(Devotions this week based on Sunday’s Message: Pray Like Jesus! Pray for Divine Glorification!)
What would you put in this category?
A banana slug (we had quite a few on our property in California)?
Cleaning out a septic tank? (Wouldn’t want that job!)
A dead fish on the shore of a lake or ocean? (Whoa…that stinks!)
The list could go on and the purpose of this devotion isn’t to sink into a “What’s grosser than gross” game.
The point is when we react to something as “gross” we wouldn’t in the same breath say “That’s glorious!”
Things that are glorious are a brilliant sunset, a completely still reflection off a lake, a last minute victory for your favorite team.
Gross? Or glorious?
Gross? Or glorious?
I would say “Gross” to both. I hate snakes and crucifixion was not a pretty sight. I don’t think in either setting my initial reaction would be, “Glorious!”
Yet, when God is at work, both take on a glory that we would miss if he didn’t reveal to us what he was doing.
Look at John 3 and a portion of Jesus’ dialogue with Nicodemus. Nicodemus was curious about Jesus and his ministry and was very hesitant to let his fellow Pharisees know that he was forming an interest in and eventual allegiance to Jesus. To connect his ministry to the reality of the Old Testament, Jesus said this:
John 3:14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
Here’s what happened that led to Moses lifting up a snake:
Numbers 21:4 They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea,[c] to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; 5 they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”
6 Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. 7 The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
8 The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.
The glory of God wasn’t the snake itself, but the fact that God would provide deliverance from the consequence of the people’s sin. The snake, as gross as it was, was lifted up on the pole so that all who looked on it, trusting in the promise attached to it, would live.
The same with the crucifixion of Jesus. As gross as crucifixion was, God allowed him to be lifted up on a cross so that all who would look on him, trusting the promises attached to the work of Jesus, would live.
And when people live eternally, this is the glory of God!
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Now that’s glorious!
Apply: What is so glorious about the cross for you?
Prayer: Lord God, thank you for sending your Son Jesus and working through his gross crucifixion to bring us the glorious resurrection to eternal life! AMEN.