By B. McCall Barbour
"Fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess" (Heb. 3:1).
The greatest and the grandest of all themes is Jesus. Jesus is the source, the substance and the sum of all genuine and lasting joy. It is in Jesus that reality is found. It is contact with Jesus that makes our own lives real.
Jesus alone satisfies God. Jesus only can satisfy us. To be satisfied with Jesus makes us very simple. More than that, to be simple delivers us from what is artificial, superficial, and merely sentimental. Blessed deliverance indeed!
Jesus is a universal Saviour. There is that in Him which meets all human needs. Less than Jesus will not do. Other than Jesus will not suit. More than Jesus is not possible. He is "the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2:9).
The claims of Jesus are stated and His appeals are made in the simplest of terms, that all may understand, accept and enjoy Him and His salvation. Who Jesus is, what Jesus says, what Jesus does and is going to do, is the confidence, the comfort and the encouragement of all who put their trust in Him.
Jesus is the solace, the supply, the satisfaction for every human heart oppressed by sin and sorrow, suffering and care. This then is what Jesus is and does. This He alone can do. He is able. He is willing. He is ready.
Listen then, O soul! Are you in sin? Are you in sorrow? Are you wounded by the cruel treatment of the world? Are you misunderstood and misrepresented? Is your spirit crushed? Is your heart perplexed? Have your oft-repeated failures cast you down? Is life to you a mystery, a weariness, a dread? Are you fearful about the future? Have you a hunger and a thirst for something – yes, rather for a someone who will satisfy?
Go to Jesus!
"Thou shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21). Yes, it is in Jesus, and all that that blessed name implies, that weary hearts and weakened wills and worn-out frames find true abiding rest. Just in Jesus and nowhere else.
In Jesus all the problems of earth's suffering are solved, its sorrows soothed, its sin is "washed away." In Jesus is the stimulus, the strength, the stay for every present need. In Jesus is the only hope there is for future bliss (1 Tim. 1:1).
O wonder not, my soul, that hearts, when they have tasted of the sweetness and the all-sufficiency of His great love, are weaned away from all the profitless pleasures of this passing world and find no sweeter theme of thought, or speech or song than "Jesus, blessed Jesus!"
Yet, He Is "Despised and Rejected!"
Men shun Him, scorn Him, scoff at Him. O why? Is it not because we have not been fair to Jesus! The souls around have been misled by our treatment of Him. We have misrepresented Him. Men have judged Him by the failure of those who bear His name. They have maligned Him because some weak and wayward disciple has disgraced His cause.
His "name" has been borne by many who have not yielded to His "nature." Many have sought "the gift of life," who have refused the life of the "Giver." Many have professed to follow Him who have played false to His precepts.
His "religion" has been paraded while His "righteousness" has not been possessed. He has been called "Lord" and "Master" by those who have refused obedience to His command. His praises have been sung by those who have not respected His principles.
His commands have been construed into excuses for unrighteous actions. His "cause" has been espoused by those who have been ignorant of the meaning of His "cross." He has been made a subject for controversy rather than a source of comfort.
He has been the conversation on our lips, but not the controller of our lives. He has been prominent in our songs, but deficient in our service. Our work has been ostensibly for Him, but our wills have not been subject to His rule.
He has been regarded as a spoiler of our prospects, not the promoter of our prosperity. He has been suspected as a destroyer of our pleasures, rather than a bestower of delights. He has been patronized rather than proclaimed.
He has been preached about rather than appropriated. He has been exploited rather than expressed. He has been despised rather than adored. He has been grieved rather than glorified.
His example has been eschewed rather than emulated. He has been feared rather than followed. He has been ridiculed rather than revered. His words have been belied rather than believed.
He has been made a theme to talk about, rather than a friend to be trusted. He has been "a saying" rather than "a Saviour." He has been criticized when He should have been cherished. He has been crucified when He should have been crowned.
Others have been consulted when He ought to have been confided in. He has been reckoned as a personage of history while He waits to be welcomed as a dear and loving guest. He has been dealt with as a problem to be discussed, not as a person to be loved and honored and obeyed. He has been kept at a distance when He desires to be the all-sufficient and ever-present indweller of our needy hearts.
Because of all this travesty of Jesus – Jesus the Son of God, yes, very God Himself – men's minds toward Him have been impaired, impoverished, and imperiled. They have missed HIM in their lives. They are devoid of all that makes life, love, joy, peace, and power – divine.
Still They Seek for Something that Will Satisfy
This is their life-long quest. They long for what they know not. But it is for Jesus, for none but He can satisfy. He is God's only answer to their need.
Jesus! Behind that precious name is the peerless person Himself. It is the PERSON who satisfies. It is not what others say about Him that can meet our need. It is not a system or a creed, not His gifts, however generous, nor His glories, however grand, that can comfort us. It is not for things our hearts are hungering. It is for HIM – JESUS HIMSELF.
As we experience the intimacy of His person and know His presence with us in our hearts, the joy that the Lord gives becomes our strength (Neh. 8:10). Only as He comforts are we made confident. Only as Jesus fights for us are we made conquerors. Only as Jesus speaks is there power. Only as Jesus rules is there peace. Such is the blessedness of having Jesus in our lives!
O weary soul, in search for satisfaction, pursue your quest no further! Delay your decision no longer! Receive Him! Past efforts may have failed to bring the rest you have reckoned on, the peace He promised, and the power He offered. That must surely be because your heart was set on them, and not on Him. The blessings have been sought rather than the Blesser. So often in groping for the "gifts" we fail to grip the Giver. Learn now, O soul, that Jesus is the embodiment of all His gifts. When He is our portion, and our experienced possession, then is our every need supplied in Him.
O soul, what hinders you from knowing Jesus in this sweet, this simple, and this satisfying way? Is it the burden of your sin that makes the barrier that holds you back? Yet this burden is your greatest plea to come to Him.
"...Jesus, He shall save His people from their sins" (Matt 1:21). Jesus is the great, the only sin-bearer. "There is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Jesus has settled the sin question for those who put their trust in Him. "He loved me and gave Himself for me" (Gal. 2:20). Start there! There is no other start. That alone settles it. When it is settled by Jesus as our substitutionary Saviour; it is settled for ever! It is the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, that cleanseth us from all sin (1 John 1:7). "It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul" (Lev. 17:11). "He made peace through the blood of His cross" (Col. 1:20).
The Blood of Jesus is the entrance door into the Father's presence, and into the experience of all the riches of His pardon, peace and power. Come then, O soul, come to Jesus! Seek not salvation in any other way. There is no other. It is Jesus saves. "By Me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture" (John 10:9). Then Jesus will be sweet to you – yes, even you!
Just as there is no salvation apart from the acceptance of Jesus and the possession of Him as the Saviour, so there can be no success in service or support in suffering apart from submission to Him and following closely in His steps. O soul, make no mistake! He comes to you to be your very life. He is your life (Col. 3:4). If today your hopes are blighted, your heart is weary, your lot is hard, and your future dark – trust Jesus! Trust Him! Trust Him!
Cultivate Converse with Jesus
Make it the habit of your life to speak to Him by name. Say, "Jesus." Yes, say it! Train your heart to speak it in silence and your lips to voice it in sound. Whisper "Jesus," say "Jesus," sing "Jesus," till that name becomes to you your "shelter," your "shield," your "pillow," your "power," your ""refuge," and your "strength."
When Jesus fills your vision, occupies your heart, engages your thoughts, and lingers on your lips, you shall be safe from all that would disturb or distress from "the world, the flesh, and the devil." When unwelcome thoughts pervade, and would pollute the mind – say "Jesus!" His presence will prevail.
When the concerns of business are confusing – say "Jesus!" He will clear your vision, calm your heart, and carry you quietly through. When the affairs of the family are harassing – say "Jesus!" "Jesus knows all about your trouble." He will sweeten with His sympathy your lot, and will direct your paths.
When troubles arise on every hand – say "Jesus!" He will transform your troubles into triumphs of His grace.
When the way is doubtful and the future dark – say "Jesus!" He will go before and banish all your fears. When fear assails, and faith is well nigh wrecked – say "Jesus!" His "fear not; I am with you," will suffice. When your prospects have been clouded o’er – say "Jesus!" He will remind you of His promise, "Surely I come quickly," and give a prospect brightened by "that Blessed Hope."
When your motives are misunderstood and your actions misrepresented – say "Jesus!" When friends forsake and companionships grow cold – say "Jesus!" He will draw near and fill the aching void of your desolated heart. When the clouds of sorrow cast their shadows on your course – say "Jesus!" He will clear the clouds away.
When sickness separates you from the throng and you are laid aside – say "Jesus!" His companionship will creep into your heart, and refresh your feeble frame. When in the silent sleepless watches of the night the hours drag on – say "Jesus!" He will soothe and solace, and His presence will give peace.
When the waywardness of those you love brings grief and pain into your life – say "Jesus!" He can stop the wanderers in their course, and bring them in repentance back again. When the thoughts of dear ones far away in danger zones distress – say "Jesus!" He can reach them, protect, preserve and bless. When the darkness of death descends upon the heart and home – say "Jesus!" In the hush you will hear Him speak His comfort in your soul.
O soul, what you have lost in lacking Jesus! Days have been dreary, nights have been sleepless, hearts have been burdened, friendships have been broken, work has been wearisome, tasks have been toilsome, pleasures have been passing; efforts have been vain, the outlook has been dark, all – all for lack of Jesus. We have kept Him on the doorstep of our lives when He has longed to be a partner in our daily lot, and to make our hearts His home. And still He stands! Still He waits! Still He pleads!
"If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me" (Rev. 3:20). O soul, will you not then behold Him with the eye of faith and invite Him with the lip of love. Open! Open! Say "Jesus!" Let Him in! This is the satisfaction that He seeks. When we have given to Him His heart's desire we too shall find our own. We shall be satisfied and safe.
"The Lord shall guide thee continually and satisfy thy soul..." (Isa. 58:11).