And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20b)
Behold, I am coming soon. (Revelation 22:7,12,20)
As we celebrate the coming of Jesus, as a tiny babe in the manger, I can’t help but look forward to the work He did on the cross and to the end when Jesus will come back. After He had died and rose again and was getting ready to ascend into heaven, He told His disciples to make disciples and that He will be with us always. When giving John the revelation of Himself in the end prophecies found in the book of Revelation, He says three times in the last chapter of the Bible, chapter 22, that He is coming soon.
In both accounts, Jesus used this world behold, and in the Greek is a term that is used to vivaciously draw attention to what is about to be said. In both instances, Jesus is enthusiastically drawing attention to the fact that He will always be with us and that He is coming soon. This should excite the followers of Jesus, who cry, “Come Lord, Jesus!” and patiently yet eagerly await His next coming.
When Mary was giving birth and Joseph placed Jesus on her chest, I can only imagine the thoughts that raced through her mind, thoughts of love for her child and thoughts of what the angel had told her about Him. She believed that the little boy’s face she was beholding was the Son of God. She no doubt had fears creep up, but I bet whenever she stopped and looked at her dear son, it melted away and the remembrance of the promise of Who He was brought a peace over her. It’s no wonder she seemed to be eager to have Jesus face the issue of running out of wine at the wedding in Cana. She knew Who He was and she went to Him with problems.
After Jesus had ascended and the disciples were starting to be persecuted by the Jewish authorities, it says when the authorities “saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13) Now this was after Jesus had ascended, yet they had been with Him nonetheless, and we know that was through the unity of the Holy Spirit dwelling within. The key thing here is that they were with Jesus and they did not fear.
He who comes forth fresh from beholding the face of God will never fear the face of man.” (Charles Spurgeon)
Jesus, during His time here on earth, spent time in prayer with the Father often, and He never feared men even knowing what they would eventually do to Him. He had a fear and reverence for the Father that emboldened Him to walk in the will of Him Who sent Him.
We too, as we remember baby Jesus born in stable and laying in a manger, need to behold the face of God afresh daily, letting His perfect love cast out all fear, having the wisdom to seek Jesus daily, and gaining a great boldness to share the good news of the gospel with all the people we meet. It’s hard to think, in the midst of a cheery Christmas season, that persecution will come, but it was on that day in which Jesus was born that the Father had in His mind the purpose of why He had sent His Son. He had sent Him to die. He sent Him knowing the hardships He would face, the persecution He would face, and the death on the cross He would face, and the resulting peace He would give in reconciling us by His sacrificial blood.
Regardless of what you are facing or will face, if you put into practice to behold the face of your God, you will never fear the face of man. Be encouraged, Jesus is with you always and He is coming soon!