Sunday, April 23, 2017

How Close Do We Want to Be to Jesus?

When you face outward from the Eastern Gate of Old Jerusalem, you see an extensive Jewish burial ground. According to, it's the oldest cemetery in continuous use in the world. There are also Muslim and Christian cemeteries in this area.

This isn't merely a convenient place to bury someone. The graves are situated here for one reason. Zechariah tells us that, when the Messiah returns, He will stand on the temple mount facing east. 

According to Paul's letter to the Thessalonians, the dead in Christ will rise first. 

The deceased and their families have chosen this cemetery, at least in part, for the potential benefit it offers. The graves are positioned so that those buried there can be as close as possible to the Messiah when he arrives. If the dead rise first, they want to be the risen ones who are closest to our Lord.

Being close to Jesus when He returns is a noble aspiration, but we have the opportunity to have something better now. 

We don't have to wait until death to be close to Jesus.

Because of the Spirit of God's presence in our hearts, we can be close to our Savior here on earth. 

The question, then, becomes one of intentional proximity. Like those buried outside the Eastern Gate, we, too, have a choice. Will we position ourselves as close to Jesus as possible, or not?

If we want to be close to our Lord, we must "abide" in Him, and, to abide, we must obey. 

It's that simple. It's that hard. 

Abide in my love in the same way I've obeyed my Father and abided in His love, Jesus told His followers. If we want to "abide," we obey the way Jesus obeyed. 

Abiding is, simply, the Greatest Commandment in action. Love God with all your being. Love your neighbor in the same way you love yourself.

We can be close to Jesus now, and in eternity, but the question of intentional proximity must be decided. 

How close do we want to be? 

If close, then we will obey by loving God and loving our neighbor. 

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. John 15:10 esv
In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: The Bible Bug and the Gospel It Contains

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Or you can mail your check or money order to: Global Outreach/ PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802. Be sure to put Account 4841 in the "for" line.

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