Posted on September 4, 2013
#18: In His Presence
Welcome to our study, Knowing Jesus! Have you ever wondered what it was like to be in Jesus’ presence? Let’s read from the Word.
Read Mark 3:7-12. Also read Matthew 9:35-36 and 12:15-21.
The Jewish leaders’ foul attitude toward Jesus hadn’t lessened the crowds’ fascination. People came from great distances to see Jesus, hear Him teach, and witness His miracles. They jostled and pushed to be near Him, to touch Him, to be healed by Him. So strong was their press that Jesus asked the disciples to keep a boat ready in case the surging crowd pushed Him into the sea!
How many were drawn to Jesus during the few years of His ministry? How many, like the woman described in Mark 5:25-34, were instantly made well by touching Him? How many, tormented by demons, were freed by simply being near Him—His sheer power forcing evil spirits to fall before Him and confess His name (Mk. 3:11)?
The word used for “diseases” (Mk. 3:10) is an interesting one; in all but one other New Testament uses it means to scourge or flog, as to whip a prisoner. Satan has often “whipped” men through disease or weakness, beating down and discouraging them. Jesus’ presence provided a refuge, a healing place, hope against despair.
God With Us
Centuries before Jesus came, Isaiah prophesied His name as Immanuel (Is. 7:14), the same name the angel quoted to Joseph in Matthew 1:22-23—Immanuel, God with us.
How was despair relieved when God, in Jesus, was with men?
• “Many followed Him and He healed all their sick….” (Mt. 12:15b)
• “People were bringing little children to Jesus to have Him touch them…” (Mk. 10:13a)
• “The people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sicknesses, and laying His hands on each one, he healed them…. The people…tried to keep Him from leaving them.” (Lk. 4:40b, 42b)
God was present in Jesus, and the crowds glimpsed His glory. Some recognized it, some didn’t, some weren’t sure what to think. (John wrote, “Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him.” I can just imagine!)
Still today, many don’t know what to think about Jesus. But we who’ve recognized Him as Lord are assured that He’s still among us!
• By His Spirit, He indwells us—a guarantee of His presence. (Eph. 1:13-14; 1 Jn. 3:24) Significant, that Jesus called the Holy Spirit our paraclete—a word that means “called alongside”—our constant comforter, helper, counselor, advocate, and encourager. (John 14:16-17)
• When we gather—in numbers as small as two or three—He is actively present with us. (Mt. 18:20)
• His presence empowers us against satan, as it did the Corinthians Christians. (1 Cor. 5:4-5)
• He’ll never leave us or forsake us. (Heb. 13:5b)
• He’s promised to be present with us always. (Mt. 28:20b)
In fact, the essence of hell’s torment is to be eternally shut out from His presence (2 Thess. 1:9). Because “the rain falls on the just and the unjust” (so that, to a degree, all men enjoy the benefits of His presence for now) we have only hints of what an existence outside of His presence is like, completely removed from light and goodness. We take the blessing of His presence for granted because we’ve never been totally without it. To be apart from His presence is to be in hell.
On the contrary, to be in His presence is to taste heaven. Though unseen, His presence is no less comforting or powerful now than it was for that crowd on the seashore. When satan has bound us to his whipping post of weakness or disease or discouragement, the presence of Christ still frees us, providing a refuge and healing place.
God With You
If our awareness of Him is dull, we can be sure the void is not due to His absence but to our insensitivity. Are you conscious that He’s with you, right this minute? Take a moment now to enjoy His presence and to thank Him for being Immanuel—God with you.
© Diane McLoud 2013