Cross Verbs – Calling to Action :: 5th saying from the Cross

This is the 5th post of the series, Cross Verbs >> Calling to Action, which is a look at the 7 sayings of Jesus Christ from the Cross, with an “action” perspective, for faith without action is dead (James 2:17). What is of note is that each saying has a verb in it, implying an action of Jesus Christ, the Lord, and what’s more, is that his action calls for our action.

Saying Five: “I thirst.
The Cross verb today is “thirst”.

It is no surprise that Jesus physically thirsted after all the agony of torture and the crucifixion that he had endured, but we must be careful to not merely overlook this as just an expression. The Bible records that Jesus expressed his thirst as a way to show that all scripture (prophecy) had to be fulfilled (John 19:28). Jesus’ thirst was to fulfill God’s will in his life. Furthermore, isn’t it ironic to notice, that the one from whom could flow the living waters was now needing to be quenched? The Bible records the Holy Spirit of God to be the living waters that flow from the one who believes in Jesus (John 7:38-39). When Jesus became sin on the Cross (2 Corinthians 5:21), the Holy Spirit of God, that had descended upon him in his baptism, could no longer reside with Christ, for what communion can holiness (righteousness) have with sin (unrighteousness), or light with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14). So in a spiritual sense, it is extremely likely that Jesus thirsted for the companionship and comfort of the Holy Spirit of God, when he was God forsaken – Father and Holy Spirit forsaken.

Points to ponder:
The Cross verb “thirst” calls us to action – to thirst to fulfill the will and purpose of God, in the physical elements of our life, but more importantly, it is imperative for us to always have a thirst for the Holy Spirit of God. When we sin, God’s Spirit cannot indwell in our lives (1 Samuel 16:14) and our lives can be deemed Ichabod (1 Samuel 4:21). So like David, we need to repent and thirst for a clean heart and God’s right(eous) Spirit within us (Psalm 51:10).
Jesus thirsted so we can thirst. God’s thirst calls for us to thirst. Are you thirsty?

Prayer: Lord, because of my sin, do not forsake  me Lord, for your love is unfailing, your grace indescribable and your mercy unending and enduring. Let me thirst, not just physically, but let me thirst to be renewed by Holy Spirit, so that you are my companionship and comfort constantly.  Lord, let me thirst … as the deer pants for water 

John 19:28 (KJV)
28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

Nahum 1:3 – Clouds are the dust of his feet

The last part of Nahum 1:3 reads “and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

The Bible tells us of the pillar of the cloud that went in front of the people of God and led the Israelites out of Egypt, their land of physical bondage (Exodus 13:21-22; Nehemiah 9:12, 19); that went behind the people of God and protected them from their enemies (Exodus 14:19). The Lord looked from the pillar of fire and of the cloud at the army of the Egyptians and troubled them (Exodus 14:24). As Moses entered the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses (Exodus 33:9, Deuteronomy 31:15), and called for Aaron and Miriam (Numbers 12:5), implying that God was there to be seen face to face (Numbers 14:14). During the transfiguration of Jesus, a cloud came and overshadowed the disciples and they feared as they entered into the cloud. From within the cloud, the voice of God was heard, promulgating Jesus as his beloved son again, and commanding the disciples to listen to him. After this the found Jesus alone. All this is indicative and proof of the fact that God is there (Jehovah Shammah) in the cloud (Ezekiel 48:35). In fact, the Bible informs that Jesus will return with clouds (Revelation 1:7) meaning that the clouds will be [like] the dust of his feet (Nahum 1:3). Revelation 10 speaks about a mighty angel of the Lord who came down from heaven, clothed with a cloud and a rainbow was upon his head and his face was as if it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire. Reading the description of this mighty angel, we can induce that this is a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ himself, for the rainbow upon his head represents the covenant of mercy that God promised to Noah, and the face shining like the sun and brandished feet are the same that are used to describe Jesus as his identified himself in the beginning of his revelation to John (Revelation 1:15-16).

Points to ponder:
When life seems to be clouded with problems and challenges, we can take solace in the fact that God goes ahead of us to lead us through the fog of life, and goes behind us to protect us from our enemies. He looks from within the cloudy situations of our life and troubles our troubles. In the clouds of life, we can hear God – we can hear his call of us and we can see him face to face if we are of a pure heart (that is sanctified by the blood of Jesus – Matthew 5:8). While we may be afraid to enter into the cloudy situations of life, if only we listen to God’s promulgation, we can hear him identify Jesus Christ as the Only begotten Son of God whom we must heed to (Mark 9:7). Jesus was in the cloud and is in the clouds of life that blocks our view of God. Jesus will return with the clouds and if we are cleansed by his blood (1 John 1:7), with a clean (pure) heart that he creates in us (Psalm 51:10), when we believe (John 3:16), as a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17), we shall be able to see him face to face (Exodus 33:11; 1 Corinthians 13:12). Are you ready for the return of Jesus with the clouds as the dust of his feet, and to see him face to face?

Nahum 1:3 (KJV)
The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

Mark 9:2-8 (KJV)
2 And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.
3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.
4 And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.
5 And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
6 For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid.
7 And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.
8 And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.

Blessed “Be” attitudes :: Be Pure (in heart)

Matthew 5:3-12 lists eight Beatitudes that were spoken of by Jesus. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

To be blessed, one must have an attitude of being pure (in heart).

The Creator God is not interested in an outward showing of piety or penance as many doctrines of men and world religions prescribe, but God is interested in inward purity i.e., purity of the heart. When the scribes and Pharisees in an accusatory manner questioned Jesus that his disciples did not wash their hands before breaking bread, Jesus astutely yet sternly cautioned them of their double standard and hypocrisy, and expressed a fundamental truth, that it is not what one consumes that defiles a man, but what comes from within (from the heart) (Matthew 15:11). Later when his disciples approached him and asked him if he was offended by the Pharisees and sought clarification of his response, he asked them “Are you also yet without understanding?” before explaining that out of the heart proceeds evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies; things which defile a man (Matthew 15:19-20).

So if by nature our heart is prone to defile, then how is it that one can be pure in heart? To be pure means to be untainted, unstained, unblameable, unreproveable, without spot or wrinkle. In other words, to be pure is to be set apart and it is to be holy. This is an impossible edict for man to accomplish by his/her own efforts. No matter how impressive and thorough a self-help program prescribes, no one can be holy by his or her own accord, for in sin are we conceived (Psalm 51:5). There is one only Way to be holy. Jesus said He is THE WAY (John 14:6). The Bible teaches us that Jesus, who is the image of the invisible God, can present us unblameable and unreproveable in the sight of God (Colossians 1:22), because he who knew no sin, became sin for us, and died in our stead, so we can be imputed the righteousness (purity/holiness) of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). In other words, only Jesus can make us holy i.e., only Jesus can make our hearts pure and clean; without spot or wrinkle. King David’s recognized that out of his heart came thoughts of – evil and murder toward Bathsheba’s husband Uriah, – adultery and fornication (extramarital sex) with Bathsheba, – stealing Uriah’s wife, – false witness and lying (covering the murderous plot of Uriah’s death) and – blasphemies (for what David had done displeased the Lord) (2 Samuel 11). Upon this recognition, king David repented and sought that God would create in him a clean (pure) heart; one that is holy and blameless, in God’s sight. When we repent of our sins, believing in Jesus Christ, he makes us a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), replacing our old heart that defiles with one that is pure and clean (Ezekiel 36:26). Those who are pure in heart are those who have recognized that Jesus is the Only Way to Holiness and have repented asking Him to create in them a clean/pure heart. These are blessed for they shall see God.

What does it mean that one shall see God? God is Spirit (John 4:24),  God is invisible (1 Timothy 1:17), God dwells in an unapproachable light, which no man can see, nor has seen (1 Timothy 6:16).  Then how can God be seen? There is a multi-faceted answer to this which we find in the Bible. First, Jesus is the image of the invisible God, in whom the fullness of God dwells (Colossians 1:15,19). Second, Jesus said, He is THE LIGHT of the world (John 8:12). Third, when we walk in the light, desiring to be pure (in heart), repenting of our sins, believing in Jesus and asking Him to create in us a clean heart, we have fellowship with God as He is light and is in the light now approachable through Jesus, for Jesus said, all who see me (have fellowship with me) have seen God (the Father) (John 14:8-11). Fourth, all who have believed in Jesus, have been delivered from the power of darkness and been translated to the kingdom of Jesus Christ, God’s dear Son (Colossians 1:13), and they shall see God face to face, when He establishes His kingdom on new earth (Revelation 22:4). We see God now through Jesus Christ, we will later see God in Christ, face to face.

Point(s) to ponder:
1. God is pleading, “Come now, let us reason together, though your sins are like scarlet, I will wash you whiter than snow.” (Isaiah 1:18). The vilest offender (of whom I am chief) is not out of the reasoning and reach of God. Reason with Him. Reach out to God.
2. Have you/I heard God’s plea and have we repented of our sins, asking Him to create in us a clean/pure heart? For without holiness, no man shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12:29) and Only Jesus Christ can make you/I holy, unblameable and unreproveable.
3. God opened the heart (understanding) of Lydia so she could believe in Jesus and be baptized into His kingdom of light (Acts 16:14). Ask God to open your heart (of understanding) so that it can be made pure!

Matthew 5:8 (KJV)
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Hebrews 12:14 (KJV)
14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

Colossians 1:12-23 (KJV)
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son [Jesus Christ]:
In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;