JESUS SAYS, “I’LL STAND BY YOU.”

JESUS SAYS, “I’LL STAND BY YOU.”

Resurrection Day is an often recounted event, told by believers and unbelievers alike. And like everything else, everyone has their own version of what really happened. The soldiers have their version, the religious leaders have their version, the disciples have their version, and even the angel who was sent to proclaim the good news of Jesus’ resurrection has his version. But beloved, what is your version? Is yours similar to the disciples or the soldiers? Because whatever our versions may be, it has a tremendous impact on us and on those around us. Here is why.

For many of us, the Resurrection Day experience is what we experience when we are in trouble. We ‘know’ where Jesus is and we run to Him. But when we get there, we get a rude shock. He’s not there. He’s gone. And worst of all, He’s not there to provide us with answers.

And we’ve been there, haven’t we? When we are in trouble, we run to church, we look for our leaders, we have them pray for us, we go to confession, we pick up our Bibles, we read and read, but we never get an answer. Jesus is just not there. But if we look at what happened to the women who went to Jesus’ tomb, we get an idea of just where Jesus is and why it is that we sometimes don’t see Him.

“But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”” Matthew 28:5-7

They were given a revelation, and based on that revelation, they were given a charge. But what was most important about it is, they acted on that charge.

“So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.” Matthew 28:8

Now, think about it. Have they seen resurrections before? Yes, they saw Lazarus resurrected, they saw Jairus’ daughter resurrected, and even if they had not seen, they surely must have heard about Jesus raising the son of the widow of Nain. So this is not an unfamiliar experience to them. But do you think they were going away full of confidence that their story would be believed? Do you think that they had no doubt in their minds that the other disciples would receive their story with full acceptance? Yet they went.

So what about you? Have you received a revelation from our Father? Have you been convicted to share the good news with someone? Were you given the opportunity to set someone right on our Father’s path? Did you do it? Or did you shy away because you thought that your testimony would not be believed, and you would be laughed at? For see what happened when the women acted on their revelation and charge.

“And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”” Matthew 28:9-10

Jesus Himself met them. He knew that they had doubt in their minds. He knew that they were worried that the men, being men, would not believe them. He knew that despite these fears, they were still going ahead, so what does He do? He meets them half way, encourages them, gives them even more conviction, and assurance.

So in the same way, when we choose to follow our faith and act on the revelation and charge which we have been given, Jesus, knowing our fear, will meet us half way, encourage us and give us even more conviction and assurance.

Perhaps He might have already worked a miracle in that person’s life so that all you need to do is point that person to Christ when he asks you to make sense of the miracle. Perhaps He has already set in that person’s heart the desire to know more about Him so that he will be responsive to the message you will be delivering. Whatever it is, just like our Father did for Moses, Jesus will give you the words to say and the will to see it through, if you would only be willing to act on the charge.

“for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13

But what if we don’t? Then we will be like the soldiers.

“Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.” So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.” Matthew 28:11-15

Make no mistake, the world is always trying its best to make you lie about the wonderful experiences that Jesus has put in your lives. When times get rough and you don’t see Jesus where you expect Him to be, the world will be there to tell you to ignore all the past instances when Jesus had delivered you, ignore all the past instances when Jesus had provided for you and protected you.

The world will do its level best to tell you that you had fallen asleep, been negligent at your post and that is why Jesus has left you alone, that is why you cannot find Him when you need Him most. And to top it all off, the world will tell you that hey, unlike Jesus, they won’t hold it against you. If you would just tell everyone else that you screwed up and that is why Jesus has left you alone, they will give you something to help tide you over the difficult times.

Though you may laugh at how ludicrous all this might sound at this point, the world is surreptitious enough to make you believe it. Stop telling people about the love of Jesus and go get a job. Stop telling people about how much Jesus wants to provide for their needs and go find a source of sustenance for your family. If you cannot even provide for your family, what kind of testimony are you going to be for Jesus? And once you have done what they tell you, then it is really your own smarts that brought you the wealth that you have today, isn’t it? Or at least that is what the world wants you to think.

And what if you buy into it? What if you accept the bribes of the world? Well then, you perpetuate the lie that the world wants to propagate. You have become part of the problem. For look at what happened when the soldiers accepted the bribes,

“So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.” Matthew 28:15

And this not only means that everyone will have a bad impression of you as you go about telling others of just how much you have messed up; when they hear your story, they themselves will believe that lie for their own lives and the lie that our Father is a God of ‘Do good, get good; do bad, get bad’ will continue to be perpetuated.

Beloved, in the end, every time we look for Jesus, all we really want is for Him to meet us. And the way we will ever see Him in our lives, the way we will ever get to meet Him, is if we continue to hold on to the faith that He loves us and He is always on the look-out for us, making sure that we are well taken care of. Sure, it may not look like it at this very moment, but we should not allow ourselves to be hoodwinked into thinking that our current situation has come about because our Father no longer loves us. For once we take our eyes off Him, then the distractions of the world will make us blind to His love, provision and protection, even though it is right there in front of us.

Think about it, the soldiers saw the exact same things the disciples did. They saw the same angel, they heard the same words. But because they did not believe that Jesus would do what He said He would, they went and surrendered their dignity to the world, allowed the world to make them into the negligent soldiers they were not. Now, beloved child of God, why would you go and do something like that?

Instead, follow the example of the women, believe that Jesus is good for every word. Believe that when Jesus tells you to,

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:7-11

When He tells you,

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:31-33

He will do everything that He says He will and then carry on with the charge that you have been given. For when you continue in faith, Jesus Himself will meet you and give you the assurance and answers you need, just like He did for the women.

In the end, beloved, remember that Jesus said,

“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

So have faith and press on.

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