The Glorious Life

Two men ran as fast as they could, faster than if in a race because they were running in dread. Something had happened but they did not know what. One of the runners in his own words said “For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.”

So what did they think as they ran? As a runner I know running is a thinking time, but I have never ran in panic, in fear of what I might find. All they knew was that the body of their friend who died a few days before was not on the sealed tomb where it had been laid.

Where was it? Who had taken it? Were the people who had told them mistaken? What implications did this have on them? Many questions and many theories must have gone through their minds.

Two men ran to try and find out what happened to their dead friends body. Both in their own way were probably Jesus’ closest friends. One had just watched him die, the other had just denied he knew him. I imagine they were both tormented and confused, running outside their normal capacity to run.

It was true. The body was gone, but there were no answers and they went back to their homes. That evening they were together, assembled in fear of being arrested and Jesus came and stood in their midst. Not much is written about this reunion but much can be imagined. Hope restored, forgiveness spoken, joy infused, fear expelled.

The disciples had walked life with this amazing man for the past three years, and then He died a horrible death, and the hope they had was extinguished and fear was their new companion. Then three days later the unfathomable happened. The tomb was empty because the man came into His glory, and this glory was the start of life abundant on earth and for eternity.

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The Horrible Death

There was a death so horrible that only one of eleven close friends could watch it. The others either could not watch because they feared they would be arrested and have to endure a similar death, or they dreaded watching their friend die such a horrible death. Their hopes has been shattered.

It was a death so horrible, so cruel and so painful that He was unrecognisable. One close friend, his mother and a few other women He knew plus a handful of onlookers and soldiers watched.

This horrible death, however, impacted the future like nothing else in history. Even in the agony lives were changed. People who came to that cross on that day believed for the first time. Since then millions have been impacted and hundreds of thousands every year die in the name of the one who died that horrible death.

In the days and weeks that followed those other ten were transformed as they realised the hope was not lost. An irony is that the only one of the eleven who did not die a similar horrible death was the one who watched Him die.

Today as millions think about that horrible death and figuratively stand before the cross, the response is ignore it or be transformed by it. Ignore Him or be transformed by Him

Prince of Peace

Today in Church we sung “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”, and that would have to be my favorite hymn. It reflects the humble grace of our Lord Jesus, and the pain and the glory of what He did on the cross ….. for us.

  1. When I survey the wondrous cross
    On which the Prince of glory died,
    My richest gain I count but loss,
    And pour contempt on all my pride.
  2. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
    Save in the death of Christ my God!
    All the vain things that charm me most,
    I sacrifice them to His blood.
  3. See from His head, His hands, His feet,
    Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
    Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
    Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
  4. Were the whole realm of nature mine,
    That were a present far too small;
    Love so amazing, so divine,
    Demands my soul, my life, my all.

There is a modern song, however, which impacts me like no other. Below is a Youtube link which is visually challenging as it is shot and sung in a place where peace is fragile. It is beautiful and it is stark, and it makes me smile as well as moves me. It lifts my spirit and then, as I listen to it again with my eyes closed, it imparts peace like no other song.

What is your favorite Christian song and why?

Heaven 

I stood in the midst of the throng of people, the largest gathering of people in history. I knew this because there around me stood everyone who had ever lived. Ever, since the beginning of human time. I don’t know how I knew this but I knew.We waited for a time, but not for long.

Then there was a rushing wind but not one that I felt on I my skin. I felt it in my being. Anticipation grew, like none I had known before, like a heightened adrenaline surging through me. Expectation grew, suspense grew, an exaggerated excitement, and perhaps a fear, that caused me to seem to hold my breath for an eternity that was only a moment.

And then my eyes beheld glory, glory a thousand times more than anything I had seen before. Glory that would have crippled me, rendered me useless, brought me powerlessly cowering to my knees had I not been familiar with it. Had I not spent my life seeking, had I not honoured, served, worshipped it.

And I looked, and behold, in the midst stood a Lamb as though it had been slain.

And I worshipped and I wept and I was overcome with joy.

It may have been a moment but I suspect it was an eternity that I stood transfixed, motionless, maybe breathless mesmerised by His glory. And then He said “Come”.

I then became reaware that all of mankind was around me. It was not just me and my Lord. Many had arms raised and had been weeping with joy. I had never seen such joy in the eyes and faces of people.

And then I noticed that many were on their knees and elbows with their heads tucked under their hands as if to protect themselves, trembling, moaning, sounding like they were in the deepest of grief. Terrible fear seemed to be gripping and tormenting their very being. I reached down to help and comfort but their arms struck out at me violently. They screeched “go away”, and again I heard the gentle voice of my Lord say “Come”.

I moved forward, around those crouched in fear, and I realised these were the ones who never knew, or had rejected my Lord. They had called his ways foolishness and abused His good leading. They did not know Him. They could not look on His face.

I tried to say there is no fear, there is nothing to fear. “Look up, look upon His face of grace. Behold the great forgiver, the One who has taken upon Himself your fear, and your denial”. But my words were in vain. They would not hear, they could not believe, they did not accept.

As I walked there were those who walked who I did not expect to see. Likewise those who cowered who I thought knew Him. This was the day of judgement yet He did not judge. Each person became their own judge.

And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:
“Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

Some said it in fear, some said it in awe.

And my Lord said,

Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world

Psalm 1