Church of God in Christ, Mennonite

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11

PRECIOUS JESUS

Referring to Jesus, Peter told the early believers, “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Pet. 1:8). A little later in the same book, he wrote, “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious” (2:6-7).

In Jesus’s brief time on this earth, the Father revealed how precious his son was to Him. When He was baptized, “The Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22).

During his years of ministry, people were drawn to Him. Although some of them may have had some material motives, multitudes gathered from far and near to hear his teaching and marvel at his nature. “Never man spake like this man” (John 7:46) was reported to his enemies. Jesus’s nature was so pure and humble that parents brought their little children for Him to touch and pray over them. Some wanted to stay with Him and follow Him daily, sensing that what He had to offer could be found nowhere else.

Though He is the theme of a thousand songs and spoken of fondly by many, Jesus’s preciousness is often more of an ideal than a reality. Yet his worth is unquestionable. He is worthy because He created this fabulous universe; “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). He made it with the knowledge that mankind would turn to sin, and when they did, He would be the one to make an unspeakable sacrifice for their salvation. And He is worthy because He has lovingly accepted us as his brothers and sisters. He stands as our eternal advocate and intercedes for us before the Father and presents us faultless before Him.

“With his stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:5). Many can speak of experiences of healing. Jesus had a keen interest in the well-being of the sick and handicapped while he lived on earth, and He still does. We wonder at times why our prayers for healing and relief are not answered in the way we wish, but we trust in the faith that He knows best and that all things work together for good to those who love Him.

But the greatest healing that is available to anyone is healing from our sins and the grace to overcome our sinful natures. Only those who have found Jesus’s preciousness can enjoy the fullness of Christian life. It is reserved for the true seekers who realized their soul’s deep needs and searched for Him as men seek for hidden treasure. Unless one senses his own unworthiness and uncleanness, he may not truly perceive how precious Jesus is. When, in our deep need, we call upon Him and He answers with pardon and peace, deep appreciation and love are born in our souls.

After his resurrection and ascension, his followers were filled with the Holy Spirit and demonstrated how precious their savior was to them. They had heard his teachings and known Him in the flesh, but now He was living in their hearts. With unabashed fervency, they preached, taught, and witnessed of Him whom their souls loved. Countless of his followers willingly went to their deaths for their faith. If a right relationship with Christ has done that for believers through the ages, will it not do the same for us?

Several things obscure the blessing and power we are entitled to enjoy in knowing Jesus. Unbelief is a major hindrance. Notice that Peter linked Jesus’s preciousness to faith: “Unto you…which believe he is precious.” When we begin to doubt his love for us or when we question his plan and provision, our joy ebbs away. Soon we question his commandments. Before long, resistance to the truth enters. Until we again choose to believe in Him and his Word, our faith will be weak.

Negligence is another reason why we lose our enthusiasm for Christian living. We become distracted by other interests and leave the first love that once thrilled our hearts. Or we become spiritually lazy and choose to give in to selfish ease rather than humble ourselves to kneel before Him in quiet reverence and waiting.

Then there is a disobedience which will quickly rob us of joy of the presence of Jesus. Instead, we are left with a sense of uneasiness and uncertainty about our standing with God. The pleasure of fellowship with Him eludes us, as does the fellowship with his faithful children. It is not so much the magnitude of the disobediences but the willfulness of them that distances us from the Savior. Only by repentance can we find again that sweet communion.

When believers have found Jesus’s preciousness, He becomes the central focus of their lives. Anything that detracts from serving Him is gladly surrendered. Until we fully surrender to Him, his commands are a burden and his ways unattainable. Jesus’s intimate friendship is enjoyed in the quietness of personal devotion. The warmest and most personal of those moments of communion with Him are not lightly shared with others. They bear a sacredness similar to the most holy place in the tabernacle that was entered only by a solitary individual. The route to the inner chambers with God is a personal one that must be found between each believer and his God.

From Messenger of Truth, 2019, No. 21