In Discovering Jesus in the Least, you’ll walk alongside veteran outreach worker, Chris Ramsey, as he uncovers the depths of God’s love not only for the “most overlooked and ignored” folks in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood . . . but also for himself.
Ramsey welcomes the reader into his world through a wide variety of short, poignant observations amassed over 25 years. What he discovers will undoubtedly challenge you to examine your own views regarding the poor and the homeless of our 21st century American society.
Chris Ramsey’s Blog
WHAT’S HIS END-GAME FOR THOSE WHO FOLLOW HIM?
A FEW THOUGHTS ON REVELATIONS 7:13-17
Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”
I answered, “Sir, you know.”
And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
“they are before the throne of God
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them.
Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat upon them,
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb at the center
of the throne will be their shepherd;
he will lead them to
springs of living water.
And God will wipe away
every tear from their eyes.”
These verses paint a spectacular picture of what’s in store for those who have chosen to give their lives for the sake of Jesus Christ and his gospel.
But first of all, let’s notice that this passage starts off with a little humor. We see one of the elders in the high courts of heaven showing the apostle John an astonishing scene that will take place in the future. And he asks John if he knows who these folks with the “white robes” are, and where did they come from?
John answers, “Sir, you know.” It’s like John was saying, “If you’ll excuse me for a moment, sir, you’re the one who’s showing me this “vision,” so I think I’ll go along with whoever you say they are.”
And the elder responds without hesitation. I can even see him with a comforting gleam in his eye, as he so proudly declares exactly who these folks are.
“These folks have come out of the great tribulation,” he says. And I believe he’s clearly defining these souls by saying something like: “These are the people who realized that Jesus’ shedding of blood for their sins was the gift that they did not deserve, and so they were willing to lose their “earthly lives” for His sake.”
And what is the result of their surrendering their “lives” unto Him for his honor and glory?
They are then rewarded with being permitted “to hang out” before God’s throne. But they’ll be doing more than just “hanging out.” They’ll be actively serving Him 24-7!
Now some folks might be thinking, “What? More serving, more surrender? What’s so great about that?”
But I don’t believe these folks will be thinking along those lines. No, I believe these folks will be so blessed to serve, to engage with, this God who is so far beyond our wildest imaginations. And why is this?
Because they have been granted their deepest desires that they had so faithfully been longing for “all their earthly lives.” And what were those deepest desires? To be accepted, to be loved, to be given a place their own ( John 14:3 ) , a place they will feel so secure and where they will be a willing participant of something so much grander than they could even imagine.
I believe it’s like God is saying, “Hey, don’t worry, I got you covered. And when I say covered, I mean covered. I mean, you’ll never ever be hungry, thirsty, again. And oh yeah, you know, when those temps on earth that reached almost “deadly levels,” like so hot you could fry an egg on the sidewalk hot, well there’s going to be no more than that to endure!”
And why is God so inclined to act this way towards these folks? It’s because this Lamb, this Jesus, who laid down his life for these folks is now simply fulfilling his promises to them. And notice, that even now, this Lamb, who is also a King, who is at the center of God’s throne, is acting as a “loving Shepherd” of his sheep. I guess it’s just a part of his nature!
This Lamb of God, who was the Good Shepherd during his earthly life (John 10:14-15), will simply continue on with his mission, and bring to fruition his desires for those who would follow him.
And a focal point of his “endgame” is that he, this Good Shepherd, will be overjoyed to give these followers real-life—eternal life! They will drink always from his “living water.” And I’d like to think that these “blessed” folks will also bathe in this living water.
And what happens when these folks are immersed in God’s eternal, living water?
They are so comforted, so relieved, so thankful, that they can’t help but shed tears of joy for God’s immeasurable grace and forgiveness towards them.
But then we see this God, wiping away every tear cried in humility, for being a “chosen one.” It’s sort of like God saying, “Now that you’re here with me, there’s no more need for the shedding of tears. That’s over with. Now it’s time to continue on “living.” After all, you’ve made it. You’ve arrived! Now we can continue on together—eternally—which is what I had in mind all along!”
Thanks for stopping by.
AND WHAT IS ONE OF HIS BIGGEST LIES?
IT’S THE FACT THAT HE PREACHES THAT HE DOESN’T EXIST!
I LEARNED THAT FROM MY FRIEND WOODY.
BUT THINK ABOUT IT ? COULD IT BE A VERY REAL DEVIL THAT IS INSPIRING ALL THESE VERY REAL MASS MURDERS WE SEE MOST EVERY DAY… AND THROUGHOUT HISTORY .
JESUS BELIEVED SO. AND SO DO I.
Woody is an acquaintance that I’ve known for many years. He’s been up on the Northside for about the last 13 years. He immigrated up from the Southside, where he grew up in President Obama’s neighborhood. He came up “north” because there were more opportunities to better himself.
Woody is an easy-going, faith-filled guy, who likes to lend a hand to whoever is need. On a recent Saturday afternoon, serving our neighborhood a hot meal, I was in definite need of an extra hand.
“Hey Chris,” he said. “Do you need some help? It sure does look like it.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” I said.
“Well, why didn’t you ask me earlier?” he said. “You know I would have helped.”
“Ok, go wash up,” I said.
Woody was a great help, and we had a good time serving together. And we got to talking about our God and how we each viewed our present-day world.
“Chris, do you know what I believe is the biggest trick that the Devil plays on humanity?” he asked.
“No, I don’t,” I respond. “What is it?”
“It’s the belief that he doesn’t exist,” he said.
“Hmmm, yeah, that’s pretty good,” I said.
And then Woody went on a little more. He talked about how Dr. King used to preach how poverty breeds violence, and the observation that if the Devil did not exist, then there wouldn’t be all these drive-by shootings. “Because you see,” he said. “The Devil simply encourages you to do what he does.”
Later that day, I felt led to look up some Scriptures and some commentary on the Devil, evil, murder, temptation. And here’s what I discovered.
In John 8:44, we discover Jesus’ portrait of the devil. …”He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
And in John 10:10 we hear Jesus saying, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Then I turned to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. And this is where I stumbled on some poignant truth that everyone of us need to ponder: “Satan is not simply the personification of evil influences in the heart, for he tempted Christ, in whose heart no evil thought could have ever arisen (John 14:30; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15); moreover his personality is asserted in both the O.T. and the N. T. , and especially in the latter, whereas if the O.T. language was intended to be figurative, the N.T. would have made this evident.”
And so, I guess we can think about “the Devil” however we want … or not.
But whenever we are confronted with all these “mass shootings,” I believe that it’s not ”a stretch” to believe that there’s “a real Devil” behind it all.
How about you?
Thanks for stopping by.