The grip of Jesus is triumphant in numerous spheres. It orders our years, makes wars to cease, uplifts womanhood, gives dignity to manhood, makes children important, improves working conditions, inhibits evil, and makes men ashamed of the evil that persists. His grip puts laws in our statute books, holds sway in our courts, and sets the highest standard for life. One historian wrote, “The simple record of three short years of Christ’s active life has done more to regenerate and soften mankind than all the disquisitions of philosophy and all the exhortations of moralists.” (p 176)
But I don’t want to talk today about these great effects of Jesus’ life, I want us to think about the grip of Jesus on our individual souls. While on earth, he touched many, drew many, and changed them forever. Mary Magdalene, whom no one would touch, was held captive by his love. Nicodemus, though wealthy and respectable, was gripped by Jesus. Then Matthew, the publican, the man who had sold his soul to the Roman government, left his money bags stepping out into a life of adventure and daring at the grip of Jesus’ words, “Follow me.” Even the thief on the cross was gripped as he saluted Jesus as King during his darkest hour.
And, I remember the day Jesus gripped my heart. As I knelt to pray with my friend, I heard Jesus’ voice speaking gently, yet certainly, to my heart, “I cannot hear your prayer, Gail, because you have not yielded your heart to me.” I knew right then that I must repent and give my heart and life to Him.
That wasn’t the only time His grip reached out to me. It reached out in a call to service, in the conviction of sin, in expressing comfort and assurance to my soul in times of deep distress. Truly, the grip of Jesus brings me into submission, makes me feel safe and loved, and assures me of His presence. What about you? Has he gripped your heart?
Not what these hands have done
Can save this guilty soul;
Not what this throbbing flesh has borne
Can make my spirit whole.
Thy love to me, O God,
Not mine, O Lord, to Thee,
Can rid me of this dark unrest
And set my spirit free.
Let me no more my comfort draw
From my frail hold on Thee,
Rather in this rejoice with awe—
Thy mighty grasp of me.
Jesus and Ourselves, Leslie D. Weatherhead