Let us focus for a few moments on the Presence of Christ. We acknowledge with gratitude that the divine attribute of Omnipresence is attributed to Christ. Scripture tells us much of His localized presence. This is by no means an attempt to think less of blessings brought to bear on our souls by the manifested presence of God the Father or God the Holy Spirit. However, given our marvelous union with the Son of God, our interest in the value of His present work and our longing for the Blessed Hope, His personal return to set up His kingdom, we want our minds and hearts to be enlarged as we think and meditate upon the Bible’s story of the theme at hand, The Presence of Christ.
His presence cheers the heart and soothes the soul. Those who have been privileged to encounter Him directly have deemed it a blessing greatly desired to stay with Him. The Gadarene demoniac, harassed by the dark forces of evil, upon deliverance, sat with Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. He was so enamored with what the Lord had done for him that he would go with Him on further journeys. This the Lord denied, but the story is enough to reinforce how precious the presence of Christ is when the dear delivered one demonstrated the longing of his soul.
Mary, a sister of busy Martha and loving Lazarus, chose the better thing. She sat at His feet while He taught and soaked up the time with Him. His presence caused to fade into the background all non-essential earthly responsibilities for this woman.
The disciples eventually began to understand our Lord’s message to them that He would die. His death, they saw, would cause them to be left alone without their leader and love. While fear was present, sadness was there, too. Our Lord knew their concerns and promised that after His death He would not leave them orphans. He fulfilled His promise when He breathed on them saying, “Receive ye the Holy Spirit” and pronouncedly so at Pentecost where they were filled with Christ’s vice-regent for proclaiming the ‘wonderful works of God’.
Even now, saints gather, maybe few in number or maybe many, and have no more important promise to claim than what our Lord said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them”. His presence for that assembly elevates the mundane to the supernatural and sometimes even the ecstatic. To walk away from such a gathering and be able to say, “Surely, the presence of the Lord is in this place”, encourages the saints and can serve as a testimony to those on the outside. It is all about His presence. Without it, a church may meet, but they are a shell. A lamp stand being removed, Christ distancing himself from an assembly, is such an awful thought to the spiritual minded man or woman that they are wise to choose the repent option presented by our Lord where He makes it clear what may cause Him to take such drastic action.
The future, what of it? Will not His presence on the earth bring unparalleled peace, joy and justice to a sin-cursed world? And, is not the grand object of desire for the saved to be among that number who will meet Him in the air upon His return? There is something about His presence! It is alluring. Those that are privileged to be near Him as the first fruits in the future, do so, “and they followed the Lamb, whithersoever He went”. It may be their duty, but because of the One whom they follow, it is their blessed privilege.
As rich as it is to consider His presence with us, it is equally blessed to consider our presence with Him. His High Priestly prayer of John 17 included a request for us to be with Him where He is that we may see His glory. Paul said to “depart and be with Christ is far better”. It seems to me that there is a great matter to consider here. Our immediate enjoyment of the “far better” upon death is one type of being in His presence. Our resurrected state where we will be caught up to meet Him in the clouds and “so shall we ever be with the Lord” is another type of enjoying His presence: a different body, a different abode highlighted by being with Him.