When the time came for Samuel, the prophet of God, to seek out King Saul’s successor he was told to go to the house of Jesse the Bethlehemite. Without going through the whole story here let me just say, Samuel looked through seven of Jesse’s sons before finally meeting David. As each one passed by Samuel he thought to himself, “surely this is the one” but it wasn’t to be. God taught Samuel, and the whole world, something very important that day. God said, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”-(1 Samuel 16:7). It seems, even in the process of showing Samuel the identity of the new King, God was deepening the prophet’s understanding of his ways.
One thing that becomes obvious to the sincere seeker of truth, and the things of the Spirit of God, is they won’t be found by looking only on the surface. One great example of this is recorded for us in Mathew 16 where Jesus quizzed his disciples asking them “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They say, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” Then Jesus turned it on the disciples themselves and asked, “But who do you say that I am?” Things started to get a bit more personal but Peter, as usual, jumped right up saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” You can almost sense the excitement in Jesus when he said, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven”-(Matthew 16:13-17).
It takes revelation from the Spirit in order to know who Jesus Christ really is. Of course there are many, many people claiming to “know” Jesus but many of those simply know a historical Jesus. They know or believe a historical figure such as Jesus may have lived in the distant passed but seeing him as the “Son of the Living God”, probably not. Distinguishing between the merely”historical Jesus”and “crucified, buried and raised to live forevermore Jesus”is extremely important.
The day after I was born again I read 1 Corinthians all the way through before going to work. My previous experience of reading the Bible had been frustrating at best. I didn’t really understand what I was looking at but the morning after being born-again, filled with the Spirit of God, things had changed. I discover my problem in the second chapter where Paul tells us, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.” While many seem to use this verse to point towards our eternal home I think what Paul is telling us here is more than that. If you look at the next several verses you will see God wants us to see and hear things from and of Him in the here and now too. “For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom (mere appearance), but in those taught by the Spirit (revelation from God), combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words”-(1 Corinthians 2:9-13).
Throughout the Bible we are told in many ways to “walk by faith rather than sight.” We are told not to fight “flesh and blood”- (Ephesians 6:12). and “flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable”-(1 Corinthians 15:50). So one operation of the Spirit of God in us is to direct us to see and understand things in the Spirit, which is eternal, rather than merely the flesh, which is temporal. Another important point in the second letter to the Corinthians tells us all that takes place in the temporal realm is meant to serve the eternal. He tells them even though times may be difficult and painful “we don’t lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” -(2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
With all of this in mind it is easier to understand why Jesus’ greatest critics, the religious and political leaders, only saw him as an illegitimate, uneducated, run-of-the-mill, carpenter’s son from the nothing good can come from place like Nazareth isn’t it? After all, without the revelation and illumination of the Spirit of God none of us would know otherwise. That’s why I hope you can say with me, like Peter, by way of the Spirit, Jesus is the Son of the Living God! Better yet that He now lives within you.