Seeing Jesus As The End
By Roy & Revel Hession
In John 14 Jesus had said a surprising thing to His disciples: “And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know” (v. 4). Thomas replied (colloquializing it a little), “That is just what we don’t know. We don’t know where you are going and so we don’t know the way.” “Oh yes, you do know the Way,” said the Lord in effect, “for I am the Way. Knowing Me, you know the Way” (v. 6).
But where did the way lead? To the Father, of course, for He went on: “…No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (v. 6). Then He startled them with the statement, “If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also” (v. 7).
Philip, quite puzzled, joined in at this point and said, “Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us” (v. 8). It was in reply to this that the Lord uttered the stupendous words, “…He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father…” (v. 9). Thus it was they discovered that they knew both the Way and the whither – the End – for the Lord Jesus was both. For us too He is both the Way and the whither. In finding Him, men have not only found the Way, but the End, too. We do not have to go beyond Him to something else to satisfy our needs. He is the End of all that we need, and the simple, easily accessible Way to that End.
In light of this we can see what some of us have been doing. We have been availing ourselves of Jesus and His blood as the Way, but to ends other than Himself. We have been willing to go to all lengths to put things right, sometimes at great cost to ourselves, because the end we seek is seen to be so desirable. “O God,” the intensely earnest soul will pray, “I will pay any cost to have revival, to enjoy Your power on my ministry.” But in the shadows often lurk subtle motives of self-interest and self-glory. Little wonder, then, that in spite of our agonizings in prayer, God has not allowed us to reach those ends.
Even if our motives are quite free from self-interest, those things are still not to be the ends or reasons for which we get right with the Lord. The Lord Jesus Himself is to be our end. The reason for getting right should not be that we might have revival, or power, or be used of God, or have this or that blessing, but that we might have Him. Our sin has caused us to let go of His hand; a cloud has come between His lovely face and ourselves, and at all costs we want to find Him and His fellowship again. That, and that only, is to be the reason why we should be willing to go the Way of repentance – not for any other motive than that we want Him. He is to be the End; but alas, other ends, idols all of them, so easily take His place in our hearts.
The story of the ten leprous men who were healed by the Lord Jesus is a graphic illustration of this. Of the ten, only one, when he discovered himself healed, returned to Jesus to give Him thanks and glorify God. The other nine continued on their way, eager to enjoy the new life into which their healing from leprosy had introduced them. To them the Lord Jesus was but the means to the end, the end being a life of health. But to the man who fell down at His feet, craving fellowship with the One who had healed him, Jesus was not only the means but the End Himself.
Only He Satisfies
Such is the humility of our adorable Lord that He is willing in the first days of our spiritual experience to be a means to such ends as peace and happiness and power. Indeed, with men in their sins, enlightened self-interest is all that God has to appeal to. What is the gospel appeal – “Flee from the wrath to come” – but an appeal to such self-interest? And, as I say, He is willing for us to consider Him and His atoning Cross a way to such an escape, such an end. But not for long can He allow us to go on making Him the means to ends other than Himself. He knows all such ends will not satisfy our hearts, for we are made for Him, and we are restless till we rest in Him.
Moreover, such ends, if that is all we come to, would fail to satisfy His heart, for the Bible tells us that the whole purpose of Jesus on the Cross was to reconcile us “unto Himself” (2 Cor. 5:19). Again, we are told that God has “predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus to Himself” (Eph. 1:5), and that Jesus gave Himself for us, “that He might…purify unto Himself a peculiar people” (Titus 2:14).
So it is that He allows us to be frustrated and disappointed in our strivings after this or that end until at last He comes to us and says, “My child, I never promised you that if you would surrender, repent and get right with Me, you would have an eased situation, great power, success in your service, or even revival. What I do promise you is that, if you will walk with Me, and allow Me to show you sin as soon as it comes in, and cleanse you from it, you will have not these things but – ME. Make Me your desired end and you will surely have that end, and you shall be satisfied, lacking nothing that is in the will of God for you.”
The shameful thing is, however, that, when this comes home to us, we feel a little disappointed. We have to admit it was not Himself we really wanted but rather His gifts, and that for subtle, selfish reasons! As the hymn writer says, “I yearned for them, not Thee.” That is why He has not allowed us to have them!
The wonderful thing is, however, that when we are willing to be convicted of the sin of making these other things our ends, and to have the Lord Jesus as our only end, God delights to give us with Him many of these very things which we are now not seeking first. “How shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). And who can tell what is not included as part of God’s generosity in those “all things”? What wonderful things will He not do for those who are willing to walk with the Lord Jesus for His own sake!
Perhaps the best illustration of this is the incident of Solomon asking for wisdom (see First Kings 3:5-13). When God said to Solomon, “Ask what I shall give thee,” he was, so to speak, offered a blank check. Instead of seeking selfish ends, the king simply asked: “Give therefore Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people” (3:9). The margin puts it: “a hearing heart” – that is, a disposition of brokenness which is willing to listen to God, to be told what to do. God was so delighted that Solomon made this the end that he was seeking that He said: “Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies, but has asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart” (3:11-12). He got the end that he was seeking. But that was not all: “I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honor: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days” (3:13).
God threw in with the one thing Solomon desired the many other things which had ceased to be chief ends for him, and God did so just because they had ceased to be such to him. So it will be with us when we too cease to make other selfish things the end, and are content to see only Jesus as our End. With Him God will give us all that is in His will for us.
If the Lord Jesus said that in coming to Him men have found not only the way to the Father but the Father Himself, surely He means that to apply to every other blessing we seek. The glorious truth is that He is Himself not only the way to blessing but the needed blessing itself; not only the way to power but our power; not only the way to victory but our victory; not only the way to sanctification but our sanctification; not only the way to healing but our healing; not only the way to revival but our revival, and so on for everything else. He is Himself made to us what we need. In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, as Paul says, and we are complete in Him (Col. 2:10).
In coming to Him as a sinner, as so often we must, we find Him to be just there all we need. We do not have to go any further than the Cross into a blessing – which we somehow imagine lies beyond. Pentecost is found, not at Pentecost but at Calvary, where sinners repent; as is also revival and every other blessing. Way and End are the one Person, found together in the one moment of each successive act of repentance and faith.
Nothing Beyond Christ
We are now in a position to understand the reasons for many of the frustrations in the spiritual life. We have sought peace, holiness, victory, revival, as blessings apart from and additional to the Lord Jesus, and they have for this reason eluded us. We have prayed and struggled for them and sought to fulfill all sorts of conditions, but in vain. We have even been willing to walk the humbling way of the blood of Jesus, and to let Him convict us and bring us to repentance; but even so, the great baptism of love and power is looked upon as something yet to be received.
In contrast to this, let us ponder again Paul’s great word, “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Rom. 10:4). The Lord Jesus, however, is not only the end of our struggles for rightness with God, but for everything else – for peace, for victory, for holiness, for healing, for revival. What struggles we have had to obtain these blessings, what excruciating surrenders sometimes, what prayings, what self-mortifications, what battles to make our sinful hearts less sinful. But in coming to Him in helpless repentance and confession of sin we have come to the One who in the moment of our abasement is the very blessing we have been struggling for in so many other directions. He is our peace; He is our power; He is our victory; He is our revival. There is nothing beyond Him.
The well is deep and I require
A draught of the water of life;
And none can quench my soul’s desire
For a draught of the water of life;
Till one draws near who the cry will heed,
Helper of men in their time of need,
And I, believing, find indeed
That Christ is the water of life.
It may be asked, “Are we not, then, to pray for revival?” Our first responsibility is to be revived ourselves, and to have a testimony that we have come to the end of our struggle and have found Jesus Himself as all we need, with all that that involves of repentance. Then we, and others in fellowship with us, can pray that what God has done in our hearts He will do in other hearts in ever-widening circles. We are not, then, praying for revival as something that has not yet come, but as Someone who has already come to our hearts. Revival has begun (and it has begun even if the Reviver has come to only one heart), and it is now but a matter of it spreading. The beachhead for new life established in but a few hearts needs now to be extended to other hearts, and to that end God will use our testimony and willingness for self-giving quite as much as our prayers. Such prayers, however, will be offered by those who know they have found both the Way and the End; but the striving and tenseness that characterize so much of our praying for revival will be absent, and a calm confidence and boldness will take their place.
Does this mean that the one who has found both the Way and the End in the Lord Jesus has attained all the heights of spirituality that God has for him? By no means! He is still a sinner; he still needs the blood of Jesus; he still repents. Indeed, he is quicker to repent than ever, for part of his discovery is that the way of repentance is the way of proving the Lord Jesus as his all.
Go Deeper In Christ
What, then, has such a man found? He has found at last where the true gold is, and has sunk his shaft into that precious vein, the Lord Jesus. He is not now shaken or disturbed by the report of “lucky strikes” anywhere else – in this doctrine or that experience, or in some other emphasis. And the strange thing is, that after all his attempts to find the answer in so many other directions, he has come back to the very same shaft he sank when God first saved him, that which he sank into the redemption provided by the Lord Jesus. He now needs only to go daily deeper in that one place – deeper conviction, deeper repentance, deeper dying to self, deeper cleansing, deeper faith – and he will find the life and fullness of his living Lord to be as much as he ever needs.
Let us see Jesus, then, as the End and the easily accessible Way to that End – both of them consecrated by His blood for needy people no better than ourselves.
Jesus, my Shepherd, Husband, Friend,
My Prophet, Priest and King,
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,
Accept the praise I bring.
– Condensed and adapted from We Would See Jesus by Roy and Revel Hession. Copyright © Roy Hession Book Trust. Used by permission. To order this book within the U.S. contact CLC Publications, P.O. Box 1449, Fort Washington, PA 19034. 1-800-659-1240. clcpublications.com