The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Easter Devotional: John 20:1-29

John 20:1-29 (click here)
Simon Peter… went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. (John 20:6-7)

Peter and John have just been told that Jesus’ body is gone! They race to them tomb, John gets there first and peers in, but as soon as Peter has caught up he barges into the cave-like grave. Then we are given some interesting details… the grave cloths have been left behind and the face cloth has been folded like a freshly washed towel.

Why do we need to know these tiny details?

I believe there is a practical reason and a symbolic reason. First, on a practical level, this story is true… it is not and myth, and small details like this help affirm that “realness.” Why did John tell us about the grave clothes?…Because they were really there! He’s describing the situation as they found it.

Secondly, John has mentioned grave clothes one other time in his gospel. In John 11, he tells us the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead by Jesus and in verse 44 the text says this, “The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’” Lazarus came out of the tomb still bound up in his grave clothes. It is almost as if he brought them out because he would need them again one day.

But, when Jesus rose, he left behind the grave clothes. He wouldn’t need them anymore! He was alive forevermore! Death defeated! It’s almost like he folded up death and left it in the grave! Hallelujah, what a savior!

Jesus has permanently defeated sin and death! He has no need of grave clothes and neither do we…for through him we are promised life eternal! This Easter…remember that Jesus resurrection guarantees you resurrection. You have been freed from the grave so that you can live fearlessly for Christ!

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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Lent Devotional: Job 42

Job 42 (click here)
And the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. (Job 42:12)

God brought Job’s suffering to an end and vindicated him through blessing. He showed Job’s “friends” and all the community that Job had been speaking truth all along. This is what God does for his people, he vindicates them!

Often, the world looks at believers as they suffer and go through so many struggles and (in one way or another) they ask, “Where is your God?” Sometimes we struggle with those thoughts ourselves…but the good news of the Gospel is that God will vindicate his people and show himself to be for them through eternal blessing.

One day, all our suffering will cease. We will dwell with God in endless celebration with no more tears, no more pain, no more sickness, no more sin, and no more death!  The ending of the book of Job gives us a temporal picture of the eternal reality awaiting all God’s people. Suffering ends and God wins!

This truth is guaranteed to us by the event that we celebrate tomorrow…the resurrection!  The resurrection vindicated Jesus! It showed that everything he ever said was true. It brought his suffering to an end with celebration! And tomorrow, we celebrate that his resurrection guarantees our resurrection! The end of his suffering guarantees the end of ours!

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Lent Devotional: Job 41

Job 41 (click here)
Will you play with [Leviathan] as with a bird, or will you put him on a leash for your girls? 6 Will traders bargain over him? Will they divide him up among the merchants? 7 Can you fill his skin with harpoons or his head with fishing spears? 8 Lay your hands on him; remember the battle—you will not do it again! 9 Behold, the hope of a man is false; he is laid low even at the sight of him. 10 No one is so fierce that he dares to stir him up. Who then is he who can stand before me? 11 Who has first given to me, that I should repay him? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine. (Job 41:5-11)

God draws Job’s attention to another fearsome  mysterious creature…Leviathan. This is some type of water animal that Job (nor anyone else with a brain) would ever attempt to tame. The point of all God’s questions is twofold: 1) Job you cannot do this, but 2) I can. Job cannot put Leviathan on a leash like a pet, but God can.

This is why God’s culminating question in verse 10 is, “Who then is he who can stand before me?” If Job cannot remotely overpower Leviathan, and yet Leviathan is like a pet to God… then why does Job have the audacity to think he can square off with the Lord! God is giving Job (and us) a clearer picture of who we are dealing with… for all to often we lose sight of who God is and try to put him on our level.

God makes it clear to Job that they are not on the same level. God is creator and we are creation. We have never given him anything that puts him in our debt. He owes us nothing. He doesn’t owe us good, or love, or blessing, or answers, or explanations, etc. God owns everything, including us, and we owe our entire existence to him!

Yet… God does love… God does bless… God is good. He doesn’t have to be… he just is. God wants us to see that he is the almighty who has freely (not out of obligation), lovingly given us life. He is so powerful that he could crush us like Leviathan, and he has the right to do so… but he doesn’t. No. The omnipotent God promises to use his power in such a way that it is for our ultimate good. Do we trust him? Or do we foolishly try to oppose omnipotence?

We’d have a better chance trying to conquer Leviathan.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.


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