Worth the World
It was upon a man with a revelation that Jesus chose to build His church. It wasn’t loosely put together, or framed on the first day, as He didn’t even talk about his “ekklesia” before this point. But, something shifted once Peter heard this direct word from God, and Jesus discerned the change in the Spirit, and confirmed Peter in his understanding.
The Kingdom of God can be likened to a treasure hidden in a field, worth selling all for. The Kingdom can be compared with a pearl of great price.
And in the midst of Christ’s Kingdom, He has chosen his called out, ruling body, His church. We are His body on the Earth. As He was in the Earth, so should be the church.
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.
Jesus was establishing something. While the expression “give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven” might have had local meaning in the time of the life of Jesus in the context between a Jewish rabbi and their pupil, we must remember that it was the people of God, who listened to God. And, just as God prepared a people in advance for the display of His Messiah and subsequently His Glory, God provided language, before it’s day, in His own people who had studied His Word and been seeking diligently for centuries. This was prepared so that when Jesus, the Messiah, would come at the appointed time, there would be a pure speech for Him to use. It might have been an idiom, but it was an idiom that God had placed in His people for this day and hour through revelation.
Jesus was speaking about the enduement to Peter of position to interpret scriptures and make decisions, but more than that just the intellectual realm, He was literally giving sovereignty and authority of the Kingdom to men. He was telling Peter that it would soon be time for the saints to possess the Kingdom (Daniel 7:18).
But, Peter was not yet quite ready, as his subsequent failure and rebuke indicate. Peter, although hearing from God, still did not understand Jesus’ talking about dying. Although he had true revelation from God, he still had the seed of self-preservation in him, which would need to be dealt with in its proper time. It may be, too, that this is the very thing which caused him to rebuke His Lord, and attempt to tell Jesus that He shouldn’t go to Jerusalem to die.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS.
If we wish to follow Him, we must deny ourselves, and take up our cross. I find it fascinating that Jesus apparently referenced here, ahead of time, the exact method He would die as well, well before His crucifixion. But, however that comes out in the Greek, the point of the passage is clear in context.
Peter would have had a ‘Gospel’ that simply advanced to glory with no suffering. But, Jesus saw further than his pupil. Jesus knew of the eternality of His Kingdom, and He knew that in the end, he would come with the glory of His Father as a judge.
His faith understood from the beginning that this life was not to be held onto. For those looking to go all the way with the Lord, and that is all of us, we must take this hinge of destiny in the life of Jesus, and look at it this way.
Jesus from this time set His eyes toward’s Jerusalem. He had not yet, at this point, confronted satan again as He would again soon in the garden and at the cross, and so He knew that things were not yet accomplished until He drew his last breath in death. He would ride into Jerusalem as its Eternal King, He would be cheered on, and then within a week be rejected. He would be crucified. His biggest apparent breakthrough in the natural, His acceptance as the Messiah with shouts of ‘Hosanna!’ was among His most perilous moments, for the hearts of the masses was fickle, and their loyalty was only as good as a single sip of water on a hot day.
The lust of the flesh would have loved it. The lust of the eyes couldn’t have had their fill. The pride of life could have reveled in it. But, Jesus was fixing to die.
What good does it to do to gain the whole world, and lose your soul? If Jesus had opened His Spirit on that day, He would have gotten snagged, and been unable to bear on Calvary. If Jesus hadn’t kept His guard up, He would have had to fight that much harder to keep His vision pure. Considering the Garden in which He would soon be in, I doubt that was an option.
The prince himself, in all of his demonic glory, was soon to come, and Jesus would need every faculty He had to discern and resist. In the wilderness, all Jesus needed to do was to quote the word. In Gethsemane, all Jesus could do was to wrestle and pray.
What good would it do to have all the anointing in the world, and yet be unable to keep it when the fire came on. And yet, what good could it possibly do to only go half way up that hill to His own death. Jesus needed 100% obedience to save the world, and He needed 100% commitment before the Lord, without being snagged in His spirit along the way, without being weighted down by dissipation, the affairs of this life, and the concerns of men. He needed to be clean, and stay clean, with nothing of the enemy within Him.
This was the test of purity. To reach and ascend that hill called Golgotha with nothing of the prince of this world in Him. To reach there already dead to this life. What good would all the world do for Him at that spot? What good would all the anointing of the Holy One help for Him if He couldn’t walk out that spot in that way?
If He opened to Peter, instead of turning and soundly rebuking him for having in mind the things of men rather than of God, He would not have had the strength to stand.
Today, we have many preachers in the same or similar boats. We have many men and women of God there, as well as Christians.
Sometimes, even to put a foot down certain paths is to put one’s foot into a bear trap. You might think a glance, or a thought, or even the slightest piece of one’s heart is sufficient. A few thoughts here or there won’t matter, but it does! When the pressure comes on, and it will, there are days where you need every last hairs-breadth of strength to stand, and if you’ve opened your heart to anything, it will be a snag.
You see, the devil’s been looking for a doorway. He was working through Peter, who had just begun to hear things in the spirit-realm but had not yet learned to discern and judge his own revelations. Jesus recognized the voice of the snake saying, “Did God really say?” as it had in the garden. He recognized the lack of truth in the voice, even as He recognized the Father’s voice in Peter the moment before.
The only way you will stand on that day is absolute purity, with nothing of the enemy in you. No amount of pleasing others, or making sure their feelings aren’t hurt is worth compromising the vision of the anointing. As Jesus said, you must not love anyone or anything else more than Him (Matthew 10:37). What good would it do, on that day, to have all the anointing God has for you, to have the praise of men, and yet, because your heart is not resolute and absolute, to be unable to stand under the weight and pressures of it, and to possibly even lose your own soul?
In every way, in every part, we must be built solidly upon the rock that Jesus laid out (Matthew 7:24). 98% might have been enough for last season, but don’t ever make the gross assumption it will always be enough. He is gracious to let us learn, but if we do not have a heart for absolute obedience and submission, we should have never begun upon the journey in the first place (Luke 14:28).
This is the call of the Gospel, and those that walk in it must realize that it is the matter of life and death eternally. If you want to walk in the heights, it is not a game nor is it a place to be sloppy. The things that war on your emotions will kill you if you let them, and if possible, drag you to the worm bed of hell. What good would the latest book deal do for you then? What good would an easy promotion or recognition from peers do for you?
Jesus said to seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and His righteousness, and your needs would be added unto you (Matthew 6:33). His Kingdom is enough to keep us and it is enough to “sell all” for. Oil and water do not mix, and neither does the life of the Spirit mix with the life of the flesh (Luke 16:13).
Nothing is worth the Kingdom. It is not worth losing either your reward or your own soul. If Jesus cannot come first in all, you may not last it until the end. Truly, most happy are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy, but lest we be found lacking in that day, let us make diligent study and pursuit to learn of Him, to lay down every entanglement, and to rid ourselves of everything that manipulates and controls our spirits.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free, and anything that robs that from us must be viewed as as from hell itself. And, anything that leads us down a road other than the one Jesus showed us must be recognized for what it is: a temporary donkey ride a week before our crucifixion, which, in turn, is merely yet another stop on our road to Eternity.
He is the only thing that matters.