All in Reflective Article

The early church had a fitting nickname. “The Way” spoke the message of Jesus as “not one among many ways to God but the only way to God,”[1] being called as such “because of its insistence upon this point (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23).”[2] In Acts, Peter proclaims the message for which the church was known: “Salvation exists in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). 

King Solomon, did you hear about the Messiah being called the Lord of the Sabbath who is greater than the temple, the embodiment of it (Matthew 12:6)? Did you hear, following His perfect sacrifice, of God intending to dwell with man, announced with a loud voice (Revelation 21:3)—a declaration matched to man’s innermost desire? Did you know of the God-Man who will sit on Jerusalem’s throne (Luke 1:32-33)? And did you know that the kingdom of the world will become the kingdom of our Lord, who will reign forever and ever (Revelation 11:15)? 

The grief of death paints my abode—streets and structures—pale and decrepit. Nothing of earth surpasses its power; I have seen no mere man pierce to true light beyond this affixed shadow. Firm is death’s power to dominate humankind. 

To my sisters in Christ 

Anna was devoted, ready to recognize and proclaim her Redeemer when He arrived. Deborah was a sought-after woman of wisdom whose leadership of Israel ushered them into a time of peace and fear of God. Huldah inspired and promoted Israel’s return to the good law of God and to favor in His eyes. Priscilla was hospitable, self-sacrificial, and well-versed in Scriptural theology such that she could help teach the ways of God to a fellow brother. Tabitha was devoted to charitable works of service—they overflowed from her heart.

In early years of Christianity, many withstood the tests of torturous persecution and martyrdom to the glory of the One whose Name they bore: “Yet, if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name” (1 Peter. 4:16). As I have been learning of the history surrounding these men and women who loved Christ more than life on this earth and reflect upon their voices that echo through the centuries, I am led to honor Christ for His suffering, power, and worth.

The God like us—stunning. Descending from majesty. Grappling with the confines of flesh, with skin and hands. Hearing others’ voices through two ears and having blood pump through a heart roughly the same size as mine. He knew the onslaught of grief, with all looming darkness, at Gethsemane. And he endured punishment for sin after sin—the number seems endless from my perspective, though he must have known each one. He was seen, known, heard, and touched.

About four years ago, I experienced my first full-blown panic attack. Those experiences accumulated, and I grew to have increasing difficulty with leaving my home. I remember willfully dumping myself into the passenger seat to be driven to my parents’ nearby home—only to feel an urgent pull two minutes later for the car to be turned around. I remember my husband and I taking our trotting dog for a walk, yards from our home, and I was unable to carry a simple conversation because of the mental pain. By God’s grace, I was directed to a health cause for this anxiety. 

God had miraculously brought the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt at the time when Israel received the Ten Commandments. God was setting them apart as a nation unto himself, a nation from which would one day come the Christ.

These commandments were later written on physical tablets by God. Yet, after receiving these tablets from God, Moses witnessed the same Israelites—who were not long before miraculously rescued by God—worship a golden calf fashioned by their own hands. According to Exodus 32:19, at that moment Moses “threw the tablets from his hands and shattered them at the foot of the mountain.”