READ: Psalm 112, Nahum 3, John 16, Colossians 2
Presence Is Explanation. As Jesus is wrapping up His earthly ministry and giving His beloved disciples final instructions, He informs them “these things I did not say to you at the beginning because I was with you” (John 16:4, emphasis added). God’s presence is our explanation! Christians (especially those from linear and direct cultures) want factual answers from God. We want to know why, what, how, when. Jesus has a much more comprehensive and satisfying answer for us–Himself. Jesus indeed is the answer, an answer that addresses not only thoughts and understanding, but emotion, spirit, soul, and body. We need to learn not to press Jesus for details, which are limited in the satisfaction they can provide, and rather press in for more of His presence. The presence of Jesus is our only ultimately satisfying explanation.
Presence Is Joy. Prior to departing Jesus encouraged His disciples that they would see Him again in a little while and that seeing Him, “sorrow would be turned to joy” (John 16:20). When we see Jesus, we will no longer remember anguish (v. 21), our heart will rejoice, and no one will be able to take our joy from us (v. 22). Ultimately eternal joy is fulfilled when Jesus comes again, but temporally we can in this weary life experience joy explosions. Only Jesus can satisfy us and too many Christians continue to look for satisfaction everywhere but in the presence of Jesus. When Jesus instructs us to “ask and you will receive that your joy may be full” (v. 24), it is in the context of His presence. Jesus longs to reveal and give Himself to us in fuller ways for our joy, and all we must do is ask Him. There is no greater joy for us than the presence of Jesus.
Presence Is Peace. While joy can accelerate the pulse and quicken the body, peace tends to steady the soul and bring rest and calm. Jesus both quickens and calms us. Jesus bluntly tells us that we will have tribulation in this world but also comforts by reminding us: “In Me you may have peace” (v. 33). Peace is not derived from a location nor even a solution. Peace is sourced in a person, in Jesus. The promise of peace is not to be confused with a promise of amnesty or immunity; the converse is true. Jesus promises we will have to go through hell on the way to heaven, but He also offers His presence for our passage.
In our task orientation we are doggedly fixed on factual answers and practical solutions. God often provides these, yet we are exhorted by scripture that the presence of Jesus is our ultimate answer and reward. The presence of Jesus is our explanation. When Jesus is present in power, we can’t remember our questions nor are they important any more. The presence of Jesus is our joy. When Jesus is present in power, we can’t remember our troubles or anguish, nor do they matter. Jesus is our peace. When Jesus is present in power, His calm carries us through all storms.