Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tuesday's with Jesus #126

#126 "None But Jesus"
December 18, 2007
"Naked a man comes from his mother's womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand." (Ecclesiastes 5: 15)
An estimated 64% of Americans either strongly agree or somewhat agree with the assertion that "there is no such thing as absolute truth." (Christianity Today, September 16, 1991, p. 48, from George Barna, The Barna Report: What Americans Believe, 1991) I would venture to guess that those figures are even higher now that we have turned the millennium. Some reports suggest that even "Born Again Christians" hold this view.
Last Monday evening, I was blessed to spend what turned out to be the last hour of my father's life, with him at his bedside. Within minutes of my leaving, he went home to be with the Lord. The events, circumstances and progression of details that evening, overwhelmed me with how my Heavenly Father loves me so. The knowledge of His love was real, tangible, palpable and concrete. It was "absolute truth."
It was very quiet during that hour we spent together. We had done all of our talking in the last few months leading up to that final night. I stroked his arm and we only spoke a couple of times. I did tell him that I loved him. But as I looked around the room and let my mind wander over the years, I was hit square in the eye with truth...absolute truth.
When all is said and done, there is none but Jesus. Nothing but Jesus. And if you don't have Him, you have nothing. Pretty succinct and to the point. Sorry...but that's absolute truth. My father was a very educated man. But on that night, his Magna Cum Laude from Law School couldn't save him or give him hope for eternity. The money that my parents had acquired at one time was no longer in the bank. The house, the cars, the knick knacks carefully placed in their home, offered no comfort or hope of salvation from this tragic end. I just read this the other day: “you will never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul.” In the words of the Cowardly Lion, "Ain't it the truth...ain't it the truth." Absolute truth.
David said in Psalm 39, "Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain." All over the Bible we are told that our lives are like a vapor. Here today, gone tomorrow. More absolute truth. Nevertheless, we continue to pursue, to chase....things that won't ever last, things that won't save us in the end and certainly things that cannot give us any hope for the eternity that starts when we close our eyes for that final time.
People will let you down. Even that husband or wife that you think would never hurt you. Human beings hurt other human beings. Money comes and goes. A job can be lost on a random Friday afternoon leaving you wondering how you're ever going to make it. Houses burn down or get blown away in hurricanes. With just one short visit to the doctor for an annual physical, someone is told that they only have a few months to live. Or in that hour, stroking the arm of your dying loved one, what can we hold onto for dear life? In those kinds of moments...in the midst of gut-wrenching pain and loss, what is there to hold onto? Where is Hope? Where is truth. WHAT is truth?
Pilate asked Jesus, "What is truth?" (John 18: 38) Before Pilate's very eyes stood the One who called Himself, "The Way, THE TRUTH, and the Life." (John 14: 6) But Pilate didn't see it. So many of us don't see it either. But I'm here to tell you today that whether you see it or not...whether you understand it fully or not...it is truth...Absolute Truth...the One called Jesus of Nazareth is the only sure Truth that there is. 
Truth says, "What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16: 26) Security, provision, protection, and hope for eternity is only found in the person of Jesus Christ. He is the anchor of our souls when the waves are tossing the boat of our lives to and fro. He is the sure, firm, foundation when the winds of adversity beat and blow against our house. In the words of a well known hymn, "All other ground is shifting sand." He is the fourth man in the midst of the fiery furnace (see Daniel 3). He is the One who rides the white horse and is called "Faithful and True" (see Revelation 19: 11). His face was the face I knew my father would see when he took his last breath on that cold, winter Monday night, only one week ago. Because that's what The Word says. Without that Truth and the certainty of it, what hope could I have ever found as I sat in that room? Without that Truth life is meaningless because He is the meaning of my life. 
Love your family. Enjoy time with friends. Live life to the fullest. Work hard and enjoy restful times. But don't make those things your pursuit. Wise Solomon, after trying every kind of pleasure and avenue to success, said, "Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." (Ecclesiastes 12: 13) And I know that if Dad could come back to us for one short minute, he would tell us that there is such a thing as absolute truth...and His Name is Jesus.
Worshiping Christ this Christmas,
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