"As He Said" (March 2008)
We have just celebrated the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ this past week. As I was reading the account of where the women went to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus with spices, one phrase in that scripture seemed to resound in my spirit. “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” (Matthew 28:6) Three of the most powerful words in scripture are written in this verse- “He is risen”. It’s upon those three words that we base our entire Christian belief. It’s those three words that separate us from all other religions of the world. Those three words let us know that the God we worship is not a dead God whose bones have turned to dust in a tomb somewhere. The tomb of the Lord Jesus is empty unlike the tomb of all those who made false claims to being God. It’s in those three words that we place all our trust, our hope and our future. But as powerful as those three words are, that’s not the portion of this verse that stood out to me as I read it. It was three other words- “as He said”.
“As He said” are also three of the most powerful words those women heard that day. Those three words reminded them that Jesus had told them that He was going to rise from the dead in three days. It reassured them that He would do what He said He would do. It would remove all doubt as to who He was. Those three “little” words gave them peace, restored their hope and faith, turned their mourning into dancing, their sorrow into joy, their darkness into light, healed their pain and removed their grief.
The three words that were spoken to the women at the tomb that day which gave them renewed hope, are the same three words that give us hope today. Jesus had said that He was going to rise from the dead and He did exactly what He said He was going to do. He was faithful to His word- He kept it. Because He was faithful to do what He said He was going to do- and He proved it by raising from the dead- we can trust Him to do for us what He says He will do.
Compare what was happening in those women and the disciple’s world to what is happening in our world today. It was a dark time for them. It looked like the enemy had won and the powers of darkness had prevailed. Their hopes were crushed; their dreams shattered. The future was uncertain. They were discouraged because of what they had seen and heard. Confusion and fear tried to cloud their minds. Doubt and unbelief tried to take hold of them. They were being tormented with the lies of the enemy. Doesn’t that seem like what we are experiencing today? We are living in a dark time full of uncertainties about the future. People are fearful because of the instability of the economy. You can’t turn on the television or read the newspaper without hearing words of “gloom and despair”. There is always the sound of war and rumors of war. Wickedness is running rampant throughout society. What once was “taboo” is now the norm. Men are calling good evil and evil good. They are lovers of pleasure driven by selfish desires. Murder is on the increase. What were once safe rural communities have become as violent and crime laden as the larger cities in our nation. Terrorist threats, unseasonal weather conditions, discoveries of new and deadly diseases are on the rise. Everywhere you look and everywhere you go it’s the same report. The whole world is experiencing turmoil and calamity- it’s not limited to one nation only. We live in a world that is filled with trouble, pain, grief and heartache. We know that this is not the end of it, it will just get worse. Darkness is coming upon the world but we who put our hope in the Lord Jesus Christ need not fear. Peace in the midst of turmoil, joy in the midst of pain, a sound mind in the midst of confusion is possible because of those three little words that the angel said to the women- “as He said”.
He has said some things to us too and because He proved that He always does what He says and keeps His word we can count on His faithfulness to do for us what He says He will do. What has He said that we can put our trust and hope in during perilous times? What has He said that will give us peace in the midst of the storm? What has He said that will comfort our souls? What has He said that will give us strength to face the giants of fear, dismay and discouragement? “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:1-3) He has said that He is preparing a place for us and one day He will come again and take us to live where He is forever. In this He is saying that He hasn’t forgotten us. He is working to get things ready in His house to bring us home to live with Him. Each day that He is preparing our place, He has us on His mind- His thoughts are always toward us. That should give us hope- He has said that He thinks about us all the time and is getting ready to take us home. It also reminds us that this world is not our permanent home- this life is temporary. “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11:13,14,16) So the things that happen here are but for a moment compared to eternity. This life, this world, the bad things that happen here are temporary. The darkness of this world won’t last forever, it will give way to the weight of glory that will come for those who put their trust in Christ. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:17,18)
The Bible tells us that we should expect these things to happen. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” (2 Timothy 3:1) Jesus Himself said that in this world we would have tribulation- “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)- but He also said He has overcome. So take heart; “as He said” in this verse He has overcome, it’s a promise of victory to those who are in Christ because He makes us over comers. “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” (Romans 8:37) “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3) “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matthew 24:6-8) “But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. (Luke 21:9-12) Jesus’ answer to His disciples’ question concerning the end of the world sounded a lot like He was reading today’s newspaper. He told them about the calamity that would come upon the earth- the wars, rumors of war, famine, disease, fearful sights, upheavals in nature and persecution. But, thank God, that was not all He said concerning this time. He also said- “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28) He said that our redemption was getting close. He was saying that it won’t be much longer before He returns. When we see all these things happening, it is an indication that His return is soon. The darkness that has come upon the world, will be coming to an end before too much longer. “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” (Rev. 14:12,13) His people have to remember what He has said so that we don’t become fearful when these things come to pass. As we remember His words it will give us the hope and strength that we need. He has said that our redemption is getting near and it is “as He said”.
We started the newsletter off by talking about the resurrection of Jesus. When Jesus began His public ministry, John referred to Him as “the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world”. (John 1:36) The Bible says of Jesus that He was the Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world. “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 13:8) Since the Passover Lamb represented Jesus who was to come and be slain for our sins so that we might have life and escape death (the wages of sin is death) I want us to look back at the very first Passover. As you remember, the children of Israel were in slavery in Egypt. The Lord heard their cries for deliverance and sent Moses to Pharaoh to tell him to let God’s people go. Of course, Pharaoh would not let them go so God sent plagues into Egypt. The last plague was death. “And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.” (Exodus 12:29,30) When God sent the plagues upon Egypt, He had not forgotten about His people. He had plans to protect and keep them safe when the death angel came through the land. He told them to take a lamb, kill it and apply it’s blood to the door posts and lintel of their houses. If they did this the death angel would pass over them and they would be safe. “Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover. And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.” (Exodus 12:21-23) These Israelites were in a “midnight” hour. It was “night time”. There was death all around them. The land was full of weeping, sorrow, grief, pain, sadness and fear. There was suffering from house to house; not one family was left unaffected by what was happening. But regardless of what was going on around them, God protected them “as He said”. Death did not touch them “as He said”. They were safe “as He said”.
This message is not just in reference to the state of the world’s condition. We all face trying times individually. We all go through difficult circumstances that try to “steal, kill and destroy” us. We all face calamities, heartache, trials and personal tribulations. But when we do, we can face them with the assurance that it will be well “as He said”. He will make a way for us “as He said”. He will protect us “as He said”. He will give us peace, joy and strength “as He said”. We will come out on the other side victorious “as He said”. He will be with us through it all “as He said”. You can count on, bank on, put your full trust and hope in what He has said.
How do I know I can trust what He has said? Because He has never once lied or altered what He has said. How do I know this? The Bible says that the worlds were framed by the word of God. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Hebrews 11:3) In the beginning God spoke and the world came into existence. God spoke into nothing and by His word brought forth everything. “And he earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” (Genesis 1:2,3) So, if the worlds were created by God’s word and are held together by His word, then if He ever lies the whole world will crumble and it will all cease to exist because it is founded on His word. If He ever once lies there would be no foundation to support the world- His word is the foundation. Therefore, if He said it, it will happen.
He said that He would rise on the third day. He did. He said He would cause the death angel to pass over His people and keep them safe. He did. So when He says that He will be with us in times that try our soul, He will. When He says He will protect and provide for us when things around us are falling apart, He will. When He says that He is watching over us though the darkness is thick, He is. When He says that He will return for us to take us to live with Him forever even when it looks like He delays His coming, He will. He will do what He said He will do. It will be “as He said”. How much more assurance do we need than that-- His own word.