Here again, God is revealing His will and why Jesus became the rejected stone and the Truth, the Way and the Life to the new chosen people whereby trust and Faith God’s Blessings are provided where Jesus is the free gift or currency to be used. This is revealed during Jesus’ ministry to the Jews where God’s Grace is extended to the Gentiles not by promise but by Faith. The most prominent story of this is when Jesus exclaims the Faith of the Canaanite woman; a Gentle, in a very derogatory dialogue as stated by Jesus, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel; and it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” The woman replied, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus answered, “Your Faith is great! Let it be done for you as you desire.” - Matt. 15:21-28.
In the Old Covenant; God is speaking through a physically appointed priest within the tribe of Levi but is now changed and fulfilled with the New Covenant of God speaking directly to His Anointed. Jesus affirmed this when the Holy Spirit directly came upon Him after being baptized. Every newborn Christian would also have this affirmed with them if they understood and had foreknowledge of why the New Covenant. God was able to complete the Old, giving us a matured New Covenant because of one man’s obedience sealed with living Blood as opposed to the dead blood of animals. Do you realize this living sacrificed Blood is mainly for the Gentiles and not the Jews? Jesus’ sacrifice was on an outsider's altar; that of the cross. The cross has nothing to do with Jewish religion and was for them, a symbol of fear. By Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection; what satan instilled with fear became God’s prime symbol of Hope, Love, and Salvation. The world’s cross means death but Christ’s mean Hope. A physical but especially a Spiritual transition was accomplished. For without the vision of Hope and God’s promises; trusting in God has no journey of change. It is often said in religious circles that everyone will have their personal wilderness journey just like the Exodus Jews. If we truly gleam Jesus as the Truth, the Way, and the Life; this so-called wilderness journey is no longer a right of passage to God’s will and promise. But by Jesus, we are able to come to rest in Him as stated, “Enter into His rest” - Heb. 4:11. The message of Salvation is the beginning of our journey into God’s rest.
Jesus told us, “I go to prepare a place for you” - Jn. 14:2. This place is about fulfillment, completion but mainly celebration and is a reflection of the Jewish Passover which celebrates the Exodus journey from slavery into deliverance and the Promise Land. But Jesus is no longer talking to traditional Jews but converted Jews who by His Words, and examples are changing into a Christ follower; a Christian. A new set of chosen people who must change their mindset to start, go and complete the journey of Salvation. Why is it critical to understand this? Most of Jesus’ parables that deal with stewardship have four components. The steward and the owner with the third component of recognition or accountability. But the fourth which is often underplayed by religious thinking but is really the key component is trust. Trust by the owner in the steward to use what they have been given and the trust of the steward in the owner to reward and be just to them. All these parables are about investing. To sow and reap! In the parables, the currency is an essential gift of either money, talent or a vineyard that is freely given by the owner. Remember, these are parables or metaphors where God is represented as the owner and the stewards as us where trust is the mindset, not effort or labor. This trust is Faith!
Proverbs 3:5 tells us, “Trust in God and lean not on our own understanding”. This is the hardest thing for many if not all Christians. To have the childlike Faith to relieve oneself of the burdens that as a child is taught into adulthood; to be a responsible person in this world. Ultimately, this means or ultimately leads to having financial acumen. The Word did not say to remain a child and be childish but to mature into having Faith; the Faith of God. We often equate with having Faith to mean not having any life issues and to sail through this world unaffected by it. We shun from any form of pain, whether physically, emotionally or mentally. We want a stress free life and is why many of us seek and remain in the comfort zone that the church gives and the Word offers. We tend to want to live within the Grace of God and is why we cry constantly on our knees to Him for His mercy to save us often out of the self-inflicted troubles we orchestrated for ourselves. Let’s face it; even with the message of Salvation; some remain in a mess internally and externally. This is a prime reason the message of Salvation is reduced to nothing more than its destination and not its true intent of the journey of Salvation.
Jesus referred to her as a dog! But is compelled to Bless her not because of promise but because of her bold Faith that she displayed. She did not grovel nor did she bribe! She heard and recognized a change in Jesus’ ministry from that was demonstrated by the Pharisees. An intangibility that opened up the promises for God’s Faithfulness made to the Jews but now available to all who would call upon the name of Jesus and recognize that He is the Truth, the Way, and the Life. Did you notice she was not saved at the time of her request? That should be a somber reflection for Christians that just as God first chose the Jews to reveal His Glory; then turned to the Christians; He easily and often uses non-Jews and non-Christians to be His tool for His Glory despite having no Salvation. God’s ultimate goal is to reveal His Glory one way or another. James 1:22-25 says it best, “to be a doer and not only a hearer of the Word, deceiving ourselves”. The Canaanite woman heard of Jesus’ miracles which enabled Faith but without her personal action and determination to find, ask and expect Jesus to Bless and reward her for her efforts not by physical labor but by Spiritual Faith; she would not have received. She in effect heard the Salvation message of Hope; took the action of Faith and came to rest after receiving and seeing the promise fulfilled when her daughter was made whole from the demonic procession. She journeyed from fear into Faith and came to rest.
Each time, we as Christian do what this Canaanite woman did, there is a celebration by the Heavenly Host that God’s gift is not wasted with surface faith but real determination to stand on the Word (Jesus) and be Victorious over any trial or tribulation that we face along the journey of Salvation. That we did our part of Faith so that God can fulfill His Faithfulness to His Covenant sealed with Jesus’ Blood. Consider this scenario that God and Jesus are sitting in Heavenly places and sees a Christian facing a challenge from the enemy. God says to Jesus, “Did you pay the ultimate price for this Christian?” Jesus replies, “Yes Father, I did! they have been saved and set free” Then God says, “Why are they just weeping and moaning? Do they not know I gave them you; the Truth, the Way, and the Life; My gift for their Victory to overcome anything the enemy throws at them?” Jesus looks at God and intervenes on the Christian behalf that He shows mercy and compassion. God says to Jesus, “It is My desire and love to want to, but without Faith I am unable to fulfill My promise of the Blessing; for My goal to be revealed for others to see and then believe, therefore I have no other choice but to look elsewhere to reveal My Glory.” At this Heaven is silent waiting to rejoice for a Christian to be Faithful and for God to show Himself strong on their behalf. Is this not what scriptures tell us that, “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him”. - 2 Chron. 16:9. That the heart is perfect towards God. The only thing that is perfect towards God is obedience in all He wills. This is why God states, “He is well pleased with Jesus and we should listen to Him” - Matt. 3:17. Jesus is the embodiment of obedience by the action of Faith for which we are told, “without Faith it is impossible to please God” - Heb. 11:6 and that we should, “be perfect as the Father is” - Matt. 5:48; which comes back to Jesus stating, “When you see Me, you see the Father” - Jn. 14:9. This is the very context that Jesus says, “I am the Truth, the Way and the Life”.
Without becoming like Jesus we do not perfect obedience in Faith and thereby restrain the Father’s hand to Bless us or rather give satan grounds for a legal sustaining of the curse. What! Is not the curse done with? Yes, only by the Blood of Jesus which is potential power and needs the governor of Faith to put it into action. You see the Blood is synonymous with the name of Jesus requiring a Christian to put it into action. This action is not a ‘wand of magic’ but a glove and hand fit for Faith to manifest the need or want through the journey of expectation and perseverance. The measure of Faith is not a guarantee of an instant miracle. Most often it requires time for the manifestation as with the Canaanite woman who saw the manifest within that hour as opposed to the lame you got up and walked immediately by Peter’s Faith and not his. This lame man only wanted alms but Peter tells him he has no alms and states, “but such as I have, I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” - Acts 3:6. Peter gave and utilized His perfected Faith to heal the lame. Each of us has been given the measure of Faith to put it into action towards perfection that pleased God. It is the gift embodied in Christ for our Salvation journey. The Christian journey; one of rocky and often uncertain terrain is for the perfection of Faith. For without the testing of our Faith it can never grow, become strengthen and perfect the trust that God requires to show Himself strong on our behalf for His Glory. Jesus is the Truth; (without obedience), the Way (Faith is hindered), and the Life (peace and prosperity) is unfulfilled.
Flush it Out - To trust God is to have His Faith in perfection.
In Joshua’s journey; he was Anointed for all the Jews to see. He was Moses student. Moses' right-hand man and the commander of the newly formed army of Israel. His authority was endorsed physically. With Jesus; other than a short blip in the synagogue at age twelve; He was an unknown, an unrecognized authority of God and started His ministry in unfamiliar territory. So much so the Pharisee question Him as stated, "By whose authority you do these things" - Lk. 11:28. His authority was not given by man but by God’s Holy Spirit. This is God again providing the proof by Revelation and prophesy when as stated, “He breathed into him the breathe of life” - Gen. 2:7. And why Jesus is the second Adam. God reset His plan after culture, religion, traditions, and sin derailed it. As sin is outside of God’s purview and unrighteous; by His Glory, He demonstrated His immutability to satan that those outside Him; the Gentiles would be His sword into the darkness domain to dispel and destroy it. If as a Christian you catch what was just stated; then the Truth, the Way, and the Life should clearly paint the very purpose of every living Christian in the world.
John 14:6 tells us, “I (Jesus) am the Truth, the Way, and the Life”. He is implying a journey that ultimately will achieve the destination; which is as stated, “No one comes (reaches) the Father except through Me (Him)”. The journey of a Christian is the rocky, unsure and challenging road that is less traveled by most of the world much less those in the Body of Christ. It is why Jesus makes the statement to, “Take up your cross” - Matt. 16:24 and “Take My yoke for it is easy and my burden is light” - Matt. 11:30. Now, if you are a Christian for any amount of time; His Words seems unfulfilled especially when the world knows of your Faith and declaration as a Christian. In fact; it seems the problems have multiplied since the acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Jesus did not promise smooth sailing but turbulent storms by revealing that because of our choice for Him, ‘the world will hate us” - Matt. 10:22. Jesus is in effect stripping us of any protection, provision or pride that the world indoctrinated us since our secular education started. To be set apart and not give the world any credit for our journey through this life. The Truth, the Way and the Life as defined and procured by the will of God. Even after Jesus paid for us with His Blood; we still have to work for the crown that is reserved for us in Heaven; not by the world’s definition of labor but by God’s expectation that we become His Righteousness on this Earth as a candle unhidden and subjected to every trial and tribulation that the world experience for our victory and His Glory.
The message of Salvation is powered by God’s mercy to first; the lost chosen people and secondly to the Gentiles; the dying world. Jesus merged these two worlds with not only His message but the pro-action of the Truth, the Way, and the Life; which for the chosen people was the Promise land and for the first Christ-followers; the Kingdom of God. Jesus did not bring a new message but reiterated what God spoke and did with the Exodus Jews and charged not Moses but Joshua to; “Be strong and courageous and meditate on the law (the Word) so that the Way may be prosperous and successful” - Jos. 1:7-8. This is repeated with Jesus’ statement, “Abide in Me so you can bear fruit” - Jn. 15:4. Like many things from the Old Testament; God is prophesying and foreshadowing His future will. God was telling Joshua to remain in and be obedient to His will so that Providence could do its work. This is the same with Jesus. The name Joshua means Jesus and represents overcoming, power and victory. Remember; Jesus did not come for the Gentiles but for the Jews. To lead and rescue them from their self-imposed disobedience to God’s will. But God through His mercy for the Jews failures to represent Him orchestrated the outsiders; the Gentiles to be His new messengers of His will and Salvation. As Joshua received the Promise land so did Jesus receive the Kingdom of God. The parallels between Joshua’s and Jesus’ journey are similar with both framed by one mindset and that is to trust in God. What better way for Jesus to demonstrate this by the hands of the outsider Gentiles and the world rather than within the comfort zone of His Jewish people’s traditions and religion. This is the metaphor as stated, “the stone that the builder rejected has become the cornerstone” - Ps. 118:22. Jesus reminds the Jews of this Psalms during His ministry and foretells of the church and those of it; called the Christians. The Jews rejected Jesus but the Christians would receive Him as the Truth, the Way, and the Life.
To truly receive; we cannot without trusting in God. To have the Faith of God. Why the Faith of God? Because without this, we often miss God’s Blessings. In practical terms we walk by it, ignore it, or are too skeptical to receive it. Now, God is merciful and compassionate and He has never stopped Blessing us. We are the ones that fail because we often remain in disobedience and do not know the difference between His will and the worlds. To be clear! To not trust God is to be in disobedience! That sounds very harsh but without perfected obedience, God’s will for us would seem like a roller coaster leaving us with moments of stress, fear, and unexpected excitement and anxieties. The world is fear and God is Faith. For a Christian, the choice ought to be clear. For by perfected Faith; God has to prove Himself and by fear; God does not! It most encounters the first Words from God's Spiritual messengers are "fear not". There is a purpose for this for with fear we tend to want to control but with Faith; the child-like disposition of trust comes into play and shuts the door to any anxieties and confusion. It is clearly stated, "Be anxious for nothing" - Phil. 4:6.
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