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This answer, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow Me,” that Jesus gave Peter when Peter asked Jesus about John, “Lord, what about him?” is as pertinent for us today as it was when Jesus first said it to Peter.

In the cacophony and confusion that exist now almost two millenniums since these words were spoken… total focus and concentration on following Jesus is the key. Vigilance on the part of each and every disciple is of paramount importance because there are so many now who claim to be Jesus and who clamour for your attention, that if you do not fix your eyes and ears on Jesus, you may find yourself following someone who looks like Jesus from the back, but who really is not Jesus. And there are so many practices and teachings that have been passed down through our elders, which we have accepted and retained and which have so skewed our views that it takes time and reflection before we realise we have no business with them and have to cast them out.

The busyness of our lives, our days and times, the demands made on us by work, family even, and ‘church’ seem to consume our every moment, and at times we are distracted by the fears and anxieties of the world, even its pleasures and the deceitfulness of its wealth, that we forget the most important thing Jesus did in the midst of His busy days. As such, we have striven to listen to Jesus, to practise His words, believe them and to try to do the things He has been doing and greater things whilst balancing the very real demands of our worldly lives. But there is one thing that Jesus did that rises above all His deeds that we do well to do also.

For as we follow Jesus and obey Him, going where He sent us, that is, if we do follow and go where He sends us, learn this one thing from Him, elect, and it will help you through the days of distress ahead.

In the midst of the great miracles of the feeding of the 5,000 and the busyness of that day, see what Jesus did: Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowd. After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

Despite the joy and exuberance of that day from the crowd and everything else, He never forgot to take the time to be alone with the Father. It may be written: …He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray, however, what Jesus calls and does when He prays is very different from what all of us do. Most of our times of prayer tend to be times of submission of requests and supplication for our needs and rarely or occasionally do we bring ourselves to realise time alone with Him is what the Father desires the most from us.

Time that can be spent in conversation (prayer), yes, with our submissions and supplications, and our discussions with Him of all our plans, hopes, desires, and even our fears. The truth is, so often we are so self-absorbed with whatever we want to say to God, we forget that when Jesus first taught us – His disciples, not His believers – to pray, He said, “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father…’ “ We forget we are not talking to God who is our Father, but we are talking to our Father who is God, and this reversal of our mindset is the biggest change you and I can undergo, which allows the transfiguration to occur in us so that we no longer think as a man does, but as a son of God does… even like the Son Himself.

The fine line, the razor’s edge, of working with Him even as He is working and the ability to balance that with the constant acknowledgement that He is your Father is not the teaching of going to your Father like a child all the time and letting Him look after you or protect you or grant your request. In fact, the Scriptures do not show us how Jesus related to His Father as a Child at all as we would understand childhood in a childish way… but Luke wrote for us in his gospel: After three days they found Him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard Him was amazed at His understanding and His answers. When His parents saw Him, they were astonished. His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for You.” “Why were you searching for Me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in My Father’s house?”

Our introduction to Him and His relationship with the Father is in a very business-like mature way. Indeed, we are shown Him at 12 years of age as One who is already preparing Himself to help His Father when He grows up, in an earnest way. And indeed, that is what He did when He was fully grown, working for His Father, finishing the work His Father gave Him… but no matter how famous, how busy, how popular it got, He never forgot to have time alone with the Father.

Prayer time from now on should develop into a time of intimate aloneness for you with the Father, not by so many words, but by the so many thoughts of your heart… and even as you are presenting your supplications to Him, learn to see, learn to watch, learn to realise the pleasure you are giving the Father, even if it is a demand upon Him because once more we have failed Him. Yes, there is a gospel to preach, a blind man to heal, a world to prepare for Jesus’ arrival, but, elect, learn this now: In the midst of all of this, remember it is your Father who is God, not God who is your Father, and spend the time you do in prayer with your Father who is God rather than time with God who is your Father.

This is the one thing that Jesus did in His prayer time, for He came from the Father and returned to the Father as He said, “I stand with the Father, who sent Me. … He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. As such, His prayer time was spent not with God who is the Father, but with His Father who is God, and His conversations as such had an intimacy, a familiarity, that we must also learn to receive and have. You see, His prayer in John 17.2 began with this word: “Father…” and even though we know what He said, it is time for us to also know how He said it.

The tone of the prayer is very, very different if you read it as a prayer by Jesus to God who is His Father compared to the tone of Jesus who prayed to His Father who is God. Your ability to comprehend and appreciate this will also allow your own relationship with God to change dramatically, and this change will be reflected in your attitude and capability to minister in His Name.

For the lesson, the greatest lesson, of the feeding of the 5000 lays not in the miracle, as great as it was, nor in the truth of the disobedience of the disciples or the miracle of walking on water… no, the greatest lesson you can learn is to see Jesus find time to be alone with His Father and allow nothing, not even the disobedience of the twelve or the distress of the twelve, to take Him away from His time with His Father.

For Jesus who knows all things already, knew they would not go to Bethsaida but would go to Capernaum, yet He did not stop them… He did not go back down to the shore of the lake to get them going before it got dark.

When He watched them go to Capernaum and get into distress in the middle of the lake, He did not allow the distress of disobedient disciples distract Him from His time with His Father. He merely ensured they were kept alive until He arrived. His time was with His Father, and no one, nothing, interrupted that.

It is when we learn this from Jesus, when we learn to treat our relationship with God as a relationship with our Father who is God rather than a relationship with God who is our Father that we will be able to see and do all the more as Jesus does.

For, elect, your task of finishing the work of preparing the Earth for the enthronement of Jesus Christ in Heavenly glory here on Earth in the flesh was never meant to be done or even allotted to those who have a relationship that sees God as their Father, but rather, it is allotted to those who have listened enough to Jesus, practised enough of His words, watched Him enough and fellowshipped with the Holy Spirit enough to see that your Father is God. And going further, to come to the place, elect, for you are the elect of the Holy Spirit, where you no longer relate to the Holy Spirit as the Father of your spirit, but rather, relate to Him in this context: The Father of your spirit is the Holy Spirit, so that like Jesus who sees His Father who is God, you see the Father of your spirit who is God the Holy Spirit.

Then you are no longer working or learning as a disciple, servant or friend, not even as a son who is kept at a distance like the many sons fathered by a haremic king, but one who is close like the only son of a loving good father who shows his son everything he is doing and allows his son to do likewise that they may be one.

You see, when Jesus said, “Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, and to see My glory, the glory You have given Me because You loved Me before the creation of the world,” He was asking His Father to let us into Their relationship so that His Father would now have other sons and daughters who would all relate to Him as He does. He would talk to Him not as a person talks to God, but to his Father; not as a person who sees that his obedience and work should be rewarded as a religious person is rewarded by his God, but as a Person who sees the very privilege to be given a command to obey and a work to do is the reward in itself, for that command and that work came from His Father. And then you will realise the obedience of the command needs no acknowledgement, for the acknowledgement was already given in the command, and the finishing of the work needs no reward, for the reward is the work!

That is the true honour and glory of the Son, any son, when H/his Father acknowledges H/him by giving H/him a command rather than giving the command to a servant and rewards him, by having the S/son do the work rather than letting the servant do the work.

This mindset, this imperceptible difference, in how you relate to God is what will set those who can grasp it apart from all others into that holiest of Holies where only the Son can enter to fellowship with His Father. To you then every command is His acknowledgement and every work is His reward, and if the Father sends you, He already knows you will obey and you will succeed, for the Father is God who knows the end from the beginning.

And the aloneness then from here on is no longer an aloneness with God who is the Father, but an aloneness with your Father who is God.

So we do not enter the Holy of Holies like a Mosaic priest with bells on our gowns to let those on the other side know we are alive in the sanctuary, but without any publicity we enter boldly at all times, not approaching the throne of grace upon which is seated God our Father, but approaching the sanctuary of His solitude where our Father who is God is seated, watching and waiting for His S/son’s approach.

Learn this, and from here on every step you take, every moment of your life, will be lived as one who is rushing headlong, not to an encounter with God, but to a joyful homecoming reunion with his Father and nothing will be able to have a hold on you. Selah.

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