Thursday, February 10, 2011

Christ tabernacled among us; Christ overshadowing us

A very interesting rendering of John 1:14 goes like this, "And the Word became flesh and pitched His tent among us..." In other words, He "tabernacled" among us. We are familiar with the usual version of Christ dwelling among us but it opens up a new vista when we picture the verse in our mind of our Loving Saviour setting up a tabernacle in and around us. This is the beautiful mystery of our salvation. When we repent and receive Jesus Christ into our hearts as our Lord and Saviour, He literally comes into our hearts and makes our hearts His home. Christ in us - the hope of glory.

As His end-time priests and bride, we are called to be carriers of His Glory and His Presence. But, you may wonder, since Christ is in us what does it mean to be carrying His glory and His presence? This leads to the second part of the title of this post: Christ overshadowing us. There are varying degrees of "Christ in us" and there are different levels of carrying His presence in our lives. Yes, He's in us but "how much space" does He tabernacle in our hearts? This is a very exciting subject to me. Well, it's not a theological exposition but it's an exciting subject. Once again, we will take a look at different men and women who experienced the reality of Christ 'tabernacling' their lives to the extent He overshadowed them and literally "spilled over" to the people around them. There are higher and deeper realities of walking with God and carrying God's Glory and Presence that can be a reality to each one of us.

Peter's shadow or the Holy Spirit casting His shadow over Peter?
We read the amazing account in the book of Acts where people would be bringing the sick into the streets on beds and mats so that Peter's shadow might fall across some of them as he went by. We are talking about actual healing taking place by just having Peter's shadow falling across these people! This is just wild. Not a command. Not a word at all. Just his shadow. We are not told how often this occurred but it was recorded to open our eyes of faith to the unlimited possibilities of God's presence and power flowing through a vessel of clay.

Firstly, let's admit that a shadow is just a shadow. There's nothing special about Peter's shadow but I believe we can dig deeper and pick up some gems from this miraculous account. Firstly, it signifies that the "spirit man" of Peter is larger than his "physical man". I'm not going into any theological debate here. The Scripture clearly teaches us that we are made of spirit, soul and body. Just like our physical bodies, our spirits do grow. Our spirits can be under-nourished or suffering from mal-nutrition. But, I believe that in this account, it shows that Peter (in his spirit) seems to be bigger and larger than Peter (in his physical body). In this instance, the size of his spirit was not bound by the physical size of his body. Therefore, the experiential reality of his spirit which also housed the Spirit of God was felt beyond the perimeter of his physical body. How this should spur us to desire our spirits to grow and be enlarged through the Holy Spirit for His glory.

Secondly, I also believe it signifies that the essence of the prayer of John the Baptist becoming a reality in this account - let me decrease and You increase. Here, Peter became so "insignificant" that God could fill his entire being and manifest the reality of His Presence and Power through and around Peter. That is why I would say it is not Peter's shadow that accomplished the healing but the Holy Spirit's shadow through Peter. The tangible anointing and presence of the Most High God became manifested and felt through people who had Peter's shadow passing over them. Amazing indeed! May the degree of God's anointing flowing through us increase as the degree of yieldedness and death of self/flesh in us also be deeper.

Mary, who carried Jesus in her womb
This is the sacred mystery of Christ's birth through a virgin. And we read in the Scriptures where the angel foretold of this miracle of miracles in the following words - "...the power of the Most High will overshadow you..." Mary was overshadowed by the power of the Holy Spirit and she literally carried Jesus in her. What a wonderful picture! There's a beautiful account where we witness a manifestation of the "spillover" overshadowing of the Holy Spirit through Mary. It happened when Mary visited her cousin, Elizabeth. We read from the Scriptures that when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. As Mary was faithfully fulfilling her role as a carrier of God's Presence and Glory, when she spoke, the child in Elizabeth's womb leaped! Not only that, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit there and then!! No laying of hands. No prayers. Just the mere voice of Mary's greetings. I believe this is not an isolated experience for Mary alone.

The 2 Biblical accounts above must have whetted our appetite to believe and hunger for a greater release of the glory of God in the body of Christ today. What amazing miracles will take place for the glory of God when we allow Him to tabernacle in us in greater degree and His power to completely overshadow us. If you were thinking these 2 New Testament accounts are isolated examples, let's take a look at a few wonderful testimonies of Christian giants of the past below.

John G Lake - Do you know that during the outbreak of deadly plagues in Africa, viruses and bacteria died on contact with his skin! He didn't need to rebuke or say a word. They just died. Now, this is awesome.

Kenneth Hagin - If you have read his testimony, this man of a great God was bedridden and actually died before he discovered the healing power of Jesus. Do you know that he had a "shadow" too? I read that the people who worked closely with him in the ministry had never fallen sick their entire time with him.

Charles Finney - When this great revivalist reached the town he was scheduled to preach, people in the town began to be convicted of their sins and repented. People in the factories just knelt down, weeping for their sins. The Holy Spirit had "His shadow" over Finney indeed. Imagine an Unseen Shadow encompassing the entire town through this vessel that God used mightily.

What about some Christian leaders who are still in ministry today?
Bill Johnson - I read of an account when Bill went to a shop to look at some mobile phones. And he said, "it leaked!" The Presence of God just "leaked" through him. A lady in the shop fell under the power without any warning or notice. She was so troubled that she asked Bill what was that and it opened a door for Bill Johnson to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

Heidi Baker I heard from Heidi in a meeting where she shared that she was having a breakfast in a (hotel) restaurant. And all of a sudden another person sitting next to her table just screamed in awe of the Presence of God.

There are many other such accounts where there are even demon-possessed people who manifested in the streets when Christians just walked by. I recall a personal discovery when I was in a conference many, many years ago in the US (during the recess time in between the conference sessions where people were walking and chatting). All of a sudden, I felt within me that the ambience of the sanctuary changed. There was a peace and an acute sense of God's Presence. I turned my head to look to the back of the hall and noticed that the man of God had just entered the hall.

Let me share with you another interesting account my wife had. She responded to the altar call in one special church meeting. As always, she was standing, with her eyes closed whilst waiting for the personal ministry of the speaker that day. All of a sudden, as the man of God was still a metre away (walking towards her), she began to weep in the Presence of God. I don't think there are that many such instances in churches today.

As I am penning down these thoughts, I am reminded of the awesome Argentine revival stories that I have heard in the past. During the revival crusades that took place in a big stadium, amazingly people who lived in apartments a few kilometers away from the stadium would fall under the power of God in their homes or be found weeping in repentance for their sins. There was one instance where there was a procession of idols by some idol worshippers near the stadium where there was an ongoing revival service. Guess what? At one point, all the idols just fell to the ground! This would be the power of corporate glory of God overshadowing the people in times of revival.

Your shadow or are you overshadowed by Him?
We are called to release the glory of God wherever we go. May our shadows be also reflections of His shadow wherever we are. As we walk into our homes, offices, shopping malls or anywhere, may there be an overflow of His Presence through us. Who is God? God is love. He is light. He is peace and so much more. Every place that our feet tread upon, may the attributes of God be manifested through us to the people around us. Not only do we expect His healing virtue to flow, when we step into a place of disharmony, we want to see the ambience of the place be displaced by His Peace. Would you and me be carriers of His Glory and Presence wherever we go? Let our light so shine before people around us. May we carry His light to places of darkness. May there be liberty to the captives, abundance to the poor, healing to the sick and much much more as we allow Him to cast His shadow over us and allow Him to increase in and through our lives.

These men had been with Jesus
I believe the key to a greater manifestation of His Glory and Presence in our lives lies in the comments made by the onlookers who witnessed the extraordinary boldness of Peter and John - "These men had been with Jesus." When you and I have been spending much time with Jesus in the secret place, the reality of God will leak out. (In today's language - people do not need to read the wikileaks to find out.) It will become an open secret. Are you excited now? Release His glory wherever you go.

3 responses:

  1. AWESOME ,AWESOME,AWESOME!!! I thank you so much for sharing this, it helped me so much !! This is my prayer in a nutshell !! Thanks.

  2. Dear Anonymous,

    All glory to God! It's heartening to note God birthing His desire in your heart. Bless you!

  3. Yahshua tabnernacled among was his birthday not pagan christmas. Our Savior was born during the Feast of Tabernacles or Feast of Sukkot. Stop celebrating pagan christmas and celebrate the Messiahs correct birthday!