The Present Service of Christ for Us

And when the servant of the man of God was then early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city with horses, and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! How shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha, prayed and said, Lord, I pray Thee, open his eyes that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw: and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots round. about Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:15-17).

The world of 1940 is the same world of our Lord’s day, and of it He said to His disciples “In the world ye shall have tribulation.” His disciples in Germany and Russia, in Poland and other continental countries have been, and are finding how true these words of the Lord are but it may be that some of you in these more favoured lands, and especially the younger Christians have not experienced much tribulation hitherto but now things are different and with war upon us you are beginning to ask, “How shall we do?” It may be that some of you have been suddenly thrown into circumstances that are well illustrated by the plight in which Elisha’s young man felt himself to be when he awoke in the morning to see foes everywhere and no apparent way of escape.

The fact that you have openly confessed the Lord, and that you desire to be faithful to Him seems to have increased your troubles, you must not be surprised at that, for your great adversary, Satan, has a special spite against those who belong to Christ, and he will do his best to shake your faith and make you wonder whether it would not be easier and better to haul down your flag and go with the stream. John Bunyan knew all about this and he tells us about it in the history of his pilgrim. At one point on the road to the Celestial city Satan confronted him and “straddled quite across the whole breadth of the way,” and said to Christian, “I swear by my infernal den that thou shalt go no further, here will I spill thy blood.” Certainly Christian had a hard fight for it, but he won through in spite of the devil’s oath and all the trumpets of heaven celebrated his triumph. You need not fear, you may add to your faith courage, for the Lord not only said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation,” but added “be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Still it is well not to underrate the subtlety and strength of the foe, or minimise the difficulties that you have to face; the question is are you able to meet the foe with the resources that are on your side? The young man of our story was greatly disturbed at the situation, to him it seemed hopeless, but he did the right thing when he ran to his master. Elisha, the man of God, shall stand as a type of our Lord in this story, for the two things he did for his terrified servant are the very things that the Lord is doing for you. “Fear not,” said Elisha. “Be of good cheer,” says the Lord Jesus. “They that be with us are more than they that be with them.” said Elisha. “I have overcome the world,” says the Lord Jesus. Only our Lord is greater than all your difficulties, and you have His word for it. But more. Elisha prayed for his servant and the Lord intercedes for you. I want you to consider His word to you and His intercession for you, for these two are prominent things in the present service of your living Lord for you.

He died for you: herein was His great love for you expressed. Because you were dead in trespasses and sins He laid down His life that you might live; and now you have passed from death into life through His death. But the death of your Saviour was not the end, if it had been He would not have been a Saviour at all, for the sure Word of God says, “If Christ be not raised your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17).

You can rejoice in the great love that led Him to sacrifice Himself for your salvation, to be made sin for you and to bear sin’s judgment in your stead, but you can also rejoice in Him the risen Saviour, who came back from the grave, triumphant over it, speaking peace. He “was delivered for our offences and raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

All this fills the heart with gratitude and the mouth with praise, but it does not meet the question of our present needs as the disciples and soldiers of Jesus Christ. We must have His present service for us. Many have believed in Him and believe that He ascended into heaven, and have lost sight of Him. They look backward to the cross and are thankful, and look onward to heaven and are hopeful, but they are ignorant of this present service of the Lord, and so know very little of what the Scripture means when it says, “We are more than conquerors through Him that loves us.” You need the Scripture which says, “It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (Rom. 8:34), and again, “He is able to save them to the uttermost that come to God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25).

Here is a theme well calculated to move your heart and fill you with wonder and praise. You are beset with trials; it may be that cherished hopes have crashed, some even may be treading the valley of the shadow of death; some who started out meaning to be valiant for the Lord have discovered how weak and cowardly they are when face to face with the enemy of their soul, and may even, like Simon Peter, have denied their Lord. But what—you are precious to your Lord, you are an object of His deep unchanging love, He considers you, He knows your frailties and the forces that are against you and He ever lives to make intercession for you.

Your risen from the dead and glorified Lord is your great high Priest. This is one of the titles that is His now and it describes His present service for you and all His own. For this great office He has two qualifications—love and power; His heart never grows weary and His strength will never decay. These qualifications are illustrated for us in the ephod that by God’s command was made for Aaron, the high priest for Israel of old, in it were a breastplate of precious stones and shoulder plates in which were inscribed the names of the tribes of Israel. The type is a simple one but full of most blessed meaning: Upon the breast of His love and upon the shoulders of His strength the redeemed people of the Lord are ever borne, and you are one of them, your name is there.

This love and power are enshrined in His very name. Take this verse for instance. “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, JESUS the SON OF GOD, let us hold fast our profession” (Heb. 4:14). Think of that Name. Jeans! Precious Name!

 “Jesus, it speaks a life of love,
    Of sorrows meekly borne;
  It tells of sympathy above
    Whatever makes us mourn.”

But Jesus is the Son of God, He is great, He is Almighty, He is the Heir of the universe. Jesus tells us of His love, the Son of God declares His power.

“Jesus” tells of His preciousness to us. “The Son of God” tells us of His preciousness to God. “Jesus” tells us that since He loves us so well, there is nothing that would be good for us that He will not ask for when He intercedes before God for us; and the “Son of God” tells us that since God loves Him infinitely He will not deny Him any requests that He makes. The fact that Jesus the Son of God is our great high Priest puts us into contact with the inexhaustible grace and power of God, and infinite love sets these resources in motion for us. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).

The Word has a great place in this Hebrew Epistle. You must hear His voice and not allow your heart to be hardened by unbelief. You must give earnest heed to the Word and mix it with faith, so will your feet be guided in the paths of righteousness, and in those paths the grace and mercy of your interceding Saviour will sustain you.

You are one of the “holy brethren” and “partaker of the heavenly calling” for so are you designated by the Holy Spirit (Heb. 3:1), which means that God has separated you from the world for Himself and called you to share the glory of Christ in heaven. You are one of the many sons whom God is bringing to His glory, and your great high Priest is also the Captain of your salvation your Leader, who has qualified for this by the suffering He has endured for your sake (ch. 2:10). He is both merciful and faithful (ch. 2:17). He is faithful to God who has entrusted you to Him, and He will be merciful to you, never allowing a burden to fall on you that you cannot bear, and as you consider Him you will find that He is able, His grace is sufficient. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”

The eyes of Elisha’s servant were opened as a result of his master’s prayer and he saw the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. If the eyes of your faith are open you will say, “if God be for us, who can be against us?”

 “E’en friends may pass and perish, Thou, God wilt not remove
  No hatred of the devil can part me from Thy love,
  No angel and no demon, no throne, no power, nor might,
  No care, no tribulation, no danger, fear nor fight,
  No height, no depth, no creature that has been or can be,
  Can drive me from Thy bosom, not sever me from Thee.”

J. T. Mawson