Ancient Words: Faces of the Cross, Face of the
When Joshua was about to engage in the battle of Jericho, a man suddenly stood by Joshua with his sword drawn: “Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” The commander of the LORD’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so (Jos 5:13-15).”
When Jesus came into the town of Capernaum, he met a Roman soldier, a centurion, a commander: “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith (Mat 8:6-10).”
Our Commander is the face of the cross. Our Commander is in battle to defeat the enemy of the ages—-and that defeat is to benefit every person ever born to woman! The defeat is against the enmity, the serpent of old, the roaring lion who prowls, the so-called “angel of light”, the great deceiver, the liar and murderer of from centuries past, present and future. Human life was stolen by Satan and the Commander has appeared to restore that which he did not steal. Our Commander killed death for all with his own death.
The stage for final reconciliation of all things is being set today at a torrid pace! To keep in step with our Commander, we must be vigilant, determined, and have patient endurance. As soldiers of the cross we must keep our eyes fixed on our Commander of the cross. When he says “go”—we go, when he says “come” we come—when he says “do this”, we do that! After all, this is exactly what our Commander has done: “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work (Joh 14:10).” “I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me (Joh 14:30-31).”
The soldier, Peter, gives us a final admonition: “The Lord (Commander) is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. The day of the Lord (Commander) will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare (2Peter 3.9-10).”
Scott and Jane Johnson minister with East Faulknew Church of Christ and BRG Bible. Bible questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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I want to share this sermon illustration that I found on the Internet:
“While walking along a beach, an elderly gentleman saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it into the ocean.
As he got closer, he noticed a young man picking up starfish one by one and tossing each one gently back into the water. He came closer still and called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”
The old man smiled, and said, “I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”
To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.” Upon hearing this, the elderly observer commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!” The young man listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it the back into the ocean past the breaking waves and said, “It made a difference for that one.” It was one week ago today traveling home from vacation that I received the tragic news that a fellow pastor and good friend had committed suicide. I am heart broken but reminded that no one is immune to depression. Pray for our pastors, our leaders and each other! Take time to check on loved ones and make it a point to acknowledge others. “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4 Love makes a way. Love makes a difference. Love wins, always!
Captain Jason Perdieu is corps officer of the Salvation Army of El Dorado.