Terry Wells - Rochedale, Queensland Convention - December 2006

Hymn 211, "If We But Knew The Cost At Which He Came"

I don’t suppose we will ever really know the cost at which Jesus came. In Revelation, we read about a great multitude around the throne. Revelation 5:9, “And they sang a new song saying, 'Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth.'” This picture is in the future. This redeemed multitude was wanting to appreciate more the cost at which Jesus came and what He had done to bring them out of where they were, and into the place where they were then. I appreciate more than I have ever done before, what Jesus has done for me. That is a little sign of growth because you value more today the sacrifice of Jesus and for what He has done - all that it cost Him and all that it cost Heaven. Good if we appreciate it more each year.

I like to think of the talents that were given to the servants, and when the Lord returned, some of those servants, their talents had increased in value. If our appreciation for what Jesus has done is greater each year, there is a little increase. One of the workers, after I professed, encouraged us to read every week a little of the crucifixion. When Jesus broke the bread and gave the cup to His disciples, if I think about it, it helps me to appreciate what I have benefited, for what happened there.

Three men that were in the same church were partners in a business, and there was a problem in the business, and it was starting to get into the meeting, and the men weren’t even speaking to one another. The workers really didn’t know what to do, and they thought they should go and visit the different ones in their homes. When they visited, they didn’t ask that man, “What is your side of the story?” but they went and had a little Bible read and they read about the crucifixion. They would all read some verses, and then they left one by one. They went to the different men and read about Calvary. Then a phone call came and it was the wife of one of the men, and she said, “Calvary has done it again.” Something had softened the heart of her husband and he was willing to take the first step to heal this division that had come. How could we hold something against a brother, when we think of the sacrifice of Jesus for you and for me?

Before this meeting I have been reading those last chapters that have to do with Jesus’ last hours of His life, and what He experienced. I was reading in John 3 where Jesus said, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted; that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” He said in the 8th chapter, “When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father hath taught Me, I speak these things.” He was signifying what death He would die. This was not an automatic foregone conclusion, but it was a voluntary service, and it depended on the willingness of individuals. He said He could have called on 12 legions of angels, but how would the scriptures be fulfilled if He did that? That was an option to facing the cross.

In Numbers 19, we read about the time where Moses made a brazen serpent. The Children of Israel had had a victory over the Canaanites, but now the Lord was going to send them on a route and they started to complain and murmured against Moses and God, and they criticized the manna, and the Lord sent fiery serpents amongst them, and many people were bitten by them and died. Some of those people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned. Entreat the Lord that the serpents would go away.” So Moses prayed, and the Lord told Moses to make a brazen serpent and put it on a pole and if anyone is bitten, if he looks on the serpent on the pole, they would live. Moses made a serpent. Our reasoning would be, “Why not make 100 of them, and it would be easy for people to see?” The serpent was the very thing that they dreaded, and they had to look at it on this pole, but as soon as they looked on it, and realized they would live, they would be thankful for it - “That is my salvation.” I wondered where Moses put that pole. Maybe he put it outside the camp and the people had to make a journey out there to see it. Many were not bitten and they would be afraid they would be bitten and they would want to know where that pole was, so that they could look at it.

Jesus took the sin, which was causing the death, like the serpent which they had to look at to save their lives. As we look upon Jesus as He is lifted up, it is the very thing that brings life for us. In Galatians, it says that He has been made a curse for us, that He might redeem us from the curse of the law. God saw the travail of His soul, so that we can stand before Him without blame. Because the provision for our sin has been made, we don’t have the license to continue to sin. There is provision made for honest mistakes.

When I was in South Australia, I went for a walk with John B, and he pointed out a plant that had two names - Patterson’s curse and Salvation Jane. It is a weed they’re trying to eradicate. It is a plant that the sheep can eat the flower of this plant in the drought, but it is also a curse. The sacrifice of Jesus is our salvation and there is only one pole in the camp. They brought Jesus to Pilate and he felt that Jesus was innocent, as he couldn’t find any fault in Him, but the priest and the people were calling out for Jesus’ life. Pilate saw he could prevail nothing, so he took some water and washed his hands and said, “I am innocent of the blood.” The priests spoke up and said, “His blood be upon us and our children forever.” Then Pilate delivered Jesus to be crucified.

In Acts 5, you read when Peter and the apostles were preaching the gospel in Jerusalem, they are brought before the high priest, and one of the charges the priests made to Peter was that they had filled Jerusalem with their doctrine and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Really what they were trying to do was help them see their responsibility for what happened. Pilate said he didn’t want Jesus’ blood on his hands. Like the council said that they were not responsible for this.

1 Corinthians 11, we read about what Paul had to say about the emblems. “I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, 'Take, eat, this is My body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance of Me.' After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, 'This cup is the new testament in My blood; this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me.'” We were encouraged to examine ourselves in partaking the emblems. Jesus gave thanks, and He was looking up. He could thank God for the privilege of giving His life. We look back to what Jesus did, and we remember Him.

A family lost their son of 16 years of age. This was their first child to die. It was a very hard experience for them. One day after the funeral, they wanted to go out to the grave and pause there for a little while. There had been snow the night before, and when they got to the headstone they found someone had been there already and brushed the snow off that headstone. That meant so much to them, that someone had gone there before them to pay their respect. They said, “Someone else loved our son like we loved him.” When there is a real genuine thankfulness for what Jesus has done, that means so much to our Father.

Verse 26, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till He come.” We are looking ahead to the time that Jesus comes back. We want to be ready for that time because we know He is coming. It speaks of eating the bread and drinking the cup unworthily, but let a man examine himself. That is an inward look. What would make us unworthy of partaking the emblems? If we thought we were worthy, we wouldn’t be worthy. We read of the Pharisee and publican in Luke 18. The Pharisee thought he was worthy, but the publican had a different attitude. A short prayer, but so much substance in it. He went down to his house justified because he didn’t feel worthy at all.

Another thing that would make us unworthy is if we felt the blood and body of Jesus was not the only provision, some other ways. Luke 17 Jesus said, “'Neither shall they say. Lo here! Or, lo there! For behold, the kingdom of God is within you….The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it…Even thus shall it be in the day when the son of man is revealed….I tell you in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together, the one shall be taken, and the other left…' And the disciples said, 'Where Lord? Where are they taken?' And He said unto them, 'Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.'”

In Alaska, there is a place where people congregate in November, maybe 4 to 5 thousand that gather, because there is a salmon run on this river. The salmon spawn and then they die, and the eagles gather there. There are some birds that have come 8,000 miles to be there. It is because of the carcass of the salmon that is there in abundance. The carcass doesn’t go where the eagles are, but the eagles go where the carcass is. Jesus was saying, "If you want to be where the body is, you will have to be like the eagle." The eagle has something in it that draws him to that body. There is an appetite - the flesh of the fish. Jesus was saying if the Kingdom of Heaven is found within you, you will be where the body it. We want to be careful what gets into our hearts that would dull the appetite for the things of the Lord, and we would not be there when the Lord returns. If we have that kind of appetite, we would make an effort like the eagles do, and see a long way off.