READ: Exodus 40, Psalm 31, Mark 3, Romans 3

PREPARED PRESENCE

How hungry we are for the manifest presence of Jesus. We read about the cloud descending and the glory filling the tabernacle (Exo. 40:34), a glory so great that not even Moses – who is accustomed to the presence of God – can enter. We long for this. We sit in pedestrian church services and small groups, tasting His presence, but sensing there is so much more on the other side of the veil. How our hearts long for the empowered presence of Jesus.

Over and over again the text of Exodus 40 repeats that the tabernacle was prepared as “God commanded Moses.” Decorations, clothing, positioning, composition, materials, ritual cleansing – everything was done exactly as God wanted. Then the succinct “Moses finished the work” (v. 33). Only after men had studiously prepared did the presence of God descend.

Preparedness is mutual. Psalm 31:19 tells us that God has stored up and prepared goodness for us! His goodness is “hidden in the secret place of His presence” (v. 20). We prepare for what God has prepared for us – the life that issues from being with Him.

Jesus takes initiative for this impartation. “He called to Himself, those HE HIMSELF WANTED” (Mark 3:13, emphasis added). What a comfort that as we prepare to meet with Jesus (by obeying explicitly what He tells us to do, by cleansing our hearts through repentance, by humbling ourselves), Jesus all along has been preparing to meet with us – and more so, Jesus wants to meet with me. I can hardly believe it. Jesus wants me! Jesus wants me to be with Him (3:14). Oh what wonder, in his forbearance, He has “passed over my sins” (Rom. 3:19) and He calls me to be with Him, in the glory of His presence.

I prepare to receive what Jesus has prepared for me – a direct impartation of Himself from His glorious presence, and by being in His presence I am prepared to go out into the world and preach in power. Jesus called to Himself those He wanted (Mark 3:13) appointed them to be with Him (v. 14), that He might send them out to preach and have power (v. 15). The imparted presence of Jesus is never to be selfishly hoarded – it is always given to be released. When we commit our spirits into His hand (Ps. 31:5), He commits His Spirit to ours – and commissions us to bear the glory of His presence everywhere.

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