"I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20)
Before Jesus departed His disciples He commissioned them with what has become known as the Great Commission. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you." (Matthew 28:19-20) Jesus then finished His discourse with a marvelous promise, "lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." What a marvelous promise that Jesus the Son of God would be with us not only today, tomorrow, but until the end of this age.
Can we fully take in the privilege of the presence of the King of kings and Lord of lords in our midst always as we go through our task of service to the Kingdom of God? The Apostle Paul understood this principle well as he wrote to the Corinthians, "For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building." (1 Corinthians 3:9) With this promise from our Lord that He will be with us always we know then that we are at work together with Jesus. Certainly, we work for Jesus but more than that we work with Jesus.
We are not as the seventy that Jesus sent out to evangelize in a world that was hostile to His teaching. "Go; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves." (Luke 10:3) When we go out into the fields of harvest He is there with us leading us in our labors for the Kingdom. We have His Spirit the Holy Spirit who gives us guidance in all our paths. "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come." (John 16:13)
We are not cold calling salesmen but knocking on prepared hearts to receive the seed of the gospel truth. God does not waste His Word in the Scripture and He does not waste His word on hearts that will not receive it. It is not always for us to see the result of the growth of His truth, it is for us to have faith that the truth will grow. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10)
In the presence of Jesus, we have protection because we are in His hand of guidance. We know Jesus to be faithful and true and He will strengthen us to meet the challenges of the tempter. As we pray each day that He would deliver us from evil He will answer and protect us from the evil one, our adversary. "But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one." (2 Thessalonians 3:3)
If we as Christians can go boldly to the Throne of Grace of the Most High God, then we can confidently be courageous as we go into the world and seek the lost. For our, God is with us and is unfailing and will never forsake His own. "Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6)
Our adversary is always going to find the weakest point of the wall that we have built to keep him at bay. He will exploit that point with temptations that can wear us down and out. But when living in the presence of the Lord we have His promise that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear and He will also provide us with a way of escape. "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:13) When we find ourselves near the breaking point all we need do is call upon the name of the Lord. There is power in the name of Jesus and can break every chain.
His presence means that we have the power to overcome the wiles of Satan. Jesus overcame the world and He will give us the power to overcome as well. When we are working to fulfill His great command and we are doing the work in His name. We have the power residing within us to be His witnesses to the utter parts of the world. "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
Whatever doors that need to be opened He can open and whatever doors need to be shut He can shut. All we need to do is pray our request in His name and He will answer according to the will of the Father. "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son." (John 14:13) Jesus will strengthen us that whatever we need do we can do through Him. "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)
We are but men fighting evil spiritual forces in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12) But we as Christians, followers of Jesus Christ, have the power of the universe living through us and no worldly power can overcome us. "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might." (Ephesians 6:10) There is a great measure of peace we can find in that truth.
In His presence we have peace. Living in the peace of Jesus reminds us that we are His Church, and we are doing His work, and therefore we have no need to be anxious for anything. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." (Philippians 4:6) The order of this world was fractured at the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. For this reason, the world is filled with trial and tribulation and for everyone it is inescapable. When in the presence of Jesus we can have peace, the peace that is beyond our understanding. In the midst of the world's trial we can with the Lord in our midst have peace. "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
Jesus said He would be with them, "even to the end of the age." He was speaking to the eleven disciples who would surely die before Jesus’ second coming. But He was not talking to the end of their lives, as they would not live to the end of the age. I believe that Jesus was speaking of the world that was about to come, the fulfillment of their Great Commission, the gospel Church age. Or He could have meant to the end of the present world where Christ would keep His Church till it was called out before the tribulation. Till that time the gospel and its ordinances would be kept by the gospel ministers. Jesus is saying that His present disciples and those who would follow them in the future generations would have His presence with them to do the good works they were created to do. During this time they would experience His Spiritual presence and power.
Jesus would be with them to assist them in the work of the Kingdom, to comfort them in times of discouragement, to supply them with His all-sufficient grace, and to protect and preserve them from all evil enemies. This promise is a great encouragement for those who administer the Word and ordinances of the gospel ministry. The Apostle Paul gave us the best observation of this promise from Jesus. "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?" (Romans 8:31)
As we go about fulfilling our calling from the Lord let us remember that He is always in our presence to ensure that we receive the victory He has already won. "Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!" (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
Thomas N Kirkpatrick
First Baptist Church of Durant, May 11, 2017