Jeremiah 36:31: And I will punish him and his offspring and his servants for their iniquity. I will bring upon them and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem and upon the people of Judah all the disaster that I have pronounced against them, but they would not hear.'”
It is not God’s first strike to bring calamity. Peter said God does not want us anyone to perish but that all should come to repentance (2Peter 3:9). We need to go on the path to the mercy of God. Judgement is not predetermined, we can do something to avoid the path that leads to it.
God sent prophet Isaiah to inform King Hezekiah that his time was up, that he should set up a succession plan (Isaiah 38:1-8). But it came from God, Hezekiah sought to have his day in court and marshalled arguments with tears and prayer for God to change his mind. And he did.
It does not have to end badly, we can turn to Jesus, who said when we come to him and learn from him, we will find rest for our soul (Matthew 11:28-30). Rest means Resources, Embrace, Salvation and Transformation.
Jesus has resources for us. We were depleted by sin, especially, of the Spirit of God. When God made man he put his Spirit in him (Genesis 2:7). That was what made man to be in God’s image, that was the light in man- the power and purpose and passion all rolled into one.
Without that man was empty. He was a walking dead (Ephesians 2:1-8). But in Jesus we got the resources back. We become part of his body and we share his Spirit (Romans 8:9), and hence his purpose, passion and power.
Without the Holy Spirit we were empty, we were puppets in the hand of the devil, with spirit of the power of the air having a field day in us, as we ran errands for the devil. We were in bondage and we could not save ourselves.
The first Adam was full of the Spirit but because of his sin, he had no spirit to bequeath to us, but Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit on us after he ascended to heaven (Acts 2:33). Jesus is heaven coming to us, filling our empty pots with the divine presence.
Paul puts it this way: the treasure is in earthen vessels so that the greatness of the glory will be of God and not of us (2Corinthians 4:7). We need him in an absolute sense. And it is great if we have that sense. Christ is our power and wisdom (1Corinthians 1:24), he is everything, the one who baptises us with the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:16).
We rest is in the embrace of Jesus Christ, embrace of God. Being chased from the Garden of Eden was a deep humiliation (Genesis 3). We were pushed from the best of God, the presence of God, cut off from the life of God. But in Jesus we got accepted in the beloved. We now can move around with a strong sense of acceptance. We can come as we are, we are no longer outside, we are inside, citizens of heaven.
Another component of rest is salvation that is Jesus, and exclusively in him. He was named Jesus because he was going to save us from our sins. We needed saving, from the repercussion of our sin, from a damning destination.
The bible says if we believe in Jesus we have come from death to life (John 5:24). It is as simple and as serious as that. There is no name given under heaven by which we might be saved expect the name of Jesus (Acts 4:12).
But how can a name save us?
It is because it is more than just a name. The name of Jesus is imbibed with his power and person. A name in the spirit realm conveys the manifestation of the essence of that person, just as mentioning the name of somebody you know invokes the pictures, and your feelings about the person, in your mind.
In the realm of the spirit, what gets evoked is infinitely more than that. The bible says Jesus has been given a name above every other name (Philippians 2:5-11). And based on the convention in Israel, it is the father that gives the child a name and God was the one who named Jesus (Matthew 1:21).
He gave him a name and Gabriel was the postal angel who delivered the message to his parents. God gave Jesus a name and hence a personality, a name above every other name so that at the name of Jesus every bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. His name conveys his Lordship.
He has a dominating name and that name saves because it dominates over death for those who believe. The name of Jesus works. To believe in him means we believe in his name, we believe in what he stands for, who he is, what he has, his identity (as one who saves us from sin) his prestige in the realm of the unseen, and his coming revelation on the earth for judgment.
Coming to him gives us rest from the works of the law as a means of salvation. As the bible says that no one by the works of the law can be saved (Titus 3:5, Romans 3:20, 28). It is just futile, labouring without benefits labouring and failing.
“Resources” means we have rest from what we do not have; “Embrace” means we have rest from rejection by God; “Salvation” means we have rest from a future doom; “Transformation” mean we have rest from who were. Jesus does not leave us the way he met us. If truly we are learning from him we will be changing into his image from glory to glory (2Corinthians 3:18). He infused his ability into us. He shapes us into him. As we experienced him, focus on him, the transformation work goes on and on in us until we see him face to face.
We are transformed inside out, we are transformed as we serve and know him. The transformation is not apart from him, it is because of him. It is energised by him, directed to him, enabled by him. We are for his glory, to express his holiness, and for his praise (Isaiah 53).
- Word of the Week: Acts Chapter 1 (NLT) (faithtemplechurch.wordpress.com)
- Writing With His Voice (histruthwillsetyoufree.wordpress.com)
- The Book of Acts – Part 4 – Leaving Jerusalem (10) – Gentiles Hear the Good News (edraby.wordpress.com)
- Romans 5:5 – And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, (church4u2.wordpress.com)