The Incomparable Christ

by Mike Ratliff

13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. Colossians 1:13-20 (NASB)

This is the 1st day of 2022. In October last year I turned 70. Just a month earlier I celebrated 20 years as the Senior Database Administrator at the hospital corporation where I worked. Just a couple of week after I turned 70 my wife and celebrated 40 years of marriage. Lastly, December 24th was my last day at work as I retired. I must confess it was that last thing that has caused the most stress for my wife and I. Why? Well, now we are not getting that paycheck every couple of weeks nor the health insurance that goes with the job. As we prepared for this my prayer time changed quite a bit. I found myself praying extensively along the lines of the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). Why? Here it is.

9 “Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’] Matthew 6:9-13 (NASB) 

I start out my prayer time with this prayer as the outline. I praise our God and worship Him. I pray that my will be lined up with His. I pray that all that my works will be according to His will and that He will be glorified not me. I pray that His Kingdom will come as His will is done on earth as it is Heaven. Then we come to v11. This is where I start praying about our Lord’s provision. Do I ask to be rich? Do I ask for Health, Wealth, and Prosperity? No, I ask for healing where it is needed according to His will. I ask for God to take care of my wife and I in our old age. I pray for wisdom, discernment, personal holiness, and Christlikeness. After that I pray v12 and v13 then I ask for God to save the people from a list and heal others by name, etc. What we must remember is that it is God who provides. He is sovereign. He allowed me to save up some money at my job that is being managed by a good money manager. I am by no means wealthy, but it should provide for us for many years unless our economy falls apart, but then, who is sovereign? Who is in control? All of these things are in His hands. What I pray for is that my will be lined up with His and that He uses me for His glory.

Now with all that in mind, how are we to look at our needs and God’s provision? Below are two of the devotions I had this morning from Tabletalk Magazine and from Spurgeon’s Morning by Morning. Both deal with this, which I knew right then what this post was to be about. Be blessed my brethren

Apart from the resurrection of Christ, the only other miracle to appear in all four Gospels is Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand (Matt. 14:13–21; Mark 6:30–44; Luke 9:10–17; John 6:1–14). Beyond the significance for its miraculous scale, this miracle demonstrates a particular characteristic of Jesus that makes it even more magnificent—His all-sufficiency.

Jesus was greeted by a vast multitude as He stepped ashore from the Sea of Galilee. He instructed His disciples to give the people something to eat because it was around mealtime and they would be hungry. Empty-handed, the disciples approached Jesus with only five loaves and two fish, resources that were completely inadequate for feeding so many.

Seeing the crowds as sheep without a shepherd, Jesus instructed His disciples to assemble the people for the banquet He was about to spread. He took the five loaves and two fish, blessed them, and gave them to the disciples to distribute. Including women and children, Jesus was feeding around twenty-five thousand people, and His disciples continually returned to Him until the people were all “satisfied” (Matt. 14:20). Jesus went further, however; He provided enough so that each disciple had a basket of leftovers. This miracle demonstrated not only the sufficiency of Jesus but the superabundant sufficiency of our Shepherd in giving more than enough to provide for His sheep.

The Apostle Paul gives three reasons that Jesus is our all-sufficient Shepherd in Colossians 1. First, Jesus is sufficient because He “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (v. 15; see also v. 19). Jesus is no ordinary man with ordinary means but is the incarnate Word in flesh—God with us. And because God is from everlasting to everlasting, Jesus is sufficient from everlasting to everlasting.

Second, Jesus is sufficient because “by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth” (v. 16, KJV). Jesus is the Creator of all things, and therefore His resources are endless. He created the cattle on a thousand hills, bread and fish, and all other things for our good and His glory. Therefore, we should never fear when we find our pockets and baskets empty.

Third, Jesus is sufficient because “he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (v. 17, KJV). Jesus is our sufficient Shepherd because all things have been placed under His sovereign authority. Nothing in all the universe is outside the sovereign control and authority of Jesus.

Fourth, Jesus is sufficient because He promises to make all believers “perfect” (v. 28, KJV). The same Jesus who forgives you from sin, justifies you by faith, and grants you eternal life will make you complete in Himself and bring you all the way to glory.

If Jesus can take a child’s lunch and feed thousands, He is always more than adequate in every challenge in this life. Depend on Him for all things and you will always be satisfied.

C. H. Spurgeon

“They did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.”—Joshua 5:12.

ISRAEL’S weary wanderings were all over, and the promised rest was attained. No more moving tents, fiery serpents, fierce Amalekites, and howling wildernesses: they came to the land which flowed with milk and honey, and they ate the old corn of the land. Perhaps this year, beloved Christian reader, this may be thy case or mine. Joyful is the prospect, and if faith be in active exercise, it will yield unalloyed delight. To be with Jesus in the rest which remaineth for the people of God, is a cheering hope indeed, and to expect this glory so soon is a double bliss. Unbelief shudders at the Jordan which still rolls between us and the goodly land, but let us rest assured that we have already experienced more ills than death at its worst can cause us. Let us banish every fearful thought, and rejoice with exceeding great joy, in the prospect that this year we shall begin to be “for ever with the Lord.”

A part of the host will this year tarry on earth, to do service for their Lord. If this should fall to our lot, there is no reason why the New Year’s text should not still be true. “We who have believed do enter into rest.” The Holy Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance; He gives us “glory begun below.” In heaven they are secure, and so are we preserve in Christ Jesus; there they triumph over their enemies, and we have victories too. Celestial spirits enjoy communion with their Lord, and this is not denied to us; they rest in His love, and we have perfect peace in Him: they hymn His praise, and it is our privilege to bless Him too. We will this year gather celestial fruits on earthly ground, where faith and hope have made the desert like the garden of the Lord. Man did eat angels’ food of old, and why not now? O for grace to feed on Jesus, and so to eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan this year!

Soli Deo Gloria!