Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Married to Another

I want to stay on this subject of the Marriage of the Lamb.  Turn in your Bibles to John, Chapter 20, verse 19,

So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
   -- NASB

In Matthew 22, JESUS compared the Kingdom of God, to a King who gave a wedding feast for His son. The invited guest, the children of Israel, paid little attention.  Of course 3000 came in on the day of Pentecost, but very few in Israel followed JESUS and received eternal life, as compared to the number of invited guests.  For the most part JESUS' disciples received rebuke and persecution at the hands of their people.  The King in our parable had his servants take to the highways and the byways, filling the wedding hall with any who would attend from every nation.  This speaks of the Gospel going out to all the nations of the world, heralding the wedding of the lamb.  Those that attended the marriage celebration, believing on JESUS as their Lord and savior, received the wedding garment. They became the Bride of Christ.  Sons and daughters of the one true God.  No longer married to an old husband, the Law, but set free through death and resurrection, to marry another.

Let's see if I can eliminate some confusion created in this explanation.

It was after the crucifixion, death and burial of JESUS that the disciples were behind closed doors. Mary Magdalene remained at the tomb weeping, after the other disciples departed to their own homes, John 20:10.  It was then that she saw the Lord.  Not recognizing Him at the first, JESUS called her by name.  

Once recognized, JESUS said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, I have not ascended to the Father." He commanded her, "Tell the disciples I ascend to My father and your Father, and My God and your God."

Mary came to the disciples announcing, "I have seen the Lord."

Imagine their reaction.  Shock, disbelief, perhaps anger, and indignation at these words that appeared so false.  For they were behind closed doors, all seemed lost. They were in fear of the Jews and probably afraid as well of what would become of them now, as their Lord had endured such a horrible death.  The word fear can be translated as dread or that which strikes terror.  It can also be translated as reverence for one's husband.

Let's skip ahead and look at some verses in Romans 6 and 7, to get a clearer idea of what Christ has done for us who believe, and why we no longer need to be in fear or reverence for anything other than our Lord.

In Romans 6:3-4 in the NASB, which I will be using, we read,

Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

Not only have we who believe been baptized, immersed or overwhelmed - buried, into His death, we have also been raised by the Father, and to His glory, to walk in this newness of life.  

Verse 5 goes on to say,

For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,

The word united means of joint origin or born together with.  We have been born together with, and joined, as in marriage, with our Lord, in the likeness of His death. And we shall be the same in the likeness of His resurrection.  Paul is saying we have passed from life to death and back to newness of life in JESUS.  He is one with us in this body of flesh, this earthen vessel. The apostle goes on to encourage us in verse 12 of this chapter, that we no longer let sin reign in our mortal body so that we obey its lust. He asks if we, who are no longer under the Law but under Grace, will use that grace as an opportunity to sin.

Remember, the disciples were behind closed doors, in reverence for their husband, the Old Covenant that they were married to at Sinai.  They were mourning.  Jews observe 7 days of strict mourning, called "sitting shiva",  which is the amount of time Jacob mourned his father Issac in Genesis 50:10. This is followed by a 30 day period of mourning and nearly a year of abstaining from certain activities.

So many have taught that these disciples who walked with our Lord trembled in fear after his death and burial.  I say, "Not so!"

These disciples were doing what they knew to do according to their reverence for the only husband they knew at that time, the Law. They were mourning the loss of their teacher and friend, the one they were sure was the promised Messiah.

Let's look at Romans 7, verses 1 through 4, in the NASB, in the context of spiritual realities rather than the flesh.

Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.

Stay with me here, because I may shake you loose from some of your antiquated thinking, as God is shaking me loose. In verse 1 we read, that the Law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives.  

The Law was a person.  The Word of God was personified in JESUS. The Law is part of the Word of God. 

Personified in the body of JESUS our Lord was the entire Word of God, John 1.1.  JESUS was crucified, and so was the Law.  JESUS was buried, and so was the Law.  It was done, "It is Finished," were the Words JESUS used on the cross. Our Lord sacrificed himself on the cross having fulfilled, and forever ending the LAW and its administration over God's people. What no one knew, the mystery that none of the prophets foretold, was that a wedding was to take place. And the wedding garment, that which would cloth the guests for the impending marriage, would be offered not only to the children of Israel but to whosoever would believe.

All those that believed would be called the sons and daughters of God.

For the married woman, Israel in this case, married to the Law, is bound to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies, she is released from the Law concerning that husband.  The Law was Israel's husband.

How brilliant our God was in freeing His people from this husband we call the Law! 

In and of itself this husband, the Law, was not bad, actually He was the Word of God written on tablets of stone. And only the Law could fulfill its own requirements. We saw that in JESUS with the woman taken in adultery. He bent down and wrote on ground made of stone! Only the Word incarnate, our Lord, the Law Giver and the Law, could accomplish that.

The woman was Israel, to be taken in adultery if she joined herself to another man.  So JESUS bent down and wrote in stone, canceling her sin. 

And He said,

“I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” -- John 8:11

This pointed to what JESUS would do for us at the cross, through His death, burial, and resurrection to new life.

The Apostle Paul, the writer of Romans, continues in verse 4 of Romans 7, informing us that we were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that we might be joined to another, the purpose revealed, in order that we might bear fruit for God.  We were created to have fellowship with God, that was the purpose for creation. That we would be fruitful and multiply and be a spiritual family with God as our Father. Here Paul assures us that this is a reality because of the accomplished work of JESUS our Lord.

To close, let's attend a wedding.  I like weddings, how about you?

Turn back to John Chapter 20, the end of verse 19,

Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

Then JESUS showed His disciples His hands and His side, at which they rejoiced, knowing it was the Lord.  Let's continue reading in verse 21.

“Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

Where is JESUS sending them?  

Are they taking another trip, two by two, as they did when He sent out the 70?  Let's read on in verse John 20:22,

And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit."

When Pilate questioned JESUS, asking Him if He was the King of the Jews, JESUS said, "My Kingdom is not of this world." 

When questioned again, Jesus responded, "My Kingdom is not of this realm."  

That word realm is the Greek word anothen which can be translated as from the first, from the beginning, or anew

JESUS was sending His disciples somewhere that was not of this world. 

They would not only be with Him in that other realm, but they would walk in this realm, having access to that one. The disciples, and all of us who believe would walk as JESUS did, here on earth. And the things of that realm would now be available to us, His disciples, Matthew 18:18.

Matthew 18:18 is a perfect square. The Holy of Holies was no longer to be in the temple, rather these disciples were to be the temple. A temple made without hands.

In John 20:22, the marriage was consummated as JESUS breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit."

In Mark Chapter 2, verse 7, the temple scribes were reasoning in their hearts when JESUS spoke to the paralytic who was let down on the mat through the roof by his friends who loved him,

“Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?

And in verse 10, JESUS said,

“But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic,

Look at what JESUS says to His disciples in the very next verse in John 20:23,

“If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

Child of God, born from above, filled with the Holy Spirit, and clothed with power from on high, if you have ever doubted what God has made available to His sons and daughters, who walk in this world, but come from another realm, doubt no more. On the day that JESUS breathed on His disciples, he ushered in the realm of a King and gave authority to all the sons and daughters of God who would believe on His Lordship.  

Clearly our Lord stated, "If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained." 

This speaks of authority, delegated authority restored to man.  Any man? No, the man who is joined to God through the new birth, born from above by believing on JESUS the son of God, and endued with power from on high. Sons and daughters of the Most High God, who carry this treasure, God in Christ in them, in weak earthen vessels.  

These vessels may be weak, cracked, needing spit and glue to hold them together, but a treasure remains inside, only to be loosed when we leave this body of flesh.  

Rejoice, children of God, for we are the temple of the Living God, the Christ-bearers!

With Love,

BJ


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