, when he was torn utterly between his longing to help his fellow man and his aspiration to abide in all things by his Father’s Will but couldn’t decided either way yea or nay, he retreated into the Father’s Will and in pretty much every single case the Father decided YEA! Jesus chose to portray the Father as solemn and devoted. I’m sure he knew his audience well and figured that this portrayal would work best, even if it wasn’t 100% replete. Over and over again in the life of Jesus the exuberant nature of the Father would spill out over the image Jesus was crafting in his life and teachings and make considerable trouble for him.

He was, no doubt, bursting to reveal so much more but couldn’t. He knew the limits of his people and therefore wisely restrained himself in his life and teachings. In restricting his revelations he even admonished his followers and the teachers of his gospel to let their light ‘so shine’ Matt. 5:16 such that their lives would effectively illuminate and not blind their fellows…but even at that, he told his closest friends: “I have yet many things to teach you, but you could not bear them now.” John 16:12. Jesus craved to teach his followers so much more but they simply could not bear it. It would have been utterly pointless to offer teachings that would have been beyond their ability to understand. So, he must have decided to leave those revelations for another day; a day when the gospel would have spread over all the earth.

And so we return to the first line of this article: “I have told you of earthly things and you have not believed; how much more so would you not believe were I to tell you of heavenly things?” John 3:12

The life and teachings of Jesus served one great purpose: To make a revelation of God to man. In doing this another revelation was effected, the revelation of the ideal Man to the Father. He offered very little teaching on Heavenly things. There was much that was implied or suggested but almost no clear cut and distinct revelations with regard to Heavenly things. No doubt there was wisdom in this decision, people would barely believe him on simple and straight forward matters – even going so far as to murder him for his teachings. Over-revelation would have alienated him entirely from even his audience and he would have vanished from the history books as just another quack.

Would it be beyond the realms of possibility that even as the Son of Man came to reveal the nature and character of the Father that another revelation would eventually follow which might do two things: clarify the life and teachings of the Master and provide a revelation of Heavenly things? I’m sure many today would recognise that the gospel has been subject to a chain of Chinese Whispers two thousand years long and could do with some authoritative correction of the signal. I’m also fairly certain that a great many would be intrigued to learn of Heavenly things. I imagine that whereas in the past people refused his message they would be more inclined to receive it today. The trick today would be getting passed their prejudice with regard to Heavenly things.

What if I told you that this revelation has occurred and is freely available to everyone in the world? Would you dare to check it out? Would you dare to believe this revelation? Or would you, like the spiritually blind souls of old, declare such teachings to be ‘madness’?

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