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John 12: 20 & 21, John 14:21 & Phil 3:10
The theme of the December 2010 youth conference is ‚ÄúDo you know this Jesus?‚ÄĚ People often use Jesus‚Äô name but they do not really know who He is. I know of a witch doctor (shaman), in our province, who would ask his clients which name he should use to heal them and if the people were Christian, he would use the name of Jesus. This was obviously not the Lord Jesus Christ Himself but other spirits. Many say they serve Jesus but it is only an idol. The Hindus have many idols and I know of a certain Hindu who requested a picture of Jesus to add to the idols he already had. Therefore we need to examine who is the Jesus we claim to serve. There are many pretenders. Our Lord warned that this would be the case, especially in the last days.
Some years ago, there was a white woman in the north of our province, called a "healer", who would burp and belch like other witches. She also" healed" people using Jesus‚Äô name but any one with a little discernment could see that she was a witch. It is said that when she lay dying she claimed that could hear the footsteps of Jesus coming to fetch her. Shockingly, she shouted out just before she died: "no not you!". A demon had come to fetch her for there are demons who can pretend to be Jesus. Do you serve the Lord Jesus of the Bible?
Christians also have their traditions like fasting. I remember how, in 1966 when I was seeking the Lord for revival, I had been reading about the importance of fasting. So, I decided one day to go to a local home (of the newly converted Dube family) to fast and pray. My face was appropriately sour when I arrived there, thinking this was the mood for fasting and praying. However, Mrs Dube (the one went to be with the Lord recently) declared that she would make tea and then some food. I objected - she insisted. Their catering was so abundant, even though they were a poor family, that I ate (just taking polite helping of each dish which resulted in an overflowing plate) till I was so full that I believed prayer was no longer possible. However, the Dube family then came into the room and started to pray. In less than two minutes the presence of God shook that place and I was deeply humbled by the Lord and realised that my way of getting revival is not the same as God's way. He is God and works as He wishes. I had taken a Christian tradition and tried to force it upon God and another culture.
Different nations have different customs and we can learn from them. On the one hand, Paul says he is weak with the weak, like the Gentile to the Gentiles and like a Jew to the Jews so that he might win as many as he can to the Lord Jesus. This, however, doesn‚Äôt mean that we need to sin to try and fit into a culture. That would be a satanic interpretation. One of the words used to describe the Holy Spirit is the comforter, is paracletos. This means that he will come along side of you and speak to you on your level, shoulder to shoulder.
An example of an amazing way in which God spoke to a drunkard. A certain man was his usual drunk self and was fascinated by an insect which was flying closer and closer to the candle flame in front of him. He spoke to the fly and told it that if it got too close, it would burn. Immediately the Holy Spirit said to him that he was exactly like that fly - he was edging closer and closer to eternal destruction. The Lord saved him. God speaks to people in the language they understand (think of Pentecost and the tongues given by the Holy Spirit to appeal to each language group there). Drug addicts and Satanists have their own language and you need to speak their language without being like them in their sin.
Do you know this Jesus as he is described in the four gospels? Do you know His fullness? Matthew, in his gospel, addressed the Jews. It starts with a genealogy from Abraham (whereas Luke, appealing to a different audience starts with Adam - see Lk chap 3) and shows Jesus as the king, the Lion of Judah and offspring of David. Mark describes this same Jesus as a servant and slave or as an ox (as a beast of burden). His audience was the Romans who wanted to know why Jesus had come. Luke portrays Jesus as the perfect man who was in agony when he prayed and carried the huge load of each person‚Äôs sin. So while Luke goes to great lengths to portray Jesus as the perfect man, the Son of Man, John describes the Lord Jesus with the emphasis on His being the Son of God.
Do you know this Jesus? Do you know Him as the King, the servant, Son of Man and Son of God?
Many years ago a German missionary in the Transvaal (as it was called in those days) became very disillusioned with his lack of success. He finally went to a godly Dutch Reformed minister and shared with him how all his work for the Lord seemed so fruitless. The NG dominee responded: "You've been working for Him. How about letting Him work for you?". That transformed the missionary's life and ministry.
Do you know this Jesus in all these aspects that are revealed in the four gospels.