Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. – Matthew 28:20
Sometimes when we talk about a friend or relative who has passed away, we speak about them “still being with us.” We recall things they said or did and we remember times we had with them. Our memories contain feelings and emotions as well as reminiscence. They are with us in our thoughts, but also in our hearts because of the depth of our memories.
I am sure the disciples had similar thoughts when Jesus said this. The words and teachings of Jesus and the times they had spent with Him would be vividly recollected. But Jesus is promising more than memories. He is promising to actually be there.
We live in a spiritual world as well as a physical one, and God surrounds us every moment. He is with us at all times. He is the maker of all things and He exists in all places. Our understanding of His presence grows as we learn more about Him and become closer to Him. But His presence is not simply part of His existence, it is a nearness formed from His love. His is not with us just because He is God, He is with us because He chooses to be with us.
Jesus makes this a point of encouragement: You can be courageous, because I am always with you. You can be strong, because I am always with you. You can keep going, because I am always with you. You can do all things, because I am always with you.
Jesus is our Lord and Savior—and more than that He is the one who loves us and is all-powerful. He assured us He would never leave. And through the Holy Spirit He is always present. And He has promised to be with us always!