Truth Matters #70
BEST OF ALL
John Wesley was a tireless servant of God, and a man who had little use for leisure time. Across his lifetime, this eighteenth century English evangelist planted churches, established orphanages, opposed slavery, wrote books, trained and ordained preachers. He was constantly on the move, stopping only to preach two or three times a day. In the last 52 years of his life, it is estimated that he preached more than 40,000 sermons. In his wake he left behind a Methodist movement that has across history influenced tens of millions of Christians worldwide. The secret to his momentous ministry is perhaps best summarized in his last words. Just before he died in his 88th year, Wesley reportedly sat up, looked at his loved ones weeping at his bedside, and calmly said, "Best of all, God is with us."
God with us is indeed a great Christian and Christmas truth! A truth bound up in the name given to the Lord Jesus Christ at his birth. In final fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14, Jesus was to be called “Immanuel” for He was in the fullest sense “God with us” (Matt. 1:23). In the birth of Christ, the invisible God was made visible. In the birth of Christ, the Ancient of Days was born in time. In the birth of Christ, the highest being became a lowly creature, and the source of life a dying man. In Jesus Christ the man, we have incarnate deity, the Godhead veiled in flesh (Phil. 2:5-11). As Matthew Henry the Puritan commentator puts it, “By the light of nature, we see God as a God above us; by the light of the law, we see God as a God against us; but by the light of the gospel, we see Him as Immanuel, God with us, in our own nature, and in our interest.” In Jesus Christ, we have the bringing of God and man together both in His person and work. In His person, Christ is God miraculously manifest in flesh (1 Tim. 3:16). Through His work on the cross, Jesus makes possible the reconciliation of God and man by means of His atoning death (Col. 1:19-23). As the God-man dying for man, Jesus Christ proves to be an able and adequate mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5).
Christ is God with us and because of Christ God is for us, not against us (Rom. 8:31). We can die without fear because there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ (Rom. 8:1, 33-34). We can live without fear, for nothing, neither things present nor things to come, will separate us from God’s love in Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:31-39). God is with us when He seems far from us as in the case of Job. God is with us when others have forsaken us as in the case of David. God is with us in our disobedience as in the case of Jonah. God is with us when we are where we do not want to be as in the case of Joseph. God has had only one forsaken Son, and because of Him we will never be forsaken (Heb. 13:5-6; Matt. 27:45-46). Remember, best of all, God is with us!