Steve’s Devotional – Jesus is Here
SEPTEMBER 25, 2017
A lot happened in the past that affects both our present and future.
The incarnation of God in Christ happened in the past. And now, because he came, we never have to feel that God doesn’t care. People asked if there was a God and, if there was, what he was like. A monster? A child abuser? A God with lightning bolts aimed at the people who get out of line? Does he love? Does he love me?
Then the laughter of God spilled over into a sour, bent and dark world. We knew, because he came, that God was there. He was love.
The cross happened in the past as a space-time event. When Jesus said, “It is finished” (John 19:30), he meant that what was needful in terms of our redemption had been accomplished—completely, totally and absolutely. When it was finished on the cross, it was really finished. Now I don’t ever have to feel guilty again. Someone, in answer to the question “When were you saved?” replied, “Well, about 2,000 years ago.” That is profoundly true because of something that happened a long time ago in the past.
The resurrection of Christ—a dead man getting up out of the grave—was a past space-time event. It really happened then.
Do you remember what the risen Christ said to his disciples (Mathew 28:18-20)? He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” That, of course, was a statement made by the Son of God. Christ’s statement to his disciples, though to be applied to us today, was also an actual, past space-time event.
But what he said after that was not.
He said, “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
When I worship, Jesus is there. When I go through the valley of the shadow of death, Jesus is there. Jesus isn’t just a past event. He is the most important, the most exciting, the most relevant, the most joyous and the most loving person in my life right now. In his presence, I am forgiven, loved and accepted. In his presence, I find meaning, joy, hope and radical freedom.
Jesus was not only there in Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago; he is here right now…even as I write this. (In fact, as I understand it, I’m not writing this by myself. Jesus is here with me as I write and that means you ought to pay attention. Jesus is also there with you as you read this, perhaps saying, “Don’t listen to everything Steve writes. Some of it is pretty good because he was listening to me, but some of it you will need to filter because I had nothing to do with it.”)
Back when I was still a pastor, a teenage girl who was worried about her mother’s salvation asked me to talk to her. As I talked to the mother, I was amazed by her hostility to organized religion and to Christians whom she said were all hypocrites.
I let her talk. As I listened, I quickly realized she had a point. Some Christians had done some terrible things to her and I could give her no defense except to tell her how sorry I was. After the woman “ventilated” her anger and was spent, she then got quiet. I noticed that she became softer. She had finally met a Christian who didn’t judge her and who accepted her anger.
Then the woman said, “Steve, let me tell you something that I’ve never told anyone before, but I think you should know. Every night, just before I go to sleep, I whisper, ‘Good night, Jesus.’”
This mother wasn’t far from the kingdom and, in fact, did become a Christian shortly after our conversation. I wasn’t surprised. You see, Jesus—the one to whom she spoke each night—loved her and drew her to himself. It wasn’t a theology or a set of truth propositions. It was Jesus.
Jesus is here. Jesus is really here.
So laugh, dance, sing and rejoice.
Time to Draw Away
Read Psalm 23 & Matthew 11:28-29
How do you know that Jesus is with you right now…and has your back? Regardless of how you feel on a particular day, the fact is God loves, accepts, forgives and cherishes you as his son or daughter. God is at work in your life right now, accomplishing his perfect plan and purposes. And Jesus is your elder brother. So you’re in and he is there. That is great cause for celebration.