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Pleasure II

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Twice Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.  Yes, Father, for this was Your good pleasure.” [Matthew 11.25-26; Luke 10.21] The first time when He had just denounced the cities of Korazin and Bethsaida as well as Capernaum, [Matthew 11.21-24] and then the second time to the latter group of disciples who joined Him on the final journey from Ephraim to Jerusalem for His crucifixion.  The first time was to a crowd, and the second time almost a year later, was to the 72 others whom He had sent out.

Jesus mentioned the Father’s good pleasure is to hide from the wise and learned, but to reveal to little children, certain things called ‘these things.’  What are these things that give the Father pleasure to hide from the wise and learned – and if you are theologically trained, doctrinally sound, surely that would include you – but reveal to little children?  Children who are not as wise as they should be and certainly not as learned as they should be… children who are not only innocent but know how to enjoy.

The biggest problem any of us have when we grow wise from experience and learned from study as we wrap ourselves up in our doctorates, diplomas and experiences, is that we have forgotten to enjoy the simple pleasures of walking through a garden and chasing a brightly coloured butterfly as a child would.  So God has hidden certain things from us, ‘the wise and the learned’ – the pastors, the ministers, the elders – but revealed them to children.  What did He hide from us?

In Matthew 11.20, the reason Jesus began to denounce the cities was that they did not repent even though miracles had been done in them.  In Luke 11.21, Jesus said the same thing as He did in Matthew 11.25-26 because the 72 disciples – these latter disciples who joined Him after the great desertion of John 6.66 – were rejoicing over the miracles they were able to perform, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your Name,” [Luke 10.17] even though Jesus said to them, “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in Heaven.” [Luke 10.20] Nevertheless, He was full of joy as He praised the Father for what had been given and permitted to these younger disciples to do, and for the sight and sound of their enjoyment of doing these things.

So what did the Father hide from the ‘wise and learned,’ but revealed to children, be they children by chronological age or children by spiritual youth?  It is the enjoyment of doing miracles, signs and wonders.  The learned elders – pharisees and sadducees – did not rejoice at the miracles, but the ‘children’ did, those who were not wise and learned in theologies, doctrines or traditions, but knew the joy of being healthy – the thrill of being a blind man who can now see – and the enthusiasm that is generated when even demons submit.  So it is that the sour faced, seriously holier than thou elders of the church rarely get to see, much less do miracles, no matter how they pray and fast.  Why?  Because they have not enjoyed them and neither do they see the real value of miracles… so that those who have seen them done in their midst may be judged and denounced.

Miracles, signs and wonders are wonderful, marvellous blessings to those individuals who receive them, just as for the blind men who received their sight… but they are also instruments of judgment, which reveal the truth of their victims’ hearts.

The 10 lepers cried out for healing, but only one gave thanks.  The miracle revealed the ingratitude in the hearts of those nine.  The blind men cried out as Jesus left Jericho, yet not one disciple who had been with Jesus and saw Him heal another blind man the day before as they went into Jericho went to bring the latter blind men to Jesus.  Miracles reveal the hardness of heart of those who are pharisees and sadducees.  By Jericho, the disciples were becoming wise and learned. [Luke 18.35] In a short time, from Luke 10 when they were sent out to a few weeks later as they went to Jericho in Luke 18… they had stopped rejoicing and being thrilled at blind men receiving sight.  The novelty had worn off.  They had become the ‘wise’ and the ‘more learned.’  So instead of disciples rushing up to the blind men outside of Jericho as they were leaving Jericho, Jesus had to command that they be brought to Him.  A fortnight or so away from His crucifixion and His disciples had still not learned to have mercy and to do what He had been doing.  So what were they doing instead as they walked out of Jericho basking in the glory of accompanying their Teacher, the Miracle Worker, the Anointed One, the Messiah?  Exactly that – basking in the glory of being in the company of Jesus as one of His disciples instead of having their eyes and ears attuned to the needs and suffering that still surrounded them.

Here you can see two forms of enjoyment and pleasure, elect.  The pleasure and enjoyment of Jesus, and the pleasure and enjoyment of doing miracles with the power He had given them.  That morning outside Jericho, the church, which was the fellowship of disciples who walked with Jesus, chose to enjoy only the company of Jesus and rebuked the blind men… telling them to be quiet, for they were disturbing a most sacred moment.  There is nothing wrong in enjoying the pleasure of the Lord’s company and bathing in the warmth of His love and glory, but it is shameful when we do so ignoring the plight of the blind.  Had they really learned to enjoy… yes, enjoy the thrill of doing miracles – causing the blind to see, the lame to walk – they would have run to those blind men, including Bartimaeus, and healed them or carried them to Jesus to watch once more the Master at work.  But they did not.

And so when the ‘wise and learned’ ones lost the ability to do the things Jesus had been doing because they did not believe what Jesus had said concerning these things, [John 14.12] they embroiled themselves into further dogmatic learning – studies for the acquisition of learning and wisdom – with such seriousness as to disguise the truth that they had lost the trust of God to perform miracles with His power.  Wrapped in their flowing robes and with their ecclesiastical degrees, titles and positions, they would deceive the world and themselves as to their relationship with God, all the while denying the truth – that God no longer trusted the church with the power and ability to do the things Jesus had been doing, much less the greater things.

So as the statues and relics are paraded and the monies collected, the sick and the needy were left needier and sicker so that in the wisdom of God, they would be the judge of these wise and learned men of the church, as Sodom would be the judge of Capernaum.

The Kingdom of God belongs to children such as these, as Jesus said, [Mark 10.14] because it is children who still know how to enjoy that which is good and that which is fun and pleasurable with innocence.

It is when you and I remember to remain like children who know how to enjoy that which is good, fun and pleasurable even as our learning and our ‘wisdom’ increase, that the miracles, signs and wonders that we are doing and will be doing in themselves do not become a source of judgment against us.

It is when you find pleasure in causing the blind to see, the lame to walk, and you enjoy doing these things as much as you enjoy walking close to the Lord, that the balance of the fullness of the new life in Christ comes to its fruition and you can see that God planted the garden for His good pleasure… and now for His good pleasure will be raising up those who are spiritually like children… not too learned, not too wise, but filled with enthusiasm to drive out demons, heal the sick and rejoice.

The balance then, elect, as you now increase in your wisdom and learning, is never to grow tired of the enjoyment of miracles, signs and wonders, and above all else, share the ability to do these signs, wonders and miracles as much as you share your knowledge and wisdom with all who come.  Have no concern about the motives of those who seek to perform miracles, signs and wonders, for as I have said before, signs, wonders and miracles are instruments of judgment.  They judge also the hearts of those who are able to perform them, for this restored ability to perform signs, wonders and miracles to the church will lure the false prophet out to his eternal condemnation as he chooses to use this God given privilege to deceive… even the elect, if that were possible.

So enjoy, elect, these days that herald the arrival of Jesus Christ.  Rejoice in them and enjoy them as the words of Jesus you have mastered make you like a wise man who not only built his house on the rock with its foundation in the rock, but also built a strong levee bank that keeps the torrent at bay.  Enjoy them and keep yourself safe as you concentrate on doing what no devil or false prophet would do – bring Jesus back so that He can reign upon the Earth in the flesh!

Rejoice, as Paul said.  Rejoice we should, for it is God’s good pleasure that the wise and learned remain blind and the children see their Father’s goodness and pleasure.

Indeed, “…no eye has seen… no ear has heard, and… no human mind has conceived” the things God has prepared for those who love Him… [1 Corinthians 2.9] for who has seen the fullness of the beauty and experience the fullness of the pleasures of the garden God planted, much less the kingdom He has prepared since the creation of the world?  But God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. [1 Corinthians 2.10] Enjoy!

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