Supermen; June 17, 2018

Luke 7:28 “I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

I think we have a lot of trouble with the implications of this verse. John is described as one born of a woman, implying that he was a natural human being, yet his birth was miraculous in a number of ways, as specifically Luke records in the 1st Chapter. Both his parents are spoken of as being “filled with the Holy Spirit,” his mother before his birth, when Mary visited her, (1:41) and his father after he was born. (1:67) However, those were momentary fillings, just as various people in the Old Testament experienced. What Jesus is saying is that being born again by the Holy Spirit (John 3:5-6) puts us into a different, supernatural category. John was a demonstration that a human being can be magnificent indeed, but Jesus is saying that those who are born again by grace through faith are more than human. People have dreamed of that sort of thing from the dawn of history, and literature and philosophy are filled with “supermen” of various sorts. Right now I’m reading a science fiction book that is no exception. However, God’s plan for supermen (and women) doesn’t look like any of that. In God’s kingdom, the first shall be last, (Mark 10:31) and the way up is down. (Matthew 20:26-27) Most Christians fail to recognize how special they are, because the devil desperately wants to keep them from doing so. However, Paul took the believers in Corinth to task because they were “acting like mere men.” (1 Corinthians 3:3) How are believers supermen? By manifesting the love and grace of God in circumstances that totally overload the simply human soul. The Romans noted that the early believers “really know how to love each other, and they really know how to die.” Even those killing them recognized they were special, just as the Centurion did at Jesus’ death. (Mark 15:39) That’s not the kind of “super power” most people aspire to! We tend to look at the gifts of the Holy Spirit as things to augment and inflate us, just like science fiction books write about, when God intends them as tools of service, to build others up. We have to accept God’s definition of a superman before we can recognize that He has put us into that category.

This of course applies to me. I was slow to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit because I was seeking the gift of tongues more than I was seeking the Giver. Once I got that straightened out, all of the gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12 have manifested in and through me at various times, but always in relation to blessing others. Even the gift of tongues, that seems on the surface to be least suited for that, has been very helpful in praying for situations where I really had no idea how to pray. Even I fail to recognize things of God’s kingdom because I have a distorted idea of what that kingdom is like. Sometimes I try to be a “John the Baptist,” when Jesus has said that’s aiming far too low! I need to release myself to God so that He can manifest Himself in and through me, for His purposes and His glory. Only then will I be the “superman” He wants me to be.

Father, thank You for this Word. I’m reminded of the article I read recently about such things as “drown-proofing,” where in order to succeed we have to learn not to try. Help me surrender fully to You, not to be passive or lazy but to allow You full control, so that Your purposes may be fulfilled indeed, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah”

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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