Hendrik Ferreira - Visiting Worker to Maroota - 2012

Hymn 21, If We But Knew

If we but knew the lonely hours the Lord Jesus spent, would we not praise as angels praise His name? Today we have the privilege of partaking of the emblems as we remember His death and His resurrection and I ask myself the question: Do I really know the price whereby the veil was rent in twain?

Luke 1:38, when the angel brought the message to Mary that she was to bring the Son of God into this world, she said, “Be it unto me according to Thy word.” I wondered if she knew what was going to happen to this child when she said that? In child bearing, feeling this life within her, did she know that one day this child would bear the sins of all the world? When she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and put Him in the manger, I wonder if she ever thought that one day He would be stripped of His garments and nailed to the cross, and He would hang there in the sun with no shade, just for our sins? He became the rejected One of God, just for us.

When He cried as a baby, Mary knew He was hungry and she fed Him, but I wonder if she ever thought the time would come when He would be hanging on the cross and He would say, “I thirst,” and she would be unable to comfort Him. As a baby, when He cried because He was not comfortable, she would have picked Him up in her arms and comforted Him. I wonder if she knew the time would come when she would be unable to comfort Him, when He would be on the cross and cry, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” Matthew 26:38, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me.” He knew what was ahead and there was no one to comfort Him because His disciples were not able to stay awake and comfort Him.

Luke 2:34, when Jesus was a baby and Mary and Joseph went to the temple in Jerusalem, Simeon picked Him up in his arms and said, “This child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” Mary could not have understood it, but she kept it in her heart. I am sure this is the sword that went through her own heart when she saw Him suffering on the cross and she was unable to comfort Him, but the Lord Jesus spoke to comfort her.

When Joseph and Mary had to go to Egypt, she would have picked Him up in her arms and fled. I wonder if she knew there would be a time when soldiers would take hold of Him and bring Him to Pilate, there would be false accusations and no-one would be able to help Him? Today, we are reminded of what the Lord Jesus did for us, and a question comes to my heart when I partake of these emblems: Do I really know what He went through?

We have heard so much about our Lord Jesus, our great high priest. He was tempted as we are, yet without sin and He is the One who can help us. The high priest of the old covenant couldn’t stay long in that position because of his age, and someone else would take over. He had to make redemption for the sins of the people by the blood of animals, but the Lord Jesus shed His own blood once and for all, and the veil was rent in two after He died. People had to bring their best animal and the blood of that animal was to purify their sins. What would that animal know about how a sinner feels? It wouldn’t know, but God accepted it for the sins of people. Our Lord Jesus faced severe temptations and His blood speaks for us much better than the blood of animals.

Matthew 26:57, “And they that had laid hold on Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest . . But Peter followed Him afar off unto the high priest’s palace.” I noticed these words, “the high priest’s palace.” We think of a palace as the dwelling place of royalty, of kings and queens. So, the high priest lived there like a king. Matthew 8:20, “And Jesus saith unto him, 'The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head.'” Even at His birth there was no place for Him, and He was born in a stable.

John 14:1,  “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions.” Heaven is the place that Jesus loved, the dwelling place of His Father. It is the place where He knew no sorrow, where He was not falsely accused. It is a glorious place and He left that place to come to earth where He had no place and was rejected, and suffered pain for our sakes. While He was here, He spoke about heaven and said, “I go to prepare a place for you.” The promise is that He will come back again; we don’t know when. If He can find us ready and there is a place for Him in our hearts and lives, He will take us to Himself and we can enjoy that everlasting home where there is no sorrow, no tears and no pain; only love and joy and peace forever.

Matthew 26:59, “Now the chief priests . . sought false witness against Jesus, to put Him to death; But found none; yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses.” This is a picture of the weakness of the old covenant. The law said they could not judge a person without two witnesses, so they looked for two witnesses to condemn the Lord Jesus and found two false witnesses. This high priest was transgressing the law. Exodus 20:16, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” The high priest was sitting as the judge of the Lord Jesus according to the Old Testament law, but he looked for false witnesses.

I am glad the Lord Jesus doesn’t look for false witnesses. He spoke the truth to Pilate. John 18:37, "To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth My voice.” I wonder, when the Lord Jesus was born, did Mary know He was going to bear witness of the truth? Many people asked Him false questions to condemn Him or to have something against Him. He was despised, and the same thing will happen to His children. Luke 23:31, “For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?” Keep following; that is the encouragement we have today.

I am sure Pilate heard many lies from people who were trying to get out of trouble. Someone said they just had an “emergency lie” but a lie is a lie! The Lord Jesus spoke the truth all the time. If we are in trouble, we can go to Him with confidence. The holiest is open, the veil is taken away and there is help for us. Matthew 26:65, “Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, 'He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses?'” The high priest said that Jesus’ words were blasphemy, and he rent his clothes. Leviticus 21:10, “And he that is the high priest . . shall not uncover his head, nor rend his clothes.” That is the old law and the high priest would have known the scriptures; but he rent his clothes and he would have known that he should not do that.

There was a time when Saul was disobedient and Samuel told him that he had sinned against the Lord. 1 Samuel 15:25, "And Samuel said unto Saul, 'I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel . . The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.'” I believe that when the high priest Caiaphas rent his clothes that day, everything would all be taken away from him and given to the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus’ garments were never rent. The soldiers parted His garments at the cross but His coat was still in one piece when they cast lots for it. To me, it is a beautiful picture of the new covenant of the Lord Jesus.

Matthew 26:67, "Then did they spit in His face, and buffeted Him; and others smote Him with the palms of their hands, Saying, 'Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?'” They did this to the Lord Jesus and it was contrary to the law. Paul stood before the high priest Ananias. Acts 23:2, “And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by Him to smite Him on the mouth. Then said Paul unto him, 'God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?'” Paul had studied at the feet of Gamaliel and he knew the Old Testament law and how it should be lived out.

The high priest gave command to smite Paul and he told him that it was contrary to the law. They were trying to hang on to the old covenant, to something that was already dead. When people looked for Jesus at the grave, the message was, “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” Here, the weakness of the law once again revealed it was unable to help. If we but knew what the Lord Jesus went through to establish this new covenant, this new and living way. This is our High Priest and we can go to Him.

Matthew 26:50, "And Jesus said unto him (Judas), 'Friend, wherefore art thou come?' Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took Him.” At that moment, the Lord Jesus knew that nobody could help Him any more and it was all in the control of God in heaven. I believe that helped Him to go through all this. No matter what happens here on earth or what people may do to us, remember that God is still in control. Sometimes we don’t want to give the control out of our own hands, but the Lord Jesus did. He won’t listen to lies; He knows the Truth and there is healing for us in His presence.

I wondered about tithes and why we don’t take tithes. We have no right to it. It was something commanded for the Levites because they had no inheritance among the Children of Israel. But our Lord Jesus was from the tribe of Judah and concerning this tribe, Moses gave no commandment. He had no right to take tithes from people and if our Master had no right to it, how can we? It is not for us. He gave. He didn’t take, and what He requires of us is that we would give our whole lives. I remember a teacher once wrote, “If you give of your best you give nothing, but if you give your life, you give everything. If you lose your parents, you lose something, but if you lose your name, you lose everything.” We bear the name of our Lord Jesus and we have to bear His name worthily.

We can turn to Hebrews 2:17, “Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” In South Africa, December 16 was seen as a holy day because that was the day when the Boers got victory over the Zulus. For years, they kept this day like a Sunday. Then a new government took over and they didn’t know what to do about this day. It really belonged to the white people, so they called it a Day of Reconciliation. The enmity is finished, there has been reconciliation. That is what the Lord Jesus did when He came to this earth. He came to bring peace. His whole message was about peace. When we remember the emblems, we remember our day of reconciliation to God. He gave His life so we can be reconciled to God.

God requires that we would be faithful in serving Him, faithful in obeying Him. Hebrews 4:15, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin . . Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” There is no temptation that we can go through that we could say, “The Lord Jesus has not been tempted in this.” He can help us. Hebrews 7:26, “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.” When we partake of the emblems today, we are reminded of our High Priest, the Lord Jesus. His body was treated as if it was worthless and useless. A crown of thorns was placed on His head, they spat in His face, they treated Him as nothing, the One who was undefiled and harmless. If we but knew. We are reminded of the suffering that He went through so He could become an everlasting High Priest.

Hebrews 10:22, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience . . Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering . . let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.” This is something for us to do. What is a conscience? It is a little voice that God uses to speak to us. We cannot put our finger on it, but it is there and we can train it. Paul wrote to Timothy about some who had their conscience seared there was no feeling. When I was a young boy in Namibia, some of the women used to smoke pipes. Their fingers were so tough that they were able to pick up a hot, glowing coal and put it in the pipe, then take it out again and throw it away. Their fingers had no feeling any more. I always liked to play with fire but my fingers were too sensitive and they got burned, so I never tried it again.

When we can hold on to our conscience, God can speak to us through His word. So we can read our Bibles and God can speak to us. But at times, there is not a mother or father or sister or brother with us. We are alone, but we have this conscience and it can warn us if we do wrong. In the south of the Netherlands, there are a lot of mussel farmers. One man said, “God doesn’t speak to us like He spoke to old people.” His friend said, “God definitely speaks the same way. You were out fishing and took your boat to your neighbour’s property. You looked around, then let the net down. That moment when you looked around, God was speaking to you.” His conscience was warning him that it was not his property, but he let the net down. Verse 22, "Let us draw near . . having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” That is what has happened to us these days. We are washed and our conscience is tender again. When we see the emblems, it causes tenderness in our hearts to think of what the Lord Jesus has done for us.

With these verses I would like to stop, because this is the hope we have for the future. John 20:17, “Touch Me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren, and say unto them, 'I ascend unto My Father, and your Father, and to My God, and your God.'” They are very comforting words that the Lord Jesus spoke to Mary when she was so troubled. He knew they would have sorrow because they didn’t understand. This is the message today as we partake of the emblems: He is preparing a place with the Father for you and for me. May we walk worthy of the calling wherewith we have been called.