Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

The Last Thing

As a part of that painful, gracious interview Jesus had with Peter following His resurrection, the Lord spoke troubling words about something that would happen to Peter when he was old. This is recorded in John’s gospel (21:18-19). John says that Jesus was indicating the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God in the future. This is at one and the same time a troubling and inspiring word. It is inspiring because Peter had very recently demonstrated his unwillingness to do anything of the sort for Jesus. He had deserted his Lord in His hour of need. But Jesus helps Peter understand that a change has come into his life. He would never be the same. Cowardly Peter was transformed into a disciple who will die for Jesus. This was accomplished through Jesus’ amazing resurrection and His amazing grace. It is a troubling word because it foreshadows not the quiet, dignified departure from this life for which we all might hope. Rather, we see Peter in the weakness of old age being forcibly taken to a violent death. It is a troubling word because it is about death…about a violent death in older age. And this had not escaped Jesus’ notice. He sees it clearly. He predicts it. He doesn’t intervene and deliver Peter from it. Instead He is explaining how Peter will glorify God by the manner of death he will experience. I don’t pretend to understand the Lord’s will in that matter. I could venture several guesses, but I won’t. I want us to see that we may so commit ourselves to the will of the Lord that even our very deaths bring glory to Him. The Christian is not to view death as indicative of Christ’s anger with him or her. It is not a judgment against one. Neither is it merely an accident. Dear fellow Christian, I do not know why death comes earlier to some of us than others. I don’t know why some of us have lingering deaths and others go quickly. I don’t have a clue why some of us endure much more pain than others. I have all the same questions as you. But I know this…you and I may…if we are willing…we may glorify our God in and by our death. Just as surely as we seek to bring Him honor and glory in our life, so we may in our death. One has somewhere said that “death is the last thing we can do for God, so do it well.” Now that’s the challenge isn’t it? We may tremble in the face of our Enemy Death. That is certainly understandable. Physical pain may force the tears from our eyes. The prospect of leaving our beloved behind may threaten to submerge us in a sea of sorrow. There may be confusion and frustration as we face aspects of death that are unknown to us. There may be despair as we struggle for the right words to say. And who can guess the flood of emotions and questions that may possess us at such a time? But this I know…we do not have to tremble or sorrow or suffer or question like those who have no hope in that hour. We who have tried to do our best to accept the will of God in life, will aim to do the same in death. The God Who began a good work (see Philippians 1:6) in the life of Peter carried it on to completion at his death and was glorified in him. He will do the same for us, if we are willing. Now I know what God is willing to do. The question is what am I willing to do. I know I can write these words in the comfort of my home, but can I live them on the day of my own departure? I close with a prayer…“Dear Father, May my steps be worship…may my thoughts be praise…may my words bring honor to Your Name. By my life or by my death, be glorified, Lord. In Jesus’ Name. Amen”

 

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2 thoughts on “The Last Thing

  1. Anonymous on said:

    Beautifully said. Thank you, Doug. Love to you all.

  2. Sis Gail on said:

    Doug thanks for being so honest with us about death and living. I do think often of how Jesus died and don’t know if I can die that good one day. Hope so. Hope my God Remember’s us when we started to live for him and how it is harder as we get older to do what we use to. I know He knows our hearts and that is one of the most important things. To try and keep our Hearts good and tender toward people and life. And especially our God. He don’t make things happen to us that don’t seem good to us but he said “He would never leave us”. And then there are the thoughts today that he has brought me thus far and has always protected and loved us and kept us from evil harm in this world. Unlike so many people are facing today (evil in this world). I mean evil that takes our life. I know evil is all around tho and He does keep us from so much of it.

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