Hold on – September 15, 2019
I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.
On old saying tells us, “You don’t appreciate what you have until you lose it.” There’s some truth in that.
Our health seems to fall into that category. So do friendships and jobs, along with love and hope. Surprisingly, Jesus bypasses these valuables to draw our attention to something else: our crown.
What crown? Since when do we have a crown?
Ever since Jesus won it for us. Saint James, the brother of Jesus, had this in mind when he wrote: “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).
This is not just some figure of speech. It’s a real crown. It’s spoken of often in Scripture. It is called, “a crown that will last forever” (1 Corinthians 9:25) and “a crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:8).
The apostle Peter tells Christians, “you are a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9) Crowns are common among royalty.
Royalty? Is that what we are? Don’t we confess that we are by nature sinful and deserve only punishment? How, then, can the holy God place us among the royals? How can we have a crown that is the symbol of righteousness? How can we be seen as holders of a position of glory and power that lasts forever?
The answer is found in another crown. A bloody crown. A crown of thorns.
A king once wore that crown. It was a symbol of disgrace, of weakness, and failure. But that was only to sinful eyes. The sign above his head read, “Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews.”
The words Pilate wrote were true. He had heard Jesus say that he was, indeed, a king whose kingdom was not of this world. He had heard Jesus say that the reason he was born was to testify to the truth.
Pilate’s scornful reply “What is truth?” has become famous. It has also become common.
In our age of fake news and deceptive advertising, at a time when we are told via the internet that we have a million dollars waiting to be picked up, we have become a skeptical people. We want to see it before we will believe it. We repeat Pilate’s question, “What is truth?”
Jesus answers that question for us with the words: “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).
Simply put, Jesus does not lie. Never did; never will.
We might say, “Seeing is believing.” Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
Jesus promises: “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
By the power of the Holy Spirit, we will remain faithful to him, won’t we?
We will hold on.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, your words remind us of what you have won for us. It cost your lifeblood to gain for us the crown of life. Keep us from trading away our inheritance for junk. Give us the strength to hold on. We cannot see you now, but in boldness of faith we can already tell you, “See you in glory, Jesus!” Amen.
Written and recorded by Rev. Paul Horn, WELS National Civilian Chaplain to the Military, San Diego, California.
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