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Friday, May 26, 2017

The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 7

The Great Transition From One Humanity To Another # 7

Wanting To Have

We hurry on and come nearer, nearer to the center of the circle, we come to Judas Iscariot. You cannot use that word, that name now, can you, without a frown, almost a sneer. "Judas" - when you want to say the worst thing that you can say about anybody, you say "he is a Judas." It started somewhere in a very simple way, it started in a day when either the Lord Himself (Who knew what He was doing, mark you) or the other disciples, said to Judas: "Look here, people will give us gifts to help us along, we have to have somebody to look after the gifts. Judas, you, you have the bag."

A simple beginning, but what happened? Being in that position drew out something that was deep down in that humanity. Perhaps not even Judas knew it, but this drew it out. You know the end. A man who again goes beyond the point of return and recognizes at last that he has been betraying the Lord. Everything was put in his way of glory, the heavenly order; and there is nothing else to do but to take his own life.

What has been exposed? What is it in this humanity that is down there in the root of things and comes up and up if only given an opportunity? I heard Dr. Campbell Morgan once say in preaching that we are capable of anything if only we have the opportunity for it. That is searching. What is come out? Covetousness, that is all. Wanting to have; and my friends, while you shrink from the name Judas, be careful, this is in us all, even in the work of the Lord. Covetousness to be recognized, to be given opportunities of service, wanting for ourselves even in the things of God. As disciples, the root may be there - this wanting to have, to make ourselves something. Covetousness, which the Word says is idolatry. The Cross will discover what is in us, it will bring it out - Well, that is Judas.

A Man Who Did Not Know Himself

Now let us come nearer still, perhaps to the innermost circle. Simon Peter. Simon Peter is a man who did not know himself and who thought so differently about himself from what was true: "I will never forsake Thee, I will go with Thee even unto death. Though all men forsake Thee, yet will I not. I will not," - "I will "I."  Where did that begin? You have heard this before. Blinded by this ego, this self-hood, oh, Simon Peter, you do not know yourself, but the Cross is going to uncover you,find you out, and expose you and devastate you. You will go out in despair of yourself and shed many tears. The Lord will have to send someone searching for you with a special message: "Go to My disciples and to Peter ... I know what is happening there, I know where he is and what is happening."

Poor, poor Simon Peter. What was happening? Well, the Lord told Simon Peter what would happen, and Simon Peter did not understand it until afterwards. "Simon, Simon, satan has desired to have thee, that he may sift thee as wheat" - strip off that false covering of self-hood that covers. Really, Peter, what is there, you do not know ... sift you as wheat.

Simon Peter found that the Cross is a very searching and a very devastating thing to any kind of self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-interest, or anything of self. It is going to simply desolate that kind of humanity.

Man Without Anything Left

Now I take just one other instance after He, Jesus, is crucified, after that part of the drama is completed. Two of them, two of His disciples, went on that day to Emmaus, a village. You know the story in Luke 24. As they talked sadly, this stranger drew near to them (their eyes were holden that they should not recognize Him) and He said: "What manner of conversation is this that you have as you walk, sad?" They replied: "Are you only a visitor to our city, have you only just arrived, have you not known what has been happening in the last few days?" Then the Lord inquired: "What things?" He is drawing them out - "What things?" They said: "The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth. He was a Prophet mighty in Word and in deed. We hoped that it had been He that should redeem Israel, but our rulers crucified Him." In other words, they said, "Our hope is all gone, all our expectation is destroyed. We are men without anything left."

Then this stranger took the Old Testament (I do not think He had it in His hand, they knew it, they had it in their heads) and He started at the beginning and worked His way all through the Scriptures. And as He opened to them the Scriptures, their mouths opened, their eyes opened, and when they arrived ... you know the end, they sat down to a meal. He took the bread, the loaf, and blessed it. Eyes were opened, they knew Him, and then He disappeared from their sight.

What has been disclosed? What has been exposed? This - you can have your head absolutely full of the Scriptures and know them up there, and they will never save you in the day of crisis. The very thing that is written by God for our salvation does not save us when the Cross is planted right at the heart of our lives; it is a crisis in which we collapse. That is a terrible thing. You can know all the Scriptures, and yet when it comes to the test of some tremendous experience, some devastating experience, all that we have read and heard and thought we knew is no good to us.

Of course, there is a lot more in this story than that, but this is my point - what a disclosure of the human heart. What an exposure of this other man, how he can be a disciple, how he can go about with the Lord for years, how he can know all that the Lord has said, and seen what the Lord has done and how he can have the teaching in his head and then when it comes to the real test of the man, he cannot stand up to it, he collapses. We had hoped (with our Bible in our hands) we had hoped, and they are in despair.

Another Humanity Altogether

The devastation of that one humanity under every kind of test is essential to the Other Humanity which Christ is. How different He is - Another Humanity altogether, Another kind of Man in Whom there is nothing of this at all, nothing of this. The apostle once said to the believers: "You have not so learned Christ"; in other words, "If you had learned Christ, you would not be doing that, you would not be like that."

Now let us get hold of the issue before we go further. What is it? Oh, it may not all come at once - it could not, this devastation; it is spread over a whole lifetime, but it has a beginning, mark you, a beginning; and this is the course of a truly spiritual life. You will mark spiritual progress and spiritual growth and spiritual maturity by this one thing: how little the individual thinks of themselves, how little they are in the picture, their own picture and other people's picture of themselves. Or shall I put it the other way: how much of Christ do you meet in them and not themselves? That is the test - how much the Cross has devastated them in their own natural life. It is the essential and inevitable way to spiritual fullness, to Christ, and the fullness of Christ, which is something altogether different from what we are.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 8 - The Tragedy of The Carry-Over of the Other Humanity

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