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All the angels and all those who had come with Jesus on the upward journey from the grave to the sky beheld their king as he offered himself to the Father as the risen firstborn - The Lamb of God, sacrificed for us from before the beginning of time. Those of the company who had waited throughout time also took their places of honor in their new home and joined in the magnificent celebration. Jesus’ time in heaven for these celebrations was momentary, as he had left the tomb just before dawn and was to return to earth that same day. He would now spend forty days on earth to seal The Plan of his Father and see it implemented for the rest of time. At the end of those forty days he would return to heaven, and would begin his new mission upon the planet.

Holy Spirit had accompanied Jesus every moment of his life on earth. He had joined himself to the human spirit of Jesus and had felt every feeling that Jesus had felt. He had known every one of his thoughts, and he had communicated every thought from Father God to him. He was One with those thoughts. Those thoughts became words in Jesus mouth, and Spirit caused those words to have life and power to all who heard Jesus speak. In this way Holy Spirit had also experienced life within humanity on the earth. In forty days time Jesus’ would return back to heaven. Then ten days after that, on the day of Pentecost, Holy Spirit would become the bond between heaven and earth for the rest of this age. He would fall like rain from heaven upon the souls of mankind, seeking to awaken the spirit of humanity to the cosmic truth of what Jesus had done in joining mankind to God. This would now become the mission of God.

Within the contradiction of the experience that we call human life, there would exist at one and the same time the cry for, and the resistance to, the oneness of spirit with God for which mankind was created. And within the human pain of this struggle would be found the cry of Holy Spirit wrestling to join the minds and hearts of people to God. This struggle and wrestle would exist throughout time as the Spiritual energy of God’s love that would never cease its activity in the hearts of humanity. It would be the sign of the divine heart exercising its love in the subduing of human nature that it might resonate with the nature of God (Philippians 3:20). Whenever this truth would be embraced by a human heart, that heart would at last find itself at home, around God’s family table, where it was destined eternally to be. Prodigal becomes a son not a servant

Jesus returned to earth in a glorified body that could never ever die again. It was without the constraints of a limited lower order physical body, but it could be seen and recognized as a natural body. In this spiritual yet natural body Jesus could appear anywhere and at any time. He could feel and be touched, could breathe and eat, and walk and talk, all of which he did when he resumed his earthly visit. He came back and saw again the bewilderment and confusion in this world of uncertainty that people cling to so fervently, and he wanted to see all this change. He arrived in Jerusalem and heard that the temple priests had fabricated a story that his body had been stolen by the disciples and that they had overcome the temple guards and raided the tomb. He also heard that his disciples were still doubting that he had risen from the dead, even though some of them had come to the tomb and seen it empty, and some women had spoken to the angels.

He set off walking from Jerusalem in the direction of Galilee, where he had said he would meet with his disciples. It was then that he saw the two men walking together in serious discussion and he recognized them. They were men who had often come to listen to him and ask questions along with the other disciples. He greeted them and joined them as they walked, but Holy Spirit had supernaturally veiled their eyes from recognizing him. He listened as they spoke and detected the same mood of bewilderment, if not depression, that seemed to be hanging over everybody. He politely commented that they seemed to be bothered about something that was going on locally, and he asked what that might be.

The one called Cleopas gave Jesus a puzzled look and said to Jesus that he must be the only visitor in Jerusalem that hadn’t heard about what had happened. So when Jesus asked Cleopas to spell out what he meant the two men smiled at each other and the other man began to patiently explain about the man called Jesus, a great man whom they had both followed and believed in. They enthusiastically recounted some of the miracles he had worked, and that he was a prophet, the greatest of them all. Cleopas broke in and added that Jesus stood up for justice, and taught them about God. They thought he was going to turn the world upside down and make everything new for them. Jesus pushed them further for more details and they said they had expected that there would be freedom and prosperity for the Jews for a start.

There was a pause, then one of them gave a sigh and told Jesus how the temple priests had convicted Jesus as a criminal and how he was crucified by Pontius Pilate, and that today was the third day since these things happened. When Jesus asked them to explain the significance of the third day the two men looked at one another awkwardly and one of them shrugged and said that the man Jesus had said he would rise from the dead after three days. Cleopas took up the story again and explained that some of the women even went to the tomb and found it empty and reported they saw two angels who said he was alive, and that some of his very own disciples also went to the tomb and found it empty. He too shrugged as he finished talking.

Jesus nodded and remained silent for a few paces as he walked alongside the two men. He then very pointedly asked them why on earth they didn’t just believe what they had been told by Jesus himself. The other man condescendingly and a little impatiently, replied that they hadn't seen anything, so what were they expected to believe? It was then that Jesus quietly declared to them that the time was coming when they would believe even though they didn’t see. He then began to speak about all the Scriptures concerning himself. He spoke in detail of the Plan of Father to send The Son into the world. He taught them from the words of Scripture about prophesies which outlined the details of his birth, and his life and death, and his resurrection. Something happened in their hearts as they listened to him, and the time flew by, and the next thing they knew they were close to Emmaus, which was their destination.

They didn't want Jesus to stop talking so they appealed to him to stay with them, even though he told them he was going further. They asked him to at least stay and have a meal, so Jesus accepted their offer. During the meal Jesus took some bread, and gave thanks for it, and as he broke the bread their eyes were opened and immediately they recognized who he was. This was the ordinary, extraordinary moment, sitting at a table, life happening, very natural yet very spiritual, eye to eye heart to heart. Jesus heard Father speaking to him from heaven, telling him that this was the way it was going to be. Holy Spirit would be the one who would open their eyes to see him and know him as he really was, and that was the way The Plan would be implemented from heaven to earth. Jesus then heard Holy Spirit whisper to him; “People will speak the truth about you, and I will reveal you to them.”
The next moment Jesus vanished from their sight

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IN THE WORLD
What does it mean to be in the world? I said last week that the world does things to us. But we live in the beauty of an ordered creation, whose amazing life and substance bless us, and which must be appreciated for what it is, and be enjoyed and given thanks for what God provides for us in it. It was faultless in the beginning – a gift, a garden, where something bad happened, and all creation suffered.
The world’s problem is that there are people in it. There is the disorder of human minds alienated from the life of God. But there is also in those same people the wholesome gift of a conscience, the gift of the image of God in people of no faith, who do good and virtuous things in the world (Romans 2:15(%?).

Nonetheless the whole world lies in darkness – and that is the dark veil of a mindset of separation from God that was set firm at the moment of the fall of man, and which only light and truth, grace and faith and love can remedy. Hence you, in it! So while the world does things to us, we can do something for it.
Ecclesiasties 9:11 the race is not to the swift… but time and chance happen to all men.

NOT OF THE WORLD
John 17:14… They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world…
We are not of (ek – source, origin, cause) the world in the sense that we do not get our origin, our spiritual roots or identity or meaning from the world. The things of the world must not shape our spirit. They can bless our souls by all means. But only the Spirit gives life and our spirit belongs to God. (1John 4:4) This means that we cannot think of ourselves as merely the product of our culture and environment and experiences that have set us on a course that we think controls us. Not so.
John 8:14 Jesus said I know where I am from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge according to the flesh (You think external things are what is REAL)

The story of humanity is in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15). It starts with being loved and at home, but he did not know or appreciate the love of the Father.
1John 2:15 If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
He pursues his own goals and takes from Dad what he can. He runs out of money (hope) and wants home (everyone’s journey is different). The big surprise comes when he reaches home. He realizes that Father’s love, and home, are both waiting for him and that’s what matters. Were there any material possessions left for him? He had what matters, the Fathers love.

John 17:14 I have given them Your word; and the world despises them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. As You sent Me into the world, so I send them into the world.
That is what we are sent into the world with, like Jesus was. All the power, purpose and healing come from his merciful love, and we are armed with unshakable faith – Father is calling people home, and Jesus is bringing home his sheep. Just as Jesus came not to condemn but to save. Your un-condemning faith as a co-labourer changes you to change your world. All things are being shaken. Not all things will be changed, but many things will be broken down so change can occur.

 

Belonging

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OLD TESTAMENT BELONGING

Israel was God’s holy nation, chosen by Him and belonging to Him. No other tribe or nation had this distinct status of belonging, and Israel was not evangelical, not required to bring other tribes and nations into Israel. Their purpose was to bring forth the Messiah and to give him to the world and to be God’s living witness to the fact that God did exist and that He showed Himself strong on their behalf. God was known as the ‘God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’ and in order to keep belonging they were required to honour the covenant of the Law and the sacrifices given through Moses. When they disobeyed there were consequences of ‘not belonging’, many times, Babylon included.
So Israel had to behave (faithfulness to the Law and sacrifices), then believe (The prophets), then they belonged, (experienced being His People).

NEW TESTAMENT BELONGING

Belong, believe, behave.
Now everyone belongs to the Father through Jesus. All of creation has its meaning in Him. The process is now reversed. We all now belong, in Christ, including Israel, because everyone is included. It is when we know that, that we can believe, and when we believe and trust we can lovingly behave. If we don’t know then we can’t believe, or experience true belonging. Acts 17:28, 2Corinthians 5:14, Ephesians 2:4, 1Timothy 4:10.
We believe we belong by hearing His Word (Romans 8:16… who has believed our report?), and we can then live by faith, believing and trusting in a loving God. We can then respond to God in love and then become free to love one another.

We can tell people they belong – that is evangelism – that is ‘calling - inviting’ them.
We can tell people what to believe – The New Covenant – that is ‘faithing’ them.
We can show people how to lovingly behave, by example – that is discipling them.

The Holy Spirit transforms them. 2Peter 1:3

 

 

 

 

 

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At the moment of his death the cosmos convulsed. An earthquake tore a searing gash into the mountainside and people were toppled off their feet. Rocks split apart and the graves and tombs on a nearby hill cracked open (Matthew 27:52). People ran in fear from the place, but they did not know where to go. At that moment there were priests in the temple about to sacrifice the Passover lamb. When the knife pierced the sacrificial animal the priests were thrown off their feet by the earthquake. The temple shook as huge stones fell from the parapets and the great veil in the temple proper, which separated the place of God’s presence from the rest of the temple was lightning torn from top to bottom. The priests fled in panic as tempest swirled through the city.

Lucifer’s dark mind was being assaulted by a force he had not felt before. It was a desperate feeling of failure and futility. What was going wrong? Jesus was dying with a magnificent hope, not a dark and dreadful despair. The offering of Jesus’ spirit to Father God had released a tangible power into the universe. Lucifer turned to the three archons and shouted. “Let's get out of here, something’s wrong.”

He tried to flee back into the darkness but a huge bolt of lightning from the throne room gathered him up and catapulted him downwards. He was traveling face down at a furious speed, and for a split second he thought he saw a burning lake beneath him. It struck him with horror, and he believed he must have imagined it. He was turned on his back and drawn up with the same speed into the darkness above, and then turned back onto his face as he found himself again being plummeted downwards.

The Prince of Darkness now realized that this man’s body, which had just been destroyed on Calvary had contained no fault or sin, and therefore could no longer be kept captive in this lower world. Jesus again recalled what had been written in the Psalms. You will not let my soul rest in the grave, you will not let your Holy One see destruction. (Psalm 16:10)

As Jesus hung on the cross and offered his spirit to his Father he felt his spirit being lifted up above his body. From there he saw the scene on Calvary and all the people standing around, still looking at his dead body hanging on the cross, and he saw Centurion call for the lance. He also saw the bolt of lightning and Lucifer being caught in it and hurled downwards. He then began to travel downwards himself, and knew he was on a mission of great purpose. Below him was a place called Paradise, and next to Paradise was a place called Hades (Luke 16:19).

Jesus descended to these places. Paradise was where there were millions of souls who had been waiting for him from the beginning of time. These had lived their lives on earth in hope, many of them guided by the Commandments through Moses, but many simply by a good conscience, God having written law upon their hearts (Romans 2:15). They were locked away from eternity till eternity would now come to get them. He would also visit Hades, the grave, the prison of lost hope.

Lucifer had thought that all he had to do was get Jesus killed as a human being and Jesus would then be forever locked away from human life and from God life. When darkness entered our world and human beings began to live as spiritually separated in their minds from the Life of God (Eph 4:17), Lucifer laid claim to the physical death and spiritual separation of every human being. But death could not demand payment for something it did not own. It did not own the perfection of the sinless life of virtue resident in Jesus’ body. The moment Jesus died a cosmic law of sin and death was overturned and became the cosmic law of the Spirit of life in Christ. Jesus then proclaimed to all those prisoners of time the plan of Father in sending him to cancel sin and to bring new life, and to lead captivity captive by setting prisoners free. Many listened and many heard. (1Peter 3:19). Jesus sat with Abraham and Joseph and many others in Paradise, talking and resting with them. He was to wait there until the end of the third day. It was toward the end of that third day when suddenly everyone’s conversation began to fall off and diminish into silence, All faces looked up and around as if to detect and determine what that sound was and where it came from. It was beautiful music that danced with itself on waves of exuberant joy. It surged and tumbled about them and was then overlaid with a swell of magnificent singing which became stronger and louder as hosts of flying angels swept into their presence. Jesus stood to greet the two chief angels, and it was then that he was given a set of two keys. These were the keys of hell and death. With one of the keys darkness would one day be locked away and set aside for another encounter, reserved for an appointed day at the end of time. With the other key he would now unlock the prisoners of the past from their patient pause and take many into an eternal heaven.

When Jesus turned the key of freedom in the prison gate a tremor shook every particle of matter in the universe with a frequency lower and more profound than anything ever experienced in all of creation. Power from Father and Holy Spirit in heaven was released into and through Jesus that changed the nature of every atom of matter in existence and brought it into contingent union (in oneness with him but dependent upon him) with Jesus. Prior to this moment, all of creation was separate to the creator, but now Jesus, truly belonging to creation and truly being Creator of that creation, had joined creation to the Creator for all time, to become upheld by His word of power. The man/God Jesus had become the central and pivotal reality of the Universe of his creation, alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, the cause and conclusion of all history (Ephesians 1:19-23, Colossians 1:16), reaching backwards into the past and on into eternity.
This was the Power of the Resurrection, creation into the Creator (Hebrews 1:3) who was now to resume his creation majesty. The extraordinary and astonishing wonder of this phenomenon was that this resurrection power would be graced into humanity, to reside in ordinary people, who would receive it from a loving and gracious God. This power would be the power of faith that worked through love. So now Jesus (as creature and creator) is in touch with everything in the universe in a new dimension. He has total freedom and authority to intervene through Holy Spirit into anything that is happening on earth, and we can be partners with him in this.

The time came for them to leave and Jesus led them on a triumphant upward journey, to their new home, his home. The entire company was escorted by Michael and Gabriel and the hosts of angels around them as they ascended ever upwards until they reached the earth, from where they, and he most recently, had come. There they all stopped for a brief period of time, because there were things for Jesus to do there. The first thing that he had to do was to go to his tomb where his earthly body lay in its shroud. Michael and Gabriel flew before Jesus to the tomb and found the guards there that the temple priests had appointed to stand watch at the tomb. As the angels alighted the ground shook and the massive stone rolled away as a huge burst of lightning hit the place sending the guards reeling headlong to the ground. They leapt up in fright and bolted.

Jesus entered his tomb and united himself again to the wounded shell of his body, leaving the headpiece and shroud lying separated from one another in the tomb (John 20:7). Michael and Gabriel waited inside the tomb while Jesus walked bodily from the temporary resting place, out into the garden. He walked about, recalling vividly the events that had so recently taken place nearby. He remembered his time of kneeling in an agony of prayer, when he accepted his cup of unbearable suffering. A very strange thing was also happening in other parts of Jerusalem. Hundreds of souls who had just accompanied Jesus from below and who had recently died were making the briefest of appearances to their loved ones (Matthew 27:52). At that same time some women had prepared oils and spices to anoint Jesus’ body. On their way to the tomb they were discussing the problem of how to move the huge stone that covered the entrance. When they arrived they were astonished to see that it had been moved and the guards were nowhere to be seen. They peered inside the tomb and were met by the majestic appearance of Michael and Gabriel, sitting in the place where Jesus had been laying.
”Are you looking for Jesus? Gabriel said. He has come back to life as he said he would. Go and tell the disciples that he will be coming to see them, and that they are to wait for him in Galilee.”

The women ran to tell the disciples but one of them dropped behind and walked slowly through the garden, still confused and weeping. She almost collided with Jesus who was also walking in the garden, and she apologized, not recognizing him, thinking he was the gardener. But he called her by her name and said,“ It's alright Mary, it's me, it really is.”
When she recognized him she ran towards him but he held up his hand and said, “Please do not hold me because I cannot be touched until I have presented the complete offering of my body to my Father. I will be with you very soon, so go and tell the others.”

Jesus then regrouped with all those he had set free and the magnificent procession began to move in splendor with its escort of glorious angels, from the grave to the sky. As their ascension took them closer and closer to the throne room a mighty voice could be heard proclaiming, “Open up gates, and let the King of Glory come in.” At this command the heavenly music began. The sound of thousands of pipes, the voices of hundreds of harmonies, the deepest of vibrating bass and the ascending range of every stringed instrument created a majestic symphony. The cascading melody and the volumes of resonance pulsed with rhythm, flooding and receding in this moment of triumph. Jesus had come home.
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Your freedom is the surrender of your freedom into the majestic freedom of God. Your authority is the surrender of your absolute autonomy to his rule and authority. You then have a share in his authority as your faith works things according to his best and most loving purpose for your life, which means that past and future are reordered as God’s love bears into all things.

Matthew 27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
Romans 2:15 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, have a law within themselves, and who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.
1Peter 3:19 But though his body died, his spirit lived on, and it was in the spirit that he visited the spirits in prison and preached to them-- spirits of those who, long before in the days of Noah, had refused to listen to God, though he waited patiently for them while Noah was building the ark.
Hebrews 1:3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he sustains everything in the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
Ephesians 1:19-21. how vibrant and powerful is that divine energy that comes from God to us when we have faith that he is the creator and generator of this supernatural power 20. Which exploded into reality when he raised Jesus from the dead and took him into heaven to sit next to him at his right hand. 21. This heavenly place and position took Jesus as God and man above any other force or realm of authority that can be named, whether on earth or in the heavens - and he has become the center of all consequence and meaning in the universe.
Colossians 1:16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is over all things, and in him all things hold together.

 

Calvary

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Pontius Pilate asked Centurion to command an escort of guards around Jesus to take him to Calvary, or Golgotha, which means The place of the Skull. One of Centurion's men put the beam on Jesus' bleeding shoulder as they left the yard and went into the crowded street. The already large crowd continued to grow, some of them followers and friends, others bitter enemies, and yet others who were just confused and angry. Jesus staggered and buckled under the weight of the beam but he continued to drag it behind him. It was the custom to write a description of the crime on a clay plate and fix it to the top of the cross. Pontius Pilate had written an inscription that read, “THE KING OF THE JEWS”
An angry voice called out above the crowd “Who wrote that stupid inscription?”
One of the temple priests shouted back “It should say ‘He said he was king of the Jews’”
Pilate stepped forward “I wrote that inscription and it stays as it is,”.

A few paces further on Jesus staggered again but this time fell headlong to the ground. Some women rushed forward to help him and Centurion recognized Mary, as she tried to reach out and help her son. Centurion was seized with compassion as he touched her sorrow. He could see blood flowing freely from Jesus now and he knew that he had to keep him on his feet. He must not let Jesus die here on the street. A burly lumbering man who, by the look of his clothing was visiting from some other region, kept close by Jesus as he stumbled forward, and the man balked now and again, as if to reach out and grasp hold of the beam, only to pull back. Centurion called out to the man.
“You, help him. He is too weak to carry that on his own.”
The man from Cyrene leapt forward and took the beam. The peace that surged through his heart overcame the strain of the heavy burden, as he strode on into endless time. The trek to Calvary, with its frequent stops took just under an hour from the time Centurion picked Jesus up in the yard. The process of crucifixion had begun, but it would take many more hours on Calvary for Jesus to die.

John saw Mary walking falteringly up an incline with her companions and he went over and helped her. She saw him coming, and turning, she held out her hand for him to help her up the slope.
“Will you stay close by me John?”
“Of course, that's what I was meaning to do.” “Where are the others?”
“They are about, but they are hanging back a little.”
“Are they fearful, or just disappointed?”
“A bit of both I think. But it's much more than that. It's hard to explain.” They walked on slowly and John told Mary that it was more than disappointment. It was more like dismay and bewilderment, a paralyzing bewilderment.
“And what is it that you feel, John?” asked Mary.
“Well, all I can say is that I was quite confident that I understood him a little while back, but now I know for sure that I don't understand. I believe and trust in him, and I love him, I know that, but I just don't understand. None of us do. We have no idea where he is going, I mean in the sense of what he actually wants to achieve. We don't know how to even begin to follow him. He is too far ahead of us, our leader whom we don’t know how to follow.” He shrugged as he walked on. Mary could understand what was happening in this innocent man's heart that held such great love for her son.
“We can’t go where his is going, but I am sure that one day very soon he will show us,” she said to him.

As John and Mary reached the flat terrain at the top of Calvary they could hear the dull clink of hammers beating against metal, bone, and timber, mingled with the muffled sound of agony. Two other criminals were already hanging on crosses either side of the hole where Jesus pole was to be fixed, but these two men were tied to their crosses, not nailed. Jesus was finally hoisted up and then the pole was crudely dumped into the hole prepared for it. Some time was spent securing its placement so that it stood erect and stable in the rocky ground. A range of utterances rushed from the mouths of people standing watching when the cross fell into place and when the nails tugged on the body they were pinned into. Some of the sounds were stifled cries of shock and dismay while others were more like startled yells of alarm. But overriding these noises was the swelling chant of taunts and slogans coming from the crowd.
“Hey, look at you! Weren’t you going to pull down our temple and rebuild it again in three days? Well why not get yourself down from that cross?” Then the priests and the leaders of the Jews joined in the chant. “You were pretty good at saving others, but you can’t even save yourself. If you are the Promised One, our Messiah, then come on down from that cross and prove it to us.”

John winced when he heard Jesus splutter as a soldier tried to push a sponge of sour wine and myrrh into Jesus' mouth. Jesus turned his face aside and refused the swab. Centurion ordered the soldier away and the man joined the other soldiers who were throwing dice to see who was going to keep Jesus’ robe. Dust was spitting itself into peoples' faces on this strangest of days and gusts of wind blew as storm clouds raced faster than usual across the sky, causing a flickering of sunshine and deep shadow. As Jesus hung there the criminals beside him were weakening, groaning in their pain, when one of them turned to Jesus. He had earlier on joined the choir of obscenity, picking up the ugly chant with gusto. He now wanted to have his last few words of bravado heard in this dark prison of life and death he had made for himself.
“They're telling you to get yourself down, but how about us? That would be a real miracle, even I would believe you.” He was delighted with the impression this made on the crowd, as they clapped and cheered him, but the man on the other side shouted at him angrily.”
“Are you mad? Don't you even fear God? Don't you know who this is? We deserve to be here but he doesn’t. He has never done a wrong thing.” He then turned to Jesus and said.
“Lord, will you remember me when you are in your mighty kingdom?” Jesus turned his head and looked at him with love and said,
“Today you are coming home with me. I will see you soon.”

John put his arm around Mary's shoulders as she looked on, with tears rolling down her cheeks and her countenance numbed from all expression. “Mary you shouldn't be watching this,” he urged her.
“Yes I should, I have to”, she said, pulling away from him. “I tended that body when it was… so tiny. Don't you understand that he is part of me?” It was then that Jesus looked down at his mother standing next to John. He spoke to her through parched lips.
“Mother let him be your son.” His head then turned towards John. Mary looked at John and clung on to his arm.
“Son let her be your mother.”
John stood with her and watched her son's life draining from him. As they stood shielding their faces from the biting dust that came in bursts, and their eyes from the intermittent dazzle of the sun, they were astonished to see the sun dimmed and the dazzle become a weak gleam. High noon surrendered to a deep darkness which remained for three full hours. Darkness has an authority that can intrude into any company and announce that it is now taking over whatever else is happening. It will put a stop to things. If there is noise and commotion, sudden darkness will announce silence. People who thought they were in a crowd suddenly feel alone, and they look into the gloom for one another and move closer together. Darkness took over that day, in those hours. Shouts of bravado that just moments ago would have roused audacious echoes now hung hollow in the still air. Those mockers that had stood close to the action at the foot of the cross now slid back into the crowd, and nervous fear could be seen in many eyes.

Lucifer was watching from the headquarters of darkness above, waiting impatiently to hurl darkness at the one who was the sum of all goodness and light upon the earth. That darkness would have to wait its turn in the gloom for three more hours. Even the carrion crows and the ravens hung in the air queuing up to eat, because it was the tradition to leave the bodies hanging on the crosses to rot. Lucifer walked about agitatedly in just about the highest degree of tension he had ever experienced. He was exhilarated with the absolute certainty of this impending triumph, and he desperately wanted to close this chapter, shut the book and throw it into the vast domain of refuse he had accumulated over his destructive existence. This was to be the treasure of his trash.
He called his three archons into his quarters.
“We will lead the charge. His will has surely been weakened by the torture, so he cannot summons that faith thing he talks about. Are you listening?” he commanded.
“Yes,” they all acknowledged respectfully.
“Now - I will go first and wrench all hope from his heart and plunge him into despair.” He pauses.
“Next, you three follow with your hordes creating images of horror in his mind,”
“What will happen then?” asked a chief Archon, excited.
“He will have no way back into his faith, or his hope, let alone his love - all that will be forgotten.” Satan smirked.
“He will hang there as a warning to all the other poor fools who trust God,” said one Archon in a monotone.
“It will work,” said another. “But when do we attack?”
“When I say.” Said Lucifer

Michael and Gabriel sat quietly in the grief and sorrow of the throne room with Father and Spirit God. Angels were suspended within this pall of sadness that shrouded the desolation below. It was something like the tranquility of that first day of creation, when darkness covered the earth and The Three spoke light and life into existence. There was the same unmoving basin of profound energy poised to create all light, beauty and movement, into the darkness below.
“We will wait,” said Father. “My Son has accepted the cup, and it is now full, for him to drink.”
So heaven waited in eternity and three hours of darkness passed on earth.

“Now!” roared Lucifer, and shot himself like a dart into the one that hung between two criminals on a lonely plateau of the place of the Skull. The gigantic spirit of Jesus absorbed the full impact of Satan as all hell's hateful fury hit him, and as every vile thing ever done by countless millions of crippled hearts down through the ages and for the ages to come assailed his being. Thunder cracked and the earth began to shake. The magnitude of this kind of collision, the sum of all sin hitting the sum of all innocence, shakes all created things. Jesus felt that all hope of overcoming that bank of injustice was futile, but he hoped against all hope and steeled himself to go on. He then sensed what seemed like a swirling sea billowing somewhere beneath the faculties of his mind and will. The feeling clawed at him. It was the swirling sea of fear, and it came from the armory of Satan. The fear sought to pull him under but Jesus hoisted the banner of his faith above it and kept it flying there with absolute trust in his Father's love, while phantom images of horror assaulted his mind and imagination. His great spirit swallowed every vile accusation that Satan hurled at him, and he took them all into himself and locked them safely within the vault of his love. He owned it all. He had become the reservoir of all evil in one moment of time, and he was completely innocent of any one wrong deed.

He rallied his strength once more, but a missile of horror careened into him more powerfully and more deadly than anything before, sweeping over him and submerging him into an impotence and a canceling of all hope. But this was not from Lucifer, it was from his home in heaven. It was black and fathomless, nothingness. It was like annihilation, `This was the cup that he told Father he would accept. But he did not know it would be like this. He called out to Father.
“Father, Father, why have you forsaken me?”
He knew the answer to his question. He had become forsaken for a moment so that no living soul from this time on would ever have to feel forsaken by God again because of their human weakness. As he hung there he embraced the tragic weakness of humanity and touched the feelings of every human soul throughout all ages. The vast bank of love that filled heaven filled his heart and went out to a beloved humanity. He looked at the mocking faces standing round the cross and he loved them. He sent his voice into a waiting heaven and cried out.
“Father forgive them – they don’t know what they are doing.”
He had done it. It was finished. The Plan could now be put into effect.

Jesus had something more to say but his throat was parched and he wanted to speak with strength.
“I'm thirsty,” he croaked out.
Centurion, who was ever there on duty, called the soldier over who had shoved the sponge in Jesus' face earlier.
“Give him the wine sponge” he ordered.
The soldier jumped to the command and put the sponge up on a pole to Jesus, who could now say loudly and clearly what had to be said in his last moments.
“Father into your hands I now offer my Spirit.”
Then in one last gasp he shouted loudly for all about him to hear. “It is finished!”
Then he died. And he and we were placed securely in The Father's loving hands.

Who brought about the death of Jesus? – His Father, The Jews, The Romans, Our sin.
All of these played very significant parts, and there are Scriptures for each of their roles. But it was finally Jesus.

John 10:15… and I lay down My life for the sheep… 17. Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This command I have received from My Father.”
John 12:23 But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.

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We see in Scripture in a prophetic week of seven 1000-year days such a loving purposeful plan of God’s dealings with mankind in history, to redeem us and then to join himself with us and then to return to be with us for all eternity. The genealogy from Adam to the present day is about 6000 years. Archaeologists agree that the region of Ur was the place of the first civilized city found (circa 4000 BC). The ruins were first excavated (1854-55) by the British consul J. E. Taylor http://history-world.org/ur.htm This means that the first civilization was around 6000 years ago. Genesis 4:17 Cain built a city. 2 Peter 3:8 … one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 1John 5:7 there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. The actual events of each day’s creation serve as a blueprint for the days of redemption after the fall of Adam. It is breath-taking to behold the wonder of God’s majestic design and purpose for his creation and for his determined plan of creating mankind in his own likeness, first as a creation separate from himself because of being of a lower order, and then recreating him as a New Creation in his Son Jesus, lifting us into being partakers of the divine nature as One Spirit with him. The Scriptures show us that nothing can obstruct this sovereign purpose. Ephesians 1:9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. So no one can stop this purpose from being fulfilled, it’s just a matter of who wants to be partners with God in it. Satan works now, as he did with Adam and as he has always worked, to stop mankind from trusting in God’s wonderful plan and purpose for us – has God said? There will always be things going wrong in life, but this one thing, God’s eternal purpose, will always be on course because it happens ‘according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory’. This is an invitation (calling – klero) too worthwhile to reject or resist. There is an amazing parallel in the symbolism of events occurring on each day of God’s creative week, to those events occurring on the one thousand year days of God’s redemptive week.

GENERATIONS FROM ADAM TO JACOB * 1 - Adam (generation 1) is created.[1] * 130 - Adam and Eve receive a son, Seth (generation 2) * 235 - Enosh is born (generation 3) * 325 - Kenan is born (generation 4) * 395 - Mahalaleel is born (generation 5) * 460 - Jared is born (generation 6) * 622 - Enoch is born (generation 7) * 687 - Methuselah is born (generation 8) "Methuselah" can be translated "when he dies it comes". * 874 - Lamech is born (generation 9) * 930 - Adam dies, aged 930 * 987 - Enoch taken up by God (did not die [Gen5:24]), aged 365 * 1042 - Seth dies, aged 912 * 1056 - Noah is born (generation 10) * 1140 - Enosh dies, aged 905 * 1235 - Kenan dies, aged 910 * 1290 - Mahalaleel dies, aged 895 * 1422 - Jared dies, aged 962 * 1556 - Noah has three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth (generation 11) * 1651 - Lamech (Noah's father) dies, aged 777 * 1656 - Methuselah dies the same year as the flood comes, aged 969 * 1658 - Arpachshad is born (generation 12) * 1693 - Shelah is born (generation 13) * 1723 - Eber is born (generation 14) * 1757 - Peleg is born (generation 15) * 1787 - Reu is born (generation 16) * 1819 - Serug is born (generation 17) * 1849 - Nahor is born (generation 18) * 1878 - Terah is born (generation 19) * 1948 - Abraham is born (generation 20) * 1958 - Sarah, Abrahams wife, is born * 1996 - Peleg dies, aged 239 - this is the first death mentioned in the Bible after the flood * 1997 - Nahor dies, aged 148 * 2006 - Noah, generation 10 after Adam, dies at the age of 950 * 2026 - Reu dies, aged 239 * 2034 - Ishmael is born (generation 21) * 2048 - Isaac is born (also generation 21) * 2049 - Serug dies, aged 230 * 2083 - Terah dies, aged 205 * 2085 - Sarah dies, aged 127 * 2088 - Isaac is married at the age of 40, to Rebecca * 2096 - Arpachshad dies, aged 438 * 2108 - Jacob is born, with his twin Esau (generation 22) * 2123 - Abraham dies, aged 175 * 2126 - Shelah dies, aged 433 * 2158 - Shem dies, aged 600 * 2187 - Eber dies, aged 464 * 2228 - Isaac dies, aged 180 * 2238 - Jacob moves to Egypt at the age of 130 * 2255 - Jacob dies in Egypt, aged 147

Pathway to maturity

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Colossians 2:6 My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you've been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You're deeply rooted in him. You're growing in him. You are grounded in the faith. Now do what you've been taught. School's out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.
We receive as children, humble and trusting . We interact with spiritual reality as children. But then we grow up so that we can take hold of the greater promises (2Peter 1:4…Mediator of better covenant…).
Hebrews 5:13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil (What is worthwhile from what is worthless).

This message can be illustrated by the two stages of maturity of Israel; The first stage was when they were rescued out of Egypt, and the second stage was as they entered into the promised land. Israel were miraculously taken out of Egypt and led and fed as children during their experience in the wilderness. Everything was done for them. They wandered around in circles for forty years and a generation perished.
1Corinthians 10:1 I don’t want you to forget, dear brothers and sisters, about our ancestors in the wilderness long ago. All of them were guided by a cloud that moved ahead of them, and all of them walked through the sea on dry ground. All of them were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.
The cloud, Holy Spirit baptism, and the sea, water baptism, were ‘getting out’ not ‘going in’ experiences.

Israel was finally expected to cross the Jordan and enter in to the Promised Land. They were taken out to enter in. Being taken out and rescued is one thing but being take in and challenged is another.
Joshua 3:3 Joshua commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it. Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before. A new pathway was to be walked 2000 cubits behind our Ark, Jesus, our forerunner. This new generation entered the land strategically, and had to fight the enemy - and they took the land (Nehemiah 9:7, Joshua 21:43-45, Joshua 23:14-16)

The Church was taken out of the world about 2000 years ago and there are always generations of people being prepared to enter in more fully to the promises of God in Jesus Christ. There is also a generation that shall be prepared for the coming of The Lord (at least 4x). Ps 22, Ps 102,

Holy Spirit is gathering and preparing a people to awaken to the invitation to go after the presence of God in their lives. There are people stuck in their circumstances, disappointed and lost or floundering in their faith, but they know there is something more in God for them. Holy Spirit will stir the need in them to set out from their place and go after the presence of God. They will be touched and inspired by God through an anointed company of faithful ones who live to bear His presence in their lives and who are leading the way forward into the fullness of God.
Hebrews 10:19 And so, dear brothers and sisters, now we may walk right into the very Holy of Holies, where God is, because of the blood of Jesus. This is the new and living way that Christ has dedicated for us by tearing the veil - his flesh - to let us into the holy presence of God.

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On the day of Pentecost, over 2000 years ago The Holy Spirit spoke to people in a heavenly tongue that they each heard in their own language. This was the first time mankind had heard the voice of The Holy Spirit. This was the dawning of the age of grace and truth, and the law was written on their hearts. Three thousand people were added to the Kingdom on that day.
Acts 2:6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.

About 1500 years earlier, at the dawning of the age of the Law, Israel were given the Ten Commandments written on stone, as Moses received them on the mountain. On that day, because the people worshiped the golden calf, three thousand people were slain. (Exodus 32).

The age of the flesh gave way to the age of the Spirit, and from that time onwards humanity was in communication with God, through The Holy Spirit.
He speaks to us in our own language, in our own circumstances, simply and clearly, to all those who believe in the Lord Jesus, and who ask the Father for His Holy Spirit to reveal His Son and Himself (Father) to them.

We receive Holy Spirit humbly and simply, as children, trusting Him to lead us and teach us and comfort us through every situation in our lives.
As we receive simply in this way, we also walk in Him simply day by day Colossians 2:6

It has been found that a five year old has an intuitive understanding of physics. They learn a vast amount of science spontaneously and thoroughly, and more easily than they do when they have to study it in depth later on. They learn about Heat, light, sound, gravity, motion, energy, magnetism etc., because they interact with these things as realities and have a language for them and a simple way of measuring them. They know what to expect and what not to expect. Learning is not hard work for them at this time, as it can become when they have to learn definitions and proofs and abstract theories.

So let us not lose our first love, and let us abide in him, and be attentive to His voice.

 

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Psalm 22:1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
Jesus took this darkness of separation for us so that we would know we would never be forsaken. Then he was able to confirm this afterward, for himself and for all of us and to all of us when he continues to speak from Psalm 22
Verse 24: For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy.
He has not turned his back on them, but has listened to their cries for help.
Hebrews 13:5 ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’
The body of the Psalm tells of his hands and feet being pierced, and the casting of lots for his robe etc.
He then goes on to speak from the Psalm to tell of his becoming our worship in Spirit and in truth
25 I will praise you in the great assembly. I will declare my dedication to you in the presence of those who worship you.
This is confirmed in the New Testament - Jesus becoming our praise and worship – our Hallelujah.
Hebrews 2:11 So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy are of one Being. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters. For he said to God, “I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters. I will praise you in the presence of your assembled people.” He also said, “I will put my trust in him, I and the brothers and sisters God has given me.”
Jesus thanks Father for his gift of us as his brothers and sisters to him.

This worship in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24) shows us how Jesus has words and thoughts about his Father that we do not have and the Spirit can help us in this just as he helps us in prayer (John 6:63 The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life). Jesus then continues to speak to us from the same Psalm…

Then comes a word for the Church in the last days, before his return – for a special generation.

27 All who seek the Lord will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy.
The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to him.
28 All the families of the nations will bow down before him.
For royal power belongs to the Lord. He rules all the nations.
29 All those flourishing in Him will join the celebration and worship.
30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.
They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he has done this.

Psalm 102:18 This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord. For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the Lord behold the earth To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death; (Hebrews 9:27…appointed for man once to die…) (1Thessalonians 4:16 …We who are alive and remain)

 

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This is a story is about God accessing our hearts and minds with his good purpose and subduing our resistance because of our ideas of who we are and what we should be doing. God does the approaching.
God wants to guide us in the true manner of responding to him in faith, and to safeguard us from the two following extremes of misunderstanding – under estimating or over estimating our part in his will and purpose in our lives.
1. GIDEON - I’m not worthy so God would not bother with me.
Judges 6:15 So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.”
God had to do a lot of convincing with Gideon that it was all about God’s grace and power (Grace is a gift [charis] that works in a multitude of expressions – loving spiritual empowerment Ephesians 2:8)

2. SAUL - I’ll make the decisions about what I believe God should endorse (3rd commandment).
1Chronicles 10:14 and Saul did not inquire of the LORD. So the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.

Judges 6:11 Gideon was threshing wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”
Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours (just previously proclaimed), and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”
Judges 6:15 So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.”
And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.”
And THEN the Lord said to Gideon - after shrinking his army from 32,000 to 300;
Judges 7:3 “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me. And twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained. (The 10,000 was then reduced to 300)

3. DAVID understood the middle path of grace between the two deceptive extremes. David learned total trust that God knew what was right and best, and found rest and peace in his soul. Jesus is called ‘the son of David’ – the perfect example of that middle path. Acts 13:2 He will do everything I say… David did TWO BIG things – He trusted and he praised/worshipped God.
God has to be anchored somewhere in HIS BEING in the earth and it is in people who turn up as a Gideon willing to be God’s partner – Or as a Saul who is willing to become a David.

2Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us… 15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

 

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