Many of you know that over the last seven days, I've been sick. I've only been out of the house twice. Once was Tuesday morning, when Susan took me to the ER. The other was Friday afternoon, an appointment to a physical therapist. Pain and pajamas have been constants (well, mostly...percoset has helped with the pain). And today, this week of illness kept me away from worship with my beloved church, and the pulpit (which I think is a first in my 5+ years here as the preacher). I was reflecting on all of that as I sat at home in my favorite chair in the living room this morning. It was almost 10:30, which meant they were about to begin the worship service, right across the yard from our home. I was reading my Bible, praying (for them), and missing my church family. I was trying to set Jesus before me. I don't know about you, but it helps sometimes, to focus, to close my eyes and try and get a picture of him in my mind.
It's a warm room. There is a beautiful fireplace with a roaring fire going. Two leather chairs are arranged slightly toward each other, but facing the fire. Between them is a small coffee table, where two hearty mugs are steaming with fresh, French Pressed coffee. Jesus is in one of the chairs, and he beckons for me to come, sit down, and talk awhile.
So I do. And I want to worship, to talk to him about him. But I find as I sit there with him this morning, my talk keeps moving toward supplication, even though I so want it to be about worship. I go on about how I want to be well. How I want to be free from a body that is weak, weary, and unhealthy. How I want to be free from besetting sins. And, I continue on with a fairly long list. Things that feel like needs, but honestly, are wants.
Frankly, I think I was feeling a little sorry for myself.
And then the last few sermons at Calvary come to mind; more importantly, the texts (Luke 5) from those sermons about the One I'm sitting with. And I want him to reach across the coffee table and touch me, that I would be clean. I desperately want him to say, "Man, your sins are forgiven." For him to then also say, "Rise, get up, be well!" and I would do so to the glory and praise of the Father.
All this as I am still trying to get to worship.
And then it hits me as I sit there, looking at Jesus, him looking at me...Jesus is himself the promise of all that I want, and more.
You see, Paul said that Jesus has been raised from the dead, and is the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (1 Cor. 15.20). And part of what that means for me is that Jesus himself, right now, is the proof of all that God has promised. Jesus lived a life of righteousness, and did that in a frail, mortal, susceptible-to-illness body that grew tired and weary and weak. Jesus died, but Jesus rose again. He was given a glorified body, and he now sits in the glorious presence of the Father.
And in him, because of him, because all of that is true, and trustworthy, and happened, all of that will also be mine. Don't you see? He himself is the proof, the answer, the way, the truth, the life! That is what began to dawn on me there in my living room chair.
And then, quickly following, this: he is only the firstfruits, which means there are and will be more.
Right there this morning, in my weak prayers, worship of Jesus because of all he means in himself broke out. You see, I am part of the "secondfruits" of his work. I am in him. Which means, one day, like him,
I will die.
I will rise from the dead.
I will receive a new and glorified body.
I will be finally and fully clean.
I will weep no more, there will be no more sickness, no more tears, no more pain.
I will be forever in the presence of the Father and the Son.
Friends, all of that came rushing into my time of communion this morning as I was looking on Jesus. Because I was able to see all those things true in Jesus, I was reminded that all those things are true for me, in him.
He is the guarantee. And I can trust that. I can count on it.
I can be content right now while I wait for it, because it is sure.
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. (Heb. 11.1, NLT)
Beloved, one day He's coming, O glorious day!
But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness. (2 Pet. 3.13, NLT)