Spiritual Awakening

Now, we must not confuse Holiness as religious circles do and restrain what is part of our perfected image which is the flesh that embodies our feelings and senses. As the Body of Christ we are to be ruled by the Spirit and command that flesh by the Spirit; not by the law but by the heart of Righteousness which is agape love. Only then can we know we are operating as Jesus did. Christ is our head and us His Body and as such become equitable partners of His headship which although controlled by the Spirit is revealed not only by our words but more so the emotions and expressions which are what paints for us who we are in Christ and the Father. Now, to be clear, we are not to be unhinged with our emotions but with every fiber of the body, mind and spirit prove the Spirit of things just as Jesus did to all who heard and saw Him even when He by the Spirit choose to hold His tongue yet never allowing fear to intimidate Him to the point of surrendering His right standing with God.

The moment Jesus entered the stage of His ministry; His expressions left an impact starting with John the Baptist. John recognizing his relative Jesus wanted to be baptized by Him but as Jesus stated, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all Righteousness” - Matt. 3:15. The word “suffer” is used to convey a resignation to something that cannot be prevented. So when Jesus said this to John; the religious notion is that He was being stern but by this word it paints a facial expression of Jesus contorting His features like when one may be experiencing a discomfort of some kind but not necessary in agony. Jesus and John knew what the baptizing meant not only as a sign of Passover or renewing but also one of journeying through the darkness to be resurrected in the light. The baptism is a metaphor for those who seek eternal life must face the fire of trials and tribulations by the immersing into water leading to a renewed life of fresh air when one has been resurrected by surfacing above the water. Again, when Jesus emerged from the baptism of a man as in the world; He is relieved and freed from its constraints and is confirmed by the Spirit presence as stated, “and, lo, the Heavens were opened unto Him, and he (John) saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him” - Matt. 3:16.

If you are a skeptic; then Jesus would have failed by every social and ethnic standard of today. For what is the world seeking, but peace and security not from an equitable but an equality position, where practically every aspect of life is dictated from the international to individual laws of equal rights and treatments; yet with no consideration of ideology or politics. If Jesus was here today, regardless of His miracles He would be condemned, marginalized and persecuted, just for having and expressing His God given freedoms, justice, and Righteousness. As in His ministry days, He would face those who by subversion, deception and non-disclosure would twist what is good to evil and evil to good just to justify their position to maintain the status quo of the haves as opposed to the have-nots. He would be constantly under the litigation of the law.

Here, Jesus’ expression would be one of joy, peace, and contentment; because of the realization of God’s presence and love; just the same as any Christian who have experienced this. Now, we only tend to think of Jesus and John in this scenario, but in reality many others who came for baptism at the beckoning of John’s preaching would also have witness John’s special attendance to this person Jesus, seeing and hearing, and became impacted by Jesus’ bodily change from being submerged in the water to His beaming and radiation of His face as when one is enjoying the warmth of the sun by its rays on a cloudy, overcast and dreary day. Although not recorded, I can just imagine that both these men would have embraced in brotherly love having gone through that experience together which signified the start of the journey into eternity.

Jesus, now Anointed has to confront the evil of the world as a prologue of all who desire to be the Righteousness of God. He must face the devil and his devices to become worthy of God’s hand to spark Salvation not only for His people but for the world. The Bible does not think it necessary to characterize satan as a fallen spirit or a physical being as in the garden but tells us Jesus had to discipline His body, mind, and spirit by fasting and meditation. This paints us a picture of a man now drained of substance in all His statue and who was probably at the very limit of His spiritual cognition due to His physical condition. What transpires is an exchange of combative dialogue between Jesus and satan. We tend to see this as an in-person exchange but it more than likely was a mental one of the mind and spirit; because when the body is weakened, then the mind becomes susceptible to impressions of delusions; a device of satan.

Jesus in his ministry did hundreds of miracles, many of which is not recorded for by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit the authors wrote only about those that were pertinent to Jesus’ work. And just like any good read, they tried to convey the tone of these events that was colored with scenarios and filled with engaging dialogue. The Gospels are the most read pages of the Bible not only for the obvious Spiritual implications but they actually tell a great story of Salvation filled with intrigue, deception, loyalty and most of all the fight for freedom of the lowly and oppressed. The Bible truly paints pictures in our minds that are both memorable and inspirational.

Astonishment - You would think Jesus as the Son of God would be all knowing and nothing would surprise Him. This goes to show that even Jesus probably missed the mark once in a while only because He was focused operating as the son of man and would have been pre-occupied with certain things as the Spirit moved and led Him, He was profound when the unexpected happened, orchestrated to be a part of His ministry. As stated in Matthew  8:10,  “When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great Faith, no, not in Israel”. Jesus was astonished at the Faith of a non-Jew; the centurion and looking to His followers when He made this statement, one can imagine His face to reveal it to be wide eyed with a half-smile and a look of bewilderment.

Compassion - Most people see this face of Jesus for obvious reasons and is probably the most common look in all of the images of Jesus. It reflects not only His love but also His mercy. Two things that without; the sinner would not have hope for Salvation. Jesus expresses this mainly with those who are helpless not just in Words but by His actions of gentleness; as stated in Matthew 14:14, “And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick”. Often, at this scale of compassion, many do not recognize the physical strain Jesus would have experienced and how much of a toll it would be on His body, mind, and spirit which leads us to His next facial expression. 

Reflective - Jesus spent a lot of time alone whether it was for prayer or just to be relieved of the multitudes. During these times He often walked along the shore or departed in a boat with His apostles close by Him. These were moments of recharging his body, mind, and spirit for the next set of multitudes. As stated in Matt. 15:29, “Moving on from there, Jesus went along the Sea of Galilee. Then He went up on a mountain and sat down”. Jesus experienced just as we do moments of reflection of His life, works, and His mission often looking to the Father for assurance, strength, and resolutions. He would appear to His apostles as someone lost in thought, with a distance perspective in His eyes and have a gaze towards the sky or hills that surrounded Galilee. He may even have seem, meditative and unresponsive to things around Him. This reflective look would also appear as He often made rhetorical remarks to the apostles, multitudes, and others as in Matt.  11:7, “And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes”?

Sarcastic - Many of the Body believe Jesus would never “hurt a fly” but by some of His answers; Jesus may have not intentionally sought to hurt the feelings of others but reveals that as Jesus faced with the ignorance of the day, He often made remarks that would have left one with amazement and at the time shame to just how sharp His words cut into their feelings without being direct. As in Matt. 9:12, saying, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners”. This is Jesus’ statement not as a response to the question posed to His disciples by the Pharisee about eating with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus overheard the Pharisee’ question and like a good orator that is indirectly challenged rather than defending His decisions; makes a mockery of His opponents position by ridiculing it with Words. Not only did the Pharisee hear His statement, so did all who were at the dinner; many of which would be friends of the Pharisees.

Authoritative - Jesus was not a push over for those who sought to use Him for their purposes even from His apostles and disciples but especially from those of the religious order. He often had clashes with the Pharisees and Scribes over the laws, government, and doctrines. Knowing their intentions, Jesus would not be meek or mild in His answers but with every perspective of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding demonstrate His mastery of all three areas of attack from His opponents. Just like any good lawyer; Jesus would have to be engaging with those who had to listen and form their own conclusions as to His authority. He did this with the multitudes as with individuals as stated in Matt. 23, speaking to the disciples and multitudes about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Scribes or in Matt. 9:30, “And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, see that no man know it”. Jesus had to have a credible facial expression to be taken serious and be appealing to be heard. He had to display like every other leader a certain level of charisma, boldness, and trust, especially with His eyes. But most importantly He had to do this as a man and not as God; nor with the forces of Heaven but only with His body language, clarity of His mind and the Anointing of His spirit.

Optimism - We can never truly experience Jesus’ daily life but it is reasonable and logical to conclude, His; was a tedious, wearisome and difficult one. For once He was known to be a miracle worker or confrontational with the religious order of the day; many would have sought Him out for His works and debates. Yet, Jesus kept His optimism and expressed it in many ways but especially with those who needed more than Himself. Jesus never failed to be an encourager or a cheerleader for those fighting in Faith for their need. In Matt. 9:2, “Jesus seeing their Faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee; or in Matt. 9:22, “Jesus said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy Faith hath made thee whole”. Jesus in both cases demonstrates a smile of encouragement and affirmation, which goes a long way to help those afflicted and I can just imagine while He said these words, His placed His hand upon them. Jesus was personal which can’t be done unless your expressions are in tuned with your words.

Many movies portraying our Lord often focuses on a few expressions that do not justify how much He loved us to the point of being angered, disappointed and stoic trying to get many to open their eyes and free themselves from all the lies satan imprinted on them through the flesh of the law and failures of those appointed to lead them. Jesus did not have a lifetime to get it right Himself but by surrendering in complete obedience to God set the tone for the early and now latter church of not unfeeling bricks and mortar but of the perfect created being filled with emotions for expressions of Righteousness. For as Jesus, the man is created in the image of God and reveals by the Spirit; the Father that dwells in them. For if we walk by the Spirit as stated, “We are the sons of God” - Jn. 1:12. So anytime we are confronted with a daily challenge that tests our emotions then what we display ought to be by the Spirit who does God’s bidding to affect others for His will by and through our expressions.

Without Jesus and His final battle on the cross, the entire Bible would be nothing more than a good bedtime story and would fill many hours of conversation with no conclusion. And just like a good ‘cliffhanger’ of any novel or movie, we would only be able to speculate to the ‘what if’s’ of possibilities of a never ending good vs. evil saga. Thank God! Jesus gave us a conclusion that has left us in Victory. Yet, the Gospels which is our New Testament repeats many of the Old Testament themes but focuses mainly from a personal perspective which is one of the reasons Jesus was sent to be an actual physical example as the pinnacle of a son or daughter of God; and that during His three or so years of mature demonstration revealed how we should carry ourselves as heirs to an everlasting Kingdom having overcome the world as the saying goes, “practice makes perfect”  and also, “success is not the destination but the journey”. All our experiences are in preparation of the Kingdom to come, where the flesh does not rule but the spirit, now on this Earth and later in the New Jerusalem and Heavens to come.

Just like us, Jesus expressed Himself and His emotions with one main difference in that He maintained control of His feelings; but make no mistake those who heard, saw and interpreted His expressions were left in amazement, anger and shame. Jesus would be like any activist today; gathering followers, opposers, and retractors simply because He expressed Himself as He ought to be. For those of the religious mind that only paint a picture of Jesus as a humble, compassionate and resigned individual, especially with that common and familiar picture, have missed the complexity, nobility and intriguing Jesus who by design professed a simple but boundless message of freedom that still and will resonate to mankind, no matter the age.

Jesus’ expressions of His emotions are clear in the Gospel narrative and speaks to how real and relatable He is to us. Yes, today, He is our Lord and Savior and to the few He was also this during His ministry but to the masses He was only a man who spoke up for those under duress and who dared challenge the then authorities; many glued to hear and see His rise or fall, waiting and undecided as to whether or not they should cast their lot in with Him. Those who had the opportunity to see Jesus face to face would have stories to tell us today of how impactful they felt by not only His Words but also with His expressions that painted a picture of a thousand words that mere words could not.

Most scientist agree that the human face has 43 muscles with a possibility of 21 expressions. Interestingly, combined both the numbers add up to 7 and 3 respectively, which are Biblical numbers of perfection and unity. Jesus was indeed a man of expressions and as we place ourself at His feet during these encounters we are surprised that although the Son of God, it was a man that many were impacted by His day to day activities, simple because He was obedient to the Father and utilized every aspect of His image for the works of Righteousness. Jesus always allowed Himself to be led by the Spirit which caused His body, mind, and spirit to be emboldened as He faced the world; prepared and ready to have a face to face exchange of not only Words but more so, expressions.

Flush it Out! - A Righteous expression goes a long way for the Salvation of others.

This is something that as a Christian we must come to terms with for being designed to operate in the flesh and led by the Spirit; we must balance with equity our fleshly and spiritual needs to be effective. For Jesus’ temptation to have real and meaningful perspective; as a man, He would have to be void of any physical support with only reliance on His spirit to stand against satan and as stated, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness” - Eph. 6:12. It was with the Spirit and knowledge of the Word did He “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” - Eph. 6:16. Jesus had to have tenacity which would have been expressed with a resolved and stoic face and maybe even gritting His teeth despite every fiber of His body telling Him to do anything and give in to anything to survive and find relief. How often, having missed a meal, we crave anything to satisfy and end the hunger and thirst of the flesh; yet Jesus was resolute to bear this burden in obedience to God and His commitment to mankind’s Salvation.

Through His ministry, Jesus interacted with several different scenarios that He could have just been emotionless but there are several distinct expressions from Jesus when confronted; all of which we as the Body will face in our lifetime. The first two expressions outlined above show a man who knew His goal and purpose and would not allow sentiment and weakness to deter them. Consider the following as Jesus journeyed through a sea of people, religion, and governments.

Let us be straight, man to man! Jesus was not that different than any of us in our lives. He slept, ate and drank, but most of all He faced every irritation that all of us experience on a daily basis and often dealt with it just as us, with a range of emotions. Jesus was not only the Son of God, and man, but for us, He was wholly a human being.

May. 24, 2017.

Face 2 Face.