The Beauty of Rome — Sunday Thought For The Day
The following was written for June 5, 2016, “Our Daily Bread” by Mart DeHaan:
The glory of the Roman Empire offered an expansive backdrop for the birth of Jesus. In 27 bc Rome’s first emperor, Caesar Augustus, ended 200 years of civil war and began to replace rundown neighborhoods with monuments, temples, arenas, and government complexes. According to Roman historian Pliny the Elder, they were “the most beautiful buildings the world has ever seen.”
Yet even with her beauty, the Eternal City and its empire had a history of brutality that continued until Rome fell. Thousands of slaves, foreigners, revolutionaries, and army deserters were crucified on roadside poles as a warning to anyone who dared to defy the power of Rome.
What irony that Jesus’s death on a Roman cross turned out to reveal an eternal glory that made the pride of Rome look like the momentary beauty of a sunset!
Who could have imagined that in the public curse and agony of the cross we would find the eternal glory of the love, presence, and kingdom of our God?
Who could have foreseen that all heaven and earth would one day sing, “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” (Rev. 5:12).
Father in heaven, please help us to reflect the heart of Your sacrifice for the world. May Your love become our love, Your life our life, and Your glory our never-ending joy.
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The Lamb who died is the Lord who lives!
Jesus’s model for prayer in Matthew 6:9–13 is often referred to as “the Lord’s prayer.” However, these words form a pattern for our prayers. Jesus’s prayer in John 17 might better be called “the Lord’s prayer” because it is an expression of His heart to the Father about His mission (vv. 1–10), His followers (vv. 11–16), and His longing for His people to be one with Him and with each other (vv. 17–26). This prayer reaches its conclusion with the desire that we know the wonder of His love: “I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them” (v. 26).
17 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.