Death for God’s Glory
Milt Cole, Associate Pastor of Pastoral Care & Senior Adults
March 4, 2014
I came across a passage in John 21 the other day that made me sit up and take notice. It gave me a different perspective on death. Jesus had been speaking to Peter and in verse 19 we read, “Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.”
Most Christians don’t think of their death as having anything to do with glorifying God but there are other examples of it in Scripture. Speaking of Lazarus in John 11, Jesus told His disciples in verse 4, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Lazarus did die but a few days later walked out of his tomb at the command of Jesus.
In Acts 7, Stephen, one of the first evangelists, is stoned to death by the religious leaders. Before dying he cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” A Pharisee by the name of Saul was a witness to this and gave approval to Stephen’s death. He later became the Apostle Paul. There’s no question in my mind as to whether or not God was glorified by the death of Stephen.
Now, fast forward to the present. I attended a memorial service on February 24 for a sixty-one year old man who had been involved in our Hispanic ministry. In his younger years he had been into drugs and alcohol big time and had spent some time in prison. A friend of his witnessed to him and took him to church. He committed his life to Christ and, as evidence to the fact that Jesus hasn’t stopped working miracles, he became a changed man.
As a beautician, he took every opportunity to share God’s love with his clients. He became a godly example to his family. He also became a prison evangelist and, among other things, a discipler of men. His memorial service gave evidence to the countless lives that were impacted by his life for the glory of God. Walking out of the church that day I could not help but think about what a glorious service it was and how much God was glorified by the death of Ignacio.
Regardless of how old we are, I think all of us need to ask the question, “Will God be glorified by my death?” Of course, the only way that can happen is if He is glorified by the way we live. “Only one life, will soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” And, in the words of John the Baptist, “He must increase and I must decrease.”