April 22nd 2018: Dafydd Morris

Matthew 28-5

‘But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid,
for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.”’ (Matthew 28:5)

Even non-Christians are sometimes fascinated with angels. Angels are messengers, unseen ministering spirits. Here the angel was to speak and bring a message. The angel sat on the stone which had been rolled away from the tomb Jesus had been placed in. Jesus now sits at the right hand of God. The angel sitting on the stone replicates the Lord Jesus Christ. If the angel is sitting on the stone, then the stone cannot be rolled back. The angel sits, the angel shines.

The guards were fearful. The bravado of atheists disappears when they come into the presence of angels. The angel speaks to the women telling them, “Do not be afraid.” They had no need to fear the Lord’s body had been stolen, that death had won the day, no need to fear the angel.

The angel then continued, “For I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.” The angel had knowledge. Could that be said of you and me, that we are seeking the Lord Jesus who was crucified? Or are we seeking an earthly life – pleasure, friends, influence? It is a frightening thing if those are the only things you seek. The Lord might grant this but we are reminded, ‘For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?’ (Mark 8:36). Think what it is to love your soul, that part of you that cannot die, that part, orphaned and empty for all eternity unless you have called upon our Saviour. The Lord Jesus had these in mind in the Sermon on the Mount when He said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

We may be seeking help with many things, such as an unforgiving spirit or jealousy. We need to know victory. Some might be unsure of their Christian life as they are tempted by the devil. We need to be sure we’re on the way and where we’re going. Our assurance may drain away. Perhaps in our prayer life we have been praying one prayer for years and become weary, wanting answers. Others may be ashamed they don’t know the Bible, how to handle it in the best sense and need to grow in understanding. Some may be very concerned about the lack of power; preachers want the oil of the Holy Spirit to come upon them as they preach. The angel might say to us, “I know what you are seeking.”

In the Old Testament when the allotting of the land of Canaan was being given to the tribes of Israel, there must have been great anticipation as to who would have the most fertile land, but for the Levites, the Lord God of Israel was their inheritance.

If you are already a Christian you may still seek and desire. A seeker is someone who asks questions, who is interested. Over and above all that you desire as a Christian you should seek after Christ, the very best. The women at the tomb were after the very best.

The angel did tell the women where they wouldn’t find Christ – in the grave. We won’t find Him in dead ceremonialism or moral reformation – by being kind, nice, well-mannered. This leads to death. The Lord Jesus Christ is so precious as a Saviour. Find Him in the scripture. The angel said He was not in the grave but in Galilee, that’s where the disciples would meet Him (Matthew 5:7). Galilee was the meeting place. Where is Galilee for you and me? There are three places we might find Galilee:

Search the scriptures. If we are a born-again Christian we don’t want to alter a word of the Bible, we wouldn’t want to part with our Bible for anything. Do we have this single-minded attitude that we are looking for Him? It’s only as we find Him that we will have eternal life. If all you do is read about Him, you need to find yourself with Him, perhaps in the house where He was anointed, or in Zaccheus’ house. The scriptures become your guide. He’s there in the Old Testament – in prophecy, in the pictures, in theophany. We see Him, for example, in Bethel with Jacob. We see Him as the tailor who clothed Adam and Eve in the Garden, a type of justification. When you go to your Bibles, don’t just go looking for guidance, look for Him, seek Him in the word.

The second Galilee is the assembly of God’s people, “For where two or three are gathered in my Name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20). Jesus is here, we are in His presence, He is in the midst of us. We don’t make enough of the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. He’s here in the midst. Glorious! Christ is in our midst. Focus on Him. He must increase, we must decrease.

If you’re a Christian you have Christ in you, the hope of glory. Where is He in you? If you’re a Christian He’s in your thoughts. Train your mind upon Him. Our meditations of Him should be sweet. Think about Him when you’re doing your daily work, on holiday – don’t leave Him behind.

He’s in your affections. If you’re a Christian you will love Him because He first loved you. You’ll be like Peter and want to love Him more. There is love, your hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ. He’s in your will when you make a decision because He lives in you, dwells in you. We see in Psalm 4 we’re bidden to commune with the Lord. He is in our hearts. Have blessed fellowship with Him.

Do you seek Jesus? If not at this time, then may it be true.

           

November 19th 2017: Ian Jones

Ian Jones-November 17John 4:43-54: Jesus heals the Nobleman’s Son

We remember those in the Bible we hear a lot about – Abraham, Sarah, Ruth, yet we may forget about those we hear least about, like Elkanah and Malon. What about the nobleman here in John’s gospel? He is only mentioned in John’s gospel.

Jesus had been in Judea and left for Galilee, ‘he left Judea and departed again for Galilee.’ (John 4:3). There was growing opposition from the Pharisees. Jesus, however, didn’t take the normal route around Samaria but went through Samaria because He needed to meet with the woman at the well (John 4). Jesus spent two days here before He left (John 4:43).

Jesus went to Cana, Galilee (John 4:46). John reminds us this was the place whChrere Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding. This marked His great Galilean ministry, which lasted over 16 months. Matthew, Mark and Luke record this but John only records the feeding of the 5,000 and the healing of the nobleman’s son.

Who is this nobleman? He was called a nobleman because he served in the king’s palace. He has a son in Capernaum who was very sick. We expect a man of his position to have sought the very best medical help. However, his son’s sickness got gradually worse. He heard that Jesus was in Galilee and went to implore Him to heal his son, ‘When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to Him and asked Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.’ (John 4:47).

Straight away we have an important lesson. Why do so few people have no need of Christ? Why do so few read the Bible? If people have no need of Christ then hearing about Him will have no effect on their lives. If the nobleman didn’t have a sick son, he would have no interest in seeing Jesus. This is the way God works in his life. Hearing Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, perhaps the nobleman had heard reports of Jesus turning water into wine, or other reports of Jesus’ healing ministry. This gave him the reason to come to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Whatever our needs are in life today, none can be compared to our greatest need to come to Christ. The Lord may work in a physical or spiritual way to bring them to Christ. It’s wonderful to see how the Lord brings us to Christ and works in people’s lives, in the lives of people who had no interest in Christ, yet come to Him. This is what we pray for as a church, for others to come as we have come. As God’s word is preached people may be reminded of their true position – sinners before God – and have a need for their sins to be forgiven, to be restored in fellowship with Christ.

What is even more amazing about this nobleman is that nothing will stop him from coming to Christ. He has a sick son at the point of death yet he went to Christ and implored Him to come to heal his son. It doesn’t matter how far away you are when a loved one is dying, you will want to be with them. The noble man had servants of his own he could have sent to Jesus whilst he stayed at home with his son in those valuable moments. Yet he left his son to go to Jesus Christ, to implore him to heal his son who was at the point of death. The distance would have been about 25 miles and would have taken 4-6 hours travelling. It was a long journey for him, he might never see his son alive again. He would do everything possible to save his son.

Are we willing to do everything possible to bring others to the Lord Jesus Christ, to bring Christ to others? It is easy to sit back and relax. Here we find an encouragement. Are we coming to God in prayer about those who are facing a lost eternity? Are we praying that Christ would restore them and give them life as He has given life to us? The noble man went on that journey to bring Christ to his son. Are we seeking to bring Christ to others?

What did this noble man think about on the journey? He may have wondered what Jesus would say to his request. However, Jesus’ response was not what he wanted to hear, ‘So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.”’ (John 4:48).  This would have been a shock to the nobleman. Jesus was not only speaking to him but also to the crowds. When a person comes to Jesus they do not always hear what they want to hear (like the rich young man who asked what he must do to inherit eternal life).

What does the nobleman do when he hears something he doesn’t want to hear? Does he go home? No, because he had a great need. He wasn’t going to give up lightly, ‘The official said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”’ (John 4:49). Again Jesus’ response is not what he wants to hear, ‘Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.”’ (John 4:50). He had been asking Jesus to come and heal his son but the Lord Jesus says, ‘Go.’ This man only had faith that his son would only be made well if the Lord came to his home to heal him. He didn’t have the faith of the centurion.

The Lord does an amazing work – He gives the nobleman the faith so he trusts Christ at His word, ‘The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way.’ (John 4:50). We can make excuses not to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, as the crowd was doing. They wanted proof but the Lord Jesus wanted them to believe first in Him rather than have miracles. What is holding us back from believing in the very word of God? God asks us to simply believe in Him, believe the word of God is true. The nobleman turned and went on his way home, when he was met by one of his servants who told him his son lived. What joy! What confirmation.

God creates a need for us to come to the Lord Jesus Christ. He gives us faith to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Then, as we walk in faith He gives us confirmation of what we believe. He establishes our faith. He strengthens us in various ways.

Jesus had it that the nobleman’s servant met him. That’s what God does as we walk by faith, as we go through various trials, he establishes us. The Lord doesn’t just leave us when we come to Him. There is confirmation. Twice the nobleman believed; initially, when the Lord told him to go, and again at the end, when he and all his household believed, ‘And he himself believed, and all his household.’ (John 4:53). This is important – the nobleman went on to tell others what had happened.

This was the second sign that Jesus did when he came out of Judea and into Galilee. Both miracles are very similar, they both have people who have great need and who show persistence leading to great faith.