Practical Devastation of Our Old Humanity (continued)
The Heart Which Says "No" to God (continued)
Caiaphas, the high priest of Israel, in whom the race is officially centered and gathered up - he is representative of the nation. You read the story put together from these accounts where Caiaphas is the chief actor on the stage of this drama. No words of mine or of man can describe, really, that man with this Other Man in his presence. I think the only description, the only words that approach the description of this man were long before prophesied by Isaiah. You remember? You are so familiar with them in Isaiah, chapter six, when the prophet has made his response to the Lord's appeal, "Who will go for Us? ..." said Isaiah, "Here am I. Send me!" What did the Lord say to him? ---and He said (the Lord said): "Go, and tell this people, 'Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn again, and be healed.' " That sounds terrible. "Lest ... lest ... lest they turn again." Make it impossible for them to do so, take away their ability to go back upon their course. Is not that terrible?
But what are you dealing with - you are dealing with a hardness of heart which has been hardened and hardened and hardened again against the Word, against the prophets, against all the revelation that God has given, a hardening, a hardening until they have gone beyond the point of no return and God has said: "You have so hardened your heart and said so positively "No" to My Ways, that it is beyond now remedying." That is Caiaphas and Israel at the Cross; the heart which says "No" to God.
What a heart, what an exposure, what a revelation of human capacity in the Presence of the Highest Privilege. Yes, it is coming out now, what has gone on. It had perhaps a very simple beginning, but it grew and grew - there was no turning back when it was possible - until it reached the point where God said: "Take away their capacity for hearing and seeing." The judgment of the hard heart of man, even under all those appeals and pleadings and sobs and tears of God, comes out at the Cross - what the Cross reveals about what is possible in our hearts!
You say: "That is Caiaphas, that is not me." Oh, you do not know the human heart if you say that. You do not know the human heart if you have never had any rebellion in your heart, if you have never had the capacity for saying "No" to the Lord and had to have a battle over it. It is there: it is not Caiaphas, it is Adam: this is Adam following through by coming to development.
(continued with # 10 - (What An Opportunity This Man Had)