In March of 1942, as Japanese forces tightened their grip on the Philippines, General Douglas MacArthur was ordered by President Franklin Roosevelt to relocate in order to save his life from an intense search for him by the Japanese military. From Terowie, South Australia, MacArthur made his famous speech where he said, “I came out of Bataan, and I shall return.” As time would pass, it appeared President Manuel Quezon would be overthrown and the future of the Philippines as a nation was uncertain. However, just a little more than two years later, on October 20, 1944, allied forces, under the leadership of General Douglas MacArthur, landed on Leyete Island fulfilling his vow and bringing victory to the Philippines. Headlines read, “Defeat was imminent until MacArthur came”
In John 19, Jesus has been scourged, beaten, and crowned with thorns. It was the darkest day in the lives of His disciples. All their hopes were gone and their dreams had vanished. However, there is a striking phrase in verse 5 that is laced with potential, opportunity, and expectation; “Then came Jesus…” I wonder, how many moments have you been faced with a crisis and at the eleventh hour, “then came Jesus”? Just how many times has the burden been so unbearable to carry, but “then came Jesus”? Has the pathway of life ever led to a great chasm of separation in the road, but “then came Jesus”? As much as I am thankful for the Lord’s first coming, and excited about the Lord’s future coming, it is His faithful comings that get me through the hard places of this journey! Whether it be a John exiled on an island of loneliness to die, or a Peter fishing to hide from his guilt of failure, or a widow woman walking to a cemetery to bury her only son, maybe your life is just being primed today for a “then came Jesus” moment. When Jesus steps onto any scene, one thing is certain: life nor the landscape will ever be the same again! Just what can you expect to find in a “then came Jesus” moment?
You will find He is accurate in His timing. In Luke 19, Jesus is walking through the streets of Jericho with His heart set on finding a man named Zacchaeus. It is then recorded in verse 5, “And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up, and saw him…” In the midst of the uncertainties of life there is often a sense that in His silence and absence, Jesus does not see, care, or understand our circumstances. But, I love the phrase, “and when Jesus came to the place…”
In every situation we will face in life, there is a marked “place” where He finds us, feels us, freshens us, and fulfills us. However, such a place will be most unexpected in our timing. The woman of Samaria simply went to draw water from a well, but Jesus made it “the place.” Mary and Martha mourned at the tomb of their brother Lazarus, but Jesus made it “the place” to demonstrate resurrection power. When a storm threatened to sink the disciples on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus made it “the place” of unexpected grace. It may not be today, and it may not be tomorrow, but there is an appointed “place” where Jesus will calmly and confidently meet you at the point of desperation.
You will find He is assuring in His trust. In John 20, rumors are swirling about the resurrection of Jesus and the disciples are hiding in a locked room for fear of their lives. But, in verse 19, the situation quickly takes a turn, “then…came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” Verse 20 then records, “Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.” When my daughter was a toddler, we were on a walkway at dusk. She was walking so independently until the light of day was extinguished. Without saying a word, she simply reached up and took me by the hand as we walked.
There is something so comforting to know we are not walking alone in dark places, but it is even more comforting to know the one who walks with you knows where He is going and is not afraid of the dark! When the disciples were fearful on the mount of transfiguration, “Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.” Oh, what confidence and trust is found in His touch when He comes near.
You will find He is affectionate in His tenderness. John 4:46 records, “So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where He made the water wine.” That may sound insignificant to you, but Jesus had an appointment in His heart to meet a nobleman whose son was sick unto death. I would suppose there is no way to count the times the Lord has had to turn around and come again, and again, and again to help me. The most amazing fact about the Lord is that while He may have preached sermons to the masses, He always took time for one. What an indictment against the aloof, arrogant, and unapproachable ministers of our day who make time for no one but themselves. Jesus is still a personal Lord who is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities…” His eyes never grow dim in watching us. His hands never grow weary in helping us. His feet never stumble in coming to us. His heart never fades in loving us!
Few things in life can be as frightening as standing alone. Perhaps Jesus understands our fear of such moments for on the cross He cried out, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” I love the phrase in John 3:22, “After these things came Jesus…” No circumstance of life will EVER outdistance Jesus! While abandoned and isolated to die on the Isle of Patmos, Jesus spoke to John, “Surely I come quickly.”
Whatever life may bring, whether it be hardship and difficulty or heartache and darkness, may we always have the courage of John who cried in response, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
Your Most Proud Pastor,
© 2006 Alan Stewart
Alan Stewart: Dr. Alan Stewart has served as Senior Pastor of Rechoboth Baptist since December 1999. He attended The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Moody Bible Institute, Covington Theological Seminary, and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary.
Prior to pastoring the Tennessee church, Alan was an evangelist for 15 years. He has preached revivals/pastor’s conferences in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland. He also preached crusades/conferences in India, Hungary, and conducted a crusade in South Africa in August of 2009. Pastor Alan is married to Jeanne, and they are blessed with two children – Sierra and Seth.