This Week's Focus Passage

John 21:25 ‘The world itself would not contain the books that should be written.’

     Jesus asked His disciples in Matthew 13:51-52, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea. We cannot forebear without a reminder about the disciples. In Acts 1, we find them even after they had witnessed many more things than that to which they had been privy on the occasion of this question directed to them by Christ. We are informed by Luke, in Acts 1:6, that these very disciples, sans Judas Iscariot of course, after they had been witnesses of the crucifixion of the King of glory; been aware of His burial; were conscious of His resurrection, having seen Him on numerous post-resurrection appearances over a period of forty days; after all these events, yet still did not understand many things, for Luke tells us that,

They therefore, when they were come together, asked him [Jesus],
Saying, Lord, dost thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?

After all that these men had witnessed with both their eyes and their ears, they still failed to understand thaChrist did not come into the world to restore the kingdom to Israel in the sense that they imagined; in the same sense that so many of the Jews also imagined when they welcomed Him into Jerusalem. Even the fact that He was upon a colt, the foal of an ass, rather than upon a great white charger, did not alert them to the truth that His kingdom is not of this world. He had come, according to the announcement given Joseph when told to name the child, Jesus, for it is he that shall save his people from their sins. They, most certainly, responded too quickly to the question put to them about understanding all these things—Matthew 13:51. We are reminded of Peter at Christ’s transfiguration when the gospel correspondent had to say of the big fisherman, for he knew not what to answer. We trust that we will understand for ourselves the reality that we are ever-learning. We expect to be taught by our great Prophet forever when we are seeing Him face to face.

     So what are some of the lessons to be found in the last words to be found in the close of John, Revelation, Job, and Malachi? We read in John 21:15; So when they had broken their fast. This reminds us of the words of our Savior recorded in Matthew 9:15, the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then will they fast. Jesus was to ‘go away’ as He had attested to them on numerous occasions. When He did go away, through His resurrection and ascension, then began His disciples to ‘fast.’ Is it not reasonable to imagine, at least, that John 21:15 presents to our faith, a picture given us where we are able to see one of the many designs of Christ going away to prepare a place for us? Here, in anticipation of our sitting with Him at His Table, we witness Him taking the bread, and giving to them, and the fish likewise; breaking that fast. Had He not spoken unto them at the ‘Last Supper,’ saying, I shall not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in the kingdom of God? John gives us a foretaste.

     Among the last words of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him, do we not embrace those wonderful promises of life forever with our Lord? In the 17th verse of the final chapter, we are told, And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And he that heareth, let him say, Come. And he that is athirst, let him come: he that will, let him take the water of life freely. As the fast has been concluded, surely the bride will be thirsty for the Bridegroom who Himself is the ‘water of life.’ On how many occasions does David, speaking for God’s saints, represent them as thirsting? One example will suffice most satisfactorily; 

O God, thou art my God; earnestly will I seek thee: My soul thirsteth for thee, In a dry and weary land, where no water is. So have I looked upon thee in the sanctuary, to see thy power and thy glory.—Ps 63:1.

As in John, these closing words may represent to us, as the people of God, the time when our thirst shall be quenched as we take of the water of life most freely. We now look upon Him in the sanctuary; in the places of worship; in the churches. This is our hope and all of our salvation, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

     In that great day, so we shall also be enabled to echo the final words of Job. In his final words to Jehovah, the patriarch says, I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth thee. Do we not, each of us who through the gift of a regenerate heart, rejoice in the anticipation of that great day at the marriage supper of the Lamb, when as John has reminded us in his first epistle, we shall see him even as he is. This then is the promise fulfilled through the unfailing faithfulness of our God. Job had earlier expressed his hope of this day as we find in 19:25-27;

But as for me I know that my Redeemer liveth, And at last he will stand up upon the earth: And after my skin, even this body, is destroyed, Then without my flesh shall I see God; Whom I, even I, shall see, on my side, And mine eyes shall behold, and not as a stranger.

So Jehovah blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning,--Job 42:12.

So we find that the conclusion of Job, also evinces concern for our final destiny.

We then look at Malachi 4:2, But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in its wings. Perhaps Malachi had in his mind the prophecy from Isaiah 30:26, Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, or even 60:1, Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of Jehovah is risen upon thee. It is, of course, possible that he was reminded of David’s last words, 2 Samuel 23:4, He shall be as the light of morning, when the sun ariseth…..through clear shining after rain. But the point remains that these inspired writers were focused upon the last times, consciously or unconsciously. Well for us to pray God to keep us in His hand in 2017 as He kept us in 2016, that our latter end, as Job’s, be better than its beginning.

David Farmer, elder
Fellowship Bible Church


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