The Glory of the Cross
By Ben Girod
March 1, 2016
And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly….He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night. Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him (John 13:27, 30-32).
It was here, at the “last supper,” where Jesus not only identified His betrayer, but also encouraged him to act upon his intents as well—a mystery born in heaven. It was at this moment, that cosmic reactions were spawned in both heaven and hell.
The cross revealed the highest point of Jesus’ glory, together with the throne of His sovereign Sonship, while at the same time taking Him to the lowest depths of humiliation—from the height of His glory, to the depths of His shame. Dark thunderclouds were rolling and rocks were being rent in two at the moment of crucifixion, yet with the same stroke, He was crowned the Prince of Life Eternal—two streams converging into one river.
This glory being intertwined with AGAPE love shrank from no sacrifice or fiery baptism—creating Peace, as He was making His presence known in their domain—not by force or might alone, but by untold shame and suffering—forever upsetting and confounding the devil’s strategy, and thereby opening the way to the portals of glory, and God’s presence for all mankind.
Those of us who are mature are expected to carry this same banner of glory which often incurs the shame, mockery, and humiliation, with our Lord and Forerunner. The western church has largely lost sight of this level of commitment. Historical groups such as the Huguenots, Waldensians, Moravians, and Anabaptists, on the other hand, all understood this principle—to carry this glory, resulting in severe reactions, persecutions, and martyrdom, while yet impacting nations and even whole civilizations.
There are but few personal benefits for those who carry this glory; they have nothing to gain, but everything to lose, including their credibility. Yet they do this without offense, knowing that heaven will not only be enlarged, but will also intervene on their behalf, whereby multitudes will eventually be saved. These are the unnamed and unheralded heroes who are often counted as obstacles to the elite circle of leaders in the churches, lest they mar their high status.
What often outwardly appears as abject failure in the lives of these people is, in fact, very often the ravages, the spoils, and the “fog of war” surrounding intense ongoing spiritual battles, wherein they are often storming heaven on behalf of whole people groups. God will often allow these men and women to be battered and assaulted by the enemy’s vile and deceptive tactics, while at the same time advancing His kingdom through the same, impacting the nations (“. . . as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”). He places these men and women in the same category of authority in which the Father had placed Him, for they have proven themselves faithful, following their commission. Not unlike elite soldiers, these have been groomed through trial and travail, and always stand at attention to their Master’s call—paying little heed to any other voices, however desirable.
As His coming becomes more imminent, so the battle rages. We are in an epic moment; many young men and women are now being quickly groomed and prepared for this Last Day’s battle. They are joining the ranks of older generations, forming a unified family rarely seen before in history. The harvest is in full-swing; all the generations are moving forward simultaneously with one voice—one song—as they advance toward their heavenly reward (see Malachi 4:5-6).
In recent years, I have been amazed to see the accelerated growth within the younger generations. In my travels, which have been many, and even in very recent times, I have happened upon those within the extended Anabaptist family, whom I can hardly recognize, as their spirits have grown so rapidly. There is without question a remarkable work unfolding in the hearts of youth —especially in this hour.
I look back upon what Anabaptist youth were thinking and doing just three decades ago, and recall that in general they were preoccupied with a general combination of wishing to grow in the Lord and finding their place within the Church, finding the right vocation, and finding the right mate. All of these combined are certainly noble pursuits. However, in recent years I have never before seen such overarching passion and fire among the youth—a combination of a remarkable awareness of the severity and gravity of the times, and remarkable maturity—as they fully embrace the cost of the Cross.
Hundreds of years ago, our forefathers faced the tragic combination of the deepest depths of humiliation, followed immediately by martyrdom—in what can be summed up in one word: Muenster.
The saints who willingly forfeited their lives to martyrdom, did so in order that a generation to come would accept the fiery baton of an uncompromising faith—a brand of faith not unlike that chronicled in the book of Acts. They undoubtedly saw visions of prayed for the fulfillment of such, far into the future, as they breathed their last. It is my belief that this generation is now among us: young people who have fire in their bellies. Not “the fire of youth,” but the fire of the unquenchable gospel and the associated mandate to take such to the ends of the earth.
My life to date has comprised, ongoing, a paradox of unspeakable suffering on one hand, and glimpses of unspeakable glory on the other. As I look to my eternal reward, I’ve already begun to see glimpses of eternal glory which have been given to me. One of these glimpses is that of the Anabaptist nation taking its rightful place in Kingdom ambassadorship to a globe that is now spinning out of control as the earth contracts and heaves with End-Times tumult. Within such tumult, I am dully reminded of the Apostle Paul’s promise of Romans 16:20: “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.”
It is His peace, as the result of His victory on the cross, that is available to all for the asking, and by the hour. I pray God’s blessing of peace upon the warriors who are now taking their stations and preparing for spiritual conflict which has never before been seen. It is as we keep the cross of Christ central to all that we do hereafter, that we will, in the end, be more than conquerors. Without you—the younger generation—the rest of us will not prevail.
Hebrews 11:36-40 says: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. Chapter 12:1 goes on to say: Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
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