Yes, Jesus really is the ONE!
But what that means entirely depends on one’s perspective:
But He was not the ONE they perceived Him to be:
Next week is Easter Sunday: Jesus’ Victory over Sin and Death.
Truly the Thief and Enemy of our souls comes to kill, steal, and destroy. The thief leaves loss, brokenness, and broken hearts wherever he has been. BUT Jesus’ response was “I have come that you may have Life and Life to the full.”
And further He said, “I have come to destroy the works of the Devil.” Jesus would “rob” from the Thief his ability to bring ultimate destruction.
Throughout Jesus’ ministry we see testimonies of His great power against the effects of the thief’s power of sin and death. Jesus healed broken lives devastated by the cursed world we live in. He healed broken hearts that had been devastated by their fellow man and even their very family members. We even witness His power over the thief stealing a life as He stands and speaks with authority:” Lazarus, come forth.” However, there was still a greater power He was yet to face: Death itself. All these with their healed sight, legs, and hearts would still one day have to die.
Then the Thief tried to use his power of Death on the Lord of Life. He thought he had won a glorious victory and now would be free to wreak greater destruction on mankind. BUT that same part of John where Jesus promises Life, He tells us how that life will be possible: the Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep. The thief would try to steal the Life of the Shepherd not realizing that he would be defeated by his own “victory”!
Jesus now would offer Eternal Healing,
Eternal Life, and Forgiveness!
The most startlingly testimony to this is the Thief on the Cross. He was actually the very first to understand that what Jesus was doing right then would open the hope of eternal life. He began his last hours Guilty and Condemned. But his words of faith to Jesus: “Lord, Remember me when you come in your Kingdom” meant he ended his earthly life forgiven and welcomed into the very Kingdom of the One dying next to him! The Resurrection of Jesus guaranteed these to that criminal. There are also offered to all us guilty ones who even now live much our lives not recognizing the One who is always next us offering His Death on our behalf.
Broken hearts are healed forever in Heaven. Broken understandings are forever clarified in Heaven. No anger, unforgiveness, addiction, sorrow, or other instruments of the Thief will ever it past the Gates of Heaven. Jesus lives and reigns there forever where He has stored up and guaranteed the real Treasures!
Meanwhile we still see things “in the Glass darkly” as it states in 1 Corinthians 13. We try to imagine and live by eternal things but the things of this sinful world keep distorting that which we try to see and understand. Just like a mirror at a county fair, we can’t trust what we think we are seeing—we need God to set us straight and look rather into the mirror of His Word. Some us get it more distorted than others. Thank God that His Resurrection and Eternity reverses all that distortion.
“For now we see only a reflection in a mirror;
then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part;
then I will fully know, even as I am fully known.”
1 Corinthians 13:12
I watched my Father pass into Heaven itself just a week ago (March 18, 2016). The Thief did not steal my Dad away because Jesus by His Death and Resurrection had already secured for him a place in Heaven “where the thief cannot break in and steal”!
I have been by many bedsides and with many families reading these words of comfort and faith from Psalm 139 — but now I am by my own Father’s bedside speaking to my own Mother and sister as we watch my Dad in the sleep of unconsciousness. Will these words bring comfort to us, to me as I have sought to bring to others?? Of course they will because they are not my words but God’s!
At this point my dad was “asleep” to us and the world of this life. He was in this state for the last two days. We were the Awake and watching; it was not easy. In that time, these words of Psalm 139 became very personal. These are the words of the Psalmist reminding everyone through his words that while we are in this Life there is nowhere we can go that God is not already there. And should I fall asleep in the sleep of death, when I awake I am STILL with You (Lord) — for the Believer, we awake in His Eternal Presence.
These words reminded us of two things:
Thank you for all your words and prayers for our comfort and strength!
Twice during Jesus’ last days, He tells the Disciples to go prepare something but He lets them know they only have to give His title and they will find that the “Reservation” has already been made. So in actuality, they were not tasked with making the Preparation, they were only asked to carry out what He had already Prepared!
As they near Jerusalem, Jesus sends them to get the Colt on which He will ride in triumphant into Jerusalem. They were told when they had found this colt, just start untying it and if challenged, say, “The Lord has need of this.” Where is their Notified Letter of Authorization? Where is the “Photo ID”? I believe the Disciples show a greater faith and obedience than I might be comfortable with—they went, they were challenged, they gave the exact phrase….and they returned with the Colt!! (Luke 19:30-35).
Jesus wanted to celebrate the Passover with the Disciples. Jesus tells them to go into the City and find a man carrying a jar of water who they will tell that the Master needed his room to celebrate the Passover with his disciples--- there were a lot of men carrying jars around Jerusalem! (Mark 14:13-15) I would have asked for more details: Carrying a jar on which street?... What design or type of jar will it be? From which well will he be carrying this jar? But they don’t need these assurances. They go and make the preparations because they were only carrying out Jesus’ pre-preparations.
Jesus still sends His Disciples to carry out PRE-Preparations. He sends us to Make Disciples of all nations while having given us all authority in Heaven and Earth and having already convicted hearts through the Holy Spirit! We are not preparing hearts. We are not going in our own Authority. We are carrying out His Pre-Preparations.
Go, show the same confidence and faith as the Disciples who untied a colt and found some guy carrying a pitcher of water!
Pastor Stephen Willoughby
Pastor Steve grew up in Columbia,South America, where his parents served as missionaries for 25 years. After graduating from Capital Bible Seminary, he was invited to serve as Assistant Pastor at FBCP. He has served in that capacity for twenty years before taking on the position of Senior Pastor.