Fellowship with Jesus
“And lo, I am with you alway (all the days), even unto the end of the world.” —Matthew 28:20.
“For you”: that was one of the words of Jesus at the table.
“With you”: this is no less His promise, when you go away from the table. As real and complete and certain as His suretyship was, when He bore sin and gave His life for you, so real and certain is the fellowship which He holds out to you when He says, “I am with you all the days.” If the “for you” was in every respect undivided and all sufficient, He means the “with you” to be in every respect just as undivided and inseparable.
And the one is, like the other, a word of faith: a word that unfolds itself only to faith. “For you” was in the first instance a truth that you found it impossible to receive. But the Spirit of God brought you up to the point of reception, and you were enabled to say, “Yes: Jesus for me—in my place: it is all finished for me.” And this is now the sure and deep confidence of your soul. Even thus shall it be with this other word, “with you.” Too often it appears as if it were not true, as if it could not possibly be true. At other times you could not live long if you felt yourself to be so sinful and miserable as you are. And yet it is true that Jesus is with you. Only you do not know it, you do not enjoy it, because you do not believe it. But as soon as you learn to rely, not upon your own feeling or on your own experience, but on what He has promised, and to direct your expectations according to faith in that which He hath said, namely, that He will be with you, it will become your blessedness. The “with you” is just as certain and complete as the “for you.”
“I am with you.” Jesus Himself abides with His own: the certainty of His presence and love, which will not abandon us. He, the Living, the Loving, the Almighty One: He Himself is with us, and in a position to make Himself known to us.
“With you all the days:” not only on the day of the Supper; not only on the festal days of life; but all the days, without one single exception. And thus, also, all the day. Whether I think of it or not, there He is the whole day—near me, with me. Not on my own faithfulness, but in that faithfulness of Thine which awakens my confidence and bestows on me Thine own nearness, I have the assurance of an unbroken fellowship with Thee, my beloved Lord.
Blessed Saviour, receive my thanks also for this word, “with you.” And teach me, Lord, to make it my own in faith. For this end I will during these moments set myself in silence before Thee, and will wait upon Thee. Lord, speak Thyself to me these words “I am with you all the days.”
Lord, what a source of joy and strength shall it prove to me when I know that as Thou art unchangeable, so also is Thy presence with me unchangeable. As little as Thou wilt for a single moment leave the right hand of the Father in heaven, wilt Thou leave Thy brother upon the earth: Thou abidest at my right hand. Thou hast said it, and therefore I know that it is true: “I will never leave you nor forsake you I am with you all the days.” Precious Saviour, let Thy voice penetrate into the deepest recesses of my heart, and let my life this day, the whole day, and every day, be in Thy presence the presence of Him who says, “I am with you.”
Alas, Lord, what have I not lost by not believing that word! And how have I grieved and dishonored Thee. Thou wast with me: Thy voice of love said without ceasing, “I am with you”; and yet through my proneness to unbelief, I heard it not. Often did I pray and beseech Thee that I might have Thee, and yet at the same time I practically despised Thee by not believing Thy word. O my Saviour, let it no longer be so. Strengthen my faith, and as Thou has taught me to rely upon the word of complete atonement, “For you,” let the word of complete fellowship, “with you all the days,” become my joy and my strength. Yea, cause me to understand that as the “for you” makes a complete provision for all the sins of the past, so the “with you” makes a provision equally complete for all the cares and sins of the future.
Yes, Lord, in Thy strength it shall be so. I will trust and not be afraid. Whatever or of whatever kind the days may be that await me, Thy word, “with you all the days,” shall be sufficient for me. In Thy nearness, in fellowship with Thee, or rather in Thy fellowship with me, my life shall become a foretaste of the consummation when I shall say: “And lo, O Lord, I am with Thee for all eternity!” Amen.