Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Victor David Hanson’s father flew in a B-29 that firebombed Tokyo in WWII. When his teenage son, now a famous military historian, found out about this, he confronted his father suggesting that he was a war criminal. His father replied that at the time the Japanese imperial army were killing 20,000 Chinese and Korean people per day. What else were we going to do, tell them to stop? Then he asked his son what he would do in the face of that evil, and this questioned changed him. VDH summarizes what his father went on to say: We were better than the alternative. The US never claims to be perfect. It’s just better than the alternative. If you don’t believe that it is, then there is no reason for it to continue. Humans are not perfect. We make mistakes. VDH goes on: That idea, that agricultural, military idea that humans are not perfect, they make mistakes but the idea of enduring and adjudicating them and judging them and correcting them and having some tolerance for human frailty is very important, not only in war but in farming and in everything about life [real life, not the life of the billionaire elite]. This utopianism has been fatal to out society. It’s a new barbarism where we insist on perfection or else we are no good.
We should never forget that millions of young men from many generations going back to Valley Forge and every battlefield since, have given the ultimate sacrifice so that we could have the freedom that we now possess.
We are currently looking into a few more aspects of Christ as the mystery revealed before we move on to the final section of Eph 3.
The Messiah was the hope of Israel and their belief was that He would bring about the kingdom that God had promised.
God described what the nation of Israel should look like in the OT, and we know that it hardly ever did. The hope of Israel continued and the idea of the Messiah evolved into a man of the crown, while all the prophecy of His suffering and weakness were dismissed as referring to the people and nation of Israel.
There is much more to this, but in general that was the prevailing view.
Just before the start of Jesus’ public ministry, God instituted the ministry of John the Baptist. John taught Israel to repent and confess their sins. Many of the common people in Israel, told they were no good by the spiritual elite, had given up on strict adherence to the Law. John was refreshing Israel’s dedication to it, and when dedicated the individual would have to reflect that he was a law-breaker and confess his sin. Upon doing this publicly before John and the people, they were baptized in the Jordan River, and the river became identified with their sin. Also, they came out of the water ritually clean, signifying that they could be made clean, but certainly not of their own way. Jesus then came to John and was baptized by him. Jesus identified Himself with the sins of Israel in the water, and rather than being defiled by them, He cleansed them. His coming out of the water was not a symbol of Himself being made clean, He always was, but of His victory and resurrection.
This significant beginning to Jesus’ ministry would continue in His teaching about His death and resurrection. He would clean countless lepers. He would heal countless people of all sorts of diseases, and even raise people from the dead. He would say that He gives eternal life to His sheep. John would write that the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.
Jesus is the Son of God and He revealed the mystery that had been hidden from long ages past. The prophets longed for and searched for the manner and time of His coming and were unable to determine it. Jesus fulfills all prophecy perfectly, and even though all of Israel had come to misinterpret the prophets, He revealed Himself and the Father plainly.
In our age, all who believe upon Him can see all of these truths, the purposes of God, and walk in fellowship with the Trinity who has purposed it and accomplished it. There is no greater reward in life other than to walk with Them.
Besides the glory of God in nature and in the nation there was the glory of God behind the veil. Also, there was the glory of God in delivering Israel from their Egyptian and Babylonian captivities, and in revealing to them his character of mercy and justice. God displayed His majesty in Israel and to His people.
Then the NT would open and ascribe glory to Jesus Christ. Being the Messiah, this is not odd. On the Mount of Transfiguration He was glimpsed in the full manifestation of His glory, and its full manifestation would not take place until His second coming. He worked miracles and signs, and for Messiah, this would not be odd to Israel.
What is odd, to Israel at the time but not to us now, is that although He would be revealed in glory by signs and miracles, glory was above all seen in His present weakness, in the self-humiliation of His incarnation. This culminated in His death.
Said to the two men on the road to Emmaus.
LUK 24:13 And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. 24:14 And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place. 24:15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. 24:16 But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. 24:17 And He said to them, "What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?" And they stood still, looking sad. 24:18 One of them, named Cleopas, answered and said to Him, "Are You the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?" 24:19 And He said to them, "What things?" And they said to Him, "The things about Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people,
And He said to them, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 "Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?"
On three separate occasions in the Gospel of John, Jesus refers to His death as the hour as His glorification, and actually Jesus reveals that both He and the Father will be glorified together in it.
In fact, John doesn’t use the word for crucifixion (stauroo) until chapter 19, while on three occasions before that Jesus refers to Himself as being “lifted up” (hupsoo, cognate of the word for “height”), which would mean more than physically being lifted up on a cross since the word can also be used for being exalted or honored.
His suffering as well as the suffering of the Father in judging Him are more than we can know. I quote Jurgen Moltmann, “The Son suffers dying, the Father suffers the death of the Son. The grief of the Father here is just as important as the death of the Son. The Fatherlessness of the Son is matched by the Sonlessness of the Father.”
The mystery revealed is the glory of God revealed to you through the Person and work of Jesus Christ. It is the most beautiful thing ever revealed and we will always see more as we gaze into it.
And then there is our own experience of the same:
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation.
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.
And in our lives now, on earth, there is an opportunity to see this most significant manifestation of His glory, His weakness and suffering, can be experienced by us.
Do you remember in Ephesians how Paul writes about our bold and confident access to the Father, to the throne of God?
What we come to find out is that no matter what we are faced with on earth in our present lives, we are to be filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, because we are sons and daughters of God, bearing His very name. When we find that we are not bearing this condition in our hearts, do we conclude that we must? And do we humbly, yet boldly, approach our Father and ask Him to reveal whatever truth we are failing to see or what faith we are failing to exercise?