Oh The Humanity!

“Then the veil of temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” Mark 15:38

The Lord made an interesting statement to His disciples when he was living and working among them. Matthew recorded Jesus as saying the law and the prophets were until John the Baptist, but since John the kingdom of heaven “suffers violence and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). Luke recorded Jesus as saying since John the Kingdom of God is preached and every man presses into it (Luke 16:16). In each case the words used for “violent”, “violence” and “presses” are consistent and unique to these verses, and all of them have their roots in the Greek primary word we render “bios”. Physical life. This present state of existence.

What did John the Baptist, that lone voice, cry out? “Repent, all of you!  For the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had gone to great lengths to establish His holiness among His people. His presence resided in seclusion above the Ark of Covenant, which could not even be touched without penalty of instant death. One priest, once each year, passed through ceremonial washings and heavy curtains into the shadowy Holy of Holies to present sacrifices in atonement for the sorry state of the people. Although God manifested Himself many times outside the veil, there was a long line of blood between His holiness and people’s commonness.

Since the creation of the world, not only was Heaven foreign to humans, homo sapiens were foreign to Heaven. I imagine a tall angel standing with sword drawn high while Jesus the only begotten of the Father hung between Heaven and earth. Perhaps in the moments preceding Jesus the son of man’s last breath the angel looked on the crucifixion scene, fascinated by human cruelty and depravity. Perhaps he turned to God and said, “Elohim, I stand ready to fulfill Your will. But Sir…are You sure?” Nevertheless, on command, the angel split that veil from top to bottom, and the heavens opened. They remain open to this day. God with humans, in both our current states. Immanuel, God with us (Isaiah 7:14).

This new reality opens a lifetime of exploration. We start to see reasons why the practice of fasting our biological necessities at certain times adds power to our pressing into Heaven. Jesus’ act of laying aside His heavenly reputation takes on a whole new meaning as we begin to comprehend the implications of His identification with our common physical selves. We understand that none of us, not one, is completely spiritual in any ethereal way because we are all experiencing Heaven in this current state of “bios”. We become painfully aware that once we have believed we can no longer separate His reputation from ours. We’re in this together.

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Hath broken every barrier down;
Now to be Thine, yea Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

 

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