“…And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:20.
In Matthew 28, Jesus is commissioning His disciples to go out into the world and spread the good news. At this point, Jesus’ disciples had been with Him for 3 years. They had been learning from Him, watching, and doing as He did. They never did ministry without Jesus or without being able to go back to Him after being sent out. For the first time, they were commissioned to go to new nations to spread the Good News by themselves. Or were they? Jesus is quick to tell them that He will always be with them, even to the end of time.
Think about this for a second, specifically the impact that confidence must have had on the humble men that Jesus had dispatched to reach the world. These were not influential or powerful men. They had no financial or business or strategy acumen to use as a foundation for their task. But they had seen Christ die on a cross and rise from the dead three days later. They had seen Jesus perform miracles pre- and post-resurrection, but in spite of all that the task the Lord had given them must have seemed impossible for a small group of people. But here’s the bottom line: no sooner was this command to go into all the world and preach the Gospel given to them, than the assurance followed it that “I am with you always.” In other words, you are not going alone. Yes, I am sending you on an intimidating task, but never forget that the greatest presence in the world, is going with you, the presence of God.
When Moses was about to undertake the job of convincing Pharaoh to release the Israelites, God said “I will be with you’. (Exodus 3:12) When Joshua was afraid to carry on the work of Moses, and cross the Jordan into the promised land, we read in Joshua 1:5: “…For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.” Fast forward to the New Testament: An angel makes an announcement to Mary: ‘Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” (Matthew 1:23)
We need the presence of Jesus. We grow stronger in faith and in our actions when we are in the presence of Jesus. In times of loneliness, His always presence will give us company and confidence. In times of weakness, His always presence will give you that strength to get through. In times of suffering, His always presence will give you peace of mind.
That’s why the Psalmist could say in Psalm 46:7, “…The LORD of hosts is with us.” Isaiah 43:2 adds, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”
There is nothing better than the presence of Jesus. Nothing. The question is how much do we experience it? How much of a difference it would make in our lives if, with confident faith we believe that God will be with us always, even to the end of the age?
- What have you learned about God’s presence through your setbacks and in the hard places?
- How does the fact that God is always with us impact how you live your life?