Bible reading: beyond the mechanics

In engineering technology, there is the division into mechanical and electrical parts. The mechanical aspect is the structure, how things are positioned one to one another, move one on another.

We realise that mechanical energy, which is energy due to movement of parts, can lead to electrical energy, which is about flow of energy through conductors.

Also electric energy can lead to mechanical energy, I am talking about devices that we use.

What does any of these have to do with bible reading?


The point is that in bible reading/study, which is a device in our spiritual life, there are also those two parts.

There is nothing spiritual about having a bible if you do not read and study it. At the basic level, reading the bible is the mechanical aspect, while the study should be electrical/electronics aspect.

The mechanical is less exciting than the electrical, that is why electrical/electronics (more complex and varied) has evolved more than mechanical engineering.

We now have software, biomedical, bio-informatics, robotics, etc. The electrical makes things more and more sophisticated, while the mechanical can remain the same over centuries.

There are may angles to bible study (electrical), but reading is reading and it is still basic. For something to be mechanical, it has to do about repetition, it is about how parts connect and relate to one another for consistency. A good mechanical device is meant to deliver movement on a consistent basis, without fail.


Paul said give attention to reading. Reading can be very boring, maybe because the concept being examined may not lead to an immediate application, but don’t we read books, novel, not because they are of any benefit, but because of the feeling we derive from it?

So we should read the bible because, among other things, of the feeling of closeness to God it gives us.

But the bible is a little different from novels because the number of pages is finite and after reading four chapters a day starting from Genesis, you will be through it in Aa year. And somebody asked me: after I have finished it, what do I do? I said start all over again.

That is the mechanics. We have daily devotionals meant to help people read the bible daily. There is something mechanical about that. It ensures that without fail, you put your nose in the scriptures. The Berean Jews were described by Paul as being noble, because they searched the scriptures daily. The word “daily” is a mechanical word. It is about routine.

To search is to study and that is the electrical. Our study can become more sophisticated, as we use Strong’s concordance, different bible versions, and the varying length of time we have to devote to it, the particular topic we are interested in, or book, or, character. The variation in study is almost infinite, but the reading is not. It is merely moving from verse to verse, chapter to chapter, book to book.
Jesus said that the Pharisees err because they know neither the scriptures not the power of God. The more we read the bible, regardless of how boring we think some parts are, the more we know the scriptures. There is no magic to it. The power of God, however, is not mechanical, it is electrical, it is a flow of the Holy Spirit.

What we need is a balance of study and the reading. While bible reading can be mechanical, study cannot be mechanical. It has to be based on interest, being another variable. Reading is unidirectional, study is multidirectional.

You can have reading without study, but you cannot have study without reading. You can have mechanical energy without electrical energy (bicycle) you can’t have electrical energy without some structure, mechanics to it.

The basic relationship we should have with the bible is reading. Reading is not complex, it can be done at anytime, without any complexity. But study is inherently complex.

When we read we take in the word of God, we just eat it, we are not so concerned about how it will work in our spiritual system, we may not even totally understand it, but we take it in. We store the word God in our hearts.
Then the Holy Spirit, the electrical man himself, can bring the word to our remembrance, turning that we read into spiritual energy in our lives. When we read we are using mechanical energy, we expend energy as we read, on a daily basis but after the Holy Spirit moves on what we have read, it becomes something else, it because understanding because He is the Spirit of understanding.

There is no understanding before reading, just as there is no experience of the Holy Spirit without Jesus. Jesus is mechanics, Holy Spirit is electrical. The Holy Spirit is exciting while the people, even his disciples found Jesus sort of “one kind”. He said many things that did not click in the minds of the disciples, but Jesus did not worry, He said that the Holy Spirit will sort that out.

Stay with the mechanics, and do not allow yourself to be taken away from it.

The following will take you away:

1. Lack of conviction that the 66books in the bible is the word of God.

2. Not convinced that all parts of the scriptures is from God, and it serves as the gateway to the understanding of GOD.

3. Not realising that the words of scriptures is always profitable.

4. Not believing that you need the word just as the a baby needs milk, for your spiritual life.

We love the spark of new revelation, but the spark moves on the mechanics of the reading.

Jesus said to Peter, “follow me.” It is mechanical to follow him. It is a day by day thing, it is a matter of neglecting other things to follow him. Along the way some people got offended in Jesus because of some of the claims he made about himself.

That was a test for Peter whether he would continue to follow the word or not. Those people were following but did not follow till the end. They got tired with the mechanics of following, the listening without full understanding, the confrontation with their preconceived notion of things.

But Peter did not dwell on those things, rather he said to Jesus, you have the words of eternal life. He went beyond the mechanics of the word to discover that there is more in the words than immediately meet the eyes.

You should go beyond the mechanics of the word, while realising that you cannot do without it. The mechanics is the foundation, it gives strength, while the electrical part gives the direction.

Someone said he wants God to open his eyes for him to behold wondrous things out of his laws.

He did not give up on the word, when it was not making sense to him, rather he asked God to turn the mechanics of it to electrical energy, the wondrous things, the electrifying things, the empowering things.

You move beyond the mechanics, but keeping an healthy respect for it, keep up the mechanics, valuing it because you know without it, the electrical dimension may be out of control or not work at all.

Resurrection

John 20:17: Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” (ESV)

The resurrection of Jesus is a promise of what will happen to all of us who believe in him.

Those who orchestrated the crucifixion of Jesus, the Pharisees especially, have a vested interest in keeping the story of the resurrection quiet when it broke out (Matthew 28:11-15).

They decided to give the guards at his tomb money so that they will spread an alternative story, that the disciples stole his body. Therefore, even when the story of the resurrection spreads, the other story also gets mixed up in it, and the people, would at least, be confused, not quite knowing what to embrace. That is what the devil wants.

God wants something different and he commissioned the Holy Spirit for it. He wants the story of the resurrection of his son spread abroad, to focus attention on him, to showcase him as the lamb which takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), as the one true king, as the way, truth and life (John 14:6), to lift him up so that men will be drawn to him (John 12:32) for justification, sanctification and glorification (1Corinthians 1:30, Romans 8:30).

The resurrection was completed in the ascension which Jesus was talking about in the focus verse (John 20:17).In the ascension he paved a way for us to gain access to the father in the fullest, extent, just he has.

The resurrection is all goodies for us.

Devotion

John 11:2: It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. (ESV)

One thing marked Mary out- her devotion to Jesus. There cannot be devotion without attachment and commitment.

In the area of attachment, we saw Mary sit at the feet of Jesus drawing words from him, risking the anger of her sister who was busy for Jesus (Luke 10:38-42). There was an attachment to seeing the face of Jesus, to spending time with him,

But Mary did not stop there, from the focus verse we see that Mary did things for Jesus (she sat at the feet of Jesus, and cleaned them with her hair), but because she was coming from the base on personal devotion, her public devotion was on point. Later Jesus will say, she prepared him for burial (Luke 26:6-13).

She did not just identify with Jesus privately, she did it publicly also, lavishing him with worship. She exhibited uncommon commitment in the acts she took, pouring on Jesus a precious ointment and also wiping his feet with her hair (financial and physical commitment).

She was not content to show love to Jesus in her room, but she made it public. Everyone in the room witnessed her devotion, and she received commendation for that, for what she gave to Jesus and the risk she took, the dirt she cleaned off Jesus to take on herself, she did not care how she looked in order to make Jesus look good.

 

Heir of all things spiritual, physical and of the soul

hawks-215052_640Hebrews 1:2: but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. (ESV)

Jesus is the heir of all thing but we are joint heirs with him (Romans 8:17). But can you imagine the one who is the heirs of all things having to pass through the ignoble death of
the cross?

Jesus in a parable referred to himself as the son of the owner of a garden who was beaten and killed by those to whom were trusted the garden, in reference to the Pharisees (Luke 20:1-16).

Jesus the heir of all things was beaten, he was crushed, because he is not just the heir of all things but through him the world was created. It was for the purpose of generating the new creature those who will reign with him, that motivated by love, he shed his blood.

It was necessary for him to do that because according to what he said himself: except a grain of seed falls to the ground it abides alone but if it falls it will bring forth much fruit (John 12:24-25). From the sacrifice of a grain you have many.

The heirs of all things is also the creator of all things. The problem with this old creature was that we became infested with sin and Jesus had to bear our sins as the creator, to make the way back to God not clear for us. Jesus is therefore our all in all. He is the wisdom of God, our righteousness, our sanctification (1Corinthians 1:30). He is the embodiment of the divine I Am.

Remember that Moses asked God: who I should say sent me when I go to tell the children of Israel that someone has asked me to lead them out of bondage to Pharaoh to bring them a glorious land?

God told him: tell them I Am sent you (Exodus 3:14).

I am what?

The completion of that was embodied by Jesus who is the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9), the manifest depiction of the unseen God.

So Jesus said: I Am is the door for the sheep to go in and out and find pasture.

I Am the way the truth and life,

I Am the shepherd that lays his life for the sheep (John 10).

I Am the light of the World (John 9).

He is God, he is the Word. He has endless greatness. The bible says to the increase of his kingdom of peace there shall be no end (Isaiah 9:7).

That is the force of his person. The limitlessness of Jesus is reflected in the name. He has been given a name that is above every other name, and at the name of Jesus everything must bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, of things in heaven, on earth and under the earth (Philippians 2:5-11).

The death of Jesus was so that he can come into us, and in a day thousands of people can become new creatures becuase now Jesus is a life-giving spirit (1Corinthians 15:45), having been the firstborn from the dead, to lead us all from that bondage of death, from the judgement of death into life. He said that those who believe in him have passed from death into life, taking us into his unlimited realm (John 5:24).

All things can be divided into three: things physical, of the soul and spiritual, of which he is heir of and we are joint heirs with him.

Physical

Paul asked: God who did not refuse to give us his son, how much more will be together with him, freely give all things to those who love him (Romans 8:32)? He also said that godliness has a promise of a life that now is.

It was in the wilderness that the devil tempted Jesus with the ownership of the kingdoms of the world (Matthew 4:1-11), but after his death and resurrection Jesus said: all power in heaven and on earth has been given to me (Matthew 28:18).

Also all the physical things that were made, he made them. We read: in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God, and through him was everything made and without him nothing was made (John 1:1-5).

In Christ are not just the things spiritual but also physical. Paul prayed that God will supply some people’s needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

When he said that the disciples should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and they imagined he was hinting at them not bringing food along, he reminded them about the time he multiplied a few loaves of bread to feed thousands, twice, telling them that things physical are not beyond his ability to make available (Matthew 16:6-10).

Of the soul

There are things that pertains to the soul which Jesus can provide for us, and which are ours because we are joint heirs with Christ.

Jesus said we should come to him so that we might find rest for our soul (Matthew 11:28-30). His word also has the power to convert the soul. The soul speaks of the will, the emotions and the mind, and Paul wrote that God has not given us the Spirit of fear which primarily casts its influence on the soul, but the spirit (a definition of spirit is “unseen influence”) that God wants to influence us is the spirit of love power and sound mind, affecting the emotion, will and mind respectively (2Timothy 1:6-7).

Spirit

There are also spiritual things that are Christ’s. We share his Spirit (Romans 8:9), we share his father’s house (John 14:1-3). As the heir of all things, Jesus is the landlord in heaven and through faith as we come into him we have what he has, we become co-occupants of heaven.

He said he was going to come back so that where he goes we may be also. He said: In my father’s house there are many mansions, I go to prepare a place for you. It is his father’s house and we share his sonship of the father when we become believer.

We also share his purpose. He said: as the father send me, I also send you (John 20:21). By the connection he brought us into with the father and the Spirit, making us children of God and having the Spirit upon and inside us, we have access to some spiritual gifts, to walk in the supernatural on the earth, expressing mercy, teaching God’s word, revealing mysteries. In all these, we share the ministry of Jesus. Purpose speaks of identity and mission, which we share spiritually with Jesus.

From death to life

gulls-654046_6402Corinthians 4:10: always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. (ESV)

We need to understand how the salvation plan is about moving us from death to life. This is because, if you do not understand the problem, you will not appreciate the solution. No one knows the problem of man better than God and he has set the solution in order.

If you think the problem of man will be solved with better education, you are mistaken. Paul was well educated but was still spiritually lost.

If you think the answer is in more resources, you miss the point. Jesus told of a rich man who went to hell (Luke 16:19-31), and he spoke a parable about a man who was condemned because he was not rich towards God (Luke 12:13-21). Jesus warned against covetousness saying that the life of a man does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses. A rich man came to Jesus asking that he should show him the way to life, at the end of the discussion, it was clear that the man had more love for wealth than for God (Matthew 19:16-23). God and wealth are not one and the same.

If you think that the solution to man’s problem is religion, you could not be farther from the truth.  Jesus reserved his most scathing rebuke for the Pharisees. He warned the apostles against the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy (Luke 12:1). He said that if our righteousness does not exceed that of the Pharisees who were seen as the epitome of righteousness in that time, they will not be accepted by God (Matthew 5:20).

As mentioned before, he labelled them hypocrites, people who say things but don’t do them, pretending to be religious when people are looking but full of inner rot. So forget the path of being religious, putting on appearances.

Jesus told them that though they are devoted to the scriptures it will do them no good, as it did not lead them to him (John 5:39-40). He is the life. He said to the disciples: I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through me (John 14:6).

The judgement that was levelled against man in the Garden of Eden for eating the forbidden fruit was death (Genesis 2:15-17). At that time the consequence of death was not something Adam and Eve could appreciate, it was later on after they have experienced the full spectrum of the implication of disobeying God that they started to understand what they got us all into.

They tasted good in the Garden of Eden but did not pass it to their children. There, everything was for their enjoyment, but after sin, it was the bad and the ugly because of the rule of death.

But in Christ we come from death into life. We come from grass to grace, from death to glory. While before our condition is that we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23-24), the message now is that we have been justified freely through the death of Jesus. The bible says that Jesus tasted death for us all.

The opposite of life is death. While death means we go down, life means we go up, while death means we get diminished, life says that we get increased, while death says we are corrupt, life says that we are purified. Life speaks of glory, death speaks of fear, shame, and destruction; life is about light while death is about darkness.

The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2). The point is that if we do not come to Jesus we would not experience true freedom. We would be wandering in darkness.

We are called to embrace the life that is Jesus. The bible says that God has given us eternal life and that life is hidden in his son. To receive Jesus is to receive light and to receive light is to experience life. But if we reject him we will have chosen death by default.

The wrath of God for death is resting on all men, but there is a way of escape through Jesus. Through him, we come from death into life (John 5:24).

In the time of Noah the only way to escape, to pass from the judgement that was determined on the humans on the earth, was to enter into the ark made by Noah (Genesis 6-8). There was no alternative. It was interesting that the same God who was going to destroy all flesh also made a way of escape.

Escaping starts with a decision. It starts with taking the words of Noah the preacher of righteousness at that time serious, speaking of an impending destruction coming to the earth. It has to do with a personal decision. But the people doubted.

They continued in the routine, but Noah and his family went inside the ark and was spared death and destruction. But the others had themselves to blame, for 120 years when Noah built the ark it was the extension of God’s hand of mercy to God to take the way of escape, but they did not hear.

In a story told by Jesus, a rich man died and went into hell, but afterwards he asked Abraham to send Lazarus who on dying had gone to paradise, Abraham’s bosom, to his five brothers. He said Abraham should send Lazarus to warn his five brothers of the errors of their ways. (the five brothers could stand for the five continents of the world.)

But Abraham said that even if someone comes from the dead they will still not believe. That was how effective Satan’s deception on the earth was. But Abraham said that they have the law and prophets to guide them to truth.

In other words they have the bible to show us the way of life, if we will heed it, if we will be willing to see Jesus presented as the way, the truth and the life, and come to him in faith.

Being with Jesus

elephant-692126_640Acts 4:13: Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. (ESV)

Being with Jesus is all about hunger for him. We seek him for his wisdom and power (1Corinthians 1:24).

Wisdom

As the Word, Jesus represents the will of the father. In the Sermon on the Mount, he made some remarks about prevailing idea concerning the word of God. He said “you have heard that it is wrong to commit fornication, however, I tell you the truth, even if you look at a woman to lust after her, in the heart, the fornication has taken place (Matthew 5:27-29).”

He shows us that thoughts are things. He said that sin is not about what goes into you, but what comes out of you in evil thoughts (Mark 7:14-23). His focus was on the inner workings of the mind, and that definitely makes us realise that we truly need forgiveness and mercy, grace for reconciliation with God and not of works.

Jesus is the fullness of the Godhead bodily, i.e. God’s full representative being God, and he draws our attention to what happens in the heart. Though what he said was not completely new, he focused on it like a laser. He spoke of the Pharisees as being full of dead men’s bones and white on the outside, being whitewashed sepulchres (Matthew 23:25-28).

God told the Israelites: you people honour me with your lips but your heart is far from me. What goes on in the heart, in thought, is as important as what is done, because the latter comes before the former. The inner cannot be faked, while the outer can be. That is why we can have hypocrites, which was Jesus’ famous descriptions of the Pharisees (Luke 12:1). Jesus also says out of the abundance of the heart speaks the mouth (Matthew 12:34).

In a major parable that he said is important to understanding others parable that he used to describe the kingdom of God, Jesus talked about different kinds of hearts and the different impact the word can have on the heart (Mark 4:1-34). The Old Testament said that from our heart is the issue of life (Proverbs 4:23).

Jesus spoke about the inward knowing of the truth which begins with continuing in his word. These dynamics of wisdom were manifested in the life of Jesus. He is the gate to our knowing God as we should. He rebuked one of the disciples that he was wrong to still ask for the father, if he had seen him (John 14:7-9). Whoever you think you know without passing through Jesus, the door, is no knowledge.

Wisdom is important because it tells us how to get things done without wasting our time, without exerting energy in futility. The bible says that the labour of fools wears them out because they do not know how to get to the city (Ecclesiastes 10:15). Their problem was not lack of motion but a lack of wisdom.

Jesus being the wisdom of God is the download of the divine how-tos. He told Nicodemus, except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:1-8). That divine edit cannot be modified. Many people make some religious effort, but those are nothing better than beating the air in which effort was being made, but nothing is changed. Except a man be born again, not improved upon, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Jesus has a special concern for those who are heavy laden and labouring without much result, inviting them to himself, being the Wisdom that leads to rest (Matthew 11:28-30). Since he created Man, he knows how to make him function best, and at rest is the best, in a state of connection with God, it is wisdom and it is rest. He said men ought always to pray and not to faint. Jesus does not just give wisdom, he is wisdom, he embodies it and when we embody him, he flows through us in that dimension.

Power

We also need to know the power that Jesus represents. He said we shall receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon us and we shall witnesses to him (Acts 1:8). We will witness by our lives who Jesus was in power while he walked the earth.

Jesus did not walk the earth without power, he expects nothing less from us. While on earth he operated in the power of heaven and, therefore, dominated on the earth, because what is of heaven is above what is of the earth. The Holy Spirit was the resources that Jesus used to great effect in this life

The demonstration of the power of God in the miraculous can bring thousands to repentance in one fell sweep. Philip went to Samaria to preach and with the demonstration of the miracles the lame, for example walked, and as one man, the people believed in Jesus, believed the message that Phillip preached that he was God’s messenger to tell them the truth about the saviour (Acts 8).

It takes power to experience supernatural multiplication, Jesus was able to feed though with a few loaves of bread and some fish because of the power of God at work in his life (John 6:1-16). That is also the effect of the power of God in our lives. It does not matter the number, when the power of God is displayed, all needs are met.

At a time, Jesus was in a house preaching and the bible says that the power of God was present to heal and it did not matter the illness there would be a solution (Luke 5:17). There was a time power was flowing from the body of Jesus and those who touched him became healed. Such power is available for us to walk in because as it is written, Jesus said that those who believe in him will exhibit a greater level of supernatural work (John 14:12).

God has empowered our words to be instruments to deliver power. Through words God made the world. The bible says that where the word of a king is there is power (Ecclesiastes 8:10). And Jesus has made us kings (Revelation 5:10).When we hear from God and act on it, there will be the expression of power in our lives.

The power breaks down the barriers that the devil erects. Jesus said that a strong man who guides his prison house is formidable and cannot be easily defeated, but when a stronger-than-he comes along, he removes the armour in which he trusts and plunder his goods (Luke 11:21-22).

That does not mean the strong man had stopped being strong, but since a stronger man has shown up on the scene it will be as if he was not strong at all.

The devil had power but Jesus coming shows that “power pass power.” Jesus is the power of God, he is the means for God to render the devil useless as if has no power. Look at how Jesus dealt with evil spirits, it was no competition, it was demolition, he was light and there was darkness (John 1:1-7). There is only so much darkness can do in the presence of light. It disappears, it will be as nothing and a thing of nought (Isaiah 41:12).

The Spirit of control

sumatran-tiger-518771_640 (1)John 19:12: From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” (ESV)

Control is about the enforcement of one will on another. Here we see Pilate who was really bored about the case against Jesus, convinced there was no substance in it, convinced that Jesus was not a real threat that should be summarily dealt with in the crucifixion on the cross.

However, Jesus was an existential threat to the control the Pharisees had over the religious life of the people and how that makes them really important. Because they position themselves as living examples of closeness to God, they saw themselves as a privileged group that cannot afford to lose their position, and must get rid of Jesus by any means.

They exerted control on the people to demand that Pilate crucify Jesus, giving the picture that any other choice and there will be turmoil everywhere (Mark 15:10-16). Those who want to control you, operating by a spirit of control, comes to you with doomsday scenario. The devil came to Eve, saying you need to eat the fruit (which God said not to eat) or you will forever fall short of your potentials (Genesis 3).

He came to Jesus, saying: you better turn bread to wine or else you will die here (Luke 4:1-13). Jezebel caused Elijah to flee off when she said: I am going to so kill you, you will become irrelevant afterwards (1Kings 19:1-4).

It is the voice of the devil saying: if you do not steal that money you will be poor all your life, like your father was. In a way, you cannot be controlled if you do not have painted a fatal picture of an impending doom on the template of your heart, by some means, e.g. word.

Some people wanting to control Jesus said: you better run away because Herod wants to kill you (John 13:31-33). In response, Jesus announced his understanding of this purpose and timing, and without that he will be tossed to and fro by the divergent information coming his way.

Beware of those who flatter you, because that is also a means of control, making you to feel comfortable with them and therefore susceptible to whatever suggestion they bring, striking you like a serpent, after moving on your body with the coolness of its skin.

Jesus responded to a man who called him a good teacher, saying: nobody is good except God (Matthew 19:16-17). When Nicodemus came to him saying he is the best thing that can happen, he redirected the conversation (John 3).

When certain people came from a far distance to see Jesus, he immediately spoke about his impending death in a parable of seed and harvest. He refused to be cornered by flattery.

Some people wanted to make him king but he avoided them (John 6:14-15). When the one in the spirit of control praises you, it is to bind you to his will, it comes with strings attached. It is always about what they have to gain, when all is said and done, not your fulfilment.

The Pharisees painted a doomsday picture in the mind of Pilate, saying: “since this man (Jesus) calls himself king, if you do not crucify him it means you are not really in support of Caesar, and therefore has a seed of rebellion yourself. You are definitely not Caesar’s friend (John 19:1-18).”

They threatened to expose him as a fraud if he does not bend to their will. That was blackmail. When somebody threatens to expose you, to gain something from you, then you are looking at a man manifesting the spirit of control.

That was what they did when they announced that anyone who believed in Jesus will be put of the synagogue. The Pharisees laid it out that they were going to disfellowship anyone who believes in Jesus. That was an attempt to slow Jesus and the advancement he was making down in introducing the people to a new way of doing things, i.e. the ways of God.

Even Nicodemus a famous man in Israel among the religious leaders could not publicly identify with Jesus; that was how strong the spirit of control operating in the generality of the Pharisees was (John 3).

The spirit of control is about conformity and that extends to even seemingly inconsequential issues, like colour of clothes.

Some Jews who became Christians preached that you cannot be saved expect you practice circumcision, but Paul said that they want to glory in the appearance of the people (Galatians 6:12-14). Again, it is about conformity, and the controller’s benefit, how he appears to be really in control in the eyes of the observer. When rules about externality become the judgment of rightness, then the spirit of control has run amok. When rules are made as layers above (and covering) the written word of God, then we have the spirit of control in maturity.

Jesus accused the Pharisees not because they upheld the scriptures, but for giving their tradition a higher weight that the word of God (Mark 7:1-23). Anywhere that happens in any religious setting, we have an expression of the spirit of control.

Any closed system with a leader or leaders that cannot be questioned is rife with the spirit of control. Jesus has no evil spirit of control operating in hm. He once asked Peter and others: do you also what to leave me (John 6:66-69)?

He did not declare curses on them if they leave, he did not wish they harm if they leave. He gives them choices, but where a spirit of control operates that does not happen. You are not free, it is either their way or the highway.

The spirit of control also operates where there is no mercy. Jesus accused the Pharisees of that saying: they tithe to the least thing but they leave out other important part of the word of God, which includes mercy and faith (Matthew 23). Anywhere where the external is more important than the internal we have the operation of the spirit of control.

In John chapter nine, two parents refused to identify their son (who was born blind) as the man who was healed by Jesus because they did not want to be ostracised from the community where the Pharisees held sway. They do not want to be on the wrong end of the spirit of control’s stick.

When such a system exists it is ripe for divine judgment. And that was what happened, some years after they killed Jesus, when the temple was destructed.

In a way, the temple had replaced God in their scheme of things. It had become something else. Jesus said my father’s house (the temple) has become a den of thieves, when it was meant to be a house of prayers for all nations (Mark 15:15-19). Because of the spirit of control in them, the affairs of the temples rises and falls on what the administrators have to gain, and it ceases to be a place for everyone to connect with God, irrespective of your background. The temple represents the hold of the Pharisees and priest on the people and not God’s.

Jesus declared woe on the Pharisees. The judgement did not happened immediately but it eventually did. They were the epitome of pride, thinking that everyone should differ to them because of the devotion to the scriptures, prayer and fasting.

If that was it, things would have been manageable, but they create myriads of traditions, to render non effect the word of God. They made themselves gods through the traditions that they made to render the word of God of no effect.

Even God said his word is above his name (Psalm 138:2), but these people make their own word to be on the same level as the word of God, to make a name for themselves. That is the symptom of the spirit of control. When you say: I have a special revelation that cancels out a word of the bible that means you want to put the people under your own control and not that of God.

Jesus gave one example, saying that they cancel out the word of God which says people should honour their father and mother by saying that if they say to their parents whatever I want to give to you is dedicated to God, then they do not have to give their parents anything (Matthew 15:1-6).

The spirit of control operates in people who are blinded by their own feeling of self-importance. Thinking they have no need they reject all help that can and have come their way.

Jesus quoting the word God spoke to Isaiah, said: seeing they will not perceive, hearing they will not understand lest they repent and they are healed (Matthew 13:9-16, Isaiah 6:9-10).

The Pharisees with their spirit of control was the epitome of the order of things into the Old Testament, have no genuine perception. They killed the Word (Jesus) the scriptures they were reading pointed them to. As mentioned before, Jesus said they are blind leaders of the blind and both will end in the pit. And it is written, there is one who seeks to control others, but in the end he hurts himself (Ecclesiastes 8:9).