It appears to me that the phrase "in Christ" originates from the side effects of verses 13 and 14 creating a virtual "presence" of Jesus Christ within the believer. In short, the data stream coming from Jesus Christ to every believer via the data pipe of the Holy Spirit going into the disciples was big enough to make it appear to them that Jesus Christ was "in" them. Or them in Jesus Christ, depending on the point of view of the data entry point in heaven. I think this is the "many things" that Jesus decided not to tell the disciples because, quite frankly, how would you explain to first century fishermen that a parallel second personality almost indistinguishable from Jesus would appear within their own consciousness? Multiple personalities are sequential, coming one after the other, perhaps in rapid sequence, but only one is present at a time. This is not the case here: the Holy Spirit had such a presence within the Apostles that the fidelity and quality of the representation of Jesus generated within themselves was high enough for them to think he was actually and physically in them. Because of what Jesus had told them about the connection, there would be no mystical and distracting interpretations of the experience, and there would be no shock when it did happen: "Is that YOU, Lord??" "Yup." "Oh wow! Is THIS what you were talking about?" "Yup." "My goodness, you even sound like yourself!" "Yup". [Edit 07/31/08: see note at bottom of this page]
What does it involve, and how does it feel? It certainly included the ability for them to remember what Jesus said. John 14:26 says:
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
This may seem an incidental, but in our day and age, it is very pertinent. The current tack of hostile Bible criticism is to avoid the archaeological approach in favor of attacking the integrity of the transmission process. Unable to shake the hold that Jesus Christ continues to hold over people, they insinuate that the words of Jesus that we have were actually corrupted, edited, or amended by the apostles and ensuing copyists as a means of controlling the people. "The DaVinci Code" is merely one of many attacks that turn upon a post-modernist world view that insists that ulterior motives existed within church leaders that inevitibly compromises the text that we are reading. We therefore need "experts" with the "proper and politically correct" world view to weed through the mess and extract the jewels of wisdom that "actually" fell from the lips of the revolutionist and activist Jesus.
This, of course, is pure tripe. The post-modernists want you to believe that there was a conspiracy to control the interpretation of the Bible, and propose, as a solution, that they be given control of interpreting the Bible. Simply consider John 14:26, John 16:13, and 1 John 2:26, and ask yourself if these would have survived an editing campaign whose intent was to control the belief systems of the people. These verses are radically liberating, stating "If you have the Holy Spirit, both of you can figure it all out together." Our fears of stumbling into heresies if we let the Holy Spirit teach us and lead us is indeed a product, and evidence, of a campaign to control what we think and believe about the Bible, but the post-modernists use that phobia like they use guilt: powerful tools to be diverted into the service of their cause, not impediments to be eliminated that would result in true freedom and liberty in Jesus Christ of those they seek to control.
I admit that I am taking the New Testament passages quoted here literally, as if they were faithful reproductions. John 14:26, combined with the Symbiotic thesis, assures me that they are: The literal presence of the Holy Spirit provides, as part and parcel of the symbiotic relationship between itself and the Homo host, an enhancement of one's memory so that recall will be enhanced. In the case of the Disciples, this helped them produce an effective and faithful reproduction of what Jesus said and taught so that we could have confidence in everything we can logically conclude from the records their testimony generated.
And there is this incredible passage from Luke 21:12-15:
12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. 13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony. 14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: 15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
Remember, this is a promise made in advance, so Jesus is in heaven. How could he give the believer a mouth and wisdom that his adversaries would not be able to gainsay nor resist? But if the Holy Spirit "port maps" or "mirrors" Jesus Christ in the believer to a high degree of fidelity, the mouth and wisdom Jesus gives would actually be that of Jesus Himself. A popular acronym being put on wristbands is "WWJD?": What Would Jesus Do? You have to ask? The implication of the Luke 21 passage is that a believer does not have to ask what Jesus would say and think about a situation: they would get what to say and think from Jesus Himself. From the horse's mouth, so to speak.
Part of the Man's very mystique and attractiveness is that he crushed the arguments of the pompous and pretentious eggheads of his day. They kept lobbing questions at him in that game of intellectual oneupmanship called 'Lemmie-stump-you-with-this-one-to-show-everyone-here-how-ignorant-you-are'. He knocked the question out of the ballpark and smashed "intellectual" windows in the parking lot beyond every time. When it was his turn to pitch the questions, he posed one question which, if pursued, would have overturned everything they thought they knew about the Messiah. They couldn't handle it. They couldn't 'bear' the implications. They watched that 'ball' whiz over the plate, dropped the bat, and walked away to the catcalls of the peanut gallery. They shut up and conceded the game on one question because they rightly, and very quickly, realised that there's more where that came from.
The Bible teaches that the current duty of Jesus Christ is to serve as an advocate for us before God the Father, speaking to Him on our behalf. How about the job of serving as his own advocate to those to whom you are witnessing? How would you approach the "hard cases" knowing that Jesus Christ was at one end of a virtual data pipe and you were at the other end? While I was attending the University of Arizona to earn my Master's degrees, I was approached by Dr. Oma Hamara, a church member who was the assistant chairman of the Mathematics Department, to participate in a debate on evolution. At the time, debates between Creationists and Evolutionists were common, so I tried to back out, pointing out that there were Ph.Ds available who would be more than happy to debate the Creationist side. However, at his insistence, I agreed to do so. I never debated: the Ph.D.s in the Biology department he asked to debate me, a lowly master's degree candidate, never accepted the challenge. Dr. Hamara told me, when I inquired of his progress in getting the debate together, that he got the distinct impression that they were scared to do so. The "intellectuals"of our day lack humility, which gives the resilience one needs to question one's own premises and handle humiliations of this magnitude with grace. Without it, one's ego becomes too brittle to withstand these kinds of shocks. The mind employs various intellectual defenses, such as projection, denial, fantasizing, and irrationality among others.
So we have available to us Jesus' wisdom and brains. And since we are science geeks, we should recall the consequences of the Krell mind machine from the movie "Forbidden Planet" which not only granted mental wishes, but emotional ones as well. So the logical question arises "Does this pipe include Jesus' emotions as well?" Glad you asked:
14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Well, YES. So now the questions are: do you really want to know how much Christ loves you, in that deep and direct way of knowing that surpasses knowledge? That comes "from the inside out"? Can you handle the data stream when the Jordan overflows its banks?
There were 120 in the upper room when the fire fell, but the record shows that only the disciples went on to demonstrate the powers of the Spirit in signs and miracles. Shades of "Were not ten cleansed, but where are the nine"! The work of those disciples produced exactly two others, Stephen and Philip, who evidenced that power in signs and miracles. Philip was strictly second string, unable to lay hands on converts to give them the Holy Spirit, leading the Jerusalem church to "send in the heavies", Peter and John, to finish the job. Yet, without their help and on his own, Philip positively blew away Simon Magus, Samaria's spiritual star player. The wizard has-been was so desperate to one-up Philip that he offered the disciples money to get the gift that Philip didn't have. (Philip probably learned how to pull it off later, since the record states he had four daughters who prophesied. Imagine how life in that house was like!)
Although there may be more important reasons for the loss of 90% of the potential "power output" of the church, one reason could very well be this very one: the unnerving effect of the Holy Spirit within manifesting itself as the reproduction of "Christ in them". They were not warned, and Jesus had good reason to believe that the Disciples couldn't handle the truth unless it dropped down out of heaven and landed on their heads (which is exactly what happened at Pentecost). This experience was so vivid and real appearing that the disciples would typically flip between expressions, alternating between expressions like "the spirit within you" and "Christ in you". In their preaching and writing, they mentally "flipped" between statements of causation ("His Spirit in you") and of consequence ("You are in Christ"/"Christ in you, the hope of glory"), the latter indirectly referencing the cause by citing the effect. If one Apostle tended to one form of expression over another, it was due to their mental makeup, reflecting their way of describing the "mental elephant" that had crashed down through the roof on Pentecost.
[Edit 07/31/08: The phenomenon I describe in the first paragraph was, at the time it was written, strictly speculative. I do stand by those paragraphs where I cite scripture, and I apologize for giving the impression that my description of the phenomenon was biblically based. Neither the apostles nor anyone else in the Upper Room at the time gave a detailed description of their feelings at this time that is in the Bible. On July 5, 2008, I had a personal spiritual experience that has lead me to doubt that the phenomenon they felt of "Christ in them" or "those who are in Christ" is as I described it. To put it briefly, I was presented with an alternative way that they could have felt, so that the phrase "in Christ" was an even more appropriately descriptive expression than I imagined. I am leaving the text as it is to provide an example of how personal spiritual revelations are progressive, and to remind me to better destinguish between deduction and speculation in future essays. The last paragraph is general enough that it can stand on its own apart from any version of the experience: It seems plain enough from the text that there WAS an experience of Christ in them/Them being in Christ, but describing it in detail was going beyond what the scriptures say. Thus, I will not describe the experience because it has not been duplicated since. However, it was definitely from God, since it directly illuminated a formerly puzzling passage of Scripture which, upon accepting it into my heart, improved my relationships with other Christians. In the meantime, I shall follow the counsel that Paul gave to those Corinthians who spoke in tounges but could not interpret, which is to keep it to myself and praise God, so as to keep order in the Church.]
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