Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Death in the Desert

Cave Photo from MorgueFile.comStudying for a Sunday school lesson I'll be teaching Palm Sunday, I was reading an article by Reuben Welch about the Apostle John. The article referenced a poem by Robert Browning titled, "A Death in the Desert."

I had never read or heard the poem before, but the few lines that were quoted touched my heart so deeply... I got what Greg calls "glory bumps" and still have them when I think of these words!

The poem, written in 1864, details the death of the Apostle, hidden in a cave and tended to by a few who loved him. In the poem, John speaks:

When [my ashes] scatter, there is left on earth
No one alive who knew (consider this!)
Saw with his eyes and handled with his hands
That which was from the first, the Word of Life.
How will it be when none more saith, “I saw”?

What an amazing responsibility to be the last one on earth who truly saw and touched the Lord Jesus, Himself! What a privilege! My heart is so full at the depth of what John had to have felt - the awe and amazement! It comes across so richly in this poem. (I encourage you to read the whole thing for yourself.)

In poem, John continues...

Since I, whom Christ’s mouth taught, was bidden teach,
I went, for many years, about the world,
Saying ‘It was so; so I heard and saw,'
Speaking as the case asked: and men believed.

It would have been an amazing thing to have been with Jesus when He walked the earth. But truly, the next best thing would have been to hear the witness of one of those fortunate ones like John who saw Him, and touched Him, and was taught by Him.

I pray God will help us to be faithful as John was faithful to "go about the world saying it was so, so I heard and saw." Isn't that what Jesus directed to do in Acts 1:8?
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (NKJV)


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