Day 21, Chapter 21: The Visit
I watched the cesarean-section delivery of a baby on television once. It was on one of those educational channels that enlighten us to things we need to know to survive in life. Thank God for satellite TV!
I also saw a face-lift on the same channel. They peeled the skin right off the face! Believe me, now I know why they say beauty is only skin deep! They sucked up a bunch of cellulite, then pulled the skin back up. I don't know what kind of cells those are, but they also sucked up some fat - I knew what that was. Seemed to me they should have left the "lite" cells and sucked up the fat cells, but I reckon they had some reason for doing what they did. The things we do to look better.
The delivery of the baby fascinated me most. I always figured they just cut the skin and out plopped the baby. No way! They pert-near (that's Texan for nearly) turned that poor woman inside out. When they finally got to the baby, it was all they could do to pull him out. I don't know why he held on like he did. If he had been seeing what I was seeing, he'd have wanted out of there fast.
Anyway, all of us need to be educated on the finer points of C-sections and face-lifts. And if you're gonna read a book by someone, you probably want to know that person is well versed in many areas of life. We don't need no more dumb authors!1
Hopefully, by now you know there is a method to my madness, and somehow - perhaps minutely, but somehow - this relates to our subject. The New Testament speaks of our minds having a "veil" (kalupsis), which prohibits us from clearly understanding spiritual matters:
“Even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)
Kalupsis simply means "to hide or cover". My lexicons said the inside of a tree is veiled by bark; the inside of a human body is veiled by skin. I understood immediately!
Interestingly, a "revelation" comes from the same Greek word; it is kalupsis with the prefix apo added - apokalupsis. Apo means "off" or "away", so literally a revelation is an unveiling or uncovering. As I watched those surgeries, I received a revelation of the inside of a human body - at least some of it.
God wants to reveal "inside" information to us. This could be special insight into a verse of scripture, the solution to a problem we've been asking Him about, or direction we've been seeking. Any information revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, versus information we glean intellectually, is revelation.
It should come as no surprise that the primary place to receive revelation is the Lord's presence. He wants to speak to us, not shout from far away. Spending time with God and His Word allows Him to access our minds. Like a surgeon with a scalpel He can peel back the veil, revealing to us spiritual insights and His wisdom for our lives.
The power of the revelation flowing in Christ's presence can be seen through a meeting He had with some of His early followers. As He was beginning His earthly ministry, Jesus visited John the Baptist, who publicly announced concerning Him, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29, 36). Two of John's disciples heard this stunning announcement and decided to check. One of them was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, who became one of the twelve disciples.
As they followed Him, Jesus noticed, turned to them, and asked, "What do you seek?"
Their answer was interesting. "Rabbi (which translated means 'Teacher'), where are you staying?"
"Come, and you will see," was His invitation to them. They took Him up on His offer and ended up spending the day with Him (v. 39).
If you're happy with things as they are, spending a day with Jesus isn't a good idea! Having a private audience with Him for an entire day is going to change you. Radically. The conversation might be superficial at first. At some point, however, you would no doubt ask personal questions concerning you and your future. Everyone thinks about purpose. Experts tell us the desire to know our purpose is one of the strongest desires we humans have.
Did these two men ask Jesus about this? We don't know for certain. But something Andrew heard while with Jesus impacted him so greatly he decided on a career change! Destiny flows from days spent with Jesus.
Another revelation Andrew received that day had to do, not with his own identity, but Christ’s. He began the day by referring to Jesus as a teacher ("Rabbi"); he ended it by calling Him the Messiah. "He found first his own brother Simon, and said to him, 'We have found the Messiah' (which translated means Christ)" (John 1:41).
Andrew received the two most important revelations needed for a successful life that day: who Christ is, which is the key to unlocking everything in life, and who he was. When those two things are known, they unlock destiny. The purpose of anything is found in the mind of its creator, not in itself. Self-identity comes from identifying and knowing the One who made us. You'll never really find yourself until you find Him. Andrew found both that day.
At the end of Christ's ministry, two more of His followers had a revelatory encounter with Him. The meeting occurred just after the cross; to say their world had turned topsy-turvy would be a gross understatement. To have discovered, lived with, and traveled with Jesus for three years, only to lose Him, would be life's cruelest injustice.
These two men had heard earlier in the day that Christ had risen from the dead. But, really, who would believe two grief-stricken ladies claiming to have been visited by angels? As they walked the seven-mile journey to Emmaus, they were discussing this too-good-to-be-true report and all that had transpired over the past few days.
That's when He arrived. "And it came about that while they were conversing and discussing, Jesus himself approached, and began traveling with them. But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him" (Luke 24:15-16).
"What are you discussing?" He wanted to know. They gave Jesus a brief summary, expressing their surprise that He would even have to ask. "What else would we be discussing?" was there inference. It seems everyone in Jerusalem could think of little else than what had transpired with Christ the last few days, since so many of them had thought He might be the long-awaited Messiah. They spoke to Him of their devastation and also of the rumor that He had risen from the dead.
Jesus, His identity still hidden from them, "explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures" (v. 27), including the fact that He needed to suffer and die. Though they still didn't know it was Jesus, His words began impacting their hearts. "Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us... explaining the Scriptures to us?" they stated (v. 32).
When they reached their destination, the men pleaded with Jesus to spend the night. The Lord agreed to do so, and during dinner, "He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized Him" (vv. 30-31). He disappeared from their site at that moment, and they hurried back the seven miles to Jerusalem with the good news: Christ was, indeed, risen.
I find it more than a coincidence that after hiding from these men who He was, the Lord chose to release the revelation "in the breaking of the bread" (v. 35). Was the timing His way of saying to them, “Sup with me and I will reveal to you hidden things?” I believe so. Feed on His words (Matthew 4:4). Eat them. As you do, revelation will come. He will unveil Himself to you, just as He did these two men. And as occurred with Andrew, He will also reveal to you your purpose and destiny.
Spend a day with Jesus.
Pray with me:
Father, there is so much we need to hear from You. Your Words are spirit and life. They feed our spirits and give us life. Filled with revelation and wisdom, they give us the insights we need to succeed in life. Remind us, in these hectic lives we live, to take the time and sup with You.
As our Creator, You alone know what is best for us and the purpose for which You made us. We do not want to live our lives fulfilling a purpose that isn’t that for which You created us.
As we walk with You, You will reveal our destiny to us, and reveal Yourself to us, as well. Help us all to know and remember that these times with You are the most important of our lives.
We love you. Amen.
Today’s post was taken from my book The Pleasure of His Company.
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1. This chapter introduction originally appeared in Dutch Sheets, Intercessory Prayer (Ventura, CA: Regal, 1996), pp 159-160. Used by permission.