THE MANIFEST PRESENCE OF CHRIST

May 24, 2024

THE MANIFEST PRESENCE OF CHRIST

 
 
This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him. (John 2:11)
 
In 1970, I was 18 years old and headed to Ouachita Baptist University in Arkansas as a freshman. God was stirring in our nation. In February of that year, an unusual outpouring happened at a small Christian school in Wilmore, Ky. A normal chapel service had continued spontaneously for seven days and nights. Teams were sent from that outpost to campuses across the nation as they testified of what God had done. Everywhere the story was told, unusual movements of God broke out.
 
We longed for this on our campus and many of us were praying. One Tuesday, a pastor who had seen a 4-day planned revival extend for 4 weeks spoke in our normal chapel. My heart burned within me as I heard him speak. I was leading a 15-minute, student-led noonday gathering following and I asked him to come. He spoke for 5 minutes and God descended upon the room. That meeting lasted the rest of the afternoon as classes were canceled, the chapel overflowed, students were saved, confession was rampant, and clearing of our consciences happened everywhere. No one was in charge but God’s wise, orderly Spirit. And God did more in minutes than years of our best work could have produced.
 
MANIFEST
The word “manifest” means clear, visible, tangible, unmistakable. It is a good, helpful word to describe such moments. There are times when God chooses to manifest Himself in greater ways for greater purposes, both publicly and privately.
 
A WEDDING … AND JESUS CAME
Jesus's first miracle happened at a wedding. It was the first public, visible sign that authenticated the Messiah was now among us. John the apostle, who knew him perhaps more intimately than anyone else, said that Christ “manifested His glory” (John 2:11). It was so clear that no one could mistake what was happening.
 
This is one of the ways of God. The span between heaven and earth is vast to us, but non-existent to God. He loves to open the curtain of heaven; to “rend the heavens and come down;” to manifest His glory. He does this to remind us of who He is and what He’s planned for us to be. To bring course corrections to His people and to accelerate His mission. To honor His Son and to bring many sons and daughters to Himself. His manifestations have a myriad of purposes … all of them glorious and good.
 
HIS DISCIPLES BELIEVED
The end result of this brief display of God’s extraordinary presence at a wedding? People believed. They saw the unmistakable reality of the God-Who-Is-Here and it humbled them and brought them back to dependency.
 
Faith is always God's endgame. Since our sinful display of independence in the Garden, God has been pursuing us to bring us back to Himself. He speaks in multiple ways, calling us home. At times, He makes Himself more visible because he knows we need this aid to bring us to belief.
 
TIMES OF REVIVAL
… are nothing more, nor less, than Jesus manifesting His glory. We should not be surprised at this, for He has done this with His children since the garden. He is often making Himself known. It is His necessary work. We know this because, thankfully, He keeps doing it. Every 30-60 years in American history, beginning in our infancy, God has manifested Himself in such deliberate ways that it has led to a nationwide spiritual awakening, bringing the church back to life and creating a tsunami of spiritual harvest.
 
And He wants to make Himself known—personally, daily—to each of His children. It does not have to be with fantastical manifestations (although He is capable of that), but the conscious awareness of His presence each day is the manna we need. His presence satisifies, corrects, comforts, leads, and empowers us. Everything flows from His presence and to have Him is to have it all.
 
He is the manifestation … and He is more than enough.
 




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