Death. Always a great way to start a blog when you want to build readership. Bet you’ll be quick to forward this link to all your friends. No better way to get invited to a party than to start throwing the death word around.
Yesterday was Easter, so I thought it would be good to dedicate my early morning to re-reading the Resurrection Story. But it wasn’t only the empty tomb that grabbed my attention. The last chapter of the Gospel of John tells the story of Jesus conversation with his disciple Peter (if you don’t know the story, Peter had just vehemently and publicly denied knowing Jesus the morning of His death).
So Peter and Jesus were chatting, making things right, when Jesus said something that seems rather strange: “I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” (John 21:18).
Huh? But then the Bible explains itself:
“Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, ‘Follow me!'”
The kind of death? By which He would glorify God? I thought this was Easter? Pastels. Bunnies. Eggs. Death? Why does it always require death to glorify God?
As much as we talk about the unconditional love of Christ, there should never be any doubt – accepting that love is free, a gift, but that’s just the beginning of a journey. The cost of following Christ, truly following Christ, is high. All but one of Jesus’ disciples was killed, the other exiled to live alone on an island. Do we really understand what Jesus asks of us?
Death. Dying. To Self. To our perspectives. To our kingdoms. To our plans for our lives. To our safety. Our comfort. Our selfishness.
Death. Only death brings life…real life.