First The Cross
Two presidents attended the memorial service for the murdered policemen in Dallas last year and both gave comforting words to the police force, the people they served and their families. As the service came to the close, the combined choir sang The Battle Hymn of the Republic, with its Civil War background and the liberation of the slaves. It was the right choice. But as I listened, I wondered if they would leave out one of the verses.
“In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the seas,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free!
While God is marching on.”
The “glory in His bosom” according to John’s Gospel was that He was God in the flesh. His death makes it possible for us to be holy if we only look and believe that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Jesus stressed to His disciples that before God’s Kingdom comes to earth to set up a Kingdom of truth and justice, first His Son would suffer.
“But first it is necessary in God’s plan for Him (Jesus) to suffer many things and to be rejected by this generation.” Luke 17:25
Because Jesus was rejected, He died so that if we only believe, we will be free from fear. The choir did include the verse on the cross and declaring that the redemptive power of Christ’s sufferings and His resurrection is our hope.
LORD, keep me focused on the centrality of the Gospel. As the birth pangs of Your imminent return increase, help me to not get so focused on the signs that I fail to connect with unbelievers so that they can see and hear the Gospel.
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