March 14, 2012

Glorifying God in Death

John 21:15-19

Jesus said … to … Peter …“Follow me!”
—John 21:19


After his resurrection, Jesus met with Peter and several of the other disciples for breakfast by the Sea of Galilee.

Later Jesus said (more privately) to Peter, “When you are old … someone else will … lead you where you do not want to go.” Then we read, “Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.”

Believers in Christ aim to glorify God in all they do—with admittedly varying degrees of intensity and success. But the Bible’s words about Peter prompt us to ask, “How will my death glorify God?”

I know of a woman who, when diagnosed with a terminal illness, said to her daughter, “I have taught you how to live. Now I will teach you how to die.” Weighty words!

We have no control over when or how we will die, and it does little good (and perhaps some harm) to fantasize about details. Yet it is wise and good to reflect on how such a significant event as our death might honor God, who has planned the timing and the method of our entrance into his presence.

Still, lest Peter (or we) expend too much mental energy on death, Jesus says to Peter (and to us), “Follow me.”

Lent is a good time to follow the Lord in life, that we might glorify him in death.

Lord, keep us faithfully following you in life, that we might faithfully glorify you in death. In your name we hope. Amen.

About the author — Dale Vander Veen

Dale Vander Veen is a retired Christian Reformed pastor who with his wife, Edith, has ministered in California, Washington, and Michigan. They have three married children and six grandchildren. He currently writes a daily e-mail series of devotions.

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