A Robe or a Whip But For One Letter
by Beth Fiedler
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A Robe or Whip But for One Letter ©2008 Beth Ann Fiedler 3/64. All Rights Reserved.
Writing on the topic of Jesus’s farewell to His disciples in a devotional titled, “On Saying Good-by” that appeared in the New International Version Women’s Devotional Bible, Gloria Gaither turned a phrase from Jesus’s words that caught my attention. It refers to the passages of scripture in John 14-17 where Christ prayed for his disciples and all believers as He promised the indwelling Spirit.
“When you feel lonely or afraid, rely on my promise that I have insulated you in prayer and you belong to me.” (NIVWDB, p. 1169.)
Though it appears in another part of the New Testament, I was greatly reminded of a passage in scripture where the letter ‘m’ was praised by royalty in times past.
26 “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.” (I Corinthians 1:26.)
In fact, I believe the phrase uttered was, “Thank God for the letter ‘m’.”
However, the word in question for me is not ‘many’ but ‘insulated’. As a result, it is not the letter ‘m’ but for one letter ‘a’ that caused me to pause and to reflect further on the work of the Holy Spirit whereby I was conveniently led to ‘The Work of the Holy Spirit’ which is a prevalent subtitle in the book of John 16.
14 “He (the Holy Spirit) will bring glory to me by taking what is mine and making it known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.”
Later, Paul confirms ‘The Wisdom From the Spirit’ in I Cor. 2:6-16, ‘Life Through the Spirit’ and ‘Future Glory’ in Romans 8 and in particular the prayers and continued intercession of the Spirit in Rom. 8:26-27:
26 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.”
How different and blessed is the prayer of Christ through the Holy Spirit compared to what is often heard today. As a result, I can only conclude that we still suffer from our own thirst and hunger. Yet, we still have hope in that the Old and the New Testament offer illustrations of Christ’s ‘insulated’ alternative.
The Old Testament offers a foreshadowing of Christ and His forgiveness as one son stared at and reported the nakedness of his Father Noah as the other two sought to cover their father’s nakedness. (See Genesis 9:18-29.) We who are truthful, often find the sin of others equally fascinating and stare and discuss it but do not think to do the simple task of reaching for a blanket. Why is this so? Have we so quickly forgotten God’s grace upon our own sins? Is it really so much easier to offer insults than it is to insulate? Further, it is also an unfortunate fact that at some point in the future, those who watch the sins of others so closely will begin to attribute to the sons the sin for which they sacrificially ‘covered’ for their father. That is further evidence of the way of the hungry and thirsty in the world. But, if we focused instead on the fact that Christ has ‘covered’ for us, we might yet find a way to quench our own hunger and thirst.
In the New Testament, the Lord himself speaks the truth regarding the life of a Samaritan woman at the well while not wishing the woman to suffer insult but to present her with an opportunity for her and her people to respond to His call. (See John 4.) And so she does.
In reality, we are all ‘at the well’ seeking the lasting bread and water. If truth further be told, we should know by now that this is what Christ wants for His children. He has already paid the price. Why do we seek restitution from the dying who are in need of the one thing that we should be able to offer freely since it was freely given to us? Aren’t we are all in great need of the mercy of insulated prayer? So, given the choice, consider first to offer the robe that God has already bestowed on you through the sacrificial blanket of Jesus Christ and lay down the whip of shame. It may be hard to do in this earthly flesh, but at least let us to endeavor to try in the Spirit. It might even allow some to finally see Christ before them and perhaps even to stand without fear. Oh, what a blessed day that should be.
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