by Wade E Taylor
We are called by our Lord to be identified with Him,
“That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death.” Philippians 3:10
And in our life experience:
“That they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in one….” John 17:22b-23
Knowing facts about the Lord is not enough. We are to come into the experience of a personal identity with Him in every aspect of our lives, to the extent that His life is seen though our lives.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:6-8
Our experience and testimony should parallel that of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Then answered Jesus and said to them, Verily, verily, I say to you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do: for whatsoever things He does, these also does the Son likewise… I can of My own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and My judgment is just; because I seek not My own will, but the will of the Father which has sent Me.” John 5:19, 30
There is a particular quality of spiritual life and experience that our Lord expects to find both resident, and increasing within each one of us. However, the Church of our day is recorded in Scripture as presenting a witness that indicates that it is living in a lesser realm of life and experience.
“Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Revelation 3:17
The Lord is telling this end-time Church that they are still spiritual babies, when they should have grown into spiritual maturity. Their lack of spiritual growth is the result of their not embracing the “mind-set” of the Lord Jesus Christ. Had they done this, their testimony would be quite different. Therefore, a word of correction is given:
“I counsel you (each one of us) to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that you might be rich; and white raiment, that you might be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you might see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Revelation 3:18-19
There is a present urgency that we live according to the ordained pattern (let this mind be in you) which was given to govern and guide our spiritual life and growth. This “pattern” (let this mind … which was also in Christ Jesus) was manifestly lived to its fullest before us, by our Lord Jesus Christ.
“For it became Him… to make the captain of their salvation perfect (mature) through sufferings.” Hebrews 2:10
Because of who He is (Deity), Jesus was, before the foundation of the world, “judicially” qualified to become our Savior. However, He emptied Himself of this (Philippians 2:6-7), and through life experience, “experientially” qualified Himself, by overcoming every obstacle that He faced, in order to become our Savior.
“Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; And being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation to all them who obey Him.” Hebrews 5:8-9
His “judicial” position (who He is), and His “experiential” relationship to His Father (what he does) became one through His obedience in overcoming, as He lived out His commitment to always do His Father’s will, and to please Him in all that He experienced each day.
“…I do always those things that please Him.” John 8:29
Jesus never acted on His own, apart from the revealed will of His Father.
This resulted in a never-before-seen authority in His ministry.
“And they were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.” Mark 1:22
His Word and His Life had become one.
It is the desire of the Father that we experience at least a “measure” of identification with our Lord. Our being religious, or our knowing facts about Jesus, in itself is not enough. Unless we come to a place of “identification” with Him in the “fellowship of His sufferings,” we will not be ready to be identified with Him in the glory to come.
“That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” Philippians 3:10
For this to be worked out in our lives, we must come to understand “His mind,” or, His life experience.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5
Only then can we relate to the things that He went through, and as a result, find our place of identification with Him in His throne, which He desires us to have.
“To he who overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.” Revelation 3:21
It had been prophesied in Micah 5:2 that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem. But, Jesus allowed the knowledge of His birth in Bethlehem to become obscure. Thus, “Jesus of Bethlehem” became known as “Jesus of Nazareth.” It was commonly said of Him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Search and look: for out of Galilee arises no prophet” (John 1:46; 7:41, 52).
To the natural eye, it could not be known that He was the Christ. A true knowing His identity could only come by revelation. The Church leaders, along with the multitudes of that day, failed to see the Messiah, “Jesus of Bethlehem” through the garb of “Jesus of Nazareth.” The Apostle Paul, who understood this, prayed, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you might know…” (Ephesians 1:18).
Jesus had purposely allowed a reproach to remain upon Himself, so that only those who had a “spiritual eye” would understand who He really is.
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised and we esteemed Him not.” Isaiah 53:3
“He came to His own, and His own received Him not.” John 1:11
Jesus did not fit into the “pattern” of life and ministry that was expected of Him by the religious leaders of that day. This lack of spiritual understanding and perception in mankind was heartbreaking to Jesus. He intensely desired to be known and understood.
It was only after two years of ministry that Jesus dared to ask His disciples a most crucial question: “Who am I” (Matthew 16:15). He asked this question knowing that His true identity could not be known by outward observation, but only by hearing from His Father, who had sent Him. The sorrow, grief, and rejection, as foretold in Isaiah 53 was intensely felt by Jesus at this moment, as He awaited their answer to His question.
“And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:16
Jesus was overjoyed; Peter had come to see beyond “Jesus of Nazareth.” “And Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood (outward observation) has not revealed it to you, but My Father (inward revelation) which is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17).
In other words, Jesus said: “Simon, you now have an ear to hear. You have come into the experience of hearing from the Father, even as I hear from Him. Now you will be able to obey Him, even as I fully obey Him.” The disciples had come to the place of spiritual perception. They could see beyond the surface manifestation of Jesus of Nazareth. Now Jesus could say, “You are Peter (a small stone of the same substance that I am of) and upon this rock (the ability to hear and obey the Father) I will build My Church….” (Matthew 16:18).
The future of the Church hung upon their giving the right answer to this question that Jesus had asked concerning His identity. The nature of the Church is to be “spiritual,” not “natural.” Therefore, Jesus had permitted this reproach to be upon Himself, that His disciples would look to the Father above, as the source for building the Church.
“From that time forth began Jesus to show to His disciples how that He must go to Jerusalem … and be killed …” (Matthew 16:21). The disciples had to see beyond the guise of “Jesus of Nazareth” before He could lead them on. Now, they were in the place where they would hear from above. Now, all that was left for Him to accomplish was to prepare them for His death on the cross.
In the early days of the Pentecostal movement, “Tongues” was a reproach. To be “Spirit Baptized” meant to be a “Holy Roller.” Today this reproach is gone, as it is popular to be Spirit filled and function in the gifts. However, there is yet a reproach. For those who have a discerning eye and see beyond the present movement, and who seek to come into full spiritual maturity, as an overcomer, or “son–ship,” the reproach remains.
God always wraps His best in a package for which few are willing to pay the price. “Jesus of Nazareth” had no apparent value. It was said: “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” The same question is yet being asked by those who are not willing to go further in spiritual things; “I see no value or purpose in the present, progressive revelation of the Word, or in these manifestations, let us stay with the past; it is safe and accepted.”
In Hebrews 13:12-13, we are exhorted to “Go forth therefore to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.” Today, many are pressing onward, seeking all that He has for them. These are willing to pay the price of identity with the reproach of “Jesus of Nazareth” in order to gain the pearl of great price.
Are you satisfied with your present spiritual experience, and with remaining in the place of security and popularity? Or, are you willing to embrace His “mind” knowing that it will require the death of all that is Adamic and religious, and the bearing of “His reproach?”
“Wherefore God also has highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name.” Philippians 2:9
We also, who are of the same mind, and being one with Him, will partake with Him in the glory to come.