The Revelation of Truth: Part 2
In “The Revelation of Truth: Part 1” I touched on the revealed identity of Jesus contrasted by the known identity of Jesus. To quickly summarize, the natural truths of His identity were made irrelevant and obsolete when divinely revealed truth was made known. For instance, the disciples had seen and heard Jesus operating as the Messiah, but lacked understanding of who He truly was. In a single moment, God, by the Holy Spirit, reveald to Peter Jesus’ identity as the Messiah. When Jesus asked “Who do you say I am?” Jesus confirmed that Peter’s answer “you are the Messiah…” was given to him by way of revelation. In that moment, Peter had an understanding that, though he had known Jesus’ works as the Messiah, were inferior to the revelation knowledge that was divinely given to him. His understanding of who Jesus was had opened up in a way that it couldn’t possibly have without the revelation.
Now, let’s take this another step further. When you hear the term “the Word of God’ what do you think of? I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that, like most believers, your 1st thought is of the bible. That answer makes a lot of sense, as the bible is commonly known as and referred to as “The Word.” According to the 1st verse of the book of John, the Word existed in the beginning, with God, well before scripture was written. If we’re going to be biblically minded, we need to see and understand the Word of God is Jesus. Jesus is the manifest Word of God, made into flesh for the purpose of carrying out the will of God. Scripture is the written word, story and plan of God. It is the written identifier of God & godliness. Like Jesus, (the Word made flesh) has a revealed identity that differs from common knowledge, scripture (the written Word) also has truths that are hidden and only revealed by the Spirit of God.
When I was a child in Sunday school, a big part of my weekly involvement included the memorization of scripture. We were taught the importance of what would generally be called “knowing the Word.” While I agree that it is vital to know scripture, I will never forget the voice of the Lord telling me
“You have to understand that knowing the Word is more about how intimately you know a man (Jesus) than it will ever be about committing verses to memory.”
I have spent the better portion of my Christian life reading verse after verse and chapter after chapter while having very little understanding. When I began to understand who the Word is, it changed everything about how I understand scripture. I think this is one of the biggest disconnects in Christianity. We’re taught that if we have said a prayer, then we know Jesus. Now, we’re supposed to read (and understand) the bible? How many of us did that system not work for?
I can tell you that I did not know Jesus when I first committed to following Him. Despite this, I was taught that I had to love Him, obey Him, believe Him and follow Him, with no explanation of how. That’s why my commitment was short lived. I had no understanding of who I had “accepted” or who I turned away from when I lost interest. I can emphatically tell you that when you begin to get to know Jesus, you don’t lose interest. I can also tell you that it makes many believers very uncomfortable when they are in the company of a person who is pursuing intimate knowledge of Jesus. The larger population of Christianity is content in their understanding that they already know Him by way of saying a prayer and memorizing scripture. The problem is that we are fed knowledge and scripture without having received revelation.
How many times does Jesus repeat the phrase “He who has ears to hear, let him hear”? Do you suppose that what He meant was “If you have ears, listen up, and if you don’t have ears, you don’t need this”? I’m willing to bet that every time He spoke that phrase, all of His audience had ears. It is apparent, though, that many, even though they were hearing, would not hear the message of what He was actually saying. Most would hear and agree because those listening would just generally be in agreement. It equates to the “amen” when the pastor says something that gives you goosebumps. Only a handful would hear and agree because they understood the intended message that bypassed the ears of those that did not have the ears to hear. There was revelation that came to those who were not content with merely hearing. The others heard the exact same words, and though those words were true and right, they were incomplete without the revelation that came to the others who heard the same messages, but had ears to hear.
Matthew 13:11 & 15 is a stunning passage, where Jesus explains revealed truth. In this passage, Jesus is addressing the multitudes, teaching them in parables. Before I break this down, there are a few key things that must be understood. The first thing is that parables were a common form of teaching, and they were used because they were easily understood, not confounding. The 2nd point is, this audience He was teaching is comparable to modern church goers. A good percentage of them were there because they wanted to hear Him. Some were there out of curiosity, and others were there to find fault. They all “followed” him to the shore where He was teaching, but very few were followers to the degree that His disciples followed. The disciples sacrificially followed, the multitudes casually followed at their convenience. Jesus is trying to reach a group of people in one of their most valued and understandable forms of teaching.
In the above mentioned bible passage, Jesus tells His disciples “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted…Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing, they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” This is where Jesus is teaching those who are gathered to hear Him speak. It may be confusing to some to understand that Jesus is not talking about a bunch of pagans or outsiders, but these are His own people, the covenant people who have been waiting for their Messiah. In modern terms, Jesus is preaching to the church. Jesus was making things simple for them by translating spiritual matters into material subjects that made sense to them, and they were still confused. It was not His will that they misunderstand, but His observation. Notice when the disciples, or anyone else who was truly seeking understanding asked for clarification, He helped them, revealing to them the meaning. Once they had that revelation, they gained understanding. Until then, Jesus’ words were just information that they were hearing. When revelation came, the words exploded with meaning, and what was previously just head knowledge became a life transforming, heart changing word.
Scripture is packed with information that we can fill our heads with, and we can memorize every word, and come away with no heart change or life transformation if we fail to seek the revelation that Jesus wants to show us. He is the Word, given to us to be profitable to us, and so that we would be complete. As we get to know Him by our devotion through a continually growing relationship with Him, He’ll reveal the truth of the Word (Himself and scripture) to us. This revelation does not come to the casual believers or the ones who are content in their “knowing” Him. They are the ones who He says that the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are hidden from. He reveals to those who pursue Him. I love Paul’s heart seen in Philippians 3 where he longs “that I may know him…” Imagine that- Paul yearning to know Jesus. There are many believers who are content in their salvation, like the multitudes who only follow for the sake of being identified as followers. They’ll never be given the revelation of truth and will always be confounded by the most simple explanations. Sermons and teachings with any depth will bypass their ears, because they don’t have ears to hear. The Word of God is alive and true. Let Him reveal Himself to you.