So, finally, to the example that lies in this knowledge of Jesus for ourselves. For that is what Jesus is on this score, not only our substitute but our example. He says, “Learn of me.” He is the last Adam, the new man, the Father of the “real people” – the second humanity, the children of God. First of all, we have to have amnesia. And in our case is doesn’t mean that we have to block out that divine knowledge like Jesus did but rather all that is bad. You know the reason that we don’t receive God’s revelation, why He doesn’t speak to us, is that our minds are just so chocked full now that there isn’t room for anything more. We come to society and we have thought about everything else under the sun, we haven’t looked at the lesson and so on, and then we say, “Oh, just open up Thy Word twice…give us brilliant ideas from heaven.” There is no room. Paul said to the Romans who put a premium on wisdom, with their philosophers and all the rest, “I want you to be wise to what is good and naive to what is wicked.” (Romans 16) And that is especially true when it comes to our evaluation and knowledge of our fellow men. We should know nothing bad about them. Otherwise we can’t see the good in them. But we have such a long list of “once he said this or once he did that.” How can we judge a man and his potential when we are always looking at his past? That is why I Cor. 13 says, “Keep no record of evil.” God always judges us as though we never did anything bad before, as though this was the first time. That is why He looks at us as what we can be and are in Christ. We will never see each other as we are in Christ as long as we keep hauling out the bad.
There is a news sheet that comes regularly to us and the author of one of the regular columns quotes Albert Ellis, the father of rational therapy as saying, “If I bring my past into the present and only see the past, I will never be able to see clearly.” The author of the article was talking about alcoholics but also all of us who say, “My mother”, or “My childhood” and “That teacher” and all the rest, and she says, “Forget it. Since the present is not the past I will solve my problems in unrealistic ways. I will solve my problems as my mother did or just as I did when I was a child [regress, you know, get infantile], I will have few experiences if I am unwilling to change or see clearly. [‘We never did it that way before’ is what she is getting at.] We need to realize that the past is important and we must accept that the past did happen but we can work on adapting to our present world and change what was harmful or what was no longer effective. We don’t need to keep repeating our past errors. As our behavior changes so does our attitudes and so the way we see and feel.” So how would Jesus know how Nathaniel was like or Simon Peter or Judas if he had just limited himself to their past?
Well that was negatively, but positively we have to find our spiritual spectacles as we look at one another and at the world and to the future. We have to use this Blessed Book as Jesus did. I don’t know if they still have it but they used to put out the Kiplinger Newsletter, and some people thought of it as their Bible. They couldn’t wait until it came as it had such amazing predictions as to what was going to happen, and usually didn’t. Or you read the first page of the U.S. News and World Report and you think that those men are prophets. The only prophets that they understand are p-r-o-f-i-t-s. Yet the interesting experience is to think that they know the future, and so we just spend hours with that tripe instead of with the Word of God, which has a lot to say about the future as well as the present. The prophets in the Bible weren’t so amazingly intuitive, they didn’t have extra-sensory perception. But they just simply said on the basis of the present “this is going to happen. The conditions of today are surely going to result in this or that.” And it did.
The indispensable corollary of all this is obedience. Why do you and I like to know each other? “How to win friends and influence people.” Line ones pockets. Why do men consult horoscopes? Why are we so concerned about super-human knowledge, pay for information sheets, get hot-tips? Just to get ahead financially. Hence all the Wall Street Journal subscribers. Charley Brown is an amazing character. There is a book called, The Gospel According to Peanuts. We don’t even need to read that book to get insight from Charlie Brown and he said one day to Lucy, “I sure wish I knew where I was going to die.” Maybe all of us would, or maybe not. And Lucy said, “Why is that?” “I never would go near the place,” he responded. And there is the psychology for all of our desire for super-human knowledge. Personal profit, advantage. How could we ever fit into the Will of God if we knew everything that we wanted to know? And that is why He doesn’t reveal His wisdom to us. Why do we like to know people so well? For the same reason that advertising enterprises, whether it is newspapers, magazines, television or radio, it is to exploit and manipulate people. “This is what people are like” and there goes the bait. Heaven forbid if we should want to know people for that purpose. So God says, “Why should I let you in on what I am going to do and what other people are like when you are not going to do anything good about it or with it?” That’s the answer. That is why it has to be about obedience. God reveals his will and will tell you just unimaginable things, unbelievable things, if you are going to do the right thing with it. To let you be a better servant of his, to fit into his plans. He says, “Why should I give you insight into other persons when you are just going to use them, instead of make them.” “I am the Way, without Me there is no going. I am the Truth, without Me there is no knowing. I am the Life, without Me there is no growing.” “You call me Master and serve me not. You call me Light and seek me not. You call me Life and live me not. If I condemn you, blame me not.”