Nobody knew his secret ambition
That title is one for all the Smitty fans from the 90's.
I remember not long after accepting Jesus as my saviour when I was 15 years old that my youth Pastor asked if i would play a part in a school assembly he was doing. Of course the school was the one i was still attending and it was my own year group that i would be performing in front of. We did a mime to the Michael W Smith song 'Secret ambition'. I played a Pharisee where my mime role was to look confused when Jesus was teaching. Cue 5 minutes of me rubbing my chin whilst the actor playing Jesus danced around the stage. In my first class of the day, which was art, the students sat on the same table greeted me with a rendition of my chin rubbing. I would like to say I learnt my lesson and never did anything so silly as that again but i got the bug and that's how I am writing blogs today.
However, aside from that little trip down memory lane, I remember the key phrase in the chorus of that song. The line was, nobody knew His secret ambition, was to give His life away'. At the time it never really penetrated my soul but later on as I came to read 1 Corinthians 2:8 the memory of that song and mime came flooding back. The verse says:-
which none of the rulers of this world knew (for if they had known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory). 1 Corinthians 2:8
A slightly less poetical way of saying what Michael W Smith had been saying but with the same sentiment. Nobody knew what the Lord had planned. In fact today you will even hear theologians, usually ones without faith, say that the cross was not Jesus plan but was because He got Himself trapped, politically. Well Paul disagrees as we see in the next verse.
But as it is written, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard," nor has it entered into the heart of man, "the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." 1 Corinthians 2:9
Not only does Paul's preceding verse confirm that it was always the Lord's plan to send His son to die for us but so does the Old Testament. In the plain reading of Zechariah 12, and Genesis 3:15 but also the typological meaning in the Passover lamb and in the man of Simeon and Cosbi the Middanite woman being pierced for the transgression of the whole camp and lifted up. Yet to me, a young man from a none Christian background, I thought everyone knew what God's plan was for Jesus. Why did nobody know Jesus secret ambition was to give His life away?
You can read 1 Corinthians 2:6-9 and infer that what Paul meant was that if the world had come to understand or had just figured out Jesus secret plan then there would have been no need for Him to be crucified. yet do you think that’s what it means? Would it have been good if Jesus hadn’t of been crucified? The answer is a clear and resounding no because without the cross we cannot be saved. The whole world could have done as Nineveh had done with Jonah. It could have come to the conclusion it was wicked and needed to be repentant for its actions. In that narrative God showed mercy to those people and it upset Jonah that he did but it didn't surprise him. Yet the reason God could show Nineveh Mercy then and us now is because of the cross. Justice requires that time is done for the crime and the wages of Sin is death. God is Just. If we heard of a Judge letting a criminal off because the criminal was sorry we would be outraged especially if the crime was against ourselves. Added to this if the Lord let this person off and not that one then He is not a loving God but an arbitrary one sharing mercy when He feels like it. A god whom is unjust is not a god and certainly not one worth knowing. The good news is that the word is clear this isn't who the Lord is. As a Just God He requires the punishment. As a merciful God He takes the punishment on Himself.
So what does Paul mean when he says 'if they had known they would not have crucifed the Lord'? Remember what the right kind of division in the world is that Paul told us right at the beginning of chapter 1. He said it’s saved and unsaved or the world and the Kingdom of Heaven. So let me ask you who is the one behind the wisdom of this world? the answer would be the father of lies himself, satan. Therefore, we could read into Paul's statement yhat it would not have been good if he had known God’s plans for salvation.
Yet he was told them, right in the Garden, the Lord told it to Him straight we know that he understood it in part because of his persecution of anything that would help to bring forth the Son of God. So that wasn't what Paul meant when he said no eye has seen or ear has heard or mind comprehend. What Paul meant was that the devil could not have comprehended what the Lord would be willing to do to provide us with Salvation. the answer why is because this love of God is contrary to the nature of the world. It is revealed to us throughout scripture but a favourite verse of mine on this Subject is Romans 5:6-10
For we yet being without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will with difficulty die for a righteous one, yet perhaps one would even dare to die for a good one. But God commends His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. Romans 5:6-10
The world could not comprehend God’s wisdom. The Godly wisdom of leaving the 99 to go after the 1 which is so contrary to its understanding that would see that as a way of losing 99 to gain 1. Yet more so because there wisdom starts in a different place.
Where does our wisdom start well Proverbs 9:10 says with the fear of the Lord. Not a 'I’m scared God is going to kill me fear' but the reverence of God fear which says I fear to be parted from Him. Scientists argue for research oppurtunties where there are no boundaries to our discovery. Right from the beginning the Lord said there was. Do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Had Adam and Eve not eaten then our actions would always have been in innocence. Now we are guilty because we have an inward knowledge of sin, our heart convicts us. Yet a science without limits has seen the holocaust, abortion, human experimentation, cloning, the nuclear weapon as well as other weapons of warfare. Of course there have been good discoveries too. However, true intellect begins with the understanding that the boundary is His will and right now His will is for us to go out into all the world making disciples of the nations. The world does not want to hear that message of Salvation because it brings in boundaries As such if they are not willing to put God first, then they are going to look to thwart God’s plans. Intent to do so is shown by whom we serve, ourselves and thus the devil, or the Lord and thus His will.
To such and in plain sight he kept their eyes from it and it is a mystery, as Jesus explained when preaching in parables. The wisdom of staying with the 99 and not seeking the lost is different to ours so the worl can’t see the logic in it. Paul showed that what they do see is foolishness in what we believe and what we say. Now you can get angry at the world for thinking like this but that is the way the Lord has made it, until they come to salvation. Don’t be angry at a world which adds 2 plus 2 and makes 22, that’s its understanding. Yet to we who have Christ 1 Corinthians goes on to teach:-
But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God. 1 Corinthians 2:10
How do we come to know the wisdom of God and have the mind of God then? Verses 10-11 tell us that the deep things of God are revealed to us by the Spirit of God. What are the deep things of God ?
O Jehovah, how great are Your works; Your purposes are very deep. A beastly man does not know; nor does a fool understand this. Psalm 92:5-6
they are His plans and purposes.
so what does it mean the Spirit will reveal? well 3 scriptures make this clear to us
For the Lord Jehovah will do nothing unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets. Amos 3:7,
But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you. John 14:26,
All Scripture is God-breathed, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 2 timothy 3:16,
Therefore, knowing that all scripture reveals the purposes of God, the understanding of which must be sought out and revealed to us through study and teaching. To the world the scriptures make no sense but to him who diligently seeks them they will but we must be filled with the Spirit. Why?
For who among men knows the things of a man except the spirit of man within him? So also no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 1 Corinthians 2:11
It’s not our mind, its God’s mind and only God can reveal it to us. Yet the purpose for us to seek this wisdom is not purely academic. 1 Corinthians 2:12 tells us that it is so that we might not act like the world nor think like the world. It is so that we might know what is of God and what is not of God so we don’t have an Adam and eve moment and be tempted by the serpent. Remember the tempter wants us to get it wrong.
Once we have learnt them, Paul goes on in 1 Corinthians 2:13 to say we then teach these things. Only not in man’s ways but by the Holy Spirits ways. What’s does that mean? After all we always say we should talk to people in a language and vernacular they know. Jesus spoke to Fishermen about fish and farmers about farming in order to teach the things of God. this kind of Gospel preaching, in relation to what you know is done by both Paul at Athens, and Christ at Samaria, with the woman at the well. Therefore it isn’t wrong to preach a gospel tailored to the understanding. What this is talking about again is your 'nouce' meaning intellect. Paul has shown that the intellect of the world and its wisdom the Gospel of Christ does not fit with or is understood. We see a world full of contradictory ways which Jesus taught He came to give us rest from. I know that in my gospel sharing or even just talking about Christianity or what has happened at church I will edit the Spiritual stuff. Many of us often do saying they wouldn’t understand the Spiritual. Yet that’s what we are taught here, with 1 Corinthians 2:14 saying the same thing we think. Your quite right they wont understand it but that's because its Spiritually discerned, not intellectually accepted.
Until we come to terms with that we will never preach an uncensored yet real gospel message to a lost and dying world. we can’t convince them to accept Jesus, it is against their intellectual understanding but so preach it anyway. The only way anyone will accept Christ and the message of salvation is by Faith as the Spirit prompts. In that moment we preach the Spirit prompts and they will accept by faith or they will reject it. Showing that even though we can tailor it to their situation at the time of hearing or add some pizazz with it, it is still a fantastical message that the wisdom of this world utterly rejects. Often we make the same mistake as these Corinthians, and we need to be reproved of this error too.
1 Corinthians 2:15 clears it up for us, He who is spiritual, judges, (an ak ree on) meaning to discern. Only they discern with the Spirit which is what gives us the mind of Christ. It is only with the mind of Christ that we can look at all things and understand the Spiritual, the deep and the purposes of God. Take Israel as an example. Without the Spirit, when we look upon this nation that people keep trying to destroy we will not comprehend how they haven’t been destroyed. In the natural we might think it is strength of arms. In the natural many of Israel's citizens may think they are the reason because of their tenacity and strength. Yet we who are Spiritual can discern and see. It’s because God made a promise and He never breaks them.
If however the one looking aren’t Spiritual, you can’t get upset because they can’t see the things of God. They don’t have the mind of Christ. You might as well get mad at water for being wet. It’s their nature, they add things up wrong and see things differently because they have no desire for God. Reminding ourselves as Paul showed, that they would have actively worked against salvation if they knew what was happening then we know that if they could see that it was God who was protecting Israel, well they would actively come against it.
Now where could Paul come up with such an idea that this is how God and the ungodly works, where in scripture would he get that from? the answer is found in Genesis 11:1-9, the Tower of Bable narrative. Mankind worked together against God, to protect themselves from the Judgment of God rather than running into His