Our Eternal Glory
Chan Gin Kai
The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him. A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him. I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.” (Luke 9:37-40)
Fresh from an awe-inspiring Transfiguration on the mountain, Jesus came down to see a large crowd had gathered again, with lots of demanding needs. He was set on his goal to sacrifice himself for humanity, and the Transfiguration was a preparation of sorts, but what the people wanted was someone to cure them of ailments, cast out demons, and drive out the Romans.
“You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.” (Luke 9:41)
We can sense Jesus’ frustration at the people’s unceasing demands.
Jesus had his mission, and God has his plans. The Trinity was working on humankind’s salvation and the crowd was crying out for far less important needs. It’s true their needs were not trivial, but they’re inconsequential compared to the celestial war that Jesus was fighting. What’s being cured of an ailment compared to being freed from the slavery of sin? What’s a demon possession compared to eternal damnation?
Our problems are certainly not trivial to us. Whether it is a physical sickness or an emotional wound, financial trouble or the loss of someone close to us, the pain is real. They hurt us, and people we love too. But if we are to quieten our heart and see the bigger picture, we will realise that God has already solved our biggest problem – we are saved!
We often cry out for needs that we think are more pressing, and forget that we have been abundantly blessed. We focus on worries of this world when we should draw encouragement from our eternal reward.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
Paul was imprisoned, flogged, betrayed, stoned, shipwrecked, and more (2 Corinthians 11:23-27). His troubles were certainly not trivial, yet he called considered them “light and momentary” because he focused on the eternal.
What troubles you? Does it cause you to lose heart? Let’s draw encouragement from the eternal glory that outweighs all the problems that besiege us. God has already given us the ultimate victory.
Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the impure spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. (Luke 9:42-43)
Even as Jesus focused on his goal to sacrifice himself for our redemption, he did not deny the man’s request. He cast out the demon from the man's son. God cares more for our salvation (and that should be our biggest concern too), but that doesn’t mean that God ignores our current needs. Let’s bring our worries to Jesus.
Man may fail us, but Jesus won’t. His disciples were unable to cast out this demon because of their staggering faith. But Jesus has absolute power.
As we face the myriad of problems that assail us, let’s focus on the more important – the salvation that God has gracefully given us. And let’s have absolute trust as we bring our troubles to God in prayer. He loves us.
Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. In church, he serves as a mentor to young professionals in the EDGE Ministry. He describes himself as "just a sinner who wants to get right with God".