IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: LO, I AM WITH YOU EVEN UNTO THE END
Rev. Innocent Peace-Udochukwu President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Moments before His ascension into heaven, these are the words that Jesus spoke – “I will be with you always”. This was His final encouragement to a group of people whose world had been turned upside down and inside out! This group had been on what must have been an emotional roller coaster; they believed Jesus to be the Messiah who would save the world, only to then see Him arrested and crucified. The pain and confusion must have been nearly unbearable. Then three days later He was alive; then they saw Jesus ascend into heaven, reminding them that He is with them always. Jesus had ‘left’ them before, at least it must have seemed that way when He was crucified. Yet now He promises that He will never leave them, even though He is clearly no longer physically present. How can that be?
Through the presence of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is constantly and fully present with us. We are blessed to know that not only is He with us, but He also lives in us and works through us.
In order to truly understand our key verse, we have to take a look at it in context with the other verses that come before it:
“When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
Matthew 28: 17-20
Here you see the strength of the Godman:— he is girt with omnipotence, though still on earth when he spoke these words he had received a privilege, honour, glory, fullness and power which lifted him far above the sons of men. He was, as Mediator, no more a sufferer, but a sovereign; no more a victim, but a victor; no more a servant, but the monarch of earth and heaven. Yet he had never received such power if he had not endured such weakness. All power had never been given to the Mediator if all comfort had not been taken away. He stooped to conquer. The way to his throne was downward. Mounting upon steps of ivory, Solomon ascended to his throne of gold; but Our Lord and Master descended that he might ascend, and went down into the awful deeps of agony unutterable that all power in heaven and earth might belong to him as our Redeemer and Covenant Head.
Now think a moment of these words, “All power.” Jesus Christ has given to him by his Father, as a consequence of his death, “all power.” It is but another way of saying that the Mediator possesses omnipotence, for omnipotence is but the Latin of “all power.” What mind shall conceive, what tongue shall set in order before you, the meaning of all power? We cannot grasp it; it is high, we cannot attain unto it. Such knowledge is too wonderful for us. The power of self-existence, the power of creation, the power of sustaining that which is made, the power of fashioning and destroying, the power of opening and shutting, of overthrowing or establishing, of killing and making alive, the power to pardon and to condemn, to give and to withhold, to decree and to fulfil, to be, in a word, “head over all things to his church,” — all this is vested in Jesus Christ our Lord. We might as well attempt to describe infinity, or map the boundless as to tell what “all power” must mean; but whatever it is, it is all given to our Lord, all lodged in those hands which once were fastened to the wood of shame, all left with that heart which was pierced with the spear, all placed as a crown upon that head which was surrounded with a coronet of thorns.
“All power in heaven” is his. Observe that! Then he has the power of God, for God is in heaven, and the power of God emanates from that central throne. Jesus, then, has divine power. Whatever Jehovah can do Jesus can do. If it were his will to speak another world into existence, we should see to-night a fresh star adorning the brow of night. Were it his will at once to fold up creation like a worn out vesture, lo the elements would pass away, and yonder heavens would be shrivelled like a scroll.
Jesus holds all authority in heaven and on earth. Jesus is encouraging the disciples that even though they will face hardships and even death because of following Him, He is still bigger than all of it. The world will continue to struggle with sin, but He offers a way to conquer sin and find a more meaningful life on earth that will lead to eternal life with Him.
Knowing this, we are to go and make disciples. Jesus doesn’t instruct us to do this because it’s a good idea, it might be helpful, or because it seems nice. He commands it because it is the only way for the truth of the Kingdom of God to be heard and lived out by others. We are not on our own, however! He holds all authority and this assures us that we are never alone and that we will never share the gospel in vain. As we go and make disciples, we are sharing the truth of Christ with others who will become members of the church and co-heirs with us and with Christ.
He is with us until the end of the age. Jesus gives us a time limit for how long we can count on this promise – the end of the age. What age is He talking about? He is referring to the Church age, the present point in time that has existed since He left this earth and gave this command. How long will this age last? This age, and this promise, will last until He returns to usher in a new era of His rule and reign on the earth, the fulfillment of all that has been. When will Jesus return? When will this happen? It is not for us to know, but it could be today or centuries from now. The point is that no matter how long it is before He returns, He is with us. Always.
Since all power on earth is lodged in Christ’s hands, he can also clothe any and all of his servants with a sacred might, by which their hands shall be sufficient for them in their high calling. Without bringing them forth into the front ranks he can make them occupy their appointed stations till he comes, girt with a power which shall make them useful. My brother, the Lord Jesus can make you eminently prosperous in the sphere in which he has placed you; my sister, your Lord can bless the little children who gather at your knee through your means. You are very feeble, and you know it, but there is no reason why you should not be strong in him. If you look to the strong for strength he can endue you with power from on high, and say to you as to Gideon, “Go in this thy might.” Your slowness of speech need not disqualify you, for he will be with your mouth as with Moses. Your want of culture need not hinder you, for Shamgar with his ox goad smote the Philistines, and Amos, the prophet, was a herdsman. Like Paul, your personal presence may be despised as weak, and your speech as contemptible, but yet like him you may learn to glory in infirmity, because the power of God doth rest upon you. Ye are not straitened in the Lord, but in yourselves, if straitened at all. You may be as dry as Aaron’s rod, but he can make you bud and blossom, and bring forth fruit. You may be as nearly empty as the widow’s cruse, yet will he cause you still to overflow towards his saints. You may feel yourself to be as near sinking as Peter amid the waves, yet will he keep you from your fears. You may be as unsuccessful as the disciples who had toiled all night and taken nothing, yet he can fill your boat till it can hold no more. No man knows what the Lord can make of him, nor what he may do by him, only this we do know assuredly that “all power” is with him by whom we were redeemed, and to whom we belong. Oh, believers, resort ye to your Lord, to receive out of his fullness grace for grace.
BEFORE our SAVIOUR’s death He seems to have been almost always with His disciples; but after He was risen from the dead He was not always with them. He came and He went in a very mysterious manner. The disciples are assembled at evening, on the first day of the week, with shut doors; but Jesus comes and stands in their midst; and “after eight days again, the doors being shut,” there He was. When they were on the sea, too, in some similar manner, He stood upon the shore and spake to them. He came and went, manifesting Himself to them, as He did not unto the world. There seemed a speciality in His communion with them then; but in the case before us, whatever speciality there was, there was much of familiarity, too. “Jesus came and spake to them”; perhaps a more correct translation would be ”talked with them.” It was no speech from a distance; but He came, bringing Himself into close proximity to them; and He talked with them, as He had been wont to do aforetime, holding sweet intercourse with them. There may have been only the Eleven present; the connection would make us think so; and yet when we read, “They saw Him, and worshipped Him, but some doubted, one would think there must have been others with them; for surely the Eleven had got over their doubts by this time. Many of the most learned expositors think that this was the occasion on which our LORD appeared to about five hundred brethren at once. It does not much matter whether it were so or not. If He spake to the Eleven, they represented the whole; and if He spake to the five hundred, they were nearly the whole of His followers here below. Anyhow, He must have spoken, not only to those who were actually present, but to His whole Church; because in no other sense can it be true—”Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world”; for they have gone, they have not remained unto the end of the dispensation. We do remain, and we take it that the Master’s words were spoken to us all. CHRIST looked over the heads of the centuries, and He saw us, and He said to us who work for Him and serve Him in the preaching of the Gospel, yea, to all His people (for they all do this) —”Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”
There is one word more remaining, which must not be overlooked, and that is Amen which is not a cipher, intended only for a concluding word, like finish at the end of a book, but it has its significancy. It bespeaks Christ’s confirmation of this promise, Lo, I am with you. It is his Amen, in whom all the promises are Yea and Amen, “Verily I am, and will be, with you I the Amen, the faithful Witness, do assure you of it.” Or, It bespeaks the church’s concurrence with it, in their desire, and prayer, and expectation. It is the evangelist’s Amen–So be it, blessed Lord. Our Amen to Christ’s promises turns them into prayers. Hath Christ promised to be present with his ministers, present in his word, present in the assemblies of his people, though but two or three are gathered together in his name, and this always, even to the end of the world? Let us heartily say Amen to it believe that it shall be so, and pray that it may be so: Lord, Remember this word unto thy servants, upon which thou hast caused us to hope.
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