Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Vision of Jesus

Remembering Stephen's dying glimpse of the glory of God and of Jesus standing at the right hand of God (Acts 7:54-60) encouraged me this morning. In a very real way, as we live out lives of martyrdom for the sake of his renown, we've been given the same view:

"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6).

"But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone" (Hebrews 2:9).

But wait a minute, you might say--living out a "life of martyrdom"? Really? Yes. It's the calling of every disciple of his: "And he said to all, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me'" (Luke 9:23).

"Why are we in danger every hour? I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day," said Paul, who had once stood by approvingly, guarding the coats of the men who were stoning Stephen (Acts 7:54-60).

As we pilgrim through this barren land, denying ourselves, taking up our cross daily, we need a sure view of the glory of God and of the risen, glorious Christ. With the eyes of our understanding we must comprehend, as surely as Stephen saw with his physical eyes, Jesus rising to stand, preparing to welcome with the crown of life (James 1:12) every cross-bearer for his sake into his heavenly kingdom.

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