Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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From Brother Billy Highfill’s response to a sermon by Pastor John Clark
Hey Pastor John,
That sure was a good [prayer] meeting this morning. I got a lot of good out of it. At one point you said that Jesus had showed you that the reason he prayed and sought God for hours at a time and sometimes all night was that he knew that he needed help overcoming the flesh and obeying God. That shed some light that I’d never seen before. I’m familiar with the Scriptures in Hebrews where it says that he was tempted in all points as we are, and that it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, etc., but it just never entered my mind that he had difficulty with his flesh sometimes. I guess I assumed he’d won that battle while being tempted in the wilderness. It’s comforting to know that he really does know and understand the things we go through.
I remember in the fall of 2001 when I’d began to really seek God for the baptism of the holy Ghost. One night I was lying in bed grieving for the shortcomings that I was experiencing, and I cried out to God that it was bigger than I was and that if He didn’t help me I’d be lost. I didn’t realize it until after I had received the baptism of the holy Ghost that at that point God had me right where He wanted me. One evening I was driving home from work listening to a meeting CD about maintaining the fear of God and not losing it, and again I found myself crying out to God that it was bigger than I was and if He didn’t help me, I’d be lost. I realized then that He still had me right where He wanted me. This morning I realized that it was because I was being like Jesus.
Thanks for the response, Brother Billy. That is a wonderful testimony.
I think one of the most encouraging truths we can get from this message is that it shows us that Jesus was sinless because he stayed filled with the Spirit, not because he was part of an exclusive three-member club which men call “the Trinity”. This simple truth is encouraging because it means that when Jesus ascended to the Father and offered himself for our sins, the Father sent us the same thing Jesus depended on for spiritual strength when he was a man living on earth. In other words, it means that we can live without sin, as Jesus did, if we stay full of the Spirit, as Jesus did.
Jesus was serious about needing his Father’s power to overcome the deceptive power of both his own flesh and the spirits of this world. He prayed for it “with strong crying and tears” (Heb. 5:7). He was persistent. He often sought power and wisdom from God; he continually asked for it; he knocked on heaven’s door until it opened to him; he hungered and thirsted for the righteousness of his Father. And because he did, he was filled with the Spirit. This is how our savior knew to tell us that if anyone hungers and thirsts for righteousness, he will be filled. He knew by experience, not theory.
It is true that Jesus was “one of us”, but he was not just any “one of us”. He was one of us who saw his desperate need of God and did something about it. He was one of us who hungered and thirsted for righteousness and was filled with the holy Ghost as a result. He was not one of us who fails to repent and draw close to God when we see how far from God the nature of our flesh is. He saw it, and ran to his Father as hard as he could go.