Yeshua's Most Critical Choice

by Lonnie Lane 

 

Could Yeshua have ever had a faith crisis? Or a love crises? If He was “tempted in all things as we are” (Hebrews 4:15), He must have. Hearing a message recently about God’s love stirred in me a realization that He heals because He loves us. It’s that simple and that profound! Now maybe you’re saying, “You just got that?” Yeah, I just got that. At least on the level I’m seeing it now. The next morning I woke up with the words, “Faith worketh by love,” going through my mind. I presume it was God whispering those words to me. As I continued to press into the Lord for more revelation from Him on this, He began to open up the following. I always expect these “revs” aren’t just for me, so this is for you too.    

Faith alone will not accomplish what it will when love is the motivating factor...

I heard the Spirit tell me, “Without the understanding that “faith works through love” (Galatians 5:6), Kingdom reality cannot be fully accessed.” Faith alone will not accomplish what it will when love is the motivating factor, especially when it’s Yeshua’s love and Yeshua’s faith upon which ours rests. His faith was (and still is) established on His personal “knowing” of His Father. His wasn’t a conceptual or intellectual faith, like ours often is. His was experiential. It was an intrinsic part of His personality. He knew God as His Father. Assuming you had a father you knew, how well did you know him, his personality, his likes and dislikes, his ways, whether they were good or not so good? He too knew His Father. That’s why He could say, “As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father” (John 10:15 NKJB).

There are references in Scripture where God is identified as a Father to Israel, but Israel had such reverence for God, that they wouldn’t even presume to speak His name, or write it, which is why it is often written as G-d, even today. He would never have been referred to the same way you refer to a member of your family. That would have indicated a familiarity and disrespect that would have been considered blasphemy. Then here comes Yeshua who speaks of God Almighty as His Father, His Abba (The word for Father in Greek would be Abba in Hebrew). My grandchildren call their Israeli-born father Abba. It’s a term of affection, of close and intimate relationship. No one ever referred to God in such loving and familiar terms before. But Yeshua openly does. No wonder the leaders were upset with Him about this: “Who does He think He is, calling God Abba; Daddy?” You can see why that would have been a problem for them. I mean, how could they have understood that He was actually God’s biological Son?!   

From the time He was twelve that we know of, Yeshua knew God as His Father. When Miriam (Mary) and Joseph couldn’t find Yeshua when they took Him on their Passover pilgrimage to Jerusalem, they finally found this twelve year old dialoging with the rabbis in the Temple. His response to them when they found Him was, "Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father's house?" (Luke 2:49). So evidently, He had such a relationship with the God of Israel even at that young age that it was a major part of His self-Identity as God’s Son. Ponder that for a while of a boy, then a teenager, growing up.

Undoubtedly His constant companion was His Abba, with His presence and nearness being with Him at all times. You know how God teaches you things, and how He somehow lets you know what’s pleasing to Him and what’s not, what is good for you and what’s not? And how He lets you know He’s with you? (If you’ve not personally experienced this, ask Him to show you His love for you. Ask Him to show you how you can be closer to Him. Continue to bring the matter to Him, expecting Him to answer your prayer for more of Him.) Imagine, if you can, how involved His Father would have been in Yeshua’s life and upbringing. He would protect Him to keep Him pure in the midst of a Fallen world, teaching Him how to process what went on around Him, giving Him understanding as to how He, being the only one without a sin nature, saw things differently than other people. I imagine that His relationship with His Father was His only real companionship, Abba being the only one with Whom He shared the way He saw things in life. No wonder we read that He often went off to be alone with God, even spending all night in prayer. I’ve often through that what we call the Sermon on the Mount was a catalog of things He had to process while growing up as He witnessed the lack of meekness, of mercy, of purity of heart. In contrast, Yeshua’s whole life reveals God’s love and a faith that “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Cor. 13:7). You can see why Yeshua could say, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).

Now go in your thoughts to the cross. He knew what would take place. This wasn’t anything He wasn’t prepared for. He knew exactly what would happen. Isaiah 53 had told Him that. His Father had prepared Him. Moses and Elijah had even come from heaven to strengthen Him for what He’d go through (see Matthew 17:1-3). He knew far better than John what it meant to be “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). But when faced with the impending experience of crucifixion looming before Him, in the Garden of Gethsemane, we see Him struggle with doing God’s will. Yet, even so, being willing to endure the shame and the pain, and to lay down His life, “He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8).

Perhaps it’s not the pain and the shame that caused Him to be in such anguish that He broke blood vessels and sweated blood, but the separation from His Father that terrified Him. He knew it would have to happen. But when the sins of mankind were completely placed upon Him so that He fully experienced the separation from God which sin causes, He cries out in shock, “Eli, Eli, Lama sabachtani” – “My God, My God, (no Abba now), why have You forsaken me?” Forsaken! Abandoned! Those would have been forever terms for Him. He would have experienced abject and complete hopelessness! It is at this point, under what must have been the greatest stress any human being has ever endured, He is faced with the world’s most critical decision. It is said that crises will reveal what kind of person we truly are. But there is still a decision that must be made as to how we will respond in times of crisis.

Consider another choice that was made many years earlier. Eve, then Adam, went through a similar test in the Garden of Eden and failed it. Theirs was far less stressful but equally consequential for the fate of mankind. The difference is, they didn’t know that. They only thought it was about them whereas Yeshua knew it wasn’t just about His fate, but the world’s.

The suggestion had been made to Eve by the devil speaking through a serpent that God wasn’t interested in her wellbeing, not really. He was withholding something from her so she wouldn’t become like Him, so He alone could keep the power. But she could improve her situation. She would be right to act in her own best interest. The insinuation was made that God threatened her with a lie that she would die if she ate of the fruit of that one tree; “You surely will not die” (Genesis 3:4), said the serpent. If she would just eat of that apple, then she would be like God. The fact was, she and Adam were already like God, having been created in His image. How much more like Him could they be? 

We have heard this story so often that, even though we know what happened, we may miss the magnitude of the defiance and rebellion in the devil’s words to Adam. Or we might not grasp the repercussions that ricocheted off of heaven’s gate, shutting it off to mankind. Or the consequences that sent shock waves throughout creation in response to the horror of her act of independence, as it too was affected. Each time I read the story I want to shout at her, “No, don’t do it. You’re being lied to. You don’t know what this will mean!”  

That there is joy and pleasure at all is purely due to the grace of God, even though independence and rebellion continues.

This kind of independence had happened before, when Lucifer led a rebellion in heaven and 1/3 of the angels mutinied and were hurled out of heaven. We can’t possibly imagine how terrifying God’s wrath must have been toward those rebellious angels for whom things did not work out as Lucifer had planned in his deceived mind. They hadn’t expected to be driven with a word from God away from His glory and presence at the speed of light! (See Luke 10:18.) How the horror of this rebellion must have affected the faithful 2/3 of the angels who had likely known for eons those who were expelled from heaven. What did it mean to them to realize that such rebellion could even exist in God’s creation?  I imagine it must have heightened their love for God in all His goodness and their commitment to obedience to Him, having seen what could happen, how pride had come in and shipwrecked, to use a human term, those who rebelled. All this is to say that the Fall, the choice to distrust God and to act on one’s own behalf, plummeted the earth into the life-compromised, death-fearing, sin-saturated state it’s been in every since. That there is joy and pleasure at all is purely due to the grace of God, even though independence and rebellion continues.

We know intellectually the consequence of Eve’s and then Adam’s choice, of course. We who are God’s know that to even insinuate that God is not good or that He was withholding something from Eve for His own self-centered reasons, is not only contrary to God’s character and nature, it is entirely reflective of satan’s character and nature. He is a self-absorbed liar and a continual accuser. But not knowing that, and only having known God’s goodness, Eve believed the Liar and for the first time, she doubts God’s goodness to her when satan twisted His words. The evil one caused her to doubt that she was all that she could be, though she was created in God’s image, and that she really needed to do something to act on her own behalf, like eat the forbidden fruit so she would know good and evil like God did. And so she did, and from that moment on humankind lived shut off from God’s immediate presence. We could say that history is a record of all that has taken place as mankind in our separation from God had attempted to fill that void by trying to bring about what we would have if God were God in our lives.

When Yeshua hung on the cross He experienced that same separation from God’s presence. And though He knew it would have to happen, when it did, it shocked Him to find Himself entirely cut off from God, without any sense of His Father whatsoever. How long or short a time it had taken for this to close in around him, for the first time in eternity past He was entirely without God’s presence. He was completely identified with Fallen humankind at this point. Plunged into complete despair, Yeshua was faced with a choice – the most critical choice of all time.

The choice was this: Whether He would respond to the void left by God’s departure which He was now experiencing, or to the goodness of God He’d always known. Would it be God’s honor or His own “wellbeing” He would choose. The Fall was about self. What would He opt for in the midst of having been abandoned by God after all? From the cross He hears a ridiculing voice. He’s heard that voice before: "…save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross" (Matthew 27:40). He could have. He had the authority to call angels to His aid. He knew that voice was the devil’s: “If You are the Son of God” do something on Your own to prove it. Was He tempted to prove it? Perhaps He remembered at that moment the temptation to turn a stone into bread when He was so hungry. The Word had been His bread at that time. Now would the Word be His truth even when despair screamed at Him that all was lost and every demon that had access to Him screeched accusations at Him that He was a fool for having believed it would save Him.  

If He was tempted in all things as we are, He had to have been faced with the ultimate issues that mankind faces: To doubt God and His Word to us; to doubt His goodness. Tempted to doubt both, since it appeared that God’s faithfulness had failed Him, He had to have been tempted to save Himself, to act for His own wellbeing. That had to have been part of what was overcome by the cross. He would have had to face what Adam and Eve faced. The devil had to have told Him, “So you think you’re the Son of God, then act like God and take matters into Your own hands.”

The Fall was all about deifying Self, and acting in one’s own self interest when the devil made it  appear as if God wasn’t really good after all and can’t be trusted. Yeshua would have to have been tempted, if even for a moment, to think there was no other way than to act independent of God’s Word. But temptation isn’t the same as compliance. When Yeshua was faced with the shock of perceived abandonment, knowing now the terror of what it is to be entirely without God and immersed in complete despair, even so, He chose to remain faithful. With no sense of God’s love for Him, he chose not to abandon loving and honoring God even when He thought He had been abandoned and all was lost. Even then, He trusted in God’s goodness. The love He’d always had with God caused His faith to rise up and believe in God’s goodness, regardless of everything appearing to be contrary. The greatest test was this – that He was devoid of feeling God’s presence and love and yet His love for God and His commitment to honor and obey Him at all costs, overrode His concern for Himself. Regardless of the cost, He would remain faithful to honor God.

Yeshua's faith, motivated entirely by love, was the fulcrum that lifted us out of the Fall!

This very choice, I felt God was saying, was the fulcrum upon which the salvation of the world rests. A fulcrum is a lever which enables the lift of things too heavy to lift otherwise. Yeshua’s faith in God’s love, which is to say in His goodness, in the face of all that appeared otherwise, was the fulcrum which lifted mankind out of the sin and guilt that had permeated our lives since Eve took a bite of the apple. We sing sometimes, “Love lifted me.” Here is a picture of it. Yeshua’s faith, motivated entirely by love, was the fulcrum that lifted us out of the Fall!

We possibly live in a time, as Yeshua told His disciples, when, “because lawlessness (That is Torahlessness, or Bible-lessness) is increased, most people’s love will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). Love, that is righteous unselfish love, can only come directly from God, and is entirely of the Spirit, nothing of the flesh. We do all have a measure of faith and of love, but godly faith which accomplishes God’s will can really only “worketh” by godly love. This means the Remnant will not live by the flesh, or the understanding of our minds (see Prov. 3:5), but by our faithfulness to Yeshua and our love for the Word of God which we keep embedded in our hearts as the only truth. As I wrote this, I was struck with how much overcoming power there is in the “simplicity and purity of devotion to Messiah” (2 Cor. 11:3).

With the revelation and understanding of all above, the following words came on the heels of it as an application for an end time people. As with all prophecy, it must be judged. See if you think it’s from God.

“This is what My end time people will rest their salvation and their hope upon, that the love of God will see them through even when all else screams that He has abandoned them. He will not have. Their love for God will be in itself a sovereign work of God, and will give them the faith to honor God above all else, even with their own lives if need be. In this is the overcoming, not just of immediate circumstances, but in this is the culmination of this age and the ushering in of the fullness of redemption – by your faith working through your love of God.”

“All that is in the church which is motivated, inspired or sustained by the flesh, if you are to be truly God’s witnesses in the world, will have to go. I will dismantle that which is motivated by self-promotion, self-will, or fleshly ambition. What is birthed in independence from God, will be shaken out and be no more.”

“Hear this: I am putting a tourniquet on the supply line to that among My people which has kept them dependent upon all else but Me, and which has kept them preoccupied with advancement I never intended. There is so much I never intended that is called Kingdom of God. This tourniquet will stop the hemorrhaging of resources into that which will not profit in the days to come. This is a time to stand still when things change and wait and see the salvation of the Lord. If you run to try and stop the depletion or to provide for yourselves in other ways when the ways you’ve known and operate in no longer bear the fruit you’ve been eating, you will be eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, suspecting evil and trying to make it good again, and entirely miss eating of the tree of Life.

Faith works, operates, functions and is effective by love. My love for you will see you through. Your love for Me and for each other, and even for your enemies, is that which alone will be the final victory – and the triumph of the love of the Father for the world.

Be ye holy as I AM holy Be ye love as I AM.

 

 Reprint of this article is permitted as long as you use the following; Use by permission by Messianic Vision, www.sidroth.org, 2010. 

 
  

 

Lonnie Lane

For Lonnie's other articles, check out our Exclusive Articles and Resources, especially the section on One New Man.

Lonnie Lane comes from a family of four generations of Jewish believers, being the first one saved in 1975. Lonnie has been in church leadership for many years, and has planted two “one new man” house fellowships, one in Philadelphia suburbs and the other in Jacksonville, Florida, where she now lives near 6 of her 8 grandchildren. Lonnie is the author of “Because They Never Asked” and numerous articles on this website. She has been the Producer of Messianic Vision's radio and TV shows and the International Prayer Co-Coordinator for Messianic Vision's intercessors. Click Here to order Lonnie's book, "Because They Never Asked."

Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif.  All rights reserved. Used by permission.

 

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