The Great Companion
by Rev. Randy Brown
We’ve come to the end of our series of sermons, a month of greatness and talking about: The Great Invitation, The Great Commission, and The Great Commandment. Today, we’re going to talk about a person; The Great Companion.
Sometimes we can feel alone, can’t we? Sometimes in this world in which we live in we think we go at it all alone. We may even feel lonely this morning as we came to church. We may sometimes have that awful feeling of feeling alone in a crowd. Sometimes even to live out our Christian life, sometimes we think it’s a solitary deal that we have to do it on our own. That is not Christianity. That may be religion, and there is a difference. Religion may be our attempt to please God in our own strength, but Christianity is about a relationship. If we have a relationship, then we have a companion. We’re talking this morning about the greatest companion that you and I could ever have. We read about Him all through the scripture. His name is Jesus.
We’re going to talk about this great companion this morning. We never go it alone for He is our companion. So, if you come here this morning and you’ve been feeling lonely and alone, I got good news for you: You’re not alone. Jesus, the great companion, is with you this day and forever.
Look in the scriptures, the Psalmist that said it like this, “That yay though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death Thou art with me.” You see we have a great companion. Proverbs tells us that, “He’s one who sticks closer than a brother.” You see we have a great companion. Daniel tells us that when we’re thrown into the lion’s den He shows up. In the third chapter of Daniel he tells us that when we come into the trials of life and we’re thrown into the fiery furnace, guess who’s there? The Great Companion
Hebrews reminds us of what Deuteronomy says that, “He will never leave us nor forsake us.” We have a great companion. In the New Testament, John tells us of this great companion and he describes Him this way, “And the word became flesh and dwells among us:” A Great Companion.
Mark tells us of that time when the disciples were out in the boat, it was on the Sea of Galilee. And storms would come up just out of the clear blue there, no warning, and no weather forecast ahead of time; just all of a sudden there’s a storm. There was one day in the midst of that storm that Jesus was in the boat with them and he said, “Peace, be still,” and the winds and the waves obeyed him. That’s the kind of companion we want to have, isn’t it? That when the storms of life are raging there’s one who walks with us and gives us peace and says, “Peace, be still.”
I saw this this week and I think it’s the first time I’ve ever seen it. Matthew, it takes him 23 verses in the first chapter to tell us about the great companion and His name shall be called Emmanuel, which means God with us. Not only does Matthew begin his Gospel there, Matthew ends his Gospel with the words of Jesus saying, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world.” So, the bookends of Matthew is that we have a great companion; that He is with us from the beginning to the end.
Then, in Luke’s Gospel, what Randa read a few moments ago, tells us the story of a great companion. It’s known as The Road to Emmaus Story. It was another post-resurrection event in the life of Jesus. They had walked with Him for 3 years. They had participated in his ministry. They had watched His ministry. They had seen Him perform all kinds of miracles. They had been with Him at the wedding in Cana in Galilee where He turned water into wine. He is the great companion.
He had told them and they had heard him say, “That the temple would be destroyed and would be built back in 3 days.” He is the great companion. They saw Him when he was there at the temple in the story that Cindy told us about a moment ago. They saw Him go through the mockery of a trial. They saw Him as He came out of the garden and as He had been praying all night. They saw Him, their great companion, as He would ride in to the parade on that Palm Sunday as the grand marshal and they watched Him as his companions turned on him. They watched Him as He was beaten, as He was betrayed, as He was whipped. They watched Him as they spat on Him. They watched Him. This is their great companion. They watched Him as He hung on a cross. They couldn’t believe that they took Him down and buried Him in a borrowed tomb. What had happened to their companion?
They get up early the next morning. They go to the tomb and He’s not there. Rumors were that they had stolen the body. Rumors were that something had happened. Rumors were even that He was alive. People scattered. They were used to this great companion, but now He was gone and what on earth can we do? We’re alone again.
There was no grave to visit because he wasn’t there. They needed a quite place to go to. They didn’t even have a place to go and hang a wreath. One of them said to Cleopas, “We need to go somewhere to regroup.” They said to Cleopas, “Come on Cleopas it’s 9 miles back to Emmaus, if we hurry we can get there for supper. We just need a time to regroup and to process what was going on in life.” So Cleopas and his friend, we’re not sure who it was, they began to walk that 9-mile journey back to a village called Emmaus. As they journeyed together, they were met by the great companion, even though they didn’t know that’s who He was.
We see something about the great companion. I want you to realize this about the great companion: That wherever it is and wherever you are in your life, the companion takes the initiative to come to where you are. Whatever storm, whatever trial, whatever adversity, whatever stage of life, the great companion takes the initiative to come to where you are. Isn’t that remarkable? That He takes that initiative. He cares for you and for me enough to come to where we are to take the initiative to meet us where we are. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” John tells us also, “That the Word became flesh and dwells among us.” John tells also, “That He came into his own and His own received Him not.” What I want you to realize is that God takes the first step; so wherever you are, you’re not there alone. This great companion that we have, comes to you wherever you are. He takes the initiative to come to you.
Now, He takes the initiative but look at this. In the story that Randa read a moment ago, they were getting back to the village of Emmaus. Jesus acted as though he was going further. These two saw him as he was going to go further and they said, “Why don’t you stay with us tonight? It’s late in the day and we’ve got some extra food here, come on into our house and be our guest.” He took the initiative, but they made the invitation. God takes the initiative to come to us wherever we are, but we have to invite him. Jesus said, “Behold I stand at the door and I knock. I don’t push open. I don’t push through. I stand at the door and knock and if anyone opens the door.” If you’ve seen the picture of that, there’s one thing missing from the door where Jesus is knocking. Do you know what it is? The handle. If you look at that picture, there’s no handle on the outside. The handle is on the inside.
It’s up to me and to you to open the door. He says if we’ll open the door He’ll come in, but we have to do the inviting. He does the initiative, but you and I have to do the inviting. He stands, and He knocks, and it’s up to us to open. You see this great companion will walk with us wherever we go, but He won’t force himself on us. It’s His initiative but it’s our invitation.
There’s another thing about this great companion that we need to realize and that is that He opens the Word of God to us. If you walk with Him: you’re going to realize God’s Word. When He was in the desert, before He started his earthly ministry, and here on the road to Emmaus; when someone would ask Him a question He would respond with Scriptures. He would respond with God’s word. If we spend time with Him, He will show us and teach us what God’s Word is all about. Our great companion will teach us to appreciate God’s Word and to rely on God’s Word.
There’s a lonely, lonely feeling and sometimes we face life and we’re not sure about this great companion. Sometimes, we feel like He’s left us, and when we feel like He’s left us; that’s where faith comes in. But, it’s also where we need to look at our own lives and see that He’s right there with us. For we are never alone: You and I have this great companion.
Let me illustrate and I’ll be through. Years ago it was my privilege, and some of you may know this name, to have met the Reverend Dr. Reginald Mallett from London, England. Dr. Mallett was not only a medical doctor, but he was a Methodist preacher. He died not too many years ago, but I remember hearing Dr. Mallett tell the story that when he was a little boy growing up in London. It was back in the time of the war. He tells the story about going to school the first day. His parents had afforded him the opportunity to go to a private school. It was about 8 or 10 blocks from his house. It was standard that at the private school you had to wear a uniform and the uniform was gray slacks, a white shirt, a red tie and a blue blazer. That was what every boy that went to that private school had to wear every day.
Because of the time that it was in the history of England, if you were going to be out for very long during the day you had to have a gas mask, because the war was going on and you never knew when the town was going to be attacked; so, that was also standard issue. When Dr. Mallett, as a little boy, was going to his first day to this new private school; his father had told him how to go. He had given him directions. They had gone over it time and time and time again. You go down here so many blocks, and you turn. You go so many more blocks, and you turn another direction. You go so many more blocks, and you go through the tunnel. Just had it down, he could tell it to you backwards and in his sleep, he knew the route to his school. His father thought that was so important, because the father worked and he had to go into the factory early in the morning, and he just wanted to make sure that his son wouldn’t get lost on the way to school.
That first day came. Reginald, he made it fine. Everything was great. Made it to school. Made it home. Years later when Dr. Mallet’s father was on his deathbed, Reginald went to see his dad and his dad said to him, “Son, you sure did look good that first day you went to school.” He said, “Dad, what do you mean, that’s been years and years and years ago. And, Dad, you were at work. How do you know I looked good that day going to school?” He said, “No, son, you thought I was at work, but I clocked out and from the other side of the street I watched you as you went down 2 blocks and turned and went down 3 more blocks and turned again. I made sure you got to school that day. You sure did look handsome in that uniform, and you wore that mask on your shoulder in the shoulder bag. You wore it with such pride, and I was so proud of you. You looked so good.”
Dr. Mallet said, “All this time I thought I was doing it by myself. All this time I thought I was on life’s journey on my own only to realize that I had somebody walking with me every step of the way.”
We have a great companion who will never leave us nor forsake us. We’re not alone. That’s what the Book says, and the Book never lies.
Let us pray.
Lord, how dare we think that we can make it by ourselves? You are the vine, and we are the branches, and apart from You we can do nothing. Forgive us, Father, when we think we can, but more than that – thank you. Thank you that You walk with us every step of the way, and help us to see You with every step we take. In Jesus’ name, Amen.