The Present Greatness Of Christ

By: David Wilkerson

Making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being
enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raise, him from the, dead. and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:16-20).

Paul’s prayer for the Church was simply this: “May God reveal to you not just the past greatness but the present greatness of Christ.”

The Church has great reverence for the Christ who walked on earth, the Galilean Jesus, son of Mary, the teacher and miracle worker. We never grow weary of hearing about and telling of the greatness of Jesus of
Nazareth — how he chased demons, stood strong against all temptations, opened blind eyes, unstopped deaf ears, caused paralytics to leap, restored withered arms, healed leprosy, turned water into wine, fed
multitudes with a few loaves and fishes and raised the dead!

Yet at some point in history we put limits on this great, mighty, miracle-working Savior! We developed a theology that makes Him Lord over the spiritual but not the natural. For example, we believe He can
forgive our sins, calm our nerves, relieve our guilt, give us peace and joy, offer us eternal life — all in the unseen, invisible world. But not many of us know Him as God of the natural, God of everyday affairs:
God of our kids, God of our jobs, God of our bills, God of our homes and marriages.

Paul says we need a revelation of the power Christ has had since the time He was raised from the dead. Even now Jesus sits at the right hand of God, possessing all power in heaven and earth: “And hath put all
things under his feet” (Ephesians 1:22).

While I was praying recently, the Holy Spirit spoke something powerful to my heart. He said, “Jesus has never been more powerful than He is right now! “Indeed, Scripture says, “[He is] far above all principality,
and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Ephesians 1:21). If we really believe this, the implications for us are awesome.


The Christ of Galilee Never Gave Up on the Dead!

He who conquers death has all power. And there was no greater evidence of Christ’s power on earth than those He raised from the dead. “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes” (John 5:21, NAS). Jesus clearly claimed to have the power over death. He even said of Himself, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 10:25). And He proved it!

Do we truly believe Jesse’s words? He says: Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath
life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself (John 5:25-26).

Jesus is not speaking just of the final resurrection; He is also describing His present power to raise up all that has died – His present power to flood us with His life. You see, we all have a secret graveyard
in our lives – someone or something we gave up on a long time ago. We’ve buried it and inscribed on its tombstone the date of its death!

A dear acquaintance of ours told us of going to her children’s graduation. Along with all the relatives who attended, her former husband (who had left her years ago for another woman) was going to be there. The marriage itself was beyond resurrection since another woman was now his wife. Yet God made our friend go back to the grave site of that marriage and pray for his salvation – and the salvation of his wife! This woman did not give up on the spiritually dead.

Another dear sister in Christ has a husband who left her years ago. The man is now lost in deep sin. Where once there was a good marriage, a tombstone now stands. She too has had to learn that Jesus never gives up on the dead. It’s not that she wants the man back (indeed he may never come back); rather, she wants him resurrected from the death of sin. She is not giving up on the dead because we serve a God with present-day resurrection power!

A pastor wrote telling me a sad story: He took into his home a released convict — a man who seemed very repentant. After a few months the pastor came home to find his wife and the convict defiling his own
marriage bed. The pastor and his wife already had two children but now the woman is pregnant with the convict’s child, who has since fled from their home.

What grief this pastor suffers! He worries about AIDS. He can hardly support his own children, and if he keeps his wife he can’t see how he will ever make it. He wrote, “It’s a dead end everywhere I turn. It
seems absolutely hopeless with no way out.”

I know a father who grieves over his 16-year-old daughter, once so innocent and loving. Now she is hooked on crack and wanders the streets to sell her body. She is emaciated, possessing the morals of an alley
cat. This father loves her so much, but now his child is half-dead — really more dead than alive!

He weeps over her high school photograph, remembering the long walks and talks they enjoyed together. Sadly, he has given up all hope. Now all he waits for is that dreaded late night phone call telling him to come to the morgue and identify his young daughter’s body.

All these victims of the devil’s ravages apparently have good reason to give up their loved ones for dead. But Jesus never gives up on the dead! He brings life out of death. All we ever need is His Word, His breath — and that which appears dead and hopeless comes to life anew.

Another grieving father named Jairus came to Jesus to ask for the healing of his dying daughter: “There cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, and
besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live. And Jesus went with him; and much people
followed him, and thronged him” (Mark 5:22-24).

This man Jairus represents most of Christianity. Like Jairus, we know Christ is our only hope, and in our crisis we run to Him, fall at His feet and seek His mercy and help.

Jairus had a good measure of faith. He asked Jesus to “come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live” (verse 23). This was an affirmation of true faith: “Lord, all she needs is You. You
have all power! You can keep her from dying!”

Responding to this man’s faith, “Jesus went with him” (verse 24). Jairus’ broken heart must have been filled with great hope. But a terrible thought might have struck him: “What if we’re too late? It’s
wonderful to have Jesus by my side, but we need time! We need Jesus and time!”

Had Jairus known who Jesus really was, “the resurrection and the life,” he could have rested in his spirit and told his troubled heart, “Jesus transcends time! I don’t need more time — I just need Him!”


Faith Only to the Point of Death Is Not Good Enough!

Jesus permitted time to run out because He desired for His followers to have faith in His resurrection power – faith that goes beyond hopelessness, beyond even death! The nominal believers who stood at the
little girl’s bedside had this limited faith: As long as there was a little life left, a little hope, Jesus was wanted and needed.

Most likely these people said to themselves, “Yes, Jesus, we believe you are the great physician, the great healer. Nothing is impossible with You. We know You have all power. But please hurry – because she may die any minute! Then we won’t need you!”

What kind of faith is this? It is faith only to the point of death. It believes only to the grave. When circumstances look as if all is lost, this faith dies.

As it turned out, the little girl did die. I can see the people taking her pulse and pronouncing her dead. What little faith they had was now gone. Their first order of funeral business was to notify the healer
that He no longer was needed. They sent a messenger saying, “Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?” (Mark 5:35).

These words seemed so final: “Thy daughter is dead!” Are these words ringing in your ears: “Your marriage is dead — don’t bother Jesus!” “Your ministry is dead — don’t bother the Lord!” “Your child is dead in
sin — don’t bother Christ!” “Your relationship to that loved one is dead!”

These dreaded words meant absolutely nothing to Jesus. He never gives up on the dead! He is resurrection life. In Greek, the best rendition of verse 36 is, “Jesus, as if he did not hear what was spoken, said to the
ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.”

Listen to the doubt in these words: “Why troublest thou the Master any further?” In other words, “Why hold on when it’s all over? It’s a dead issue now. Leave it alone.” But no issue, no person is ever over with

Had he listened to such doubt Jairus would have said to Jesus something  like, “Thanks, Lord. I know you meant well. Maybe it would have been all right if that woman with the issue of blood hadn’t touched the hem of your garment and delayed you. I really had faith; I knew in my heart that if You had made it while she was still breathing, she never would have died.”

That is what Mary said to Jesus after Lazarus died. “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” John 11:32).

Consider the kind of faith Lazarus’ neighbors and friends had — a faith that went only to the point of death: “Some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?” (11:37). Neither Mary nor Martha nor a single person at that grave site had any faith in Christ as the Resurrection. To them Jesus was powerful and much needed — but only to the point of death.


“They Laughed Him to Scorn.”

What a terrible scene occurred at the house of Jairus. I am deeply offended when I read the account of what happened when Jesus arrived there. There was total confusion, doubt, fear and wailing. They all
acted as if Jesus were nothing but a mourner coming to pay His last respects. I can just hear them saying, “Well, at least He is decent enough to come to the funeral. Better late than never!”

Mark 5:38-40 reads: “And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.”

Beloved, let me tell you why there is so much commotion in your life, so much grieving and mourning: It is because you do not believe Jesus can resurrect what is dead. You do not believe Jesus knows what He is doing. You do not believe He has a life giving plan. You think He is too late and that things have gone too far. You can’t believe Jesus is still at work — on what vou have already given up on.

From where I now stand, I look at those doubting people and want to yell at them, “What are you laughing at? Why have you given up? Hold on! Trust Him. He can raise her up! He wants to raise her up! It’s been His plan all along.” I ask myself — is this the praying crowd that was waiting for Jesus to come, saying, “He is the answer”? Now they laugh at Him and ignore Him. To them He is just another man.

But we are every bit as guilty as those scoffers were. We, too, cry out to God in our trouble, demanding that He answer us before it’s too late. Then when the answer doesn’t come we turn into mourners. We tremble
before the power of the devil, as if demons have won the victory — as if Jesus has lost and the devil has won!

Things often go from bad to worse, and finally we say, “That’s it! It’s too late. It’s all over. For some reason or another the Lord has chosen to let this situation happen. He is not going to rescue this situation.”

It is not enough to love, serve and worship Him only up to the point of hopelessness. What about trusting Him now that all hope is gone? When it looks as if you will never land a job? Or when things pile up on all
sides — when it appears humanly impossible to go on?

What if Jesus walked into your present situation? What would He find? How would you react to Him? Would you still grieve? Would your heart still be in turmoil? Would you say to Him, “Lord, it looks hopeless. I was about to give up — but You are the same today as You were at the house of Jairus. You can heal this problem. You can bring life out of death.” When Jesus finally does work your miracle, will you be found on the outside with the scoffers — or on the inside among His faithful circle?

“When he [Jesus] had put them all out, he taketh the father and the mother of the damsel [believers], and them that were with him, and entereth in where the damsel was lying” (Mark 5:40).

They were there to see Him at work. That’s where I want to be: on the inside – the faith side!


Jesus Has Never Been More Willing to Show His Power Than He Is Right Now!

Jesus has never been more powerful than He is right now. Our faith has to go beyond the point of death. It must look into the face of everything that is dead and proclaim, “Jesus never gives up on the dead!” We should never give up on anyone or anything, no matter how hopeless the situation seems.

Notice that with Jairus and his daughter the Lord was not interested in showing His power to unbelievers. In fact, He tells them in that room, “No man should know it” (verse 43). In other words, “Don’t tell them
what you saw – the miracle is between us who are in this room.”

Those who hold on in unswerving faith are in for a glorious manifestation of Christ’s resurrection power. Only you and the Lord will know all the intimate workings. He will astonish you; He will thrill you. He will show you His glory!

The present greatness of Christ can be summed up in one powerful verse: “In Him was life” (John 1:4). He was – and is now – energizing life. He possessed life. Jesus was constantly being renewed as He drew on a
secret reservoir of that which was never depleted. He never wearied of the crowds pressing in on Him. He was never impatient.

When He called His disciples to come aside for a while to rest, they departed to a quiet place across the lake. But the crowds were waiting there too. Not once did He say, “Oh no! It’s that problem bunch again,
with their silly complaints and stupid questions. Won’t it ever end?” Instead He saw the multitudes and was moved to compassion. He was energized by the Spirit and went to work. He had days of toil, nights of
prayer – and even time for the little children!

In a weary moment He stopped to rest at a well, but a lost woman needed help. Once again He was energized. His disciples came again to find their Master so relaxed, so refreshed! “He said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of” (John 4:32). That is the secret energy of resurrection life!

Often I feel like a drained car battery: If you leave the lights on too long, all you get the next day is that dreaded noise, Urrr . . . urr! – the clinking sound of dead machinery.

I know something is wrong among today’s believers, for we have been promised the very same energizing life of Christ. “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up
Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Romans 8:11).

How clear it is in Scripture that the Holy Spirit dwells in us to bring forth constant life. God has provided His very energy to come to our mortal bodies and give us physical strength. “And you, being dead in
your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened [made alive] together with Him” (Colossians 2:13).

“But God…for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us [made us alive] together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:4-5). “It is the spirit that quickeneth” (John 6:63). “The
last Adam was made a quickening spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45).

Are you full of the Holy Spirit? Then by faith, lay hold of new life and energy “so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalms 103:5).  Titus also speaks of this “renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5).

Thank God for the present greatness of our Lord Jesus Christ! Appropriate it by faith – and walk in resurrection life and power!


(The above material is a David Wilkerson message that appeared July 10, 1989 by World Challenge in Lindale, TX.)

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