Laymanointing

…. they were unschooled, ordinary men …. they had been with Jesus …. the crippled man healed standing with them – Acts 4:13,14

Truth or deception? Discerning the 3 voices — Holy Spirit, the devil, human

One day while reading Matthew 16:13 to 17:8, saw something interesting in the 3 situations described in ths passage:

Peter’s confession of Jesus,
Jesus first prediction of his death,
and the mount of transfiguration.

In each situation, we find Peter responding in a different manner — from a revelation by the Holy Spirit, influenced by the devil, and him suggesting something from himself (human/self).

Like Peter, we too can be influenced by any of the 3 voices in our interpretation, inspiration, intention and revelation of God’s word and things around us.

He said to me, “What do you see?”
Zechariah 4:2 (NASB)

There’s much that can be said about the passage in Matthew 16:13 to 17:8, however, would like to highlight the following

**   The revelation of Jesus the Christ, Messiah

**   The response of Peter under the influence of 3 different voices —3way

the Holy Spirit,
the devil,
and ourselves (human/self)

**   Jesus response to Peter’s statements (prayers, suggested initiatives)

(More on the meaning of the word Christ, Messiah, please click here)

In some circles, there’s silence on divine inspiration,
while in other circles, phrases like “God spoke to me …” are used.

So, how does one discern whether some teaching or sharing is truly from the Holy Spirit,
or from the other 2 voices?
How do we safeguard against deception?


 

The Christ, Messiah,
& the voice of the Holy Spirit 

Matthew 16:13-17 (NASB)
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15 He *said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 

(see also Mark 8:27-30, Luke 9:18-20)

God’s Truth Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God
Peter’s response Peter confessed Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the son of the living God.
Voice/Source of inspiration to Peter Peter had a personal revelation by God the Father through the Holy Spirit on who Jesus really is.
Jesus response Jesus commended Peter.

Jesus highlighted that flesh and blood did not reveal this to Peter, i.e. not through our human intellect and understanding, “but My Father who is in heaven.”

 

In this section we’ll examine unique hallmarks of the Holy Spirit in enlightening us with His truth.

Jesus said,

John 14:6 (NASB)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life;
no one comes to the Father but through Me.

John 15:26,27 (NASB)
26 “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, 27 and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth
will testify about Jesus, the truth
and He will enable us to testify about Jesus,
(just like Peter’s confession of faith).

John 16:13-15 (NASB)
13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.

The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth,
will guide you into all the truth,
disclose to you what is to come
(future),
and will glorify Jesus through these revelations
(not glorify any man or woman).

Paul elaborates,

1 Corinthians 2:11-14 (NIV)
However, as it is written:

“What no eye has seen,
    what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
    the things God has prepared for those who love him—

10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them?
In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world,
but the Spirit who is from God,
so that we may understand what God has freely given us.

13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.

14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

In another translation (NKJV),

14 But 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.

Here, Paul was addressing the divisions within the Corinth church (1 Corinthians 1:10-15).

Paul contrasts the two types of revelation —  through the person with the Holy Spirit, and natural person or the person without the Spirit.

Without the Holy Spirit’s revelation, and solely dependent on natural human intellect, one is not able to accept, and understand the things that come from God, and dismisses them as mere foolishness.
(eg. topics such as the Holy Spirit, evil spirits, miracles, healings)

Things that come from God can be discerned only through the Spirit of God, revealed to us by his Spirit, who teaches us the thoughts of God (even the deep things of God)  taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.  

These spiritual realities are beyond what eye has seen, what ear has heardand human mind has conceived.
Hence, faith is required.

The Holy Spirit
or the spirit of the world,
or our natural abilities
who do we choose to listen to?

Hence, division within the church may arise from a difference in understanding/opinion from people drawing from 2 different sources of understanding/revelation — natural/human perspectives (worldly), and Holy Spirit inspired  (live by the Spirit), …. (as can be seen in the the continuing next paragraph in Paul’s letter to Corinth.)

Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ.
I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.
You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?
For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

Ultimately, Only God, makes things grow.

When we depend solely on our natural abilities
or well-known human personalities (eg Apollos, Paul),
the fruit of the Spirit is lacking, (Galatians 5:21,22)
unfruitfulness —  jealousy and quarreling,  still worldly
i.e. division, discord, disagreement,
generating more heat,
than light.

2 Thessalonians 2:9,10 (NIV)
The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing.
They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved

Satan works through lies, deception, wickedness, displays of power.

The anti-deception vaccine is to seek the truth, love the truth with the Spirit of Truth; … and through that,
growth in faith, perserverance and love.

2 Thessalonians 2:3,4 (NIV)
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and
the love all of you have for one another is increasing.

Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.

Only God, makes things grow
The seed of God’s word makes us grow and be fruitful.

Let’s look at an example in Acts,

Acts 14:1-4 (NIV)
At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed.
But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the other Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.
So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders.
The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles.

Without the Spirit of God, leads to unbelief, stir up division and poisoned others’ minds.
With the Spirit of God, comes faith and God’s manifested glory on earth —  the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders … a great number believed.

Does God confirm His message when we share?

 

Continuing on …
After Jesus resurrected,

Luke 24:31, 45 (NASB)
31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight.

45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures

May the Lord open our eyes and minds to His word (truth) and presence,
beyond what eye has seen, what ear has heard,
and human mind has conceived.

Paul prayed,

Ephesians 1:15-18 (NASB)
15 
For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints,
 16 do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers;

17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened   so that you will know

what is the hope of His calling,
what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.

May the Lord give us a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, and may the eyes of our heart be enlightened.

Like Peter, we all need a personal revelation of who Jesus really is,
by the Spirit of God.

John 3:3, 5,6 (NKJV)
Jesus answered and said to Nicodemus, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh,
and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

By depending on our natural human abilities, we can only produce things in the natural (flesh).  We need the Holy Spirit to birth things in the Spirit (as witnessed in the gospels and Acts).

 

Hence, when we encounter something ‘spiritually’ new to us, consider:

Does it testify about Jesus?
Does it glorify Jesus?
Does it lead us to the truth in God’s word, and draw us closer to Jesus?
Is it built on the foundation of God’s word (truth) or man’s words?
Is the fruit natural, worldly … or fruit of the Spirit ?
Is there a aggressive divisive attitude ?
Dependency on the Holy Spirit, or our human ability, ingenuity, strength?


 

The suffering Messiah,
and the voice of the devil

 

Continuing on in Matthew 16,

Matthew 16:21-23 (NASB)
21 From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day.22 Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” 23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

(see also Mark 8:31-33, Luke 9:21,22)

 God’s Truth Jesus the Christ (Messiah) must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, 
i.e. the suffering Messiah.and be raised up on the third day.
i.e. the resurrected Messiah
Peter’s response Peter rebuke Jesus, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.”

Peter response was unbecoming and unusual.  A disciple does not rebuke his teacher (rabbi).

Peter also proclaimed God forbid it, Lord!,
i.e. Lord, stop it, don’t let this happen.,

This shall never happen to You, …  to the point of dismissing God’s plan

Voice/Source of inspiration to Peter From Jesus’ response to Peter, the source was Satan, the devil.
Jesus response Jesus discerned the devil’s work.
Jesus rebuked Satan
“Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

 

In this section we’ll first examine some of the devil’s deceptive schemes,
and later how to safeguard ourselves.

Satan hinders us from hearing the truth from God’s word,
by sowing deception, half-truths, near-truths, lies,
and quoting God’s word out of context.
(‘quoting out of context’ fallacy)

43 Why do you not understand what I am saying?
It is because you cannot hear My word.
 

44 You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
John 8:43,44 (NASB)

When one chooses to listen to the devil the father of lies,
one cannot hear Jesus word (truth)

To understand further, let’s look at how the devil tempted Jesus in the desert.

Matthew 4:5-7 (NIV)
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,

    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Satan quoted a single-verse scripture to Jesus,
but the single-verse scripture from Psalm 91 was interpreted/twisted out of context, …applied to the wrong scenario, and turned into a deceptive lie;
not what the single-verse scripture actually meant in Psalm 91, and how it should be applied,
based on the context of the surrounding verses.
(The devil also knows the text in the scriptures, … but to exploit & deceive.)

Psalm 91:9-12 (NIV)
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,

    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

In Psalm 91, God protects us from harm and disaster.
It does not instruct us to put ourselves in harms way
(in this case — “throw yourself down”).

The devil  taunted Jesus with a challenge, “If you are the Son of God ….
However, Jesus steadfastly chose 
7 rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!
Philippains 2:7,8 (NIV)

Jesus silenced the devil’s deception by speaking the Word of God, the Word of Truth … exposing the lie, the error.  Just one brief word was powerful enough, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ (Deuteronomy 6:16)

Jesus said “… also written …”
Hence, any teaching cannot be based on one or two verses only.
It has to be examined in the light of other scriptures in the whole word of God; i.e., consistent with the rest of the word of God.

Jesus response Get behind Me, Satan! in Matthew 16,
 is similar to Jesus’ response when the devil tempted Him in the desert.

Matthew 4:8-11 (NASB)
Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;
and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.”
10 Then Jesus *said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’”
11 Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.

The devil showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;
and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You …”
Like a slick, glossy, cinematic 3D advertisement, pandering on our hidden desires, anxieties and vanity with instant promises and gratification.

And the price-tag — if You fall down and worship me.
Easy, painless payment,
a simple formula/methodology for instant success,
but … a hefty price to pay.

Jesus slayed the devil’s deceptive temptation by taking the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17).  Jesus spoke the truth from the word of God —You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name (Deuteronomy 6:13)

Just a quick verse from the Word of God
and the devil is silenced and left Him

For Jesus, avoiding the suffering of the cross was not God’s plan.
Jesus rejected the devil’s ‘gospel without the cross‘ shortcut.

Furthermore, at Jesus trial before Pilate,

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world”
John 18:36 (NASB),

Jesus goal was not the earthly glory, or the political/physical kingdoms of the world,
but to throw out the unseen ruler of the world, the devil,
defeating him, by suffering on the cross,
and set the people free.

John 12:27-33 (ERV)
27 “Now I am very troubled. What should I say? Should I say, ‘Father save me from this time of suffering’? No, I came to this time so that I could suffer. 28 Father, do what will bring you glory!”

Then a voice came from heaven, “I have already brought glory to myself. I will do it again.”

29 
The people standing there heard the voice. They said it was thunder.
But others said, “An angel spoke to him!”

30 Jesus said, “That voice was for you and not for me. 31 Now is the time for the world to be judged. Now the ruler of this world will be thrown out. 32 I will be lifted up from the earth. When that happens, I will draw all people to myself. 33 Jesus said this to show how he would die.

Jesus said this to show how he would die.
— the suffering Messiah,
so that,
“I will draw all people to myself”

Souls of men & women,
more precious than the kingdoms of the world.

In times of intense trials,
may we pray with Jesus,Father, do what will bring you glory!”

 

Back to the passage in Matthew 16,
“Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

a stumbling block to Me
The devil tries to make us stumble away from God’s plans and purposes,
by working through our insecurities, anxieties and fears, desires, weakness i.e.

“… setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” (NASB)
“… You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” (NLT)
“… you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (NIV)

i.e. one resists or ignores the things of God, and become distracted by one’s own personal concerns.

James 1:14,15 (ESV)
14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

The devil is a sales/marketing guru,
a black-belt of manipulation & deception,
he knows how to  pander and feed our fears, anxieties, weakness, hidden desires and vanity with instant promises and gratification, … and stealthly he reels us into his trap, … intoxicated and addicted to his wares … seeking for ever greater doses … and ending up incapacitated … a puppet under his evil spell,
i.e.  fall down and worship him

In the earlier direct encounter in the desert with Jesus, the devil failed.
He now tries to infiltrate, influence and instigate through Jesus’ inner circle
… Peter … and later Judas.

In this case, although Peter had the revelation that Jesus is the Christ, Messiah,
however, Peter (like others) was not ready for a suffering,
and worse still, an assasinated crucified Messiah king.

22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;
23 but we preach Christ crucified,
to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,

24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks,
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
1 Corinthians 1:22-24 (NASB)

They were looking for a victorious Messiah king who will restore the kingdom of Israel to its glory;  for example, after Jesus resurrected, His disciples asked Him,

Acts 1:6 (NASB)
 So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying,
“Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”

However, Peter later preached,

Acts 3:17,18 (NASB)
17 
“And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also.
18 But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.

and Paul wrote,

None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had,
they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
1 Corinthians 2: 8 (NIV)

Thank God, Jesus went to the cross for all of us.
Here’s the full impact of Christ’s crucifixion,

13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh,
God made you alive with Christ.
He forgave us all our sins,

14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us;
he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.

15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities,
he made a public spectacle of them,
triumphing over them by the cross.
Colossians 2:13-15 (NIV)

Through Jesus, God made you alive with Christ,
and our legal indebtedness of sins were canceled and forgiven, nailed to the cross,
the powers and authorities of the devil were disarmed,
with a devastating resounding victory,
once and forever,
triumphing over them by the cross.
Praise the Lord!

At a personal human level, perhaps Peter did not want to see his teacher suffer, motivating him to rebuke Jesus.

While speaking of His crucifixion,
Jesus also spoke of His resurrection,
and be raised up on the third day.
(giving faith and hope)

However, when Jesus resurrected, John recorded,
for until then they (the disciples) still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. John 20:9 (NLT)

Like us, Peter’s human perspective impacted and clouded his interpretation of what Jesus said.
And the devil seized the moment to influence and instigate Peter to
act aggressively, by rebuking Jesus;
when Peter could have simply asked a question to clarify what Jesus meant.

Hence, we need to seek to understand the word of God as much as we can,
not just the fragments/snippets we like, and ignore other portions,
(eg both the Messiah king, and the suffering Messiah)
so that we can interprete His word and working in our lives correctly,
and not miss God’s plans and purposes.
In this case, for Peter, the devil seized upon his human concerns to try to stumble God’s plan.

 

How do we grow to be more mindful of the things of God?

2 Timothy 1:7 (NASB)
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

The Holy Spirit gives us a clear mind,
confidence/faith in God’s awesome power to overcome,
and assurance of His faithfulness and love.

Instead of fear or anxieties fanned by the devil,
and seized for the devil’s purposes,
faith arises in our hearts strengthened by the Holy Spirit to overcome fear/anxieties,
as we yield to the Holy Spirit, trusting in Him and His character.

Matthew 4:4 (NASB)
But He answered and said, “It is written,
Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”

John 14:26 (NKJV)
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

(see also Joshua 1:5-9 NKJV)

Through daily strengthening ourselves in the word of God,
by meditating in it day and night,
that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it
(Joshua 1:8)
i.e. read, follow and apply God’s word in daily life.

Be a God’s word addict, junkie,
yielding to the Holy Spirit who will teach you all things,
yielding to God’s Word,
with the help of the Holy Spirit.

His truth is the 100% anti-deception vaccine.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is
—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1,2 (NIV)

As we yield to His Word, we are being transformed by the renewing of your mind.   Thus, able to discern, test and approve what God’s will is.

Our minds are renewed and strengthened by the word of God.

Hebrews 10:15,16 (NIV)
15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:

16 “This is the covenant I will make with them
    after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
    and I will write them on their minds.”

(an operating system software replacement & re-boot 🙂 )

And when unexpected situations or challenges arise,
the Holy Spirit will bring to your remembrance all things that Jesus said to you.
to strengthen us  in the midst of it,
and help us resist the temptation to seize the devil’s easy shortcuts;
faith and trust in the Lord, and strengthened by His word to choose God’s way.

What Jesus said to us, the Holy Spirit brings to our remembrance, i.e. whatever of God’s word we have read or heard previously.
Hence, its good to have a regular’word deposit current account‘ in our hearts, that we can draw out from later.

So then faith comes by hearing,
and hearing by the word of God.

Romans 10:17 (NKJV)

Through the lens of faith, and Jesus crucifixion, we gain the Lord’s perspective of troubles and suffering, 

16 Therefore we do not lose heart.
Though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us
an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen,
but on what is unseen,
since what is seen is temporary,
but what is unseen is eternal.a
2 Corinthains 4:16-18 (NIV)

By faith, we focus on the unseen and His eternal glory,
not the seen and the temporary,
As Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world”

 

Hence, when we encounter something ‘spiritually’ new, consider:

Is it consistent with what is revealed in God’s word?  Where in God’s word?
Was it clearly explained from God’s word or vaguely by the other person?
Is God’s word quoted out of context?

Does it inspire fear/anxiety ?
Or does it edify, and build faith in God?

Is it Christ centered?
Or is it man or methodology/formula or vision centered?

Is it faith in Jesus?
Or faith in man or methodology/formula or vision?

Is it solely focused on the temporal things of this present age?

Is it about blessing others, or just oneself only?


 

The glorified Messiah,
and voice of the human spirit

Continuing on to the passage in Matthew,

Matthew 17:1-8 (NASB)
Six days later Jesus *took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and *led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified. And Jesus came to them and touched them and said,“Get up, and do not be afraid. And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone.

( see also Mark 9:2-13, Luke 9:28-36)

Luke gives us a glimpse of what Moses and Elijah were talking to Jesus about.

Luke 9:30,31 (NASB)
30 And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, 31 who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.

Mark gives us a little more detail as to why Peter said what he said,

Mark 9:5,6 (NASB)
Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to answer; for they became terrified.

There’s much to say about the transfiguration of Jesus,
however we’ll just touch on a few points related to this post.

About the transfiguration experience, Peter later testified,
2 Peter 1:16-18 (NASB)
16 
For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
17 For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”— 18 and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

 God’s Truth They experienced the glorified majestic Messiah,
Jesus was transfigured, His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.
God the Father’s testimony of Jesus — “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!”
we were eyewitnesses of His majesty, …  honor and glory.
They also heard from Moses & Elijah what Jesus will go through in Jerusalem — the suffering Messiah;
reiterating what Jesus said earlier.
Peter’s response Build 3 tabernacles for Jesus, Moses and Elijah.
Peter suggested to start a project.
And, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified
Voice/Source of inspiration to Peter Peter, himself.
he did not know what to answer; he was terrified.
Jesus response Jesus came to them and touched them and said,
“Get up, and do not be afraid.

 

In this story, Jesus did not respond to Peter’s project idea, which came from his own initiative.
( Could this be a possible reason why sometimes our prayers are not answered, or projects are not fruitful? ) 

Instead, Jesus responded to the disciples’ terrified hearts,
as they saw and experienced His awesome, holy Majestic glory,
“… do not be afraid”

Hence, let’s come into His glorious presence, through Jesus,
listen to Him … & do not be afraid.

There’s a contrast between the 2 statements made,

Peter said, “if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

God said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!”

Perhaps a plausible reason for why Peter suggested is,
like Peter, we sometimes instinctively and well-meaningly try to do something to serve Him by our own initiative or ingenuity, in order to please and honor Him;
i.e. through works or man’s efforts, earn our rights.

While from God’s perspective, he invites us to come empty handed, just as we are,
and meet “My beloved Son … listen to Him! … do not be afraid”;
i.e. unearned, undeserved grace.

Although Peter, James & John were not perfect holy,
by grace they personally encountered the Majestic Glory
and a personal invitation to listen to Him … do not be afraid.

Instead of staying (build tabernacles) on the mountain, and just bask in His glory,  … there was much more ministry crying out for them at the foot of the mountain.  Jesus directed his 3 disciples to Get up ..”, and led them down the mountain … to help a desperate father, and deliver his son from the devil (Matthew 17:14-21).  A precious boy and his father needed help.

 

Why Moses and Elijah appeared on the mountain with Jesus?

John 1:45 (NASB)
Philip *found Nathanael and *said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

Luke 9:30,31 (NASB)
30 And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah, 31 who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.

Moses and the prophets (represented by Elijah), prophesised about Jesus the Christ, Messiah, and His sufferings, resurrection and ascension in the scriptures (old testament).

Hebrews 1:1,2 (NASB)
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.

“This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” 

Jesus is far, far greater than Moses and the prophets,
and He came and fulfilled what they prophesised,
hence, listen to Him

But as it is, Christ has acquired a [priestly] ministry which is more excellent [than the old Levitical priestly ministry], for He is the Mediator (Arbiter) of a better covenant [uniting God and man], which has been enacted and rests on better promises.
Hebrews 8:6 (AMP)

And what is this better covenant build on better promises?

10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
After those days, says the Lord:
I will put My laws into their minds,
And I will write them on their hearts.
And I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.
11 And they shall not teach everyone his fellow citizen,
And everyone his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
For all will know Me,
From the least to the greatest of them.
12 For I will be merciful to their iniquities,
And I will remember their sins no more.

For all will know Me,
From the least to the greatest of them.
Hence, no human intermediary (middleman) such as a prophet or priest is required to know the Lord and His ways.  Praise God!

“This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased;
listen to Him!”  
(directly, one-on-one)

Unlike in the old covenant where only priests and prophets receive the Holy Spirit, after Jesus death, resurrection and ascension, the Holy Spirit is given to all who believe, so that we can listen to Him!” , directly, one-on-one.  Praise God!

“‘In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
    and they will prophesy.

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
Acts 2:17, 18, 38 (NIV)

On the mountain, both Moses and Elijah appeared alive with Him on the mountain, a foretaste of the resurrection of the dead to come, because of Jesus resurrection.

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
John 11:25,26 (NIV)

 

Back to listening to our human spirit.

In a later incident, Paul wrote about Peter (Cephas)

Galatians 2:11-16 (NASB)
11 When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

15 “We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; 16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.

Peter acted in a manner which was not consistent with his faith in Christ.
Peter succumbed to his human spirit because of his fear of those who belonged to the circumcision group.
As a result, he stumbled other believers, including Barnabas.
Hence, Paul confronted and corrected Peter.

Here again,
it was a choice
of grace in Jesus,
or outward rules to please God;
we are justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law
Hence, by our human voice, comes human effort to please God, self-imposed piety and devotion, …
resulting in legalism, conformity, control, … organised religion, intermediary middlemen.

“This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased;
listen to Him!” 

… do not be afraid.

Jesus said, I am the way, and the truth, and the life;
no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

 

Furthermore, … here’s a situation where an apostle was corrected by another fellow believer.
Hence, no one is immune, we all need to be open and accountable to God’s word and one another, so that we are walking the narrow path, yielding to the Holy Spirit and the word of God to guide us, to help us discern our thoughts, intents, motives and actions.

The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
10 I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.
Jeremiah 17:9,10 (NKJV)

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV)

 

Acts 17:11 (NIV)
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

Its wise for us adopt the Berean attitude, who
examined the Scriptures every day
to see if what Paul
(or anyone else) said was true,
… even for the highly-regarded apostle Paul … the Bereans checked his teaching, his content.
Hence, no matter how popular, or highly-regarded, or highly recommended, or mega-ministry the speaker is, … let’s check the Scriptures, ourselves, firsthand, and read the Scriptures in its proper context.

Else, … its like taking directions from a back-seat driver,
when there’s a precise GPS right in our very hands to give us directions.

The Bereans were keen learners
… with great eagerness …. examined the Scriptures every day personally, firsthand, so that their faith is rooted in God’s word.

For the Bereans, the question they were asking was
is that in the Bible?”,
and not “who or which famous preacher said it?”
(appeal to authority fallacy)

As believers, we also have to check ourselves,
whether we are leading others to depend on us,
or on the Lord.
Whether we are leading others to listen to Him!


 

In conclusion, like Peter,  we all need to be open and accountable to God’s word and one another, so that we are walking the narrow path yielding to the Holy Spirit, guided by His Word.

16 In addition to all this take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6:17,18 (NIV)

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is
—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1,2 (NIV)

Ultimately, as can be seen in the progressive revelation of the Messiah in this passage in Matthew …  we all need to personally seek for a greater understanding and revelation of who Jesus really is to safeguard/innoculate ourselves with the Lord’s help from deception by ourselves or the devil.

Jesus said to them, “But who do you say that I am?

Jesus said, 
You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me
John 5:39 (NIV)

As we read our Bibles, let’s not miss the most important person in the Bible
— Jesus.
Let’s major on the things that Jesus majored on.

As can be seen in the less than perfect moments with His disciples in the gospels,  Jesus is gracious and patient with his disciples (and even in rebukes, they are short, concise, memorable).  More importantly is to learn from them, be restored by Him, move on, and strengthen others.  (forgiven & forgotten)
Let’s also be gracious and patient with one another, as we learn together.

At the last supper, Jesus said to Peter,
31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.
32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
Luke 22:31,32 (NKJV)

 I have prayed for you,
that your faith should not fail;
and when you have returned to Me,
strengthen your brethren.

Like Peter, we are not alone in our journey.

Lets continue to yield to the Holy Spirit and heed God’s word with His help,

“This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased;
listen to Him!”

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says
Revelations 2:7 (NASB)

He said to me, “What do you see?”
Zechariah 4:2 (NASB)


Further Reading:
Our good intentions, ambitions … or God’s inspiration, direction? (click here)

 


Ministry Spirit & Truth | Prophecy

by 林弟兄, bro Lim
January 3, 2016
laymanointing.wordpress.com

Copyright © 林弟兄 bro Lim, Laymanointing, 2014-2016 – All Rights Reserved
Creative Commons License

 

 


 

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