Standing Tall For Jesus, Even If Alone A Tribute to Rev. Archbishop Edilberto C. Medina (on his interment on 18 October 2006) “Lo, we have left all and have followed Thee.” (Mk. 10:28)
(In the preparation of this short tribute, I was careful not to place Jesus in the background but in the forefront of the life of Rev. Archbishop Edilberto C. Medina, the founding Archbishop of The Trinitarian All For Jesus Ekklesia Of The Lord God, Inc. My limited association with him compared to many of us in the TAFJ made the writing of this short tribute difficult. It barely reveals the abundant blessings and the awesome miracles of Jesus and deep insights in the life of Rev. Medina.)“Lo, we have left all and followed You.” (Mk. 10:28) This declaration of Peter is the ultimate statement of Christian commitment. “Though none go with me, still I will follow.” So goes also an old Christian song picturing the incorruptible and unmovable faith, hope and love of Rev. Edilberto C. Medina in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is so because he does not only believe, he is not only persuaded that Jesus is able to keep that which he has committed to Jesus until that day, but he has experienced the reality and awesome miracles of Jesus in his life as his all in all. Jesus was, and still is, his shield from the stone offerings during his street preaching days. Jesus was, and still is, his guide and protection from plane crashes in his international travels. Jesus was, and still is, the healer of his blinded eyes or his failing heart. Jesus revealed Himself to him when Jesus appeared to him and spoke to Rev like flowing rivers, “My son, my son.” With these few of the many staggering Jesus happenings in his life, he can truly say, “to live is Christ and to die is gain”. Rev’s deep and personal experience with Jesus gave him this undampened kind of resolve, “Mamatay man ako ngayon, papaniwalaan ko pa rin ang salita ni Jesus”. It is like hearing Job say, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” (Job 13:15) Why is this so? Because the word of God prevails over the condition of this world because Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away but my word shall not pass away.” (Matt. 24:35)
From his youth to the present, even beyond 300 years on earth and unto eternity, Rev has set his face like a flint to a total, absolute, exclusive and permanent devotion of his life and his all to Christ Jesus. As it was customary during the time of Paul and Timothy to know the Scriptures from childhood, Rev started very young to read and study the Bible. During his seminary days in the Bethel Bible Institute and after graduation, as in Phil. 4:11-12, he “has learned to be content in whatever circumstances.” He learned both to be abased and to abound, to be full and to be hungry, to suffer need and to lack nothing. He learned to turn his needs to gain. He would not care walking ten miles to gain a soul for Jesus but train his legs to be swift and strong as a deer’s hind feet, at the same time. He would not care peddling a bundle of brooms or a bundle of bra to provide for the needs of the Lord’s work. His famous “pean and pan” sandwich (peanut and pan de sal) became his brain food while the organically grown “nilagang kangkong sa umaga”, his “adobong kangkong sa tanghali at sa gabi” sounded more appealing than the greasy “tapsilog ni Vivian”. In all these things Rev can say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13) because in Jesus he is “complete in Him”. (Col. 2:10) Jesus is his only reason and if (and that is a big if) Jesus is taken out of his life, he confesses that he is reduced to Medina, from the Greek word “meden” which means nothing or not one or none at all.
Those who learned at the feet of Rev confess that they received an education in history, philology, sociology, philosophy, and science, aside from theology and Christology that is so extensive and exhilarating that others seem dilute and frivolous in comparison. However, Rev would never exchange the everlasting light of the revelation of the Bible, the inerrant word of God, the testimony of Jesus which is the spirit of prophecy (Rev. 19:10), with the knowledge he gained from his college days in the prestigious University of the Philippines (U.P.) or from the debates with his atheistic, agnostic, free thinking professors of U.P. or the voluminous readings of the innumerable books of the university library or his extensive collection of books. All of these gains fade to nothing in the light of the eternal knowledge of “knowing Christ Jesus our Lord. Yes, doubtless, every gain counts as loss for the excellency of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Phil. 3:7-8)
Therefore, central to Rev’s teaching is the object, subject, theme, thesis and focal point of the Bible, the LORD JESUS CHRIST. His Bible-based and Christ-centered teachings are profoundly crystalized in three documents he wrote: “THE DISTINGUISHING CREED AND STATEMENTS OF FAITH OF THE TRINITARIAN ALL FOR JESUS EKKLESIA OF THE LORD GOD, INC” and the “CHURCH CODE” and “ALL THE TRUTH”. His day and night meditation of the word of God has given us a great shelf of elucidation on the Bible conveying vividly the truth of Jesus and we are all blessed of these sacrifices. Though wanting time because of his busy schedule, he has not deprived anyone who is in need of his counsel. Countless, including me, benefited from Rev when Biblical judgment and godly counsel were sought. Being counseled to or just picking his brain, conversation with him will never lose its savor. His works and endeavors indeed constitute a worthy legacy to everyone of us.
For this man of God, I felt the greatest possible regard. In spite of the taunts and jeers of his brethren, he publicly and boldly proclaimed and stood for the uncompromising Bible truth that of the three Persons of the Trinity, only the second Person, God the Son Incarnate, the Lord Jesus Christ, can anyone of this world be able to directly commit his faith, hope and love. For God the Father is invisible, unknowable, unapproachable but was equitably represented and declared in the Person of the beloved Son of the Father (Col. 1:15; Jn. 1:18; 5:37; 14:6; 1 Tim. 6:16), He (Jesus) being the image of the invisible God (Jn. 14:9; Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3), He being the true God and everlasting life (1 Jn. 5:20). On the other hand, God the Holy Spirit is indirectly known because He symbolically manifests Himself, e.g., dove, rain, fire, lampstand, rivers of water. To those who would not accept this Biblical assertion of the truth that only Jesus, the only ETERNAL OVER ALL INTERVENOR-CHANNEL-MEDIATOR and the justly all-appropriating All in all, as the only WAY by which we come to the Father, Rev. Medina would treat them with fairness and respect as persons created in the image of God. He would endeavor to convince them by argument and win them with love. He, however, insists that all those directly going to the Father or to the Holy Spirit will go to hell, not only because their prayers, petitions and worship do not have access to God the Father nor to God the Holy Spirit without going through the Son. They have not only disregarded the Name that deserves our total allegiance but they misdirected their faith from the only Name given under heaven by which we must be saved, (Acts 4:12) and from the only Name to call upon to be saved, (Acts 2:21), the name of Jesus. Furthermore, they have negated and have had no respect of the Eternal High Priestly and Mediatorial function of Jesus Christ and have done injustice to His Person. They cannot enter His rest because they failed to heed the Holy Spirit saying, “Today if you will hear His (Christ’s) voice harden not your hearts…” (Heb. 3:7-8) And Jesus is calling, “Come unto me all ye who labor and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)
Rev has been accused of being a Jesus fanatic. So what else is new. Paul was accused of being beside himself or being out of his mind for the sake of Christ (Acts 26:24; 2 Cor. 5:13-16). If giving one’s all to Jesus without any reservation is fanaticism, Rev would not mind what the world would say because Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matt 5:11-12) What an honor to be called fanatic for Jesus.
As the exponent of this distinctive position, he stood almost alone. If Jesus were to ask Rev the same question that He asked the twelve when many of His disciples went back and walked no more with Him, “Will ye also go away?” I could almost hear from him the crisp, determined, unwavering and final answer of Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:68-69) And immediately he follows it up with, “Lo, we have left all and followed Thee.” (Mk 10:28)
As one of his students, this is how I see the indelible life testimony of Rev. Archbishop Edilberto C. Medina in the Lamb’s book of life. How about us? When the going gets tough and rough, when the world has deserted us and hated us because of Jesus’ namesake, where shall we go? Jesus staked His all for us. If we stake our all for “Jesus’ sake and the gospel’s, we shall receive hundredfold blessings in this time, and in the world to come eternal life.” (Mark 10:30) If we stand for Jesus, we are not alone, for Jesus is with us.
by Rev. Mario I. Quitoriano