The Real Presence Of Jesus
By Adolph Saphir (1831 – 1891)
“…And lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matt. 28:20).
Jesus, to whom all power is given in heaven and in earth, is with His disciples among all nations, and all the days even unto the end of the age, when He shall come again to receive them unto Himself.
Jesus is omnipotent, and therefore omnipresent. He is Lord of space and time. All ages belong to Him who is the Everlasting Father, the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is eternal, and yet He is with us from day to day; and He hath ascended far above all heavens, and yet He filleth all things (Eph. 4:9).
The words “I am with you,” are familiar to the reader of the Old Testament, as words of Jehovah. He said unto Moses, “…My presence shall go with thee…” (Ex. 33:14); He said unto Joshua, “…I will be with thee…” (Josh. 1:5). Often He comforted His afflicted people with promises like this: “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee…” (Isa. 43:2). When in the fullness of time the Lord visited and redeemed His people, Matthew reminds us that the name of the Virgin-born Child is Immanuel – “God with us.” What commenced with His birth is perfectly fulfilled in His ascension. It is the risen Savior who now as our Head and Representative announces to us, “Lo, I am with you alway.”
Our Guide and Companion
Jesus is with us. Let us not weaken the meaning of this assurance. The incarnate Son of God, who is at the right hand of the Father, is our constant Guide and Companion. As truly as He saw His martyr Stephen, and rose from His throne to succor and receive him; so truly do His eyes rest now upon each of His disciples; so truly is He present wherever two or three are gathered in His name; so truly does He enter with the assurance of His peace into every heart that loves Him. Jesus is with us – for the Holy Ghost has not come to supply Christ’s absence, but to accomplish His presence. And as Jesus is God and man, so with human sympathy and tenderness is the Lord of glory with us.
This Presence is mysterious; for the world seeth Him no more, yet we see Him. It is spiritual, because the Spirit brings the presence of the Lord unto our souls. But is it therefore not most real?
“I am with you.” Here is our strength. Leaning on Christ, our difficulties vanish. “Have not I commanded thee?” said God unto Joshua, “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Josh. 1:9).
Jesus is with us in our affliction. His is not only divine compassion, His is brotherly human sympathy. He remembers His earthly experience; He understands the tears and fears of human hearts. While we are suffering below, Jesus is upholding us by His priestly intercession. High above, where sin and sorrow cannot enter, lives our God and Brother. But He is also with us. This is He who was seen in the fiery furnace as the fourth man; and as the three believers came forth unhurt and unsinged, their very garments uninjured by the hostile element, thus shall the whole multitude of believers come out of the great tribulation young, strong, beautiful, and joyous, and yet bearing a resemblance to Him whose followers they were in suffering.
Jesus is with us when the soul feels deserted. When our soul is cast down and disquieted within us, when the waves threaten and the wind is boisterous, when the Master appears to have forgotten us, and to lie asleep, not caring whether we perish – “O ye of little faith!” – Jesus is Immanuel. Open the eyes of your heart and look – He is with us.
When we are slow of heart, and cannot believe that He is risen, and walk in sadness, Jesus is with us. No road so narrow but there is room for Jesus to join you; no sorrow so heart-deep but He can say, “Let not your heart be troubled…” (John 14:1).
Jesus is with us when, like Peter, we deny Him. Oh, how quickly and tenderly will He look, and with His eye guide us into repentance (Psa. 32:8). Jesus is with us, though He listen not to thrice-repeated supplication to remove the thorn in the flesh. He is with us, and will say at last, “…My grace is sufficient for thee…” (2 Cor. 12:9).
If Jesus Is With Us…
If Jesus is with us, then we can say, “I shall not want.”
1. If Jesus is with us, we have all things. His presence is our all. He Himself is our Life. He is always with us. He is the very Life of our life, always most truly, really with us.
2. If Jesus is with us, we can do all things. “Be not afraid,” He said to Joshua, “have not I commanded thee?” Is He not our Lord and our Strength? Does He not fight all our battles and is it not He who worketh in us mightily? This is the secret of sanctification. Not merely a remembered Jesus, not merely the motive of gratitude or fear, but the present Jesus, “I am with you,” is the strength of the Christian. In every temptation, in every duty, in every sorrow, lean upon the Lord, who is with thee, and His grace will be sufficient.
3. Jesus is with us. This is the secret of our influence. If Jesus is with us, sinners will draw near to hear him into whose lips grace is poured. The presence of Jehovah in the midst of His people will awe and attract many. The presence of Jesus in our hearts and homes will manifest itself in our character and conduct, and Christ in us will draw many to Himself.
How even, continuous, steadfast, and harmonious ought our life to be – like a peaceful river, which flows on with ever-increasing strength and beauty, gladdening and fertilizing the land on either shore, until at last it ends in the boundless ocean of blessedness which God hath prepared for them that love Him. Jesus is with us all the days – that is, every day. There need be not a single day of gloom and doubt, of apathy and coldness, of sin and worldliness; there need be no day of mere existence, every day may be a day of life, of Christ-life.
Let us follow the example of the Apostle Paul. From the day that Jesus in His infinite grace appeared to him, the apostle followed his Master. This one thing he did. He abode with Him who says to us all, “Lo, I am with you all the days.” From the hour in which by grace he turned unto God in Jesus, until the end, when he could say, “I have finished my course, I have kept the faith,” he never turned back, he never grew weary. He passed through much sorrow and suffering – he had times of darkness, of fear, and of trembling – he had the sentence of death in himself, nay, he died daily; but Jesus was with him, his daily renewed resurrection-life and joy.
4. If Jesus is with us then heaven itself is begun, for to be with the Lord is eternal life and blessedness. Jesus shall throughout all eternity be our all. We shall depend and lean on Him throughout the endless ages. We possess in His presence and love the foretaste and the substance of the future glory. He, who is our Light in this dark valley, is also the Light of the celestial city, the heavenly Jerusalem. He, who is the Lamb and the Shepherd, the Lord of poor believers on earth, is the King, who from the throne of His majesty fills His glorified saints with joy and strength from age to age, eons without end.
The End Is Coming
Jesus will be with us all the days, even unto the end. For there is an end. There will be a consummation of the church, a judgment of the world. Of this the world is willingly ignorant. But we are looking forward to the coming of Christ. We expect perilous times, when men, fully aware of what is implied in the rejection of Christ, shall deny both the Father and the Son. The conflict shall finally be one of awful simplicity, for men shall oppose themselves to God. Then shall it be evident that to believe in the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, it is necessary to believe in His Son Jesus.
And among professing Christians the love of the many (the majority) shall wax cold, and many shall walk as the enemies of the Cross of Christ. But Jesus is with us to the end. Let us therefore be steadfast, strong, and of good courage.
Jesus Is Our Hope and Future
Jesus is the end. He is Omega as well as Alpha. We wait for Him from heaven. When He appears, we also shall appear with Him in glory. Then shall we ever be with the Lord, as He now is with us. We shall have communion with Him in His glory and reign, if we are faithful to Him now in suffering and obedience. Thus is the Lord Himself our Hope, our Future, even as He is our Present Life.
“And lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” “Amen” responds the believing heart. Who first uttered this amen? Was it the Lord Himself, the true and faithful Witness, the Amen, in whom all the promises of God are yea and amen? Was it Matthew, who in the name of the whole church responded to the Master’s command and promise with the word of faith and loving assent? Let us all say “Amen” with joyful lips and adoring hearts; let us say “Amen” in our daily obedience, and in our daily testimony for Jesus and His Gospel; let our true and sincere response be, “Even so come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.” Amen.