These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. Hebrews 11:39-40 NIV
The verses you just read close out the Hebrews 11 “Hall of Faith,” where God took care to remind us of the courageous exploits of some of the faithful. Yet as much as devoted men like Noah, Moses, and Abraham got to experience God, scripture reveals this amazing truth: none of them received what had been promised. There was more.
With all that they got to know and witness of God on this earth, with what they have seen and understood of God’s plan of redemption even now in His presence, something waits. Something better. Something they can only experience together with us.
Can you imagine what that moment will bring, dear one?
All time moves toward the great revelation, the wondrous Day of the Lord when Christ returns to reveal Himself in all His glory, flooding darkness with light and erasing all mystery. Only then will we understand all things fully as we are made perfect together.
Yet many of us live as though that’s already taken place. We often act as though we grasp God completely and have unraveled all the mystery. We assume our understanding of God and His Word is correct and absolute, so we close off our hearts to the possibility that Jesus could be even more than what we’ve perceived Him to be.
The people of Nazareth did that very thing centuries ago when Jesus began to reveal His true nature.
Coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” Matthew 13:54-56 ESV
Sometimes our perceived familiarity with Jesus becomes the very thing that holds us back from experiencing His other aspects that He still desires to show us. We think we know Him, and we’ve neatly wrapped our understanding of who He is in a nice little package we can grasp. Then we encounter something that doesn’t quite fit into that package, and it makes us uncomfortable. So we reject the possibility that it might be true.
The people of Nazareth saw Jesus as the carpenter’s son with a mother named Mary. They watched Him grow up. They knew His brothers and sisters. And that familiarity caused them to bristle when they saw Him doing something that didn’t line up with their understanding. They couldn’t believe that Jesus could be more than what they already knew Him to be.
And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” Matthew 13:57
I wonder. Does Jesus once again find Himself without honor in His own household? Does His heart break as He watches His churches refuse to acknowledge certain aspects of His character? Has our unbelief quenched the work of His Spirit and hidden His glory?
That’s what happened in Nazareth.
And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. Matthew 13:58
I pray we never discover that our own unbelief held back the works Jesus desired to do among us in our day.
What if each of us chose to humbly offer our hearts to our Lord as teachable? What if we opened ourselves to the possibility that Jesus still has greater things to reveal?
Consider Jesus’ words to His disciples in John 16:12-14.
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
Jesus flat out told His followers that they had much to learn, but they couldn’t handle it all at once. He would reveal it to them over time as they became ready to receive it.
You and I are no different, dear one. Jesus has much to teach us, but we cannot bear it all at once. Some become ready to receive certain truths before others. Yet like those first disciples, He has given us His Spirit to “guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13).
We can’t just stick with the truths we’re comfortable with. We need to humbly allow Jesus to reveal all of His truth to us in His time. And just because my heart may not be ready to receive something, doesn’t mean it isn’t true. It just means I’m not yet a witness to it.
“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. Isaiah 43:10
Isaiah 43:10 speaks a profound truth. We are many witnesses, but together we are His one servant. Perhaps only together, as each of us brings our limited understanding of our unlimited God, can we fully reveal who Jesus is.
Let’s invite the Holy Spirit to open our minds and guide us into all truth,
. . . until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:13
Something better, indeed.