We note that the apostles became apostles because they lived with, touched and heard the words of Jesus. Then they embraced who Jesus was for themselves and began to express Jesus as themselves.
The mystery and practicality of the gospel is that because of the incarnation, Jesus becomes us. You are not only an expression of the Christ. You are a representation of the trinity. Don’t smother this with the law and religion.
SPIRIT OF WISDOM
The disciples were ordinary folks. Not particularly brainy (with the exception of John and later Paul) but they were teachable. They knew they had ‘found life in Himself’ and they were willing for Him to set them free from layers of religion - layers that had these accretions remained in place, would have insulated them from the life and light that was Jesus.
JUNK FOOD OF THE LAW
We can insulate ourselves from oneness with Him with substitutes. Religiosities are the main substitutes that suffocate the life of Jesus in the Believer. It is the law that is the substitute that separates some communities of faith from nakedness with Christ. The law is not God, never was and never will be. God is the I AM of Himself. It is in God with God as your life that you become the I am of you – a son/daughter of God in spirit and in truth. But I digress.
It slowly dawned in the disciples that this person in their midst was the Messiah and the Christ of God. That He was not just Jesus of Nazareth but the son of God who had lived before the dawn of time in oneness with His Father and who had manifested on earth - and now following His resurrection in them.
The fullness of who Jesus is for us comes from the narrative gospels but mainly from the teaching and writing of Paul and John. Their gift was their mission to reveal the deep meaning of who Jesus was for us all. Paul’s Gospel that he called ‘My Gospel’ was not actually his, except for the fact that in spite of His former obstinacy and sense of entitlement, Jesus broke through to Him on the Road to Damascus. It’s just like God to make a former addict of the law the main apostle of life in the Spirit.
ROTTING PEARS ON THE BENCH
If Jesus was revealed to the disciples as the person with them and in them He is revealed to us the same way. We are not orphans. His fullness is in us and with us by the Spirit and because of Him we are incarnated with the trinity. This is why the law and legalism is such a perversion and an affront to the genuine gospel of Christ our life. Torrance observes,
HE IS OUR KNOWING
“In the nature of the case Jesus Christ himself is to be known as a whole, so that our knowledge of him may not be built up either from disparate statements or events, but be gained only through discipleship in which we renounce ourselves, take up the cross and follow him. This calls for more than a movement of thought, for it involves a personal encounter with Christ as Lord and Saviour.” (1) This is why the pure in heart see God and why those with divided loyalties see only what they want to see.
A JOVIAL BEAR
To be sure we can live a religious life in the law and accrue a certain status and sense of identity. But to live in the law, when we could be living in the light of Christ Himself as our life, Christ incarnated in our person, Christ to be expressed in the limitless actions and attitudes of life - is to ignore the sunlight and live in endless hibernation. It is to be a bear who lives its entire life in hibernation and never comes out to light to be a real bear at large in the world.
(1) Torrance, Thomas F.. The Christian Doctrine of God, One Being Three Persons (T&T Clark Cornerstones) (pp. 50-51). Bloomsbury Publishing. Kindle Edition.