Are we on the same page as Jesus?
Have you noticed how the disciples were often just not on the same page as Jesus, and wondered why? Because basically they weren’t. Jesus, although in a human body, was Spirit; the disciples were flesh, and as we know, “the flesh is weak.” They slept at Gethsemane; they slept at the transfiguration. Even when Jesus was talking plainly about his coming death and resurrection, Luke 18:24 tells us: “But they understood none of these things; this saying was hidden from them, and they did not know the things which were spoken.” So we can safely assume that while Jesus was training the twelve, He knew that nothing He said would really be understood until they were “endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49), and woken from their spiritual sleep. Only then would all the words that he had sown into them come to life.
With this in mind, notice what Peter says towards the end of his life:
“His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Pe 1 3-4)
“His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” All things. There is nothing in the effective Christian life that is not given to us by His divine power. Until his three years’ discipleship were brought to life at Pentecost, Peter’s only personal experience of God’s divine power were at times of acting under the authority of specific instructions, such as feeding the 5,000 and being sent out to preach and heal. Otherwise, like a child in a chemistry lesson, he had only watched the Teacher’s explosive demonstration. Peter’s walk in the Spirit, like that of all the other apostles, flowed out of Pentecost. So must ours. All the things that pertain to life and godliness come through one channel: knowing Him. Not knowing about Him – Peter had spent three years knowing about what Jesus did, but from what we read he hardly understood any of it, even though he walked on water and was given the revelation that Jesus was indeed the Christ. Even at the ascension, “some doubted.” How could that be possible? Because they didn’t yet really have knowledge of Jesus. Real knowledge of the One who calls us can only come by the Spirit that He gives us. Paul makes this clear near the beginning of his first epistle to the Corinthians: “The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor 2:14)
Our promised land – the “exceedingly great and precious promises that have been given to us”- is this: to be “partakers of the divine nature.” If we allow ourselves to be invaded by the Spirit of God, we not only find ourselves starting to really know Him – to know His heart, His character, His desires for us, and above all His voice – we start becoming like Him. We will do what He did, and we will do the “greater things” promised in John 14:12. We will start to feel His compassion, so it won’t even occur to us to want to feed ourselves before feeding the 5,000. We will speak out of His love instead of our self-interest. Our promised land isn’t our city, the mega-church we want to build, a worldwide ministry, or 10,000 views on our You Tube channel: it’s to be partakers of the divine nature. The pre-requisite to entry is that we have “escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” Only Jesus can make this happen, because “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed,” (John 8:36) and He will do it by the power of the Holy Spirit, because “the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2 Cor 3:17) Peter needed Pentecost to be on the same page as Jesus. And if it was necessary for Peter, it is necessary for us.
It’s the Day of Pentecost in a few weeks. God is doing new things in the world and in the church, but if we aren’t going to miss them we need to be on the same page as Him. This means that the person of the Holy Spirit needs to be a reality in our experience. More than theology, more than an idea that we agree with, more than someone else’s testimony, more than the reason you can say “Jesus is Lord.” He wants to be Someone who has answers for your questions, Someone whose guidance and instruction you experience every day, Someone you talk to and listen to, Someone who sets your heart of fire when you Worship Jesus, Someone whose power you feel flowing through you when you pray for a brother of sister or for someone in the street, Someone who revolutionises your prayer life with the gift of tongues.
A friend of mine was at a “glory conference” in Washington DC a few years ago where the presence of the Holy Spirit was so powerful that bystanders called the fire brigade three times because they saw fire coming out of the roof of the building (it’s in the “Fire Kills Viruses” article). The same thing happened during the Pentecostal revival at Azuza street a hundred years or so ago, and I’m sure it’s happened on other occasions. John the Baptist prophesied that Jesus would baptise “with the Holy Spirit and fire.” God is laying more fires even now. He will soon be getting the matches out, but unless we are on the page where they are burning we will miss the one He has got planned for us.
So do you know the Holy Spirit? Because to know the Holy Spirit in your daily life is to know Jesus.