Willem Boshoff - “Jesus Last Days” - Williams Convention, 1988

Hymn 219.  

Matthew 16 v 13: "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?"  Jesus asked this question of His disciples. Jesus knew who He was. Peter had such a clear revelation. Judas was there, he heard it, also the other disciples. Then He said, "I am going to Jerusalem to be rejected of men, to suffer many things, to be killed, and be raised again." Peter began to rebuke Him, "This will not be unto thee." Jesus told him that he was an offence unto him, this was not of God. Jesus tried to make Peter understand, and we have to remember that these men were only 3 1/2 years in the work. I knew very little after I was in the work 3 1/2 years, I know very little today. The disciples had seen Jesus raise a 12 year old girl from the dead, they had seen Him raise the son of a widow near Nain, they had seen Him raise Lazarus from the dead, who was already three days in the grave, there was a smell about him already.  Jesus called him, "Come out of the grave." Jesus said, "After
they kill me, the third day I will be raised up." The disciples felt that this was so
impossible, and as they looked into those two kind eyes of Jesus, full of love, they could not bear to think of Him going away, it was too much for them. Peter was older than Jesus, and he did not want this to happen to Jesus. He said, "God loves you, we love you." Jesus said, "Get behind me Satan." Peter was a humble man, he did not take offence. Jesus wanted to teach them, and Peter learned, slowly. Later on he became a rock. There are possibilities ahead. Peter grew and became very useful and fruitful.  Our Father has called us to bear fruit. The wood of the vine has no use for anything, only for bearing fruit. God didn't expect more from Abraham than what He was willing to go through Himself.

Genesis 22: God said to Abraham, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac; whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah, and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of." This was not the first experience for Abraham, he had learned a lot before that, he had to drive away the bondwoman and Ishmael. Ishmael became a mocker and Sarah was not happy.  She said, "He will not inherit with my son." It was a grievance to Abraham so he prayed about it, and God said to him to listen to his wife, and send Ishmael away, and he obeyed God. God is a jealous God, who wants first place. This is not asking too much, because God wants to give us eternal life, that we might live forever. God could see that Abraham loved Isaac, and he was testing him. Now go, and sacrifice him. Abraham prepared the wood, the knife, the fire, he asked the young men to remain, and he saw the place in the distance, the same place where Jesus was crucified. The mountain was like a skull of a human being, an ugly mountain. Abraham could have said, "Must I sacrifice my son there?" God was willing to sacrifice His only begotten Son in the very place. God wants first place in our lives.

When the truth came across my pathway, my father and mother told me, "What have you done?" I told them I was going to sell everything and become a homeless stranger, and they said to me, "How dare you do that!" I said, "Father, you must not say that, because I did nothing wrong. The religious world just took my money, but gave nothing for my soul." When I met the truth I had a conversion in six weeks:  I stopped smoking. I was a ticket examiner on the train, and the time came when I fell on my knees and said to God, "I want to serve you with all my heart. Why cannot I be happy?" That very afternoon God sent messengers on the train, and I collected their ticket, and on the ticket it said "minister concession." I began to speak to them, gave them my testimony, they said to me, "You may be saved, but you are not born again."

Then I listened to a gospel meeting, and as I was sitting in the meeting tears were running over my cheeks because now God was speaking to my heart, and God had heard my cry. Now I had a Godly revelation, how could I disobey? I said to my father, "Now I will be a better son to you than ever before, because God has first place in my heart." I loved my father and mother more than before. They were in the Dutch Reformed Church. Sometimes I am asked to speak at weddings, and I tell them that we can only be happy if Jesus has first place in our hearts. The second place is for the husband or wife, but the first place must be for God, and then people are happy.

So Abraham tied his son, Isaac, and he took the knife for the purpose that God was going to have first place in his life. The angel called from Heaven "Abraham, Abraham" twice.  Abraham was so determined, he had such faith that God could raise him up again from the dead. This man was living before Moses and the law, but he had learned to give God first place in his heart. God was able to say, "Now I know that you love me more than your son." If we love someone else more than God, we will surely be tested. God said to Jacob, "Don't fear to go down to Egypt, I will bring you up again." God's promises are sure. That was the purpose of God in calling Moses, to be a wonderful shepherd, a leader. God could trust Moses.

God had a deep purpose in calling Samuel to help His people. He was to become a living fish that would go against the stream. This mother gave her son to serve the Lord forever. We value such mothers who bring their children up to be servants of God one day. There was another mother, and we visited her, and she said that she prayed to the Lord that her eldest son would one day be out in the work.  Now that son is in the work, we can see that God answers unselfish prayers. My parents were disappointed when I went into the work, and after 7 years I went to another country to labour. My father was very sick and I spoke to him, and 3 weeks before he died, he yielded his heart to God. He asked me to forgive him for standing against the truth. We know that it is so worthwhile giving God the first place.

When Jesus was going to Jerusalem, the disciples feared. Thomas said, "Let us go and die with him." We hear a lot about unbelieving Thomas, but here is what he said, "Let us go and die with him." Jesus said, "With desire have I desired to eat the Passover." It was prepared Jesus said to the two disciples, "When you go to the city you will see a man carrying a pitcher of water, you follow him" and there they prepared in the upper room. Judas already had the money in his pocket. We see how the Lord Jesus did all so tactfully. Judas did not know where the Passover would be, because Jesus knew that perhaps Judas would have brought the crowd there, and He wanted to have fellowship with His disciples, this Holy Communion. Jesus was ready to be slain.

When the children of Israel left Egypt they had the lamb in the home for four days.  They put the blood on the door post, on the right hand and left hand and above, meaning that I live in unity with my neighbours, and in peace and unity with God. Where the angel did not see the blood, he would slay the firstborn. This was total obedience. We need to learn to give God first place in our heart and life. Jesus became deeply sorrowful when he said, "One of you will betray me." Jesus did what He could for Judas, to help that man, but Judas went out and it was night. Then Jesus and the disciples went to Gethsemane, and He asked Peter, James and John to go with Him a little further.

Here He was, 33 years of age, full of life, He fell down and prayed to God, that God's purpose would be fulfilled.  He drank the bitter cup of death.  Peter, James, and John were there to help Him, but they fell asleep, so God sent an angel out of Heaven to strengthen Him. Jesus fasted for 40 days, and angels came and ministered to Him. Now He was praying, and His sweat was as drops of blood, in such deep agony. "If it be possible let this cup pass from me." Jesus knew that the Father must have first place. There must have been tension in Heaven:  "Will He make it?" Jesus would have slept very little the last few days, the agony before Him. Then He came to Peter, James and John and said, "Sleep on now."  There was Judas ahead of the company, and he called him "friend." He betrayed Jesus with a kiss. We see the lovely spirit of Jesus.

He asked the question, "Who are you seeking?"  They said, "Jesus of Nazareth."  He said, "I am the one."  They fell down, because nobody gives himself over unconditionally. Jesus wanted to do it soon, do it as quickly as possible. We can make suffering very long, or we can make it short. Joy just means Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last. Jesus proved this. He said, "Here am I. Why do you come with all these weapons?  Every day I was in the temple, why didn't you take me?" This was God's directed activity; He gave Himself as a lamb to be slaughtered. He went to the High Priest and they accused Him, and He said nothing. He had to pay the price for our redemption. They said to Him, “Are you the Christ?"  He said to them, "You said it." They said He was blaspheming. He was so near to them, yet He was so far. Truth was so near to the people, yet so far. Judas now had a Godless success in selling Jesus, but now he would always be on his own.

It is dangerous for a sheep to be on its own.  It will get lost, it will be a prey for wild animals. One time there were sheep grazing near the wire fence, and one sheep crept through the hole in the fence, looking for other pasture. Another sheep went through, and also a lamb, the mother sheep got back, but the lamb did not get back. Judas now found it was too late to turn. He came and threw down the money, but it was too late. Jesus was now before Pilate, He had His arms tied behind His back, He was so powerless, knowing that death is coming. But God is very near at such a time. During the war we faced experiences like this, and found that God is very near, and we just wanted to be out of this sinful body, to be with Christ. Pilate allowed them to take his clothes off His back, which was raw from the stripes. They tore his clothes off Him, spat on Him.  He endured it all. To be spat at is very humbling. Jesus suffered to the uttermost. He felt that someday some people will value what He had been through.

Then He went out to carry the cross, and was crucified between two murderers, saying, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."  The priests mocked Him, the Pharisees mocked Him. They said, "Why not come down from the cross?"  It would have been the easiest thing to do, but He loved us, He suffered to the uttermost to redeem us, He gave the last little bit of strength. Now His father had to look away from Him because this was the offering for sin, and He cried, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"  God had to turn away His eyes for a moment, and He said, "Father, I yield my spirit."  God could not stand it any longer, so He sent three hours of darkness, He sent an earthquake, which shook the whole Jerusalem, graves were opened and saints were seen after for three days. Later on there was another earthquake again, and people would wonder when there would be the end of this. There were watchers at the grave when the earthquake occurred, and they fell on their backs, and came and told the rulers that He was resurrected from the dead. They offered them much money. People are ready to believe a lie, rather to believe that He was resurrected from the dead.

The women came early and saw the angel sitting.  They said they were seeking Jesus.  They said that He was risen, the grave clothes were there, they could hardly believe their eyes. Mary remained there praying and weeping bitterly, and Jesus revealed Himself to her first. She was a person that needed encouragement first. She was sent with the resurrection message to Peter. We see now how Peter was growing, and in the Acts of the Apostles we see how he grew, full of the Holy Ghost. The Pharisees tried to hinder the disciples, that they would not speak in His name, but Peter said, "Judge for yourselves, should we be more obedient to you than to God? We must preach what we know."  Lovely to see how these disciples changed, and were so strong. We came here and entered the door of opportunity.  Now we will go out through the door of responsibility, a fresh vision of Jesus, His resurrected life, and we will testify that He has risen from the dead, risen in our lives.