2 Corinthians 13:5-6
Recognize Jesus and reject worldly ways should be something that we
naturally do every day and in every situation.
We should recognize Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit because their presence in the world is always in the heavenly will of God.
It should be like an epiphany, like a bright light shining in a dark place, for there are many deceivers in the world who try to make what is evil seem to be good, and we should see the difference almost immediately.
Rebekah, Jacobís mother, wanted to deceive her husband Isaac, who was blind, so that he would bless Jacob instead of Esau, Jacobís brother, who Isaac intended to bless.
So she had Jacob go and kill two baby goats so she could prepare a savory dish for Isaac to trick him into thinking that it was a dish made with the flesh of a wild animal that Esau was hunting, and because Esau was a hairy man, Rebekah covered Jacobís hands and neck with the goat fur to further confuse Isaac.
In Genesis 27:21-23 we are told about the results of this deception.
21. Then Isaac said to Jacob, "Please come close, that I may feel you, my
son, whether you are really my son Esau or not."
22. So Jacob came close to Isaac his father, and he felt him and said, "The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau."
This should have been enough to convince Isaac that something was wrong and that he was being deceived, but because they were living in worldly ways, he didnít recognize the deception.
23. And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his
brother Esau's hands; so he blessed him.
Human hair is never as thick as animal fur, and this should have further
convinced Isaac that something was wrong, but it didnít.
Why was Isaac deceived?
We believe the answer is in the fact that all the parties involved in this situation had blinded themselves to the creation intent and heavenly will of God, and they were insensitive to the suffering of animals, because they all lived like the people of this corrupt world who think nothing about killing and eating animals and their by-products.
They knew that Godís creation intent, which is also His heavenly will, was for us to eat only plant foods (Genesis 1:29-30), but they ignored this fact, and sought out worldly reasons why they could continue to eat animal products, which is probably the reason that Isaac didnít feel the difference between goat fur and Esauís hairy skin.
We are told that Isaac has a strong desire to eat wild game animals and wanted Esau to hunt for them, and Rebekah wanted to deceive Isaac to have him bless Jacob so she convinced Jacob to kill two baby goats so she could prepare them for Isaac.
They were all thinking like the people of this corrupt world which follows the devil instead of the Lord our God, and for these kinds of reasons, Isaac didnít recognize Jacob or Esau.
And for similar reasons, we will not be able to recognize Jesus, today, unless we reject the worldly ways around us.
Letís take another look at how even the disciplesí vision and understanding was clouded from recognizing the truth that was right before their eyes, as we are told in Matthew 17:10-13.
10. And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Why then do the scribes say that
Elijah must come first?"
11. And He answered and said, "Elijah is coming and will restore all things;
12. but I say to you, that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands."
13. Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist.
Jesus had to explain what was going on around them so that they would take
their eyes and thoughts off worldly things like the religious leaders were
doing; and, once they did this, they recognized that Jesus was talking about
John the Baptist. In the same way, if we reject worldly ways and focus upon
the heavenly will of God, we will be able to recognize Jesus when He comes
Letís now take a look at some of the things Jesus teaches us about recognizing Him.
Note what we are told in Mark 13:28-32Ö
28. "Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near.
Most people will recognize physical changes such as these, but it is usually
only the children of God who live in His heavenly will that recognize the
spiritual changes that are taking place in the world around them.
And quite often we have to recognize these spiritual events happening in the midst of the physical changes that are taking place, such as in wartime.
29. "Even so, you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that
He is near, right at the door.
30. "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
31. "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
We should daily be hearing the still small voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to us about the things that are taking place in the world: the warring madness, the terrorism and violence, and the horrible things that are happening to animals, and we should see the evil in it all, and never consider vengeance or violence of any kind, for they only promote more violence and will make it harder for us to recognize Jesus.
32. "But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven,
nor the Son, but the Father alone.
Jesus is telling us that no one knows when Jesus will finally return and
usher in His kingdom on earth, but we are always to be alert to the fact
that the time could be very close.
Then in 2 Corinthians 13:5-6, Paul tells us how to be ready to recognize Jesus and reject worldly ways.
5. Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you ó unless indeed you fail the test?
Paul is reminding us that when we are spiritually born again, the Holy
Spirit indwells us, which in essence is Jesus Christ within us.
This means that in this state of spiritual being, we can always discern the difference between the things that are in the heavenly will of God from those things that are of this world.
However, if we fail this spiritual test, as Paul warns us, then we will be unable to recognize Jesus and reject worldly ways.
6. But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test.
Letís take a look at a few examples:
We know that Jesus is a peacemaker, and that in His creation and heavenly will, there is no suffering or death, so anything that is not of peace must be of the ways of this corrupt world.
This means that bullying and scapegoating must be of the ways of this world, because they bring strife, and we cannot recognize Jesus in these situations; we are to reject worldly ways.
In the same light we should also be able to recognize violence and acts of terror as being of the ways of the world and not of God.
But what if these things were directed against animals?
Would we see them any differently?
Probably not if they were directed against our companion animals, but what if these acts of scapegoating and violence were directed against chickens, cows, pigs, and sheep?
Most of the people in the world only think about these worldly ways as applying to humans and the animals we love, and not so-called ďfood animalsĒ.
This is the reason that most people fail to always recognize Jesus and automatically reject worldly ways.
This was the problem with Isaac and his family.
When we live in the corrupt ways of this world and are a part of it, then we will have a hard time recognizing Jesus, because He is not in the ways of the world.
But if we live in the heavenly will of God, we should have no trouble recognizing Jesus at all times.
This is the way that Jesus and the Bible teach us to live.
We should always be able to recognize Jesus and reject worldly ways.
And we can do it.
We really can.
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