Most of us long for miracles. And Jesus’ perfect life, death on sinners’ behalf as the fulfillment of Passover, and His physical resurrection prove that He is willing and able to meet our greatest needs: complete forgiveness and a new heart to trust and follow Him as our living King. But even in the Bible, most of the journey with Jesus is lived in the moments between miracles. In this 50-day series, we’ll consider some of those moments leading up to the next great miracle in the New Testament: the fulfillment of Pentecost and the incredible growth of the Church.
It seems that the Lord didn’t feel it was enough to leave them with “And surely, I will be with you always”. He added those few key words, “…even to the end of the age.” What’s that about? Was He just being redundant for emphasis? I don’t think so.
In God’s Word, the last days are described as a time of great trials and suffering and then the Lord’s sudden return to complete the immediate rescue of His people and the eternal judgment of those who turned to their own ways. (Matthew 24, 2 Timothy 3:1-17, 2 Peter 3:3-4, Jude 7, Revelation 13:16-18) The Lord Jesus uses the phrase “the end of the age” three times when telling and explaining the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:39-40, 49, and again in Matthew 24:3.
Notice the clear message in Matthew 13:28-30 and 24:4-31. Jesus’ followers will go through much suffering in this life – even the great tribulation until just before the very end (Matthew 24:21-41). This is exactly why He added “…even to the end of the age.” Matthew 24:10-13 warns and encourages us to strengthen our faith in Him and His return.
May we again be encouraged that our suffering is part of His plan to purify His people for their greater joy in Him (as opposed to this rotting world) and to glorify Himself as worthy of loving Him more than our comfort or even our own lives. Listen to the writer of Hebrews, addressing believers who were being tempted to turn from suffering to blend in with a form of religion that was less threatening to their Roman rulers.
“In putting everything under them (mankind), God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what He suffered. Both the One who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.”
He is purifying His people through suffering, but He is with us and is proud to call the faithful “brothers and sisters”.
I hope today’s thought and others in this series will be helpful to you as you journey with Jesus in the moments between miracles.