I was musing this morning on walking in fellowship with Jesus (I John). As I did, the promise of Jesus to the Disciples came to mind. My pondering merged what he said in these three passages.
John 14:26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you.
Luke 24:49–And behold, I am sending the promise of My Father upon you. But remain in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
Acts 1:1-11—Living with this anticipation: “This same Jesus…will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven” (11) and He will now “baptize you with the Holy Spirit…” (5)
Here is what I heard. Wherever you go in whatever you are doing, I will be with you in the person of the Holy Spirit, resourcing you to live and work as I have taught you, as ordained by the Father.
Then my mind drifted through the Gospels. From the day of their calling, Jesus was with them, though not always physically. For example, he directed them to cross the Sea of Galilee in the middle of the night while he prayed in the mountain. Yet, when they were battered by the storm and filled with fear, he saw them and came to them and calmed the storm (Matt 14:22-33). On another occasion, he was with them but sleeping [in a sense, not physically with them] when the storm arose, and again, they were filled with fear and anxiety. He spoke to the storm, restored calm, and protected them (Matt 8:23-27).
Here then, is what I concluded about my walk with Jesus. He sent me into this world to be his ambassador. He has encouraged me to seek knowledge, understanding, discernment, and wisdom by listening to His voice through His Word (Prov 2, 3). He is always with me but expects me, while consciously depending upon him, to use my mind, strength, and all I have to confidently manage his world and carry out His great commission. He expects me to be an adult believer who understands my commission and performs it for His glory. While he is always available for a Peter-type call, “Lord! Save Me!” (Matt 14:28), He expects me to wisely make decisions with the expectation that the Holy Spirit is leading me through accumulated knowledge of His Word (John 14:26). The brother of Jesus, James, put it thus, “If anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask. Godly will freely give it and not rebuke him” (my phrase of James 1:5-6).
All this is to attempt to picture a walk with Jesus in the 21st century. Though the “setting” is different, walking today is like walking with Jesus two thousand years ago. It is conversational. I am always under his oversight. He is always available for my cry for help. He is always loving. He is constantly teaching. He is always doing providential miracles. He is continuously fulfilling promises. But as they were not always aware of his presents, I am sometimes unaware of his presence. Nonetheless, He is there, and He is not silent, to borrow a phrase from Francis Schaeffer.
This refreshing confidence is a tremendous encouragement and peace in troubled times. Today a seventeen-year-old acquaintance saw his father hauled away in an ambulance with COVID. In the past two weeks, this same young man observed two friends who did not see their dad’s come home after going to the hospital with COVID. What shall we say to this young man or any other young person if dad does not come home? While there is not a single simple answer to this question, here is one, at least in part. Evil men manipulated God’s creation to lose this virus in our world. But Jesus was not surprised as he was not when the storm blew in upon the disciples. Jesus delivered the disciples by calming the storm, and Jesus will calm the storm of their lives if dad does not come home. It may not be with the rapidity that speaking to the storm achieved, but if they call upon Him, he will calm the storm.
The COVID Occasions
While this virus has been the “angel of death” to unbelievers and believers alike, it is under the control of a Sovereign God in all his attributes. Our walk with Jesus through by Holy Spirit takes us to Psalm 139, where we hear Him say that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (14). We learn that “in Thy book were all written, the days that were ordained for me when as yet there was not one of them.” The Holy Spirit will say to him, “Sing to God, sing praises to His name…A father of the fatherless…is God in His holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely…only the rebellious dwell in a parched land” (Ps 68:4-6). And those of us around him will support, weep, and grieve with Him and assure him that as Jesus explained the plan of God and the reality of his death to His two disciples on the Emmaus Road (Lk 24), so he will walk with him and explain his plan for him and his family in his father’s home going.
A 21st-Century Narrative
A doctor serving prison time for selling prescription drugs told me that a whirlwind of storms surrounded him due to his illegal operation. But this doc shared this testimony. As memory serves me, he reported that getting caught and coming to this prison bought peace to his life and restored my relationships with my family. Here “I met Jesus. Here I began walking with Jesus. And Jesus taught me how to love my wife and children.”
Now you consider this!
Think back over your life. Ask the Lord to help you remember and to give you the eyes to see the times he has fulfilled his promises to you as you have walked in this 21st century. Jot them down, turn them into a “Thank you, Lord” list, and use them as a praise list. Then take someone to lunch or play a round of golf and use the time to share these paise items with your friend. In the process, you will glorify God and encourage another person to walk self-consciously with Jesus intentionally.