As Jacob increased in wealth, he came into conflict with Laban (Gen. 31:1-2). We’ve seen that Jacob’s increase was the increase of what is spiritual and that this leads to escalating conflict with what is fallen and fleshly.
God doesn’t let this conflict go on indefinitely. God told Jacob to leave Laban. He brought separation between the two. This separation suggests the cross. Jesus found Himself in a mounting conflict with the flesh and the devil when He was on earth. That conflict ended when He died.
As Christ increases within, there is conflict with our own flesh as well. God ends this by bringing the separation of the cross into us through the Holy Spirit.
Jacob was gone three days before Laban discovered the fact: “On the third day Laban was told that Jacob had fled” (Gen. 31:22). Three days after Jesus died, people came to Jesus’s tomb looking for Him. The messengers’ testimony about Jacob is the same as the angels’ testimony about Christ: “He is not here.”
Laban went after Jacob. When he caught up to him, he accused Jacob of stealing from him. Jacob swears he has nothing of Laban’s and declares anyone found with anything belonging to Laban will die. Laban searched all Jacob’s tents but found nothing. Jacob demands, “What is my crime? What is my sin, that you have pursued me?” Laban agrees to let Jacob go. They part ways for good.
Jesus, too, was free of any crime or sin. Because of this, death couldn’t keep its hold on Him (Acts 2:24). The separation of the cross was made complete through the resurrection. There would no longer be any relationship between flesh and spirit.
In us, the Spirit applies the cross to separate what is spiritual and natural. Rachel had taken Laban’s gods, presumably because they were made of something valuable. Laban’s gods remained hidden because Rachel was sitting on the bag they were in; she said she was having her period and couldn’t stand up. Paul says sin dwells in our members (Rom. 7). We still deal with the old nature. But the blood of Jesus covers this in us just as Rachel covered Laban’s idols with her blood.
Resurrection makes the separation of the cross full. In whatever area the Spirit effects this separation, nothing that belonged to the old man can be found, just as Laban found none of his possessions in Jacob’s tents. The risen life of Jesus in us means the end of any relationship between what is natural and spiritual in that area of our souls.
Like Laban, the enemy and our fleshly minds try to lay claim to us by trumping up charges. As we’ve said, Laban couldn’t substantiate his accusations, and Jesus was guilty of nothing that gave death the right to hold him. The same risen, blameless Jesus lives in us. “Laban” (satan or our fleshly mind) can bring all the accusations he wants. They cannot stick, and “Laban” has no right to hold us. As Jesus said of the devil, “He has no hold in me” (John 14:30).
Laban and Jacob mound up stones as a witness of their separation. Peter tells onlookers at Pentecost that the disciples were witnesses of Christ’s resurrection (Acts 2:32). We are also witnesses of Christ’s resurrection within; He is now our life; we are led by His Spirit, not our flesh (Rom. 8:14, 16).