More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters, more majestic than the waves of the sea, majestic on high is the Lord! – Psalm 93:4
[Jesus says,] “In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!” – John 16:33
I can recall only one time – and that was many years ago – when I was openly and intentionally shown contempt because I was a pastor.On this occasion I was driving out of a gas station parking lot when a man in a pickup truck that was large enough to squash my car, offered me the “one finger salute.” It was clear to me that he was expressing his disrespect and contempt for me because I happened to be wearing a clerical shirt with the obvious pastor color. I don’t recall that he had made a mocking sign of the cross, or anything else, but it was pretty clear to me that he was making a comment about my profession and calling. I believe that was so, also, because this took place in Utah, and the Mormon assessment of clergy is quite negative. I didn’t take it too personally, but it did sting a bit. Sad for him and for me.
That’s not to say that people have not been disrespectful to me on other occasions. Nor is it to say that people haven’t been contemptuous of me as a person. That seems simply to go along with life for everyone in this world. Everyone rubs up against unkind, disrespectful, and evil people from time to time. Unless you are completely insulated from the world around you, you will experience bad treatment of one kind or another. Jesus says, “In this world you will have trouble.” He is right.
Over against that, however, is God. He is majestic, holy, all-powerful, mighty, and glorious. His majesty, however, is not founded on contempt, over-lording power, ruthless or swift retribution. Though there are times when God has expressed his judgment in swift actions of vengeance, God’s ultimate expression of judgment was met out on Jesus on the cross. He crushed his Son rather than us. And Jesus took that punishment willingly; trusting in the goodness of God through it all.
The defeat of evil came in the form of a man of perfect faith and sacrificial love. Jesus conquered the evil world by his love, goodness, faith, and sacrifice. His whole life was lived out as one who believed that God is good…all the time. He never wavered from that, even in his death. Jesus overcame the world, conquered sin, death, and the devil by faith. That faith holds to the goodness of God no matter what. Even when we lose faith – for we all struggle to keep it strong and alive – Jesus perfect righteousness remains our hope. His death and resurrection assures us of our place in the heart of God.