All our circumstances are woven together in a combined pattern by the pre-planned order of God.
Bethlehem for us is when we receive Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour. We are the Bethlehem where the Son of God enters into us. He is born in us spiritually by the Holy Spirit as truly as He was born in the womb of the virgin Mary physically by the Holy Spirit. Immediately a new life begins within us but it is just the beginning. Don’t linger too long in Bethlehem. Jesus didn’t, He went on to the greater things of maturing and so should we. Some Christians never (Ephesians 4:15) grow up in Christ beyond the new birth. They remain as babies and know nothing of maturing in all things and in all ways in a life of obedience and intimacy with God. Pentecost begins in Bethlehem so we have to journey on from Bethlehem. If we trace the path of Jesus, we will see that (John 8:29) He did only the things that pleased God. He was not distracted by the words, opinions and criticisms of others. Even His own family at one time (Mark 3:21) said He was insane. Later two of His formerly unbelieving brothers, James and Jude, were transformed and inspired by the Holy Spirit to write 2 of the Books in the holy Bible. Because Jesus was available without measure to God, the Holy Spirit was given (John 3:34) without measure to Him.
Nothing happened to Jesus or happens to us by chance. What does it mean that (Romans 8:28) all things work together for good? All our circumstances are woven together in a combined pattern by the pre-planned order of God. There is nothing by chance for an obedient Christian. (Oswald Chambers) calls this “the undetected sacredness of circumstances.”
If the MAN Jesus had not risen from the dead, the Holy Spirit could not have come. Of course, the Son of God would not die and He would continue in His unending eternal life. But all hope for mankind would have been dashed forever. Can you imagine how hopeless and helpless we would be without the Holy Spirit and if (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) our bodies were not His temple? The path from Bethlehem to Pentecost led through Gethsemane, through Calvary and then through, but leaving behind in striking witness, the empty tomb. Because that tomb is empty of Jesus, our lives can be filled with Jesus. Are we on the path of obedience? Like the old hymn says, “It is the way of the Cross that leads Home.” If you look with the eyes of your heart, you will see the shadow of the Cross in Bethlehem and that is what makes Bethlehem possible for me. (That last sentence, spoken suddenly to me by the Holy Spirit, fills my heart with feelings beyond words because Jesus (John 18:11) was born to die.)
Jesus was born in Bethlehem in order to die on Calvary so that He could ascend to heaven to arrange Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit to make Bethlehem possible for us with all the glory of a new life.
I can truly call God “Father” but this holy relationship and privilege came at tremendous cost. I can call God my Father only because there was a time when Jesus could not. Your sin and mine was taken by Jesus on Himself and our sin separated Jesus from the Father and severed Their relationship. Can we grasp even a little of the terrifying horror that Jesus experienced when He could only address (Matthew 27:46) Sovereign Deity as God, the God Who forsook and abandoned Him? But even in the complete aloneness and darkness of that devil-filled day, Jesus remembered God’s plan and He persevered. How do we know that Jesus completely, victoriously, triumphantly conquered? Listen! Are you listening? If you are you will hear His voice from the Cross and you will know that He finished so victoriously that (Luke 23:46) Jesus can call God “Father” again. He did fully all that was necessary to restore His relationship with His Father and made that same relationship possible for you and me. In the Holy of Holies there was a dividing veil which separated us from the Presence of God, but through His torn flesh (Isaiah 53:5) and shed Blood, He tore away that killing veil and made us fit to live continually in God’s Presence and to be (Ephesians 3:12, Ephesians 3:19, Colossians 2:10) filled with the Godhead, the Triune God.
Could we ever be thankful enough?
What does it mean (Romans 8:26) that the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf because we don’t know how to pray as we ought? (Oswald Chambers) “In His providence God is bringing you into places and among people and into conditions in order that the enterprises of the Holy Spirit in you may take a particular line. All your circumstances are in the hand of God. So never think it strange concerning the circumstances you are in. God’s purpose is to bring these people and circumstances before God’s throne and give the Spirit a chance to intercede for them. I have to keep my conscious life as a shrine of the Holy Spirit. Then, as I bring different ones before God, the Holy Spirit makes intercession for them.”
I find this very comforting and reassuring because you and I pray for many people and conditions in the world around us, of which we know very little. My body is the temple where the Holy Spirit prays. Only my disobedience can hinder His intercession in me. Jesus said (Matthew 21:13) “My house shall be called a house of prayer”, and He will cast out everything that was contrary to seeking, worshiping and obeying the Lord. Our bodies are not to be used for our own convenience.
(Oswald Chambers) “The Holy Spirit Himself prays in us prayers which we cannot utter. The Holy Spirit in us makes intercession for us according to the will of God. God searches our hearts, not to find out what our conscious prayers are but to find out what is the prayer of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit of God needs the nature of the believer as a shrine in which to offer His intercession. He looks after our unconscious part of which we know nothing but we are responsible to see that we guard the conscious part.”
I want to be faithful in doing what Jesus did and cast everything harmful, contrary, negative that ever tries to enter the temple of the Holy Spirit the temple of God. I’m getting a much fuller realization of the reality of the far – far – reaching scope and yet the very personal intimacy of the Holy Spirit within us. When we consider the individuals, denominations, church assemblies which once were steadfast in faith and eternal Truth but have caved in to greed, popularity and self-indulged carnality, we can understand why the Holy Spirit groans with groans too deep for words.
In the Word of God, we see the shining beauty and the radiant glory and the stunning holiness of our God. Who but our God could be unchanging? Everyone and everything changes. But the One True God has always been, still is and always will be the same. The magnitude of His kindness and mercy will never decrease because (Malachi 3:6) our God never changes. He does not change His mind or His decrees or His plan or His purpose. Therefore, His love never fails. It would take us a long time to try to calculate how immense is our protection and privilege because God never changes. Through time and eternity, He remains the same.
The Holy Spirit came at Pentecost after Jesus had ascended to heaven and was glorified. Pentecost for me is when I make Jesus King and Lord of my life and He has ascended to the throne of my heart where He can be glorified as He reigns as absolute Ruler in the power of the Holy Spirit. He has all the power and I have the choice. When I make that obedient choice and decision, the Holy Spirit comes in the fullness of His power to produce (Romans 5:10) the saving Life of Christ in me. Bethlehem is essential but it is only the beginning of a whole new life. For whatever time we have left on earth, let’s determine to enter into the rich fullness and prayer and promise of Pentecost.