The Presence of Jesus

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:8-10)

For those who love Jesus, His presence is essential.

 

 

For those who love Jesus, His presence is essential. With Him we enjoy relationship, without Him we merely a practice a cold religion. When we play religious with our faith– doing all the “to–do’s,” following the letter of the law, and working all hard to get to heaven–we stop listening for His still small voice and are unable to discern His ways. We begin to lean on human wisdom and understanding and end up with lack luster expectations. Yet for those who have tasted and seen that the Lord is good, practicing religion is a pitiful substitute for walking in His presence. It’s emptiness at best. Contrast this to joyfully walking with Him. King David tells us:
“The believer is in spiritual danger if he allows himself to go for any length of time without tasting the love of Christ and savoring the felt comforts of a Savior’s presence. When Christ ceases to fill the heart with satisfaction, our souls will go in silent search of other lovers … By the enjoyment of the love of Christ in the heart of a believer, we mean an experience of the “love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us”(Romans 5:5) … because the Lord has made himself accessible to us in the means of grace; it is our duty and privilege to seek this experience from Him in these means till we are made the joyful partakers of it.”
-John Flavel

 

 

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16:11)

Recently I was having one of those days when I was aware of my need of Jesus. Being visual, I pulled a rocking chair next to my desk and imagined Him sitting with me throughout the day. I practiced His Presence. Throughout all of my mundane chores He remained right beside me. Throughout all the difficulties I faced in that day, He was right there to guide me. While I know that He is always with me, sometimes it helps to have a visual reminder.

“Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders.” (Deut 33:12)

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

“Few delights can equal the mere presence of One whom we fully trust.” (George McDonald)

At the very beginning of our verses for today, we see the women obediently hurrying from the Master’s tomb with the angel’s orders ringing in their ears. I’m sure their mood was a strange mixture of terror and super-sized joy all working together! Surely they must have felt this news too good to be true, yet they were oh so hopeful. Could this be a dream? Casting aside their doubts, they hurry off to fulfill the angel’s instructions. Those sent on God’s mission must waste no time in loitering or lollygagging.

“Peace comes not from the absence of trouble, but from the presence of God.” -Alexander Maclaren
These women were sent to bring the disciples the wonderfully good news of Jesus’ resurrection! They ran to comfort them with the comfort they themselves had received. As disciples we should be eager to share our experiences with one another. We should tell what God has done for in our lives. God ever remains the source of our comfort in the midst of our troubles!

Paul tells us:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Almost immediately, we find Jesus appearing to the women to confirm the angelic testimony. He graciously and unexpectedly comes to them while they are merely fulfilling their duty. Jesus is closer to His people than we might think!

These women were rewarded for their faithfulness immeasurably more than they could have asked or imagined (see Ephesians 3:20). They were the first to hear the good news and they were the first to see Jesus as well. When He appears to them these women immediately shower Him with the love and affection they have for Him, holding on to Him so as not to let Him go. I am reminded of how a young child grabs hold of its mother in a deathlike grip if he thinks she is about to leave without him! I think this was perhaps the reaction the women were having. They did not speak, they just affectionately embraced. Their adoration spoke volumes.

Take It to Heart

“We are not only to sing the doxology, but to be the doxology.”
(Francis Schaeffer)

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