After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count. Revelation 7:9
Sometimes two processes may differ greatly but have the same effect. In past years France had a penal colony on Devil’s Island off French Guiana in North Africa. The prisoners’ treatment, often leading to death, was called the “dry guillotine.”
After Christ’s ascension and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the evangelistic activity of the twelve apostles began. The treatment accorded them by their enemies varied. The first to become a martyr was James, the brother of John. Around 44 A.D. King Herod had him “put to death with the sword” (Acts 12:2). John, however, as far as we know, died a natural death in high old age circa 98 A.D., nearly a century old. This did not mean, however, that John had a relatively easy life. He likewise suffered for his faithful witness to Jesus. In the year 95 the Roman emperor Domitian banished him to the lonesome, barren, and rocky island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea. There he was divinely inspired to write the book of Revelation, or the Apocalypse.
Who of the two brothers shines with greater glory in heaven? Is it James, who felt the sharp edge of a hand-held “guillotine,” or is it John, who, among other sufferings, languished on the Aegean version of a devils island? It is not for us to say what measure of glory Christ will bestow on any of His followers. Suffice it to say that both James and John, in the prophet Daniel’s words, “shine like the brightness of the heavens ... like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3).
Short life, long life – a long service career or a deathbed conversion (like that of the penitent thief on the cross), our salvation is altogether by God’s grace. In all eternity each one of us will glorify Jesus, the Lamb of God, who was sacrificed for us and rose again in glory.
PRAYER: Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your sacrifice on the cross which assures us of salvation. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)
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