Are We Experiencing The Enabling Presence of Jesus?
October 21, 2022God's presence, Jesus Christ
There are many perceptions regarding the return of Christ. Are we waiting for Jesus to return in the future and institute a utopian reign of the Kingdom of God? Are we expecting an antichrist to make life worse before Jesus returns? Are we anticipating Jesus will come as a visible person, poised to force God’s will on everyone? Are we experiencing the enabling presence of Jesus today?
Jesus Came and Returned
God’s spoken expression created the ever expanding natural universe. (a) [See endnotes for Scriptures, NASB] It was God’s spoken word (expression) that came to Mary as Holy Spirit, to impregnate her and begin forming the baby Jesus. (b) During three years of ministry, Jesus was known as the anointed man of God, Jesus the Christ.
John the Baptist called people to repent and display their decision by being baptized in the Jordan. The Greek word translated ‘baptize’ means ‘immerse’. John also proclaimed Jesus was the “one who baptizes (immerses) in/with/by the Holy Spirit.” (c) Jesus would immerse us in God’s Presence!
Jesus told followers; “After a little while the world will behold me no more; but you will behold me.” (d) How, you may be wondering? As a presence of Spirit! Jesus even promised to be with us as the abiding presence of the Father and Son: “We will come to him and make our abode with him…as a helper, the Holy Spirit.” (e)
Following the death and resurrection of Jesus, perceptions began to change. He was obviously more than the anointed man of God, He was a Spirit. Forty days later, Jesus ascended into the spirit realm to function; “with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” (f) While God cannot be seen, His expressions are seen, heard, and felt by the spiritual side of our five senses.
Angels announced “Jesus…will come in just the same way as you have watched,” as a presence of God’s Spirit. (g) After ascending, Jesus actually returned as the baptizing presence of “the Father and the Son.” (h) Jesus is with us and “will never desert you, nor…forsake you,” (i) as Holy Spirit.
While God cannot be seen, His expressions are seen, heard, and felt by the spiritual side of our five senses.
The Day of Pentecost
Peter explained to observers on that eventful Day of Pentecost that they were witnessing what was prophesied by the prophet Joel: “God says…I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all mankind…I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit.” (j) Jesus immersed over 3000 people in God’s Spirit on that first day. (k) What a delight to know, Jesus returns to us as immersions in God’s presence.
Saul, who became Paul, persecuted followers of Jesus until a great light appeared and he heard a Voice say “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.” (l) Jesus came to Paul as the Voice of God and began changing his perceptions of God and His ways. (m) Paul later declared: “We have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know him thus (in this way) no longer.” (n) Paul’s declaration was not just for that day, it was for all time. Since that day of Pentecost, Jesus has been with us and among us as God’s expressive Voice and the presence of God’s Holy Spirit!
It is easier to grasp this when we realize the Greek parousia is a combination of para which means ‘near, with’ and eimi which means ‘to be’. Parousia means “to be near-with” as a presence. Along with several other Greek words, it is translated to say “coming”. However, the KJV had to translate it accurately two times. Once of Paul “his bodily presence is weak, and his speech is contemptible” (o) and once by Paul “not in my presence only, but now much more in my absence.” (p)
Affirming clarity appears when the Greek parousia is translated in verses as “presence.”
“Strengthen your hearts, for the presence of the Lord is at hand.” (q)
“He who is present ‘will come’ (Greek heko, has come).” (r)
“We made known to you the power and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (s)
“That lawless one will be revealed…by the appearance of His presence.” (t)
“What will be the sign of your presence, and of the end of the age (these times)?” (u)
“In the presence (Greek emprosthen – in front) of our Lord Jesus at his presence.” (v)
The word “coming” is not a bad translation because Jesus comes to us daily; it just allows us to focus on a future event instead of living in the power of its reality now. When we ask Jesus into our heart and are told Jesus will come in a future event, it devalues God’s intent for our lives today.
Like Paul, our spiritual senses are able to observe manifestations of God and hear Jesus speak as the Voice of God. He comes to us as enlightening insights and miraculous events, in dreams, during quiet moments, in worship, as angelic appearances, as Jesus Christ, and as God’s abiding presence.
Since Pentecost, Jesus has been with us and among us as God’s expressive Voice and the presence of God’s Holy Spirit!
Jesus Continually Comes
The revelation that Jesus was the anointing and enlightening presence of God’s Spirit available to us, was difficult to receive in those days. Experience with Jesus as God’s anointed man complicated their ability to see Jesus as the presence of God’s Spirit that ‘is’ with us.
Even though Jesus said God’s Kingdom reign does not come in such ways, as today, some believers in New Testament times looked for a physical return of Jesus to forcefully establish a natural style reign in the earth. They asked “Where is the promise of His presence (parousia) for…all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation?” (w)
This misconception was addressed by John, who began his book with “The revelation of Jesus Christ.” John acknowledged that the angel who spoke with him was “Jesus Christ…the firstborn from the dead” (x) and the Voice that spoke was “The Lord God, who is and was and is ‘to come’ (erchomai, is coming).” (y) John finishes his book with “Yes, I am coming (erchomai) quickly.” (z) The coming of Jesus as the presence of God was never delayed!
The word ‘second’ is linked in Scripture to the return of Jesus only once: “So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation, without reference to sin, to those who ‘eagerly await’ (Greek – look for) him.” (aa) This verse should inspire us to look for Jesus to come into our circumstances daily, as our ever-present savior.
Instead of inactively waiting for Jesus to come someday, we want to realize how fully God-in-Christ is with us today. He abides with us, among us, and in our midst as the presence of the Holy Spirit. As the Voice of God, Jesus wants to “write His Laws in our minds and on our hearts.” (bb)
God-in-Christ Jesus embraces our unloveliness, heals our sickness, feeds our hunger, satisfies our thirst, strengthens our weakness, and delivers us from our enslavement. He is with us today to assist our transformations into better images and likenesses of His character, attitude, and personality.
As active members of the ‘body of Christ’ in this earth, we want to hear from God and be part of His improving activity. May this reality encourage and empower us to arise and be all God desires!
Instead of inactively waiting for Jesus to come someday, we want to realize how fully God-in-Christ is with us today.
a) John 1:1-4; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Genesis 1:1-3; b) John 1:14; Like 1:30, 35; Matthew 1:20-21; c) John 1:33; Mark 1:8; d) John 14:19; e) John 14:23-26; f) John 17:5; g) Acts 1:11; h) Acts 2:1-7, 32-33; John 14:9-11; i) Hebrews 13:5; j) Acts 2:17-18; k) Acts 2:33, 41; l) Acts 9:3-7, 17-18; 26:14-15; m) Galatians 1:11-18; n) 2 Corinthians 5:16; o) 2 Corinthians 10:10 KJV; p) Philippians 2:12 KJV; q) James 5:8; r) Hebrews 10:37; Matthew 11:3; s) 2 Peter 1:16; t) 2 Thessalonians 2:8; u) Matthew 24:3; v) 1 Thessalonians 2:19; w) 2 Peter 3:4; x) Revelations 1:2-6; y) Revelations 1:8; z) Revelations 22:20; aa) Hebrews 9:28; bb) Hebrews 8:10, 13; 10:16;
Keith Carroll, “The Relationship Guy”
Relational Gospel Founder
Created To Relate author