“... All the Days ...”
I noticed this while writing a devotion (April 24) on what Jesus said at the end of Matthew. Usually we hear it like this, “And, behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) But when you look very close you find “extra promises” tucked in.
Back then we talked about the word order, and how Jesus used the name of God, "I AM." He made the name of God part of the promise to be with us. In fact, in the Greek word order Jesus did something very interesting. He put the words "with you" in the middle of the words "I … Am." The verse actually reads, "I with you Am ..." The promise "with you" is embedded within the name of God. That’s who He is. He is the "with us" God.
There is more. We usually read the word “always”. But it is actually three Greek words there, and they are much more specific. The Greek “pasas tas haymeras” (πάσας τὰς ἡμέρας) means “all the days”. (It's time for me to get excited all over again.)
I love this! It is not simply some undefined “always.” "All the days" means every one of my days, each one of them, with all the variety of things that happen. It means the days that go wonderfully from beginning to end. It means the miserable days when we push through the dreariness and carry some heavy burdens. It means the days of unexpected surprises, and it means the days when we start out and nothing seems to go quite right or fit together, from getting up to sitting down at the end. "All the days" means a lot!
And in the middle of all those days there is the name of God. “I AM” is with us and writes His name over our every moment and breath. Jesus puts His name into every morning and evening. And He says "with you" every noon and nighttime. Our Lord and Savior, the great Immanuel, gives Himself into everything we face "all the days" and His name is there in every blessing of "all the days."
This is our God who writes and speaks His word and does not hesitate to get very specific. He is much more personal about it than to leave it with just "always." Psalm 46 says, “God will help her when morning dawns.” (Psalm 46:5) And Psalm 23 says "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life." (Psalm 23:6) In one of my favorite psalms, David celebrates how God knows him and watches over him no matter where he might be. He saw my unformed substance and all my days were written in His book. And then he says, “When I awake, I am still with You.” (Psalm 139:18)
It is tremendously important that Jesus entered into our time-bound existence. He doesn’t simply look down and see our hours and moments. He came to and share days and nights. And Jesus set aside specific days to do the work of salvation. Our salvation was marked out in the day of riding into Jerusalem. And then four days later the evening of the Passover in the upper room, the night of prayer, the morning of trial, and the afternoon of the cross.
The victory over death is marked out as the third day. Luke says “on the first day of the seek, at early dawn”. (Luke 24:1) And there will be a specific day when we will rise; the day we stand before Jesus; the day He gathers the whole world together and says before the Father and all creation that we are His.
Lord Jesus, until that day when I see You face to face, until the day when You raise my body and call me blessed, until the endless days of glory begin; thank You for Your promise for all the days of the journey. Thank You for the days of being with me, through days of blessing, days of burdens, and days of prayer. Thank You for the many times You called me Your own and reminded me that You put Your name on me. Amen.
Rev. Mark Willig
Pastor Willig is pastor emeritus of Friends in Christ Lutheran Church.