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The Hidden Christ

by Chip Brogden
Jesus, the Christ of God, did not reveal Himself to the world at large, but to a handful of disciples. We ought to ask why He did not appear upon a mountain in blinding light, or descend in a cloud, but was born into the world as a baby in a stable.

A few shepherds worshipped Him the night He was born, Simeon and Anna blessed Him in the Temple at His dedication, and two years later some astrologers from the East worshipped Him. But no one else in all the world grasped the significance of this Child. It was hidden from 99.9% of the world.

When Jesus first met Peter, what was Peter’s perception of Jesus? Here is a rabbi who has attracted quite a large gathering of people with His interesting stories and teachings. Very well, there is nothing wrong with that, I’ll even let you borrow my boat while you preach. Did Peter perceive Who this Man really was? Of course not. He called Him “Teacher” and “Rabbi”.

But then the Teacher said to go out into the deep and let down the nets for a catch of fish. Peter must decide whether or not to obey. After all, Peter was a fisherman, and since he had fished all night and caught nothing, what would be the point? What does a carpenter know about fish? Nevertheless, he complied. When he did as Jesus said and let down the nets they caught an abnormally large amount of fish, so much so that their boat threatened to capsize.

To you and me this may sound like a coincidence, or luck. Some might call it a miracle, and it is miraculous, but it is more than a miracle, it is a sign. A sign is a miracle which points to some truth. This is a miracle, but the miracle was not done just for the sake of Peter gaining an abundant supply of fish for his business. It was a sign given by Christ in order to reveal Himself to Peter. In Scriptural language, it is “revealing His glory.” There is nothing glorious in the Son of Man, but in the Son of God we see glory.

Jesus merely said, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch of fish.” Nevertheless, Peter perceived that Jesus was no ordinary man. For when he saw what happened, he fell down and sobbed, “Lord, depart from me, for I am a sinful man.” The One he called Teacher he now calls Lord, and Peter is immediately made to see the contrast of himself, a sinful man, and Christ, the Holy One of God. Everyone else heard the teaching, but Peter saw the Person.

Why would catching a huge net of fish produce this reaction in Peter? Why was he not simply thankful, or happy, or incredulous? What caused him to fall down upon his knees and confess his sin? It was not because Jesus gave him an altar call, or led him in the Sinner’s Prayer, or even asked if He could be his personal savior. It was not necessary, because once Peter’s eyes were opened to see the Real Jesus, he fell to his knees quite naturally.

The object of Christianity is not to give people a teaching or to lead them in a prayer, but to introduce them to a Man. I would rather have thirty seconds of seeing than thirty years of preaching. People can listen to me preach all their life and never understand a word, but if the Lord opens their eyes to SEE Who I am preaching about then they will understand everything.

When people are in your presence, what do they touch – a system of beliefs, a code of conduct, an ethical standard, or a Person? We may have an abundance of words and teachings, but all of them together are nothing but letters if they are not constantly pointing us to a Living Christ.

We have surely failed if we can put together a teaching that is so easy to follow that we do not need to know the Lord Jesus. Unfortunately, when I listen to some people teach, I realize that anyone can put their teaching to good use, whether they know the Lord or not. So the teaching is worthless to the Kingdom of God because it creates no dependency upon Christ as All in All.

Eventually the revelation of Christ moved Peter to make the bold confession that “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus did not teach Peter what to say, He merely revealed Himself to Peter. He did not sit down with His disciples and say, “I am the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Now repeat that after Me several times, and I will test you on this in the morning.” He did not teach them a catechism or a rosary or a mantra or a confession, He merely revealed Himself to them as He in fact is. They made the confession in due course, having revelation.

The Testimony of Jesus always springs forth from the Revelation of Christ. If we do not have the Revelation then we cannot have the Testimony. That is to say, we cannot bear witness of what we have seen and heard if we have not, in fact, seen or heard anything. We try to get people to confess in order that they may ATTAIN to something, but true confession comes forth naturally after they have OBTAINED it.

Not only was Christ Himself hidden and revealed in degrees, but most of what He taught was hidden. He purposely disguised the truth in parables, and only explained Himself privately to His disciples. Even then, much of what He said was misunderstood, and they failed to grasp the significance of it until after His resurrection, when He opened their minds and hearts to understand, and the Spirit came to bear witness of Christ and teach them inwardly.

When Christ rose from the dead, we would expect Him to present Himself alive to Pilate, to Herod, to Caiaphas, and to the all the people who had Him crucified. But He did not. We see that Christ had the ability to reveal, or not reveal Himself to people. For Mary mistook Him to be the gardener, and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus did not perceive Who He was, because it was hidden from them.

You see that Christ is revealed or hidden from men as He so desires. So many professed disciples of the Lord Jesus fail to recognize Him. The Lord tells them to go to Galilee, but they go to Emmaus. Many people sitting in church would not discern the Lord Jesus if He walked up the aisle and sat down on the altar. They are not really His sheep, therefore they cannot hear His voice, and they do not know Him.

Even His closest disciples are prone to doubt and unbelief. After the resurrection, Thomas declared, “I will not believe unless I see the scars and put my hand into the wound in His side.” When Jesus therefore appeared to them He did not argue or try to convince Thomas. He simply said, “Behold! Look! See my hands and my feet!” When Thomas saw the Lord, he spontaneously cried out, “My Lord, and My God!” This is revelation. Revelation does not require any arguing or convincing, as if it all depends on how well we can make a defense of the Gospel. I see no argument in the Lord Jesus, I only see Him. Seeing Him, I am convinced, and no argument is necessary.

Now we want to impress upon you that the seeing which we talk about is an inward seeing, an inward revelation, an enlightenment of the heart. Jesus told Thomas more blessed than the ones who see with their eyes are those who see with the Spirit, and know and perceive Christ as Lord and God.

There is an apostolic prayer recorded in Ephesians 1 which touches upon this issue:

“I pray that God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ will give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the (full)knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and the riches of His inheritance in the saints, and the exceeding greatness of His power in us who believe.”

This is a rich prayer. It is very high. There are a couple of lessons for us here.

First, God must reveal His Son to us by way of the Spirit who illuminates our heart. How can we pray the Lord’s Prayer for years and never enter into God’s thought or mind for what it all means? Because we learned to recite the Lord’s Prayer but we did not have the spirit of wisdom and revelation to SEE what we are praying for. But Paul saw it. Who showed it to him? It came to him by revelation from God Himself. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Where and how do they see Him? Their heart is enlightened and thus made pure. In like manner, Paul prays that we too would be given this revelation of Christ.

Second, the word “knowledge” here does not mean head knowledge or facts we can learn from an encyclopedia. It is the Greek word EPI-GNOSIS, which is a compound word more accurately translated, “full-knowledge”. It means to come to a mature, experiential, existential, and complete knowing of Christ. So, Paul is praying – not for sinners, but for people who are already Christians – that God will reveal Christ to them in ever increasing measure so that He may fill all things. It is another way of saying, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done.” For this indeed is God’s will, thought, and design for the Church, the earth, and the universe – the whole of creation.

It is amazing to see how many times Paul uses the word “all”. He says the grace of God has appeared to ALL men, that his mission is to make ALL men see, that Christ is to fill ALL in ALL, that ALL things will be gathered together into Christ. God’s end is not the Church, but ALL. The Church is only the beginning. He begins with a man (Abraham), then with a family (Israel), then all the nations. In like manner, God intends to fill the individual, then the Church, then all things.

God has purposely hidden Christ and makes Him available to us only by revelation when we have humbled ourselves as children and forsaken our wisdom. Revelation is sufficient, for if we have the revelation of Christ then we see all we need to see, and if we do not have the revelation of Christ, nothing else will do us any good. The Church is the synthesis of individual disciples who have the revelation of Jesus and have received His Life, and Jesus is building His Church upon the revelation of Himself.

10 Comments

  1. Maaarrie Milligan

    I am considered, I guess, Worse than an infidel as I have left the “church” and I am not worshiping Jesus. The powers that be haave their rules and regulations on how things havve to be done. As an example no one is allowed to walk down the middle isle after the third song because we would be a distraction and the cameras for all the places it’s being filmed for I guess we would be “seen” possibly. Maybe I’m wrong, But I asked myself are we here to worship the Lord or produce a program. Some of the rules I’m not sure if the Lord ok’s it. I don’t know everything only the Lord. I’m told I’m disobedient and ddon’t respect my leadership. I’ve gone to a few churches and it’s the same. I sometimes think I’ve got a problem. I must amit they make me feel like it. I even have to have an appointment to see a “pastor”. This has been hard for me anddd there isn’t anyone who understaands. I don’t know if you can help or ,as i am experiencing,will. In Jesus. Marie

    Reply
    • Brenda Brown

      Hi Marie,
      I would like to encourage you, My Sister. I sense that you have been deeply wounded from ‘church’ experiences. You are ahead of so many in the church world because you say know the Lord, That is the most important thing, Marie. To Know the Lord and be in a relationship with Him.

      It doesn’t matter to Jesus if you block the camera’s view or not. He looks at the inside of you. He sees your heart motive. Now if you block the camera or disrupt a meeting on purpose, then perhaps there is reason to check the motives of your heart. I don’t sense that being the case with you.

      Many of us, Marie, have had the kinds of experiences you have had. I have been in a living relationship with the Lord Jesus for many years, but I and my husband found that most of so called ‘churches’ today focus on externals like cameras, lighting, programs, etc. and leave Jesus out of what is being done in His name.

      You are not alone and have found a good starting place on Chip’s website. More and more people are feeling what you feel and are hurt and disillusioned by the “church system”. Just seek Jesus and His Kingdom. Seek to KNOW Him. He alone can set you in your proper place in the TRUE CHURCH He is building…and you will feel at home and welcome there.

      God Bless you, Brenda

      Reply
      • June

        Dear Marie
        This is what is happening in most of the religious churches
        The call for you to come out and be seperate is obvious
        Most Christians have been seduced and manipulated to follow the rules and submit to the hierarchy within the system. The brave will leave to follow the call of God
        The others will stay and be controlled because that is easier to allow someone else to control their lives .
        This is also a call to pray as Paul did for the church that they come out from the captivity that has bound them
        May God grant you the ability to understand that you are in Him and He is guiding you and bringing you into a deeper relationship with Jesus
        June

        Reply
  2. Barbara

    Chip,
    Each morning I read your emails and am so inspired and reminded that I am on track. Today all I can say is this: I love you Jesus and thank you for the simplicity of who you are! “Upon this rock I will build MY church…….”.

    Reply
  3. theodocia Flynn

    How simple is the way you write of things others take volumes to explain, in expensive books, sharing non-truths with half-truths, leading confused sheep along goat-tracks! Thanks for this explanation of how/when/why Christ reveals Himself to us – and freely we receive as you freely give! Theodocia.

    Reply
  4. BlancaV

    Chip,
    I love this message because my mission is to introduce people to a living Christ! Period. I don’t make it a difficult thing nor do I get caught up in debates or issues that God can handle. It wasn’t until I decided to make my agenda His agenda that everything became clear to me. Thank you for your concise teachings of the Word.
    Blanca

    Reply
  5. ollie

    Thank you for this. I am a Christian, but unsure if the Christ has revealed himself to me as you write. I have learned to obey rules and outward appearances to obtain righteousness. It seems much like what Jesus found fault with of the scribes and Pharisees. The righteousness found in Jesus seems very lacking in our thoughts.

    I am used to being made to feel guilt if I miss an assembly among many other things that distract from the Christ revealed to my spirit.

    Thank you for your thoughts.

    Reply
  6. Randall Harmon

    Since my mid-30s I have always wanted to to know the Lord since reading John 17:3. And for the last few months I have been praying Ephesians 1 over and over again. I’m even questioning my salvation because there is no joy or peace. What is even worse is that I listened to “the Soulish Man” by watchmen nee and wonder if I have been praying in vain. I’m 62 years old now and my character has not been changed other than just getting older. Also, I then and the first eight chapters of the book of Romans for the last three months and it appears that my heart is not been circumcised and there is no life, just existing. Could it be that the god of this age has blinded my heart?
    Along with that I don’t know if my faith is real or hopeful wishing.

    Reply
  7. der

    No man on earth can put Christ this way unless sees Christ through His own revelation. I pray for God to make our heart pure as He said for His people.
    Chip, grace be with you.

    Reply

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