“Lord, how will you manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” (John 14:22)
This question is one of three in the context asked by the first disciples of Jesus, and the answers of Jesus to all three help to explain a real relationship with Jesus. So many today in this period of the Falling Away, are deceiving others about their relationship with Jesus, because they are also faking out themselves. Jesus told in Matthew 7 of how not every person who cries “Jesus, Jesus” or “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven. Further He said in that final Day, many would say, Lord did we not do all these things in your name. “We”, they say prophesied in your name; we cast out demons in your name; and we did marvelous works in your name. Don’t you see that as a large group of people today who commend themselves on their mighty works of God, because they have faked out themselves that they are doing the works of God. It appears to them that they are preaching in the name of Jesus; that they are casting out demons in the name of Jesus; and that they are doing marvelous healings in the name of Jesus. They don’t even know any better. They can deceive the people in the nature of false prophets, false teachers, and itching ears Bible teachers of unsound doctrine; because they themselves are deceived on their present standing in the sight of God, and in the sight of God’s Christ. Have you ever in your lifetime seen so many Bible teachers, preachers, and would-be prophets? Sometimes you must wonder as they spout all those words of authority as if from God Himself who called them to do those marvelous works. What did Jesus say, that there would be “many” like that, and that He would say to them, “Depart from me you that work inutility for I never knew you.”
How will Jesus manifest Himself to us and not to the world, and beyond that how will Jesus manifest Himself to us in a way that we will not fake ourselves out nor will we fake out those who will take their time to listen to us? We have less chance of self-deception if we understand the nature of Jesus’ answer to the question by Judas, not Iscariot. Jesus in the context of John 14 answered in circles like He did very often. The teachings of Jesus are sort of like the circling of an airplane to come in for a landing. Very seldom is it a straight in approach, but rather a pattern which might be called circling. There are several main points to this circling by Jesus to answer the question of how He is manifested to disciples and not to the whole world, how some get the real thing and others are faked out. Here are the main points of the answering circle by Jesus: (1) If any man loves Jesus, he will observe the teachings and commandments of Jesus; (2) if a man holds fast to these sound doctrines of the teachings of Jesus then God will in turn love the lover of Jesus; (3) Then the manifestation comes as in the words of Jesus, “We will come to him and make our home with him”. Wow, what a manifestation! God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will themselves come to the person who loves Jesus and keeps His commandments.
God is a God of secret places. That is you can not see God with your physical eyes, nor can you hear God with your physical ears. Jesus taught also in the Sermon on the Mount to pray in a secret place because that is where God is and that is where God hears prayer. How that “the God who hears in secret will reward you openly.” Once again Jesus was dealing with a large group of religious leaders who have faked themselves out on their authority with God. They were noted for their long prayers in a public place so that they could be seen praying to God.
The faith of the Bible and in Jesus is a faith in the secret God. “Faith is”, according to Hebrews 11:1 the evidence of things not seen. We can not see faith itself; we cannot see God; we can not see Christ; we can not see the new birth and salvation. Faith is manifested in hidden places by a God that we can not see. This is a manifestation of Christ that we world can not see this Christmas even though many will verbally and in song express the name of Christ. Many church members and church leaders will talk about the manifestation of Christ as a babe in the manger in Bethlehem that will never see the real manifestation of Christ as God the Father and Christ the Son come to them and manifest themselves to them in their heart, and that is tragic! Yet the way is open for all who will love Jesus and keep His commandments.
What is almost as tragic is the large number of those who try to name the name of Christ for themselves that will never know the experience of passing from a disciple of Christ to a friend of Christ. Jesus also taught this in John 14. Jesus told those closest to Him in this life that no longer did He call them disciples but He called them friends. Why? Because Jesus shared with them all the things that He was doing, and shared with them all the teachings that He received from God the Father.
This better than nominal relationship with Jesus is describe by Jesus in the words “ABIDE IN ME.” Jesus said that He is like the vine and friends of Jesus are like the branches. As the vine can not survive or abide without the source of the branch, neither can friends of Jesus survive and abide without constant contact with Jesus. Further, Jesus said “without me you can do nothing”. Even as many fake themselves out by thinking they are doing something marvelous for Jesus, or even doing a little for Jesus, so are the marvelous works of prophesy, healing, and casting out demons considered to be something when they are really nothing since there is no abiding in Jesus.
What a Christmas season this can be for you and yours if you not only have a manifestation in your life and heart of Jesus and God the Father, but if you also learn to go beyond a disciple to a friend of Jesus as you practice the abiding in Jesus!