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On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”[1] They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.[2]

Just like that first time when they did not go where Jesus told them to go after the feeding of the 5000, and they found themselves in the middle of the lake in the dark because they chose to go to Capernaum instead of Bethsaida. That night on the lake, it is written: When the disciples saw Him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.[3]

So it will be for all who do not listen to Jesus and do not follow Him and His words to go where He told them to be to wait for Him or to meet with Him. Just as Jesus told the twelve to go to Bethsaida and the eleven to go to Galilee, so now He has told us to go and make disciples of every nation and to preach the Gospel to every nation. He has also told us not only where to go, but He has also told us to wait for Him. “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.”[4]

Now you must learn to separate good from perfect as never before. Going to Capernaum later in the day sounded like a good idea, after all it was a bigger city and they were skilled boatmen, but listening to Jesus to be where He tells you to be and when you are to be there, is perfect. Staying locked indoors out of sight for fear of the Jews is a good idea, but the perfect was to be at Galilee where Jesus said they ought to be, or at least on the road there. Both of those times when they were where they were not supposed to be – wrong time, wrong place, though it seemed like a good idea – they greeted Jesus in fear and were terrified by the appearance of Jesus. So it will be for now all who are stuck on the good ideas, like living a moral life so that they can meet Jesus in Heaven through death, will be terrified when they see Jesus, and like the disciples when they were on the lake and in the locked room, will be living in fear.

Had they obeyed after the feeding of the 5000, they would have been welcomed into the household of the blind man at Bethsaida, for if you read Mark 8:22, some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. Jesus told them to go to Bethsaida[5] so as to give them the opportunity to perform the miracle and be welcomed by the villagers before the storm arrived. If they had listened and gone, they would have been safe, warm and well fed, instead of being wet, cold and in fear.

Likewise, if they had gone on the road that morning to Galilee, then when evening came, they would surely have been sitting on that mountain top around the warmth of the fire of the Holy Spirit in the Presence of the Light Himself, basking in Love’s Presence. Instead, they were hiding in a locked room in fear.

These are two situations recorded clearly for you and me to show you the difference between doing the good and logical compared to obeying the Lord’s words exactly. Taking the Lord at His word is the source of the power of perfection. Doing what He says when He says so is not just action, but it is the timing that is the key, and if there is anything we need to learn now and apply perfection to, it is timing. No longer is it good timing, but perfect timing. Jesus coming to them at the fourth watch of the night was good timing. Jesus coming to them in the evening at the locked room was good timing—for He ‘walked in’ while they were still talking about what happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognised by them when He broke bread.[6]

But to be at Bethsaida just when Jesus wanted them to be immediately after the feeding of the 5000, to open the eyes of the blind man, one miracle straight after the other, one by the Master, the other by the students—perfect! To be at the Mount of Transfiguration, translated there by the Holy Spirit immediately as they set out, to experience a miraculous transportation to witness the reunion between the Father and the Son, from the miraculous to the incredulous, and for them to participate in the reunion as well in broad daylight for all to see, to shout out that joy from the top of the mountain, instead of whispering in a locked room—perfect! When you learn to see the difference between perfect and good, you will never settle for the good, but labour for the perfect.

Raising money to feed the poor is good; multiplying the food to feed the poor is perfect. Giving a blind man a guide dog is good; giving a blind man his sight so he can run with his dog is perfect. Giving a lame man a crutch is good; but causing the lame to walk is perfect. Donating money to the upkeep of a widow or orphan is good; raising the dead father is perfect.

Moses said to the people of Israel, “This day I call Heaven and Earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him.”[7]

Before Moses set life and death before the Israelites, God had actually set life and death before man in the garden. In the middle of the garden were the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.[8] And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”[9] Adam chose the knowledge of good and evil instead of life, and died. Israel chose to not love God, not listen to Him, and not hold onto Him, and their nation died.

Likewise, Jesus has set forth the same choice for you and me, except it is not life and death, but perfection and good, for good leads to death as surely as evil does. And this is the choice: “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me will live even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”[10] Likewise it is our choice, but it is not just a choice between death and life, or the knowledge of good and evil versus life as it was for Adam or the Israelites, but for us, it is the choice between the resurrection and the life. For even to take part in the first resurrection, you must first die as it is written: And I saw the souls of those who have been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. …They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.[11]

And in order to die, you had to have eaten of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which brings death. If you look at what God said in Genesis, He did not say, “If you sin and disobey Me by eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, you will die.” No, He merely warned Adam that tree is poisonous, it will kill you. Life or death—your choice, that was all God was saying. “Believe Me, you live; disbelieve Me, you will die.” Now see that I am saying not disobey, but disbelieve. You see, disobedience comes from disbelief, not the other way around. If Adam believed God, he would just have kept himself busy eating any other tree. So understand why Jesus said, “Whoever does not believe stands condemned already,”[12] not, “Whoever does not obey stands condemned…”

So then, you can obey God but not believe God. Listen! You can obey God but not believe God. This is where you can cut and separate between those who obey because they have to obey and those who believe, and in believing they obey.

Jesus did not give us a command to obey when it came to choosing between the Resurrection and the Life. He asked us, “Do you believe this?” So, you can believe in Jesus that He is the Son of God and you can obey Him to a degree, to a point, but when it gets tough, when what He says defies your knowledge and understanding, do you stop believing Him?

Now go back to the two trees and see only one tree offers knowledge. In the middle of the garden were the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And it is the tree that offered knowledge that kills, and those who acquired the knowledge, that is, ate of the fruit, did it out of unbelief. The Tree of Life of its own, offers no knowledge, only life, but with the life it offers, it can then acquire knowledge without death.

In the same way, Jesus offers no knowledge to believers, only life, “that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”[13] And it is through that life, eternal life, that knowledge comes, not of good and evil but knowledge of He who is Perfect, saying, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.”[14] Thus, the eternal life that is given to believers is not for them to come to know more about good and evil, but to come to know something that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil does not offer—the knowledge of He who is Perfect, the knowledge or the knowing of Perfection.

It is in the knowing of God the Father, who is Perfect, that you acquire the knowledge of Perfection. And in doing so, just as I have spoken to you before about the knowledge of faith[15] and the knowledge of the glory,[16] so then with the knowledge of Perfection, you will know what Perfection is and how to use it, even master it as God is Perfect.

Thus, the question lies not in how far or how much you are prepared to obey, but rather, how much you are prepared to believe? Most dare to believe for that which is good about the word of God, which does not challenge their knowledge and understanding. And since it is the common knowledge and understanding of most Christians that you live a life of faith and morality in order to die to go to Heaven, that is what many do. To even consider that you could live and never die – never die – is not what we know. It is not from the tree that offers knowledge. But isn’t that what life is? To live, and if you look at that tree, God never said if you eat of it you will surely die. Indeed, He didn’t say, “If you ate of it, you will surely live…” He didn’t have to!

So, what does life offer? It is knowledge of the Perfect One and His perfect knowledge—Perfection. And what is perfection? It is to live and never die until Jesus arrives and then join with Him, without dying, in the clouds. Paul spoke of us being changed in the twinkling of an eye. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.[17] What is being changed in the twinkling of an eye but transfiguration, just as Jesus was transfigured.[18]

He gave us a foretaste of what awaits us without dying; we are changed as He was changed, transfigured on that mountain. So then, we who live and believe in Him shall never, ever die,[19] but be transfigured, changed in the twinkling of an eye. To live without ever dying, that is perfect, and that is the true victory over death that Jesus gave us by His death.

And is this not the perfect time for this? You may remember that I have taught that it is right that there should be no 500 or 2000 year old apostles alive today, otherwise we would surely worship them and idolise them. However, for us, if we can complete all that the Lord has commanded us so that He may arrive before any of us live so long that the church and the world would worship us, now that is perfect. Being able to fulfil John 11:26 without the danger of becoming a living idol, now is the time!

Thus, the perfection of joy that awaits all of us is to realise, now, this is eternal life that we may come to know Perfection Himself in all His Perfection. Truly, the Lord’s word is true: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”[20]

The joy of living and never having to die, to see Him face to face and to be with Him forever, that is perfect joy! As it was in the beginning, so it shall be again. Amen


 

[1] John 20:19

[2] Luke 24:37

[3] Matthew 14:26

[4] John 14:3

[5] Mark 6:45

[6] Luke 24:35-36

[7] Deuteronomy 30:19-20

[8] Genesis 2:9

[9] Genesis 2:16-17

[10] John 11:25-26

[11] Revelation 20:4-5

[12] John 3:18

[13] John 3:16

[14] John 17:3

[15] 8.2005

[16] 2 Corinthians 4:4 NIV

[17] 2 Corinthians 14:51-52

[18] Matthew 17:2; Mark 9:2; Luke 9:29

[19] John 11:26 NLT

[20] John 20:29

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