15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. Mat. 16:15-17
Did you ever stop to think that the flesh has its own revelation? Yes, it does. That was exactly what our Lord Jesus said here. There is a revelation of the flesh just as much as there is a revelation of the Spirit; but Jesus qualified the latter by calling it a blessing:
“Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”
But, pray, what was revealed to Peter, this which Jesus called a blessing?
It was Jesus! It was revealed to Peter that Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the living God”!
And Jesus told Peter he was blessed for having that knowledge! This is the same revelation we need to have.
The revelation that is of the flesh is not a blessing. This ‘revelation’ does not see Jesus. It sees other things. And yet, paradoxically, it is this very revelation that is considered by the contemporary church a ‘blessing’. If someone prospers materially, they call it a blessing! Talk of a back to back understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ!!
The prosperity gospel is a product of the revelation that comes from the flesh. It is the flesh that sees the dollar sign; the Spirit does not. It is the flesh that sees and speaks of houses and lands and the general well-being of the body; the Spirit does not.
Even miracles and healing are not what the Spirit is about per se. Why else would the Apostle Paul write:
“22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified…”? (1 Cor. 1:22-23)
But probably the most important precedent in this regard is to be found in the Old Testament, in 1 Kings 19:11-13. Let us consider this portion of scripture.
“11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: 12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?”
Praise be to God, the Great God who is beyond all understanding! The LORD passed by and there was a strong wind, a wind so strong that it rent the mountains; but the LORD was not in that wind!
Then came an earthquake, and after that a fire; but God was in neither of those things. These were extremely powerful manifestations of the power of God; but God was not in them!
God instead was a still small voice. In none of the great signs and wonders that God did before Elijah did Elijah hear God’s voice. But, after they were all done, in the silence that followed, Elijah heard God’s voice.
What does that all this tell us?
To me it goes something like this: under the New Covenant, God passes by and miracles happen, healings occur, people are blessed materially and great signs and wonders are seen; but God is not in those things. God is in… a voice!
The Bible says in Hebrews 1:1-2:
“1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…”
God is in His Word. And His Word is His Son. And God’s Son is Jesus Christ. When you connect the dots in the Spirit, you realize that everything in the Bible talks of Jesus Christ, God’s only Son. And, according to the Apostle Paul, there is only one Jesus: “Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (1 Cor. 2:2)
Under the ministry of the Holy Spirit, one thing and one thing alone is emphasized: to know Him, Christ. How? Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Christ. That is why the Apostle Paul says:
“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1)
Paul did not follow Christ by singing, “Glory, glory, hallelujah!” You can sing that and still not be a follower of Christ. Paul became a follower of Christ by crucifying the flesh daily.
If a minister emphasizes healing of the body over spiritual wellness, his doctrine is of the flesh. I have heard of a ministry somewhere out there that has something called a healing school. A healing school!
Whatever that is, it cannot be of the Spirit. The Spirit cannot initiate a school dedicated to the healing of the body. The Holy Spirit has only one ‘school’ – one that deals with the healing of the heart. And that school has only one subject in its curriculum: the revelation of the cross of Jesus Christ. It is at the cross where, as our bodies are broken, that our hearts are healed.
And just to make things clearer still, even 1 Peter 2:24 does not refer to physical healing as most believers have been taught. It is not just on account of the context of that particular portion of scripture that I say this (the context certainly supports that stand); but on account of the entire Biblical context. The ministry of the Spirit is primarily for the healing of our souls.
So, to recap: yes, the flesh also has its own revelation. This ‘revelation’ involves cars, private jets, bling, lands, houses, paid bills, physical healing, job promotion, death to perceived enemies, visas to the U.S., the entire gamut. These are the things the flesh calls blessings.
But the man who is filled with the Spirit sees the cross. He feels happy for he has found the place where he can crucify “the flesh with the affections and lusts.” (Gal. 5:24)
It is the cross that the spiritual man celebrates. And in so doing, in his life are fulfilled the words of the Apostle Paul:
“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Gal. 6:14)
Blessed is such a man, for to know Christ, and Him crucifed, constitutes the true spiritual blessing.
Postscript: Moments after Peter had received this great spiritual revelation from God, the enemy broke through his weak defenses and blind-sided him with a powerful revelation from his own flesh.
“21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” (Mat. 16:21-23)
[As ‘primitive’ as both the mode of transportation and the road pictured here might appear, in the not-too-distant past, travelers in rural Tanzania had to rely on only one means of transport: their two bare feet, sometimes crossing hundreds of miles on foot to reach their destination]