In this letter to you today, I would like to return to a subject that is dear to my heart, not so much a particular example within itself, but the way that this person reacted in the face of extreme adversity. When our Lord walked amongst us for three and a half years, He was followed increasingly by those who wanted something from Him, His words were attractive, compelling, and spoken with authority, but His deeds, those things that He could do and did for the people, was one of the main reasons some sought Him out.
In their eyes, after almost 400 years, Almighty God had once again sent a servant of His to them, and not only a prophet, but a healer, a great physician the likes of whom they had never seen before. All who sought Him out were healed, perhaps thousands more than what we have been informed of in the Scriptures, (John 21:25) the miracles seemed to have no end, and although this was a large part of the ministry of our Lord, it was not the main reason for coming to this earth, to suffer and die for the sins of all was. (1 Peter 3:18) I have wondered many times just how few or how many needed only the miracle of their healing from Him, and then went back to a different life, a changed, better life, but not one in service to Him. When one has never known the ability to hear, to see, to walk, and then can realize their greatest hope has come to pass, all of life becomes new, the future is beyond bright, but I wonder, were most of these people like the ten lepers, all but one left to go about their new lives, only one returned to say thank you. (Luke 17:15-17)
Thousands perhaps were healed, but how many did not return home, did not rush out and begin their new life with a body that now functioned perfectly, how many left everything, but never left His side. If we follow the progression of our Lord’s walk upon this earth, we will see that the answer is none, for when He stopped feeding them they left, (John 6:26) when He said “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood,” (John 6:54) they left, and the eleven that followed Him to that fateful night when He was taken by force also deserted Him. I have often wondered, was there one that waited out of sight at the place where they laid His body, one who knew in his heart that He would be raised from the dead, one who sat there for three days unobserved, not hoping but knowing for a fact.
Can you recall my friends what brought you to Christ, can you remember the circumstances that He allowed to come into your life that drew you to Him in that most wonderful moment. Think on this for a minute, and then ask yourself, have I been continuously following Him since that day, have I never sought to leave His side, have I relied and trusted completely in Him in every moment of my life, or did I just say “Thank you,” and then went about my business, recalling Him occasionally. Those who have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ know no rest of their praise for Him, they seek no refuge in the world or anything it has to offer, their sole purpose in life is to glorify the One who has made them whole, who has given them ears to hear and eyes to see. What better object for our eyes to behold than Christ, what better sounds can we hear than His words, no sight or sound can compare.
Many who have followed Him have followed willingly and with a joy incomparable, even unto their deaths, others were healed, and went to seek the pleasures of this life, the temporary happiness of this world. Think now on the young man who was healed by the Lord, a man whose name we will never know, one not recorded in the Scriptures, he begs for healing and receives it, bounding to his feet in pure joy. But many years later, this same man, now old and using a cane, can barely recall the name of the One who healed him, he can look back only at a life of self-fulfillment, and know no hope beyond the grave. How many lepers came back and fell at His feet in thanksgiving and praise, only one.
There was a man, a man who needed to decrease while Christ increased, a man who did so, the same as we are to be doing, dying to self. (Phil. 1:21) Herod imprisoned him, and took his head from him, but before he did so, John sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus a question, (Luke 7:19) a question of either doubt or the need for assurance, we will not know until we can ask him ourselves. That question was not why are you leaving me in prison, it was not a request to be freed from Herod’s grasp, from certain death, it was only the desire to know if indeed Jesus Christ was the Messiah, the Chosen of God.
Do you need to be healed to follow Christ with all your heart, do you need a miracle from Him to prove that He is worth following even unto death, what more do you need today to assure you that He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Will you continue to follow without question, in complete obedience if He withholds all from you but Himself. “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us.” (Roman 8:18) Perhaps it is time to stop comparing, perhaps it is time to recognize that all that Christ is, is all that we need, and ever will need. The pleasures of heaven are inconceivable to us, and they will last forever, but they are nothing compared to the greatest gift that we have already been given in Christ.