October 23, 2009
This teaching will be in several installments. May it be a help to you as you seek GOD’s will.
Jesus Christ has revealed Himself as the “Pearl of Great Price” in His matchless beauty and worth; as the “Lily of the Valley” in His rich fragrance; as the “Rose of Sharon” in His abundant perfume; as the “Bright and Morning Star” in His diamond brilliance; as the “Bundle of Myrrh” in His Holy purity.” As the Holy Spirit gives me this teaching, I will be using these metaphors from the Gospels to describe the power and beauty of John’s revelation of our LORD. Rev. Charlene Kirst
Part One: Jesus Christ Revealed (The Pearl of Great Price)
In Matthew 13:45,46 Jesus states: “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a pearl merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. He discovered a real bargain–a pearl of great value–and sold everything he owned to purchase it!” Jesus is our priceless pearl. We could never afford His worth with our own resources. He is our gift, freely given, from the Father above. As we walk in Christ, life becomes as the grain of sand in the oyster’s shell, and as Christ abundantly pours balm over our pain and irritation in this life we gladly receive His gift as our “pearl of great price”.
The LORD directed me to begin reading the Book of John on a daily basis–one chapter per day. He said: “I will be teaching you new things and reiterating those things that you have lost”. All of us fall behind in our dedication at times and GOD has to tie us down to study diligently so that He may be revealed more fully to us.
The Book of John is full of Christ’s wisdom and sayings. The scriptures have spoken to me in profound ways. I would like to share these scriptures with you. As you study them, may you be enlightened and blessed. I have found as I have progressed that the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) and other scriptural books also have pearls of wisdom to offer. All scriptures are from the Life Application Bible: Living Bible Translation. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. and Youth for Christ/USA Wheaton, Illinois 1971.
The Book of John begins: “Before anything else existed, there was Christ, with GOD. He has always been alive and is Himself GOD. He created everything there is–nothing exists that he didn’t make. Eternal life is the light that shines through the darkness–and the darkness can never extinguish it.” It is only fitting that the Creator of the universe would be defined by His Creation. The pearl is a gem born out of discomfort. The grain of sand in the oyster’s shell is bathed again and again to ease the irritation. As a result of covering this grain, there arises beauty and purity, attributes of our LORD Jesus Christ.
John the Baptist declared Jesus to the Jews at Bethany beyond the Jordan River. He emphasized that he was not the Christ, but one sent to declare His coming. John states: “I am a voice from the barren wilderness, shouting as Isaiah prophesied, get ready for the coming of the LORD!’ ” John 1:23
In the book of John we find affirmation of GOD the Father’s love and trust in His Son on earth. As Jesus was teaching the Greeks during the Passover before His Crucifixion, He spoke these words: “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Shall I pray, ‘Father, save me from what lies ahead’ ? But that is the very reason why I came! Father, bring glory and honor to your name.” Then a voice spoke from heaven saying, “I have already done this, and I will do it again”. John 12:27 & 28. In the Synoptic Gospels and the Book of John is the declaration of seeing the Holy Spirit descend as a dove upon Jesus in the River Jordan. The Father says, “You are my much loved Son, yes, my delight.”
An important point to remember is the purpose of John’s Gospel. John wrote this Gospel as a way to show that Jesus was not just human flesh but the Eternal Son of GOD. John had a personal view from which to expound his message, and of all of the twelve disciples–Jesus chose John to take care of His mother. Trust existed between the Deity and His servant.
Because Jesus is GOD’s Son, we can perfectly trust what He says. By trusting Him, we gain an open mind to understand GOD’s message and fulfill His purpose in our lives. Jesus offers eternal life to us all. He invites us into a personal relationship with Him–a relationship that provides us with all of the benefits of inheritance. Although we have to die and leave this earth we are guaranteed a place in heaven. This gives us hope.
The Book of John records eight different accounts of signs and miracles that reveal Jesus’ love and sovereignty. We see His power over all living things, a power manifested through His role as Creator of the Universe. That Jesus waited until He was empowered from on High to perform these signs and miracles testifies to us as an example of how we are to respond to requests for service as friends of Christ here on earth. We are supported by the power of the Trinity to do the work of the Kingdom, and we are never to take on a task in Christ’s name that we have not invoked GOD’s Holy Spirit to guide us.
Part Two: The Miracles (Lily of the Valley)
By definition a miracle is an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention over the natural universe. ( Nelson’s Three-in One Bible Reference Companion. 1982)
Intervention is an occurrence or event that falls between points of time and events. This interferes with the outcome of a condition or process to prevent harm or improve functioning.
The natural universe is that GOD-breathed, GOD-ordained, GOD-spoken expanse called the cosmos of which the earth is a part.
Song of Solomon 2:1b “I Am the “Lily of the Valley.”
What is more beautiful than a fresh, white lily–the rays of the sun striking rainbows on its flesh, the sweet dew glinting as diamonds. Jesus as the “Lily of the Valley” gives forth a marvelous fragrance as the source of miracles in our lives. He brings refreshing healing to us in times of crisis, in times of hurt and pain. Does your pain seem prolonged, even endless? Do your prayers seem to go unanswered? Trust in the divine miraculous intervention of the Living GOD! Not only is He willing and able to deliver you, but he will also shower you with fragrant blessings from on High. The lily in the natural world will fade from view–the “Lily of the Valley” will never lose His beauty or fragrance or His heart.
The miracles of Christ reveal GOD’s work of restoration–delivering and restoring His Creation. Making the blind to see; the lame to walk; the dead to rise is Christ’s way of showing the grace given to us. We are never deserving of the miracles in our lives. These miracles are gifts from above. Let us be thankful that we have a Savior who cared for His Creation enough to die for our many sins. That is the ultimate miracle.
From the first of Jesus’ miracles, the water into wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee–to the miracle of the cross of Calvary, we can see a picture of GOD exerting influence over His Creation. That Jesus came to earth at all was a divine miracle in itself. This was a miracle of grace. To come to suffer and die for the sins of His created children was truly straight from the heart of GOD to His lost sheep.
To create a bridge across turbulent waters is a feat of engineering. To create a bridge to merge divided hearts is a miracle. Hebrews 13:4 says, “Honor your marriage and its vows, and be pure; for GOD will surely punish all those who are immoral or commit adultery.” Marriage is a sacred trust, sanctioned and ordained by GOD the Father, GOD the Son, and GOD the Holy Spirit. Jesus approved of marriage as is witnessed by His presence at the marriage feast, and His turning water into wine in Cana of Galilee in John 2:1-12. This was His first recorded miracle, and it speaks of not only His Godly right to perform miracles, but is also an example of the power that He has extended to us all through His Holy Spirit. Simply put, we are given power to raise the dead, to heal, to deliver, and to set the captives free. The church is the bride of Christ and the church is composed of people, not walls. That is why it is so important to recognize GOD’s miracles in our lives. This gives us witness to share with others who are going through experiences that are similar to our own already delivered circumstances. We have Jesus’ teaching in the Scriptures (Matthew 5: 31-32) about unGodly behavior that qualifies for divorce. This behavior is adultery. Adultery can be mental or physical. desiring another partner instead of your own requires asking for forgiveness.
The next statement (as the Apostle Paul would put it) is my own (Rev. Charlene’s) opinion. Through seeking the Spirit of Christ who dwells in me, I believe that living with an abusive spouse would not be in His will. Married couples are instructed to honor one another and to love one another as Christ loves the church. Abuse, whether physical or mental, is not honoring your spouse. There are many opinions as to whether abuse is a ground for divorce. I do not believe that the LORD created us for abuse.
What about Hosea and Gomer you might ask? Wasn’t this an example of GOD-allowed infidelity and abuse? Did not Hosea know that Gomer would be untrue before he married her? Hosea did know this, and he chose to honor his marriage through honoring His Maker. Hosea 1:2 states, “The LORD said to Hosea, “Go and marry a girl who is a prostitute, so that some of her children will be born to you from other men. This will illustrate the way my people have been untrue to me, committing open adultery against me by worshipping other gods.”
The Biblical narrative of Hosea is an unusual circumstance. Hosea’s deep and complete trust and obedience to the LORD is remarkable in that few men would have willingly married a prostitute knowing that she would be untrue to their marriage vows. In his obedience Hosea allowed GOD to use his circumstances to teach the idolatrous, adulteress nations of Israel and Judah that GOD would grant tender mercy to them if they would repent of their ways. Gomer did have choice. She chose to leave a loving husband and her children for a life of uncertainty and pain. As the people watched, Hosea granted grace over and over, unselfishly gathering his wife to his bosom after each transgression. Thus Hosea embodied the love of Christ that grants grace to His people. This is also an example of how we are to forgive our spouses if true repentance is in their hearts. We all err, and without having the mind of Christ that was in Hosea (who forgave Gomer for running after other lovers) we can destroy the foundations of our lives. Just as GOD forgave Judah and Israel we must forgive one another.
GOD will ask you to do things that are not always logical to your mind. Even those around you will say that it doesn’t make sense. However, obedience to Christ is a key to allow miracles to work in your life, in your marriage and in your relationships.
Is there a Godly purpose in your being yoked to your spouse, or your church? Yes, there is. As human beings we need to receive and give love and companionship. It is through the miraculous grace of Christ that we are given those around us to act as examples of GOD’s mercy and continuous work, and we are ourselves to act the same.
Part Three: The Rose of Sharon (The Apple of God’s Eye).
Song of Solomon 2:1a: “I Am the Rose of Sharon”.
There are many plants in the rosacea family. Roses, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and apples are just a few examples. The “rose of sharon” generically refers to several flowering plants. The “Rose of Sharon” refers to the living Christ.
Looking at the examples above from the rose family–what properties do they have in common? Principally, the production of beautiful, sweet, aromatic flowers and fruit that bring pleasure to the senses. But there is another feature that is also predominantly present in many of the plants. Thorns.
When our LORD was being mocked, abused, and sentenced to die, they placed a crown of thorns upon His sweet, sacrificial brow. Jesus had brought fragrance and fruit to this world. He desired to give the people this fruit abundantly–if they would receive it. They tasted of the fruit He willingly gave, and rejected it as sour. How many times has the LORD presented you with a table laden with abundant fruit, only to have you reject it’s goodness in favor of a different table laden with thorny temptations of life. Probably more times than you would care to remember. I know that this has been in my life, and I have repented of many things.
The delectable apple is of especial significance in the Christian’s life, and is used both literally and metaphorically in the Scriptures. Contrary to popular belief, the fruit eaten by Adam and Eve from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was not named as the apple, but the apple has none-the-less been designated as the fruit eaten. This fruit therefore represents the Fall in the minds of many Christians. Strangely, the apple is also one of the most desired fruits to eat in many forms such as apple pie, applesauce, apple juice, apple cobbler, and etc. This is due to the life-learning application of the use of apples as sources of goodness and strength.
Remembering that the apple is part of the rosaceae family–what does this say to us? As the “Rose of Sharon” Jesus is our source of goodness and strength and has overcome the stigma of death much as the apple has through time overcome the stigma of betrayal. Jesus brought us life through His sacrifice and is spoken of as “the Apple of GOD’s eye”. Applying life-learning lessons here produces fruit mete for repentance. As Jesus Christ has arisen from the grave, He has enabled each of us to become more like Him–to also be the “apples of GOD’s eye.
to be continued Rev. Charlene