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The cross of Calvary

The Anointed One

Jesus Christ is the anointed one. He is the Messiah, our deliverer, our Saviour, and our King.

Matthew 1:1 in the NKJV states, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.” When we look at the name Christ, it mainly points to two words and they are ‘Messiah’ and ‘anointed’ (Strong’s g5547).

In the Oxford Dictionary, the word ‘Messiah’ is defined as ‘the promised deliverer of the Jewish nation prophesied in the Hebrew Bible’. It goes further than this and names Jesus; ‘Jesus regarded by Christians as the Messiah of the Hebrew prophecies and the Saviour of humankind’.

This is true – Jesus is the Deliverer and the Saviour – but this is not predominantly what the word ‘Messiah’ means in the Bible.

The word ‘Messiah’ only appears twice in scripture (Daniel 9:25-26), and it means ‘anointed’ (Strong’s h4899). The word ‘anointed’ appears many times in scripture, and it is the primary meaning of the name ‘Christ’. Why is this so important?

The following verses are what Jesus said about Himself when He quoted Isaiah 61:1-2:

Luke 4:18-19 (NKJV) “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”

The word ‘anoint’ here, when referring to Jesus, means ‘through the idea of contact; to smear or rub with oil, i.e. by implication, to consecrate to an office or religious service’ (Strong’s g5548). This is powerful!

It also means ‘consecrating Jesus to the Messianic office, and furnishing Him with the necessary powers for its administration’ (Strong’s g5548). Wow! Jesus was sent from His Father to be the ‘Messiah’ (everything contained in the name ‘Jesus’) He was empowered to do everything He did because He was anointed by the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:38).

Jesus is anointed with power and authority. He is The Anointed One!

Sun rising over the promised land

We Shall Reign

Although entering the Promised land was a wonderful, long-awaited day for Israel, there was one snag; the giants were still there! Why?

Was there a reason God did not destroy these giants after seeing His people wandering in the desert for forty years? Why risk yet another generation being turned back by their intimidation and size? Surely God knew of the battles that would have to be fought, the constant challenges to faith that His people would be presented with. The sword and the spear seemed to be such a contrast to a “land flowing with milk and honey” as promised.

This is where we must understand God’s objective, for it is the same today with all of us. From the very beginning of time, God has always had the power to destroy the devil and his hordes. There has never been a time when the Lord and His angels could not have hurled every demon into the lake of fire and left them there. Our God is sovereign, and His authority is absolute.

Why then has He tolerated this sin-infested world and the demons that so ravage it?

The answer is found in knowing God’s ultimate intention for those of humanity that have chosen to serve Him as undisputed Lord. If we are ever to be the overcomers that we all desire to be, that will not be because the Lord has removed the potential of conflict from our path. It is quite the opposite. It is the very process of being confronted and having to decide to exercise our God-given authority in prayer that develops that spiritual dominion within us.

Consider the clear declaration of these scriptures:

Revelations 5:10  “And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”
Revelations 20:6  “…and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”
2 Timothy 2:12  “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him”.

The capacity to reign, the spiritual authority to rule, is not a gift; it is a developed spiritual muscle. It is only as we exercise it that it matures. If we see this clearly, we realise why it was so necessary for those giants to be left alive, awaiting God’s people. Let me declare it simply and plainly: Our adversaries exist to be conquered by you and I! They are our fuel for growth.

It also tells us why Jesus did not remove all evil from the Earth at the time of His triumph at Calvary. There is no dispute that Our King utterly annihilated Satan’s legal rights to rule and express evil on the Earth.

It says in Colossians 2:15, “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it (the cross). Matthew 28:18 tells us, And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

It is in the next statement in Matthew 28:19 that says it all: “Go ye therefore”! In other words, Jesus is saying, “I paid the price to purchase all dominion and rule, but you must now enforce that and see it acknowledged on a daily basis by the enemies of the kingdom.” The legal document that guarantees us our potential victory over the flesh and the devil is the declared Word of God. It alone is the truth.

Our past failures and the accusations of the enemy can be highly persuasive, and they are often very convincing lies. But the tragedy is that everything that is human in us reaches out to accept their logic and the apparent reasonableness of their suggestions.

At times it can be a major challenge to believe in God’s integrity and that of His Word, turn your back on all that persuasive human reasoning, and declare: “we are more than conquerors through Christ!”  (Romans 8:37) and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens [empowers] me.”  (Philippians 4:12-14)

Does it take faith? Absolutely. But He has already placed that faith within you. It is by your decision that you must draw upon that faith and determine to live by it. It is as you cry out to Him in prayer and claim the power of His Word that faith is released. Such an overcoming life is not for a few elite superstars but for everyday followers of Jesus like you and me.

Romans 8:37 “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us!”

stillness over a peaceful lake

Stillness and Silence

Sometimes when the pressure of decision is very real, there is a place that I like to go.  It’s a place in which stillness and silence reigns, where the beauty of God’s handiwork is seen so clearly.  It’s so easy to love a place like that for so many reasons: the quietness, the beauty, the serenity of nature’s touch.  But most of all, for me, it is a place where I find my Father’s heart.

Psalm 23:2 is such a well-known scripture – He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.

His silence is still golden. In an age where the pressure of decision seems to be an ever-present adversary, we need to know a place where we can find our solitude.  A place uncluttered by the affairs of man and the tension of the time clock ticking our moments away. A place where we can hear God clearly.

In my quest for such a place over the years, I have often found some beautiful and wonderful spots.  Places that still linger and minister to my mind.  But not always so.  There are times when such a place, is not to be found.  For reasons many and varied, our search for solitude remains an unfruitful one.  For too many this moment becomes a time of crisis.

It is in such moments that the reality of the Holy Spirit is such a comfort.  I have discovered that we can find a place of haven, wherever we are.  It’s not a place of trees, and soft waters in the natural, but rather a place where our minds are at peace and our hearts are ministered to by His love.  The Bible says that the love the Lord Jesus Christ can give is a love “beyond all understanding”.  He speaks of a peace which is above all ability to reason or comprehend.  It’s a peace which knows no limits and has no barriers.  It’s a peace not borne out of the efforts of man but has upon it the sweet touch of the Divine.  The loving heart of the Father ministering to us by the Holy Spirit.

When people question me concerning the reality of the Lord Jesus Christ, there are things I can refer to.  The miracles, the healings, the transformed lives, the sheer joy in our services from people who have previously only known despair.  But perhaps one of the greatest evidences of all is that ever present peace which is greater than my understanding.

The peace of which I’ve written, is a peace freely available.  But will never be found in the strife and struggle of physical or intellectual endeavour, for it is spiritual in nature. By coming to the Lord Jesus who is its Source and Supply we can receive in a moment that which may be the quest of a lifetime.

My prayer is that you will find your haven soon, for I know how much I value mine.

 

 

Tree letting go of last autumn leaves

Trust and Let Go

It is winter and the cold, crisp mornings awaken the senses and chase the fog from one’s brain.  As I yet again gaze out of my office window, my eyes take in the conifer still lush and green and the deciduous whose nakedness is so stark in contrast.  There is one tree in particular that I have been looking at each morning, awaiting an event that seems determined not to occur.  It has lost its leaves completely except for six small reminders that stubbornly refuse to release the Autumn in which they flourished.

My first thoughts are those of admiration as I think of their ability to hang on and to persevere. What is it that gives them that capacity to cling to the branch when no others can.  It has been many days now that they have defied the elements of this season’s harsher days.

But this morning another thought came as I looked to find them still there: as amazing as their resilience is, is it not misguided? Is it not also true that whilst they occupy that one small spot on that tree, that nothing new can grow in their place.  In their magnificent endurance they are unwittingly postponing the coming of Spring.

For now, that is acceptable for the time appointed for Spring has not yet arrived. But it will come. My friends, seasons are so important.  There is the season of perseverance, to cling to the loyalty of that which has been; and there is the season to recognise God’s awakening to a future promise. When that moment arrives, the act of greater courage is not perseverance or endurance but the trust that allows you to relinquish. Because there is a time for everything – including for uprooting and letting go. (Ecc 3:1-2)

Finally letting go of that which was once filled with promise but now lies dead and cold is often heart-rendering and traumatic.  But it is vital to make way on the branch for the coming of the new buds of Spring.

In the simplicity of trust and an unreasonable faith in the Father’s Love, open those hands and let go.  For a fleeting moment you may feel a wind of insecurity caused by a vulnerability of the unknown, but it will pass. In its place you will find a new awareness as the Holy Spirit whispers fresh thoughts of new days of promise.

Spring is on its way a little while from now and the Gardener of our souls beckons us to make way for it with an open heart made ready by the relinquishing of the Autumn now gone.

You can dare to trust and let go for He is worthy of that trust. Read more about making hard decisions in your life.

A dove representing the Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit Power

We live in a time when too many Christians accept such a small part of what God intends for our new life in Christ. We also live in a time when so many (myself included far too often) try hard to be good, rather than be filled to overflowing with the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 3:11-12 says, I (John the Baptist) indeed baptise you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

This scripture can be a little confusing, yet because it is one of the first mentions of what Jesus will do, I feel it is important to look to see what God is saying. As I pause and listen, I see two things: Firstly, all that God wants to accomplish in our lives is through the power of the Holy Spirit, not through our best efforts. Secondly, God wants to do a thorough and truly transforming work in us, not just a slight improvement.

The work of Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit is a thorough clean out work. We need a deeper revelation of this in our lives. But we also need a deeper revelation of why Jesus wants to thoroughly clean out the chaff of our lives.

Freedom is the reason Jesus is an all-or-nothing Saviour. He has no desire to simply improve our present reality and our spiritual condition. Sure, we might measure our lives compared to some other people and think we are not too bad. But compared to a holy, righteous and perfect God, well, we all miss the mark terribly.

And this is why Jesus came! He came to remove restrictions, to remove barriers and to remove obstacles! He came to pay the price, tear down the veil, disarm the devil and usher us boldly into God’s throne of grace! He came to live as a man, sinless, reliant on the Holy Spirit, in communion with His Father and as a tangible example of this new life He was purchasing for us!

All of this is done by the power of the Holy Spirit.