Have you ever wanted to see the schedule Jesus used to keep track of His engagements?
Recently I started reading through what some call “the harmony of the Gospels.” This is a chronological listing of everything He did in His intense three years of ministry from His baptism by John the baptizer through his post resurrection activities.
As I wrote my findings I wondered if He was working off a pre-determined schedule. 1. Change Peter’s name 2. Recruit disciples 3. Turn water into wine 4. Clean out the Temple…and so on.
Of course, we know He did not operate like that.
We know this because Jesus told us how He came to do whatever it was He did on the earth. He said this when religious people challenged His working on the Sabbath day:
“But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.’ Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. Then Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.’” (John 5:17-19)
In verse 17 Jesus said that when He (the firstborn Son of God the Father) worked (did things) it was because the Father was working (doing those things).
In verse 19 Jesus gets more specific. He says that He “sees” (literally, looks at) His Father and DOES what His Father does.
Simple as that.
No schedule planner. No brochure to carry saying what comes next.
No calendar alerts from a smartphone.
Jesus simply paid attention to His….to OUR Father in heaven…and did what He saw the Father doing.
Jesus spent a very short time on the earth and an even shorter time training His original disciples to do the works of the Kingdom of Heaven or Kingdom of God. We must never miss the truth that EVERYTHING He did was an example for us to see and follow.
While on the earth Jesus was MODELLING a lifestyle.
That lifestyle was one of complete dependency upon God and did not in the least involve dependency on any of the systems of the world. Jesus did not need a schedule planner because he was in constant fellowship with His Father.
In John 8:16 Jesus says this:
“….I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me….” and in John 8:29 He says this: “…He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone…”
Jesus did not need a calendar to operate on the earth. I, on the other hand, DO schedule things on a calendar. As I go along I hope I am learning to function more and more like Jesus did in His time on the earth, but I know I am still more earth-bound than I would hope to be. So, I keep a calendar but I do not walk in strict obedience to my calendar.
My calendar of what HAS happened never looks like my calendar of what I anticipate will happen in the future. My calendar….any calendar, really, reflects the truth that no one knows exactly what will happen.
Here is how the Apostle James put it:
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’” (James 4:13-15)
We don’t know what will happen but God DOES.
True Christianity has not changed at all because God never changes.
Unfortunately, how Christianity is PRACTICED HAS changed a LOT since Jesus ascended back to heaven. We have, sadly, taken on many of the world’s systems and depend upon them to use as tools to build God’s Kingdom in and through people.
Think about that.
We use EARTHLY systems to try to build a HEAVENLY Kingdom.
Isn’t that an absurd idea?
Listen to our King speak (to Jewish leaders who were challenging Him with their earthly logic):
“And He said to them, 'You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.’” (John 8:23)
(To a Roman governor):
“Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.’ Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘Are You a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’” (John 18:36-37)
(Regarding "the prince of the world” prior to the resurrection of Jesus):
“Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.” (John 12:31)
Satan then, as the one who ruled the world after Adam handed off his authority to that fallen archangel, is the ORIGINATOR and POWER behind ALL worldly systems.
This is also true of all worldly systems that the modern Church uses to market itself, summon up Holy Spirit to perform when IT schedules His appearances, and manipulate the Body of Christ by appealing to emotions or intellect rather than to the spirit of a man.
One thing Jesus is NOT...is an event planner.
He is not interested in presenting to the world any human-generated worldly events (even spiritual appearing ones) to attract, amaze and astound any audiences.
Jesus knows that people will be drawn to whatever is lifted up….
“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” (John 12:32)
He is not interested in elevating anything other than Himself…even if He is being used as bait to elevate some earthly endeavor.
Earthly events powered by the ruler of this world do not save people or cause eternal change in their souls.
Only Jesus has that power.
The devil knows this so he dangles before us all sorts of trinkets, shiny objects, emotion packed experiences, business plans, marketing schemes…..all sorts of things that appeal to the soul of a man.
Satan does not want Jesus to be elevated in our midst.
Satan does not want us to depend upon the Lord.
Jesus knew this and, so, instead of teaching us to depend upon some worldly systems to build His Kingdom…..He gave us what He had:
“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” (John 14:16-20)
Jesus gave us what…or, more appropriately, WHO He had: Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit comes to our human spirits when we are born again. That is why we come alive in Christ. When we RECEIVE Holy Spirit (Acts 10:45-47) we can learn to live like Jesus did: doing what He was seeing His Father in heaven do.
We have who Jesus had. Jesus now, seated at the right hand of the Father, is building HIS Kingdom through the Holy Spirit of God Who lives in the spirit of every born again person.
Jesus is the King. HE orchestrates the establishment of His Kingdom.
One thing He is NOT is an event planner.
Jesus won’t be scheduling an AWESOME human event at which He will show up when people shout or lift their hands or sing the right songs or loud enough.
He doesn’t come at the beck and call of people.
HE DOES WHAT HE SEES HIS FATHER IN HEAVEN DOING!!!!!
He never changes.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
He also does not issue event calendars or schedules.
He doesn’t need those…..and neither do we – since we have Holy Spirit.
So, I intend to schedule my appointments, conferences, speaking engagements and travel plans.
AND, I intend to remain ever prepared to abandon my awesome (lol) scheduled plans any time I sense the Father is doing something else.
I don’t want to live in bondage to anyone or anything of the earth – even the intentions or plans or schedules or any well-meaning Christian person (including myself). Rather, my intention is to live in obedience to Jesus – moment by moment – since I belong to Him and Him alone.
“For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.” (1 Corinthians 6:20)
“You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.” (1 Corinthians 7:23)
I don’t want to be a slave of any man….not even myself.
If you are reading this you are most likely also a Christian and, therefore, also belong to Jesus.
It is my hope that what you have read here will provoke you to scrutinize the ideas coming into your life. We all need to do this constantly because the world systems have their own “gravitational pull.” Satan is relentless.
Join me and many others in our resolve to cast down the things of the earth, even the well-meaning ideas that have saturated the simplicity of the Church.
“And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:24)
Let’s live and walk in the Spirit, truly depending only on God and NOT on the systems of the world, all of which originate with the devil
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25)
This means that as we scrutinize our beliefs and find that we have received error we must reject it.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)
This is a spiritual war waged by a spiritual enemy (the devil) on spiritual beings (us – the children of God.) This is how that war is fought.
I hope this has been an encouraging article.
Feel free to share it with anyone who seems to crave living a paint-by-number Christian life that what we have available in Christ IS so MUCH more exciting and better!
Let us look forward as He walks with us on this journey of His making.