SEEING JESUS

There were some First Century people who wanted to see Jesus. It just so happened that they were Greeks and were in town to celebrate a Jewish feast. Somehow they had heard about Him and found Philip and asked to see Him. Philip passed the word along to his side kick Andrew and they both went and told Jesus. Now relative to what most Christians believe today - He had a very peculiar answer.

I have had several people give me a rather peculiar answer when I have asked them if Jesus is here. Some have quickly said, "No He is not." Then when I questioned them further, they would say "oh, ...  yes He is here in a spiritual sense, but not physically. 

Now, as I can, when I get this response, I follow up by asking them if His spiritual presence is somehow inferior to His being here in a physical body.

Going back in time we can note that very soon after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, most Christians were still looking forward to the return of Christ. It appears some did believe that those calamities were Christís promised return, but they were few in number.

Earlier - When Jesus finished telling the story of the widow and the unjust judge he had made a revealing statement. He asked "will the Son of Man find faith when He returns?" The implication of His question proved to be a prophecy, for very few did believe He had returned.

Let us check just what Jesus said when He heard these Greeks were wanting to see Him. These verses hold a key to our "seeing Jesus."

John 12:21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. "Sir," they said, "we would like to see Jesus." 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. 23 Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. 27 "Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!" Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again." 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. 30 Jesus said, "This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; land or system, now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. 34 The crowd spoke up, "We have heard from the Law that the Christ will remain forever, so how can you say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this 'Son of Man'?" 35 Then Jesus told them, "You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. 36 Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light." When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them. 37 Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: "Lord, who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" 39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere: 40 "He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn-- and I would heal them." 41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him. 42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved praise from men more than praise from God. 44 Then Jesus cried out, "When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. 47 "As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. (NIV)

Starting at verse 23. Jesus was about to be glorified. This came about through Calvary and His resurrection, but not just that. It also involved His coming in judgment on rebellious Israel. This glorification enabled those who did believe to literally see Him in each of these happenings, for they were able to discern His being glorified in them.

Verse 25. If we are tied to this physical realm and not able to discern Christ in things that happen in the now it is because we are in love with this life.

Verse 26. Those who serve Jesus through obeying Him and following Him are literally with Him and are where He is. (The spiritual notwithstanding, or though this is a spiritual situation, it is still literally true.)

Verse 31 A voice from heaven had just verified just who Christ was. He then gives a time statement relative to time of that judgment and said it was now. This being said by Him nearly 2000 years ago.

Verse 34. Then they ask Him about the Christ remaining forever. They were right for He was to do this and is doing so, for He is still here and will be here "world without end."

In answering their question He told them how to become children of light. This is how they would be enabled to see Christ in the now. The world would soon see the last of Him, but not so for those who would walk in the light as He is in the light. Yes, the world would see Him coming in the clouds, but they would see and yet not perceive that it was Him, and those rebellious ones who had an inkling that it was His doings would set about to explain it away. They have since convinced many Christians to look for another, still future, coming. This weakens the Christian community's effect on this world, for it creates lethargy and also means Christ was mistaken.

Verses 37. Even though Christ had done miracles among them they still would not believe. (So it is today. Even though many have experienced His touch they still deny He is here in His fullness.)

Verse 42. Some of the more knowledgeable Jews did believe but they feared men more then they feared God.

Verse 45. Jesus then declared that those who saw Him saw God. Some did see God through Christ, others were looking only at the works of God and still were blind.

New let us look at what Jesus taught earlier about seeing. The fact is - If you love Him and keep His commandments you are able to see Him.

Matthew 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, ..

I will skip some, but note the following.

 

5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. 17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. 21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. (KJV)

Verse 2. Jesus taught these things and associated them with His kingdom.

Verse 5. A conditional promise/s that if met would enable them to enter into His kingdom.

Verse 8. Those who have a pure heart can see God. 

Verse. 10  Another conditional promise. If these are met you are in.

Verse 18. Note: these verses all have to do with morality and obedience and they are inseparable from our being born from above. He speaks of our being the light of the world.

Here He speaks of the fulfillment of the law and says heaven and earth will pass away, but not until the law is fulfilled.

Josephus the First Century Jewish historian spoke of the temple in Jerusalem being "heaven and earth." That system was to end at the time of the fulfillment of the law. Christ was that fulfillment. Unfortunately, it is taught by many theologians that we no longer have to obey the law to get to heaven, and yes, they are right in a limited sense.

Prior to Christís advent and through Moses, the law was set as a means of salvation. However, no one ever has earned their salvation, but this was what the Jews, in general, had tried to do through obedience to it, and by going through their many rituals. They had also repeatedly rebelled and the mosaic system become very evil. This is why Christ destroyed that system.

Both the first and second commandment are essential, they must be obeyed. There will never be an end to the necessity of moral government.

Verse 20. Another mention relative to our conditional salvation. There are things we must do, after the fact. There are things that "without which" we cannot be saved, even though they are not our salvation. The fact is, "God alone is our salvation." If He says we must do something why argue.

Verse 22 and on down. Jesus sets a far higher standard then the Law of Moses. He repeatedly says ".. It hath been said .... But I say ..." And by doing so He set a higher mark.

There is no evil in His kingdom, nor tears, nor death, etc.

Now let us go back to Saint John three. We are still dealing with seeing Jesus in the now, which is inseparable from being in His kingdom.

Saint John 3:2 He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him." 3 In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."

4 "How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!" 5 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." 9 "How can this be?" Nicodemus asked. 10 "You are Israel's teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things? 11 I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? (NIV)

This whole passage clearly states that the singular kingdom of God and of His Christ,  is spiritual. If we are not born again into Christ we are blind to the fullness of spiritual reality.

Note: Spiritual reality or the spiritual realm is infinitely more glorious then this limited physical realm, still, the majority are now demanding that Jesus come back and walk in this dirt again, but for what?

Also notice that Jesus expected this Jewish teacher to understand His message.

Again can you see Jesus and His kingdom? Is He here in fullness, now?

Third John 1:11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God. (KJV)

John 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (KJV)

These are spiritual thoughts, and have to be discerned on that level, for the bible also says that no man hath seen God. In any case, according to these passages, morality is inseparable from the way into the kingdom.

In addition - If we, in any sense, say that Jesus is not here in the present in His fullness, -

1. A question as to our being in the kingdom is produced. (This includes a question as to the effectiveness of His sacrifice, etc.)

2. Christ's integrity is compromised.

3. The Bible is then made out to be unreliable.

To be looking forward to some spectacular, fantastic, all consuming,  future,  glorious consummation, that is always yet to happen, is to trade fantasy for the realty of Christ's first century glorification, the actualization then of that long awaited glorious consummation, which was the end of a world and the arrival of another - revealed in the end of that system and the beginning of the Church. 

These present day futuristic positions demeans His place of preeminence, for He finished His work and set down by the Father on His throne, then, and this goes on forever.  (This is understood by noting the First Century Context of the NT's message.) 

Seeing the fullness of Christ's kingdom, the fulfillment of His glorification on the Cross, in the resurrection, and in His judgment on Israel, in a First Century context, removes us from fantasizing and speculating endlessly about the future, and it is only this position that upholds His integrity. 

Thinking He is going to come back and fix everything we see that is negative, in this physical world, tends to remove us from feeling responsible for doing much of anything about this. We say "it is all going to burn anyway." "Why paint a sinking ship?" Then we act the part. We want to get everybody saved for it is going to get worse and so the worse it gets, and many of those who do get saved do not stay saved very long. They become just as negative about the future as we are and but turn their back on failed Christianity. This negative message is not Christian, or Christ like.

The future belongs to Christ, and we have been given what it takes to see that it is realized, more and more here in this life, on down through time.

World without end. This includes the ability to walk before Him in righteousness.

No whitewash situation.

Heaven In The Now? (Sounds good) a link

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