We’ve all heard people say self-important, cocky things. Consider when Paul McCartney said, “A hundred years from now, people will listen to the Beatles the same way we listen to Mozart” or when singer Kanye West said, “I feel like I’m too busy writing history to read it”. Heavyweight Boxing Champion Mohammed Ali was apparently full of confidence: “I’m not the greatest, I’m the double greatest. Not only do I knock ‘em out, I pick the round.” Another Ali quote: “I’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark.” Granted, Ali also admitted, “I don’t always know what I’m talking about…but I know I’m right.”
But there is a major difference between arrogance and confidence. Jesus’ words were full of confidence; identifying Himself with God saying, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58), challenging the many-roads-lead-to-Heaven theory by saying, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) And let’s not forget the multiple times He predicted His death and resurrection: “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed…they will kill Him and after three days He will rise” (Mark 9:31) Jesus even elaborates one chapter later, “…they will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles who will mock Him and spit on Him, flog Him and kill Him. Three days later He will rise.” He spoke with such conviction, one might begin to think Jesus believed what He was saying. Imagine someone today saying such things, how would the world respond?!
My absolute favorite confident-Jesus-quote is found in John 10:27-29. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” It’s almost like Jesus is taunting the enemy to try to remove us from His grasp with absolute certainty of His ability to securely hold us. This is what Reformed Theology calls The Perseverance of the Saints, and Jesus’ words here bring me immense comfort.
In Isaiah 43, God says, “I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are Mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you.” How can Jesus speak with such certainty of our assurance? Because of the Cross. Because of the finished work at the cross (a theme in this album, yes?) the enemy has been put to shame! Referring to satan and his angels, Paul says that Jesus “disarmed the powers and authorities, making a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross!” (Col 2:15) The image behind the words “public spectacle” is of a conquering Roman general parading his vanquished and humiliated enemies behind his chariot!
Another quote by Mohammed Ali: “It’s not bragging if you can back it up.”
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NEVER GONNA LET ME GO (Aaron Shust/Benji Cowart)
Through the wildest waters
And in the highest flame
You are standin’ with me
You’re never gonna let me go (Isa 43:2)
In the heat of battle
Encircled by my foe
I’ll just keep on dancing
You’re never gonna let me go (Psalm 91:5-8)
You’re never gonna let me go I know
You’re never gonna let me go (John 10:28-29)
No power on earth can break Your hold (Rom 8:38-39)
You’re never gonna let me go
You won’t let go
You’re never gonna let me go (x2)
What can separate me when You are holding on?
Even Death won’t take me
You’re never gonna let me go (Rom 8:38-39)
Because of the cross the grave has lost its sting (I Cor 15:55)
Because of the cross You shamed our enemy (Col 2:15)
Nothing is lost that cannot be redeemed (Isa 43:1)
Because of the cross we stand in victory (I Cor 15:57)