Death and Glory (24-03-23)
Psalm of Praise: Psalms 118:5-7
When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
he brought me into a spacious place.
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
The Lord is with me; he is my helper.
Bible Reading: John 13:31-35
Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.
"My children, I will be with you only a little longer.
You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now:
Where I am going, you cannot come.
"A new command I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
In our world today we associate glory with power and success, whether it is on the sports field, in business, in the Oscars or in the New Year’s Honours list. People receive glory for what they have achieved. Not so, it seems with God.
As Jesus approaches the cross he talks about the glory that he himself will receive through his death, and the glory that his Father will receive through him. What will look like failure on the darkest day in the history of the world will become its greatest victory. In God’s economy glory is found in sacrifice, not in success.
As I was reading the psalms I came across a verse which threw some light on this, ‘Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants’ (Psalms 116:15).
There is more persecution of Christians in the world today than there ever has been, but is largely unreported in the media. Last year alone, over 5,000 Christians were killed for their faith, more than 2,000 churches and church buildings were attacked, looted or forcibly closed, and around 140,000 Christians were displaced from their home or country for faith-related reasons.
Christian martyrs may be ignored around the world, but their sacrifice does not go unnoticed by God. Indeed the death of God's faithful servants is precious to him and their sacrifice is honoured in heaven, according to the book of Revelation.
As Jesus faced his own suffering he would also be aware of the suffering his followers, then and later, would endure. To face these times he gives them the vision of future glory and the new command, ‘Love one another’.
In the Christian life we all struggle at different times and in different ways. At these times let us remember that heaven’s glory is our destination and that our love for one another will sustain us as we journey there.
Thank you, Lord Jesus that I will one day share with you in the glory of heaven.
Until then, help me to love my neighbour with the love you have loved me.
Love divine all loves excelling.