John 14:6; Mark 6:45–51
By Rev. Fr. Anthony Mario Ozele
When you are trying to get somewhere, what you need is clarity. Nobody is satisfied with vague directions to a location to which you’ve never been. I love the example of a trip to Disneyworld. Rather than making reservations, you show up at the airport and you see a flight listed up on the monitor: Flight 2020 to London. Next to the flight number, it says, “Gates 21-29.” That doesn’t make much sense to you, but you head down to that area, figuring someone will point you to the proper gate when you get there.
When you arrive, you find that none of the gates have signs on them indicating the flight number or the destination. There are planes out there, and people waiting to board, but you don’t know where any of them are going. You turn to some of your fellow travellers and ask, “Which of these flights is going to London?”
They say, “Oh, we were just discussing that. John here likes the look of that 747 out there, so he’s going to go through Gate 26. But 22 has always been my lucky number, so I’m taking gate 22.” Some lady nearby says, “My son-in-law travels all the time. He knows all about airports. And he said last time he went to London he went out of gate 25, so that’s what I’m going to take.”
You say, “Yeah, but how do you know it’s going to London?” She answers, “Well, who can really know anything for sure? I figure I’ve got as good a chance as anybody of getting on the right plane.”
Finally, you can’t take it anymore, so you go to the desk and ask which of these flights is 2020 to London. And the staff member says, “It’s not our policy to tell people which gate they have to fly out of. That would be rather narrow-minded, wouldn’t it? I mean, these are all wonderful planes with hard-working crews and sincere passengers. Who are we to say that one is better than another? Take whichever one you want. They’re all going somewhere.”
How ridiculous and irresponsible would that be?! Just as ridiculous as it is to suggest that all roads lead to heaven, and just as irresponsible as to withhold information that can help people get where they want to go. If you don’t care where you spend eternity, then it doesn’t matter which road you take. But if you want to go to heaven, you had better be sure you are on the right track.
Years ago, a Christian artist Andre Crouch wrote a song entitled, “JESUS IS THE ANSWER.” The chorus goes:
“Jesus is the answer, for the world today.
Above Him there’s no other. Jesus is the way.
Jesus is the answer, for the world today.
Above Him there’s no other. Jesus is the way.”
Is Jesus still the answer today? The answer is, “Yes”. Because Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” He is everything we need, but sometimes we get a bit confused about what it is we truly need.
Life is full of worry: Money; Health; Children; Depression; Disappointment; Fear. This world is full of problems of which people are desperate to find solutions. What few realize, however, is that the answer is right under our noses! The God who created the universe has a Name by which anything is possible! Paul describes Christ’s position thus in Colossians 1:16-20:
“For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he himself might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross [through him], whether those on earth or those in heaven.”
Yes, He is above all. Above all of your needs and above all of your problems. Let’s take a look at some specific ways in which He can lead us to victory!
1. JESUS CHRIST THE ANSWER FOR MEETING ALL YOUR NEEDS
“So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.“ (Matthew 6:31-34) This is a promise from Jesus that if we seek God’s kingdom, of which Jesus Christ is the head, He will supply our physical needs. Seeking first His kingdom, however, does not merely mean “asking God for a new car.” It means that following His commandments will be the single top priority in your life. As Paul said, it involves making Him preeminent in all things.
David wrote in Psalm 37:25-26, “Neither in my youth, nor now in old age have I seen the righteous one abandoned or his offspring begging for bread. All day long he is gracious and lends, and his offspring become a blessing.”
I have seen the same thing today. I can’t even count the number of times I have heard about families struggling with impossible financial situations, but when they decided to put God first and give to Him anyway, things somehow worked out.
If you read about missionaries and their adventures with finances and basic needs such as food, you will likely see a trend. God tests their faith, but as they continue to seek His kingdom first, He always comes through with what they need. Accounts like this can be seen from the great missionaries who travelled from the farthest ends of the earth to evangelize our lands.
2. JESUS CHRIST THE ANSWER TO PHYSICAL SICKNESS
Jesus healed people when He was physically on the earth because He had compassion on them and because He wanted to announce the kingdom of God. Nothing has changed; the same is true today. He still has compassion on the suffering and He still wants to confirm that He is God.
“Yet it was our pain that he bore, our sufferings he endured. We thought of him as stricken, struck down by God and afflicted, but he was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity. He bore the punishment that makes us whole, by his wounds we were healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5) As surely as His separation from God through death made it possible for us to be made right with God, the wounds He received made it possible for us to receive physical healing. This will be universally true in heaven, the New Creation. Every single sickness and physical deformity a follower of Christ has on earth will be completely gone after he or she passes into His presence.
However, it goes beyond that. Christ’s death makes it possible for us to be right with God by faith today, His suffering allows us to receive physical healing by faith today. James writes in James 5:14-16, “Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint [him] with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.” Here is a pretty broad recipe for healing. We are to confess our sins and pray for each other. Calling for the leaders of the church and anointing with oil may help, but that is not a consistent requirement for healing in other relevant Scripture.
“ So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him, he said, “Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the holy Spirit.” Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. He got up and was baptized.” (Acts 9:17-18) Ananias was a man like us, but who was obedient to God’s call. The healing of Saul’s eyes was accomplished through the laying on of hands.
“He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents [with their hands], and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:15-18)
However, we cannot expect every single request for physical healing to be granted. God is completely sovereign, and His plan is different than ours. It should also be realized that death is a part of His normal plan for humans, as a way of taking us to be with Him.
3. JESUS CHRIST THE ANSWER FOR OVERCOMING EVIL
Overcoming evil was the primary reason why Jesus came to earth: “Whoever sins belongs to the devil, because the devil has sinned from the beginning. Indeed, the Son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8) Here we see that even those under the earth, meaning evil forces, must submit to Jesus Christ:
“Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)
Certainly, this will be a universal event in the future, when literally all creation will acknowledge Jesus as Lord. But it has already started! Demons were already submitting to Jesus when He was on the earth: “Jesus rebuked him and the demon came out of him, and from that hour the boy was cured.” (Matthew 17:18) “Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down in front of them and came out of him without doing him any harm.” (Luke 4:35)
“For while your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, I want you to be wise as to what is good, and simple as to what is evil; then the God of peace will quickly crush Satan* under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” (Romans 16:19-20)