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New Hope Christian Church

Is Jesus the Christ? The annointed one? The Messiah? God?

The Jews have a week called Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, to this day a Jewish holiday. Jesus attended, without fanfare, and half way through the feast he went to the temple courts and began to teach. It caused a sensation.

Some considered him to be the Christ, others wanted to kill him, others thought he was a deceiver. He taught, and explained, and rebuked, and revealed he would only be with them a short time more.

‘On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.’

John 7:37

(Glorified refers to his crucifixion and elevated nature after his death.)

So again, Jesus refers to himself as the giver of Spirit. Come to him and receive the Spirit.

It’s all about the Spirit. The Holy Spirit, from Jesus, given to the believer to bring the believer into an actual literal functional relationship with God. And Jesus. And the Holy Spirit. As One. The three are inseparable, but distinct, and cannot be separated intellectually whilst still expecting for the same effect.

One cannot say I believe in God, but not in Jesus, and then expect the Holy Spirit to come and validate that belief with his life transforming presence. It is not truth. And we don’t get to say what truth is. God does.

That’s what Truth is. Whatever God says. It is.

It’s a lovely turn of phrase and depiction, the one of living water. When Jesus uses it, he is doing that thing again, using words spoken and written by the Holy Spirit (indeed himself) hundreds of years previously, then applying them to himself in his own incarnated time.

For 600 years previously, by the Prophet Jeremiah the Lord spoke;

“My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”

Jeremiah 2:13 25 To translate, they have turned away from the living and actual God, who is able to provide them with the Holy Spirit, and have created their own religious beliefs and understandings of God that do not comply with the truth and cannot be validated with the giving of the Holy Spirit.

So when Jesus is speaking of himself as the one who brings and gives the living water, the source of the living water, he is clearly identifying himself as God.

Only the one who claims it truly has their claim supported by the actual giving and receiving of that which he claims.

That being, the Holy Spirit of God.

Jesus continues on his ministry of Teaching, Healing, Preparing, and Sowing. And warning his followers and disciples and those to come of what they will face.

“And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given to you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.”

Mark 13:10

Remember this, as we come to meet a man called Stephen.

Jesus continues on his mission. Comforting, leading, giving sight to the blind, and raising the dead to life.

The Pharisees cannot understand how Jesus can do these things. And because they cannot understand it, they refuse to believe it. Even though it is happening right before their eyes they deny it because it doesn’t match their pre existing beliefs.

No one is as blind as they who refuse to see.

Perhaps this is their flaw in thinking and being. Because they cannot understand how something is being done, they cannot believe that it is. Perhaps this is where faith is required, and the removal of obstinate ignorance. Faith doesn’t require you to understand how something happens, or has happened, or will happen. It just requires you to accept that it is so.

The opposite of faith isn’t logic. It’s obstinacy. Denialism. Refusing to believe unless you understand how is not intelligence. It’s a defence against the unknown, it’s a support of a house built on sand. A denialist won’t change their mind given further evidence, they’ll just demand more evidence, raise another objection, ask ‘what about this’ and this and this and this. They aren’t being logical, or scientific, they’re being obstinate and denialist.

They don’t want it to be true, so will never stop looking for and finding objections to acceptance of the truth.

Atheism is denialism. It’s a preformed belief that rejects anything that challenges it. Agnosticism, not knowing, that’s the only logical alternative to actual experience of God. I’m allowed to call atheists out for this because I used to be one. Atheism is willful ignorance. Using lack of personal experience to deny a universal truth that millions of people living today have experienced. It’s insulting. And it’s facually wrong.

You don’t need to believe in God to begin with. But please, stop disbelieving. Just admit the truth. You don’t know. Start from there.

The Pharisees would rather kill Jesus than have him be who he said he was. For to accept the truth would require them to accept their error, and not just their error, but the entire error of their lives. It would require them to go from being ‘right’ to being ‘wrong’. And they would rather kill that messenger than receive that message.

Even if the price they pay is death to themselves and life to him and all who accept him.

That’s what happens when reality is reverted. From the inverse. Those with the ears to hear, do.

And do not think that because you can’t imagine how a dead man can be raised to life, that it cannot happen.

What kind of human arrogance would base beliefs about what God can do on the limitations of what humans can do? Do you think humans are the pinnacle of ability?

God can do anything God chooses to do.

God can raise the dead, what is that to the creator of the entire Universe? Do you think that’s a big deal, a difficult thing? There’s no such thing as difficulty for God. Or big.

God can open blind eyes, what is that to one who cannot die, an immortal being able to create by an act of will creatures who have their own perception of independent life?

Just because man cannot raise his own dead, do not think that God cannot.

God can do anything. Nothing is impossible for God.

On with and back to Jesus’ continuous ministry.

Remember, up until this time, even whilst Jesus has been causing all manner of sensations by his teaching, healing, and counter cultural behaviour, there are still only five people who have received the Holy Spirit since his conception, six including himself.

And by this time only two of them are left alive on Earth. His mother Mary and Jesus.

Everyone is seeing all these miracles, many are following him, at least until it gets a bit difficult or he says something too uncomfortable.

But none of them are experiencing God within themselves. None of them are becoming like Christ. They are at best spectators, students, followers and emulators, dedicated and devoted as far as they are able, but still very human and earthly even so. They are servants. They are watching, but not becoming.

And without the physical presence of Jesus around them, they can do nothing. He is indeed the Shepherd, and they are his sheep and safe only so long as they stay close.

And soon the Shepherd will be struck.

And what then to become of the scattered flock?

Extract from All People Must Know written by Bird Lovegod

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New Hope Christian Church

NHCC UK | Greenhill Parkway

Sheffield | S8  7JP

Phone  |  07459200418

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