Lecture Hall Archives
THE MANIFESTATION OF HIS PRESENCE
John 14:21 “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
When Jesus uttered these words to His disciples it became immediately clear to them that Jesus was making a very special promise to them.
When you promise to manifest yourself to someone, it means that you will reveal yourself to that person and not to others. Because if everyone can see you there is no need for you to reveal yourself since
you are already visible to everybody.
John 14:19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.”
It is within the context of Jesus leaving them, and promising them that He would reveal Himself again after His departure, that this conversation is taking place.
And it prompted this question by one of His disciples:
John 14:22 “Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, ‘Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?’”
It is obvious that the disciples wanted to make sure that after Jesus left them, that they would be able to know how and where they could see Him again.
Now for those of us who never had the opportunity of meeting and serving Jesus before He went to the cross, these passages of Scripture are very important, for they detail how we can also experience the personal manifestation of Jesus after His resurrection from the dead.
Jesus gives us a very important key in verse nineteen: Because I live, you will live also.
As we read the previous chapter Jesus is clearly telling them that where He is going they cannot follow, because He is going to the cross to die for their sins. But then He says to them, because I will live, you will live also, meaning: I will die for you so that you can live, and if you are willing to die for My cause, you too will live to see Me again.
John 13:37-38 “Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times.’”
Peter understood the part about dying for the Lord, but he failed to understand the part about living for Him at that time.
How many Christians have given their lives for the sake of our Lord’s Gospel this past year alone? It's not easy to die willingly, but for most of those who have given their lives for the Lord, they just did not have the choice to continue living for Him, and they surely were not willing to deny Him, that is why they were killed.
Now we know from Scripture that those who are martyred for the sake of their testimony of Jesus are immediately welcome into His glorious holy presence.
Talk about manifestation, those who remain faithful to their confession of faith in the face of imminent death, cannot help but to see the fullness of Jesus’ glory revealed to them as Jesus joyfully receives them into the fullness of His joy, before their bodies even hit the ground.
But for those of us who remain the lesson is very clear, if we want to see the manifestation of Jesus in our lives we need to die to ourselves.
What it really comes down to is love.
John 14:23 “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.’”
I hear so many people say how much they love someone, but by their actions that sentiment is betrayed. Can persons that abandon their spousal or parental obligations for the sake of following their own self interests really say that they love the ones that they are leaving behind?
This is what Jesus has to say about that:
John 14:24 “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.”
From God’s perspective true love can only be manifested by our commitment to carry out our obligations to His Word. We can say how much we love God all day long but by our actions we will be judged.
Matthew 11:19 “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children (the eventual manifestation of her good works).”
And the consequences of our actions work both ways, if we are doing what is right and people falsely accuse us of doing wrong—like they did to Jesus—eventually those who do right will be proven right, and those who do wrong will be proven wrong.
But those who do wrong will not experience the manifestation of Jesus in their lives, for those who do wrong, do so for selfish ambition and have not died to themselves.
We are not talking about perfection here, for if only those who are perfect can expect Jesus to manifest Himself to them, then you can be sure that there will not be any personal manifestations any time soon.
What did Jesus mean when He said: He who has My commandments and keeps them...If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word? Now let’s take a look at His words from the perspective of the imperfections of our human nature.
When you show up to work everyday, can your boss really say that you are the perfect worker? Even in the remote possibility that you were the perfect worker, they would never say that about you, for if they did, they would have to give you a raise. Ha, Ha!
This is what an employer is looking for in an ideal worker: that he/she shows up on time, every time, all the time. That he/she has a general knowledge of what they are expected to do, and a willingness to do it. And that they have the capacity to learn and to progress to a point where they get better and better at what they do.
What are the ideal qualifications for a parent or a spouse? Does anybody really expect a husband or a wife or a parent to be perfect? I say not! But a husband is expected to be there for his wife, and the wife to be there for her husband. And how can a father or mother raise a child if they are absent?
It is the same in our service to God! We do not get saved to continue in our own selfish way of life. Now that we are saved our responsibility is to the Word of God, to follow His commandments and to keep His Word. We are not perfect when we start, and we will not be perfect when we finish our Christian journey here on this earth.
We will be judged by our faithfulness to His calling!
Did we show up; in time, all the time? Did we show willingness to serve, and were we willing to change and learn new ways of living?
If you work for a big corporation you may notice some apprehensiveness on the part of some of the workers when they know that the big boss is going to be around. That is how some Christians feel when the manifestation of God’s presence is all around them.
If you believe that Jesus expects you to be perfect, it would be natural to feel uncomfortable when He manifests Himself to you. But what if He is just looking for you to be honest with Him?
John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”
Jesus does not really need perfect workers, does He? He does not even need any workers. What He is really looking for is for you and I to have a trusting relationship with Him. A relationship that is based in mutual love for one another instead of the dread of fear and failure.
And there is no better place to have a relationship with Him than to share with Him in the things that He loves so much: He loves us! Humanity, He is for us, wants to be with us, and wants to be in us.
He is such a gentlemen that He will not manifest Himself to us if it will make us feel uncomfortable. If we want His presence, then we must truly desire the manifestation of His presence.
There may be some of you out there that feel that, perhaps you will never be comfortable enough around the manifestation of His presence. Maybe you were brought up to see our heavenly Father as a fearsome Judge instead of a loving Savior. But think about what is at stake here!
John 15:1-4 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean (we need not fear our frailties) because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”
After reading all these Scriptures I hope that you came to the same conclusion that I did, and that is that, intimacy with Him is not really an option, but the essence of life itself. That is if we truly want to be fruitful in our service to Him.
The first step is getting down on your knees with a humbled and honest heart saying "Lord I don’t have much to offer you, but what little I have I give to you completely and irrevocably", then show up before His presence in the same manner, everyday, for the rest of your life.
There is no greater joy than to have the privilege of experiencing the manifestation of His presence within the inner sanctum of our hearts.