Jesus lived by revelation, the revelation in God’s word. He also walked by the spirit and knew things that he only could have gotten by supernatural means. For example, he knew that the comforter would come shortly after his ascension.
In The Not Enough Information Rule – Sticking to What is Revealed we looked at revelation as the source of all our knowledge about God.
“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. (Deu 29:29 ESV)
God has given us enough revelation knowledge in the scriptures to be able to live our lives in his will. But we also know that it is available to be deluded by “plausible arguments”:
that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments.
(Col 2:2-4 ESV)
God forbid that we should fall into the category of being deluded by plausible arguments, but how else can you explain so many different theologies with so many differences on issues in the thousands of Christian denominations. I have sat in a pew and been taught that manifestations ceased with the apostles (and that only devil possessed people believe otherwise) and I have sat in a few and been taught that manifestations are happening in many congregations worldwide. I have been taught that the bread is literally the body of Christ in a grace-giving sacrament called the eucharist and been taught that the bread represents the body of Christ in a Christ-given memorial. I have sat and been taught that the Roman Catholic church is the only true church, I have been taught that the Lutheran church is the reformation of that church, and I have been taught in many other churches that they are true autonomous churches, the first century church brought forth into modern times. I can go on and on about having been taught competing arguments on so many other issues: infant vs. adult baptism, no drinking vs “a little wine”, tithing vs liberal sharing, man-woman marriage vs LGBTQ inclusiveness even in marriage and so on and so on.
All of these differences work to create division, and sow doubt about the Gospel. And they are all the result of new traditions that started being generated right after the time of the apostles and continue to be generated up to the present time. Paul was not kind in describing the people that would teach things other than the original faith. He called some of them wolves, and the things they taught, twisted things:
Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. (Act 20:28-30 ESV)
Now, the Catholic Churches, and most Christian churches, following suit, said these wolves with their twisted things were the heretics. And groups like the Gnostics and Marcionites among others did spring up. But the verses also talk about people in the original church twisting things. We saw in T 0.1 Introduction to Tradition in the Church that anyone that didn’t follow the apostles’ doctrine was someone to be avoided! And we have just seen in Col 2:4 the danger of listening to plausible arguments. So we have a scenario of people in the church twisting things and presenting them with plausible words. Hence, division.
On that note lets just look at where Jesus got his doctrine:
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. (Mat 4:1-11 ESV)
First, in this record, the devil tries to goad Jesus into doing contrary to what the spirit was leading him to do. Remember, it says that the Spirit led Jesus to fast this incredibly long fast and be tempted by the devil. Jesus was starving, and the devil knew it. The devil says “if you are the son of God…” But Jesus knew that the purpose of the fast was to be tempted by the devil and he was ready. Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 when he said: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Jesus spoke revelation truth. He spoke what was in the word of God
This record is also an example of twisted words. The devil tells Jesus what it says in Psalms 91:
For He shall give His angels charge over You, to keep You in all Your ways. They shall bear You up in their hands, lest You dash your foot against a stone. (Psa 91:11-12 MKJV)
Here the devil takes revelation truth, the word of God, and twists it to suit his purpose. Yes, the angels are charged to protect Jesus, but Jesus was following the leading of the spirit here. The devil attempted to get Jesus to not follow the Spirit who told him to fast and be tempted because the word of God says the angels will minister to him if he commands. Jesus would then be disobeying! And he would be doing an incredibly foolish thing in jumping off a cliff! Jesus responded with the rightly divided word of God, speaking verbatim, without twisting, adding, or subtracting to God’s word! He said:
“You shall not put the LORD your God to the test… (Deu 6:16a ESV)
We are not to test God by arbitrarily doing something dangerous and expecting God to save us. Miracles happen when people are walking in the spirit, not against it. The devil knows what usually happens when someone jumps off a cliff. Boy, how easy that would have made things for the devil if he could have gotten Jesus killed just when his ministry was starting.
The devil also tempted with power and glory, He took him to a high spot where he could look over the land, and offered him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. Remember, he could do this because he, the devil, is the god of this world (2Cor 4:4) and has dominion over all the earth. Again, Jesus’ source for truth was the revealed word of God when he spoke “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.”
Jesus spoke the word of God regularly and applied it to the situation at hand. Here are a few examples:
Jesus spoke the truth of God’s word to the Pharisees who tried to get Jesus to teach his followers to follow the tradition of the elders rather than what he knew was the rightly divided word.
You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;
Jesus spoke the truth of God’s word about why he taught in parables:
(Mat 15:7-8 ESV)
Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not; nor do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which said, “By hearing you shall hear and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see and shall not perceive; for this people’s heart has become gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and they have closed their eyes, lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” (Mat 13:13-15 MKJV)
When asked about marriage and divorce, Jesus spoke the revealed truth in Genesis 2:
And the Pharisees came to Him, tempting Him and saying to Him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And He answered and said to them, Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning “made them male and female”, and said, For this cause a man shall leave father and mother and shall cling to his wife, and the two of them shall be one flesh?
(Mat 19:3-5 MKJV)
There are many more, these are just a few examples. Jesus’ source for truth wasn’t the literature of the day, what the culture was doing, the philosophy of the times, or his own mind, it was in the revelation given in the scriptures, and the leading of the spirit. And for those of us who call him our Lord, it is up to us to follow that example.