Sunday, April 18, 2021

Prince Philip 1921 - 2021

The first photo is courtesy of Unsplash, the rest by permission of Kirkcaldy Gospel Hall

“Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day?” (2 Samuel 3:38).

“They buried him ... among the kings, because he had done good ... , both toward God, and toward his house” (2 Chronicles 24:16).

Towards the end of Prince Philip’s funeral service, the Garter Principal King of Arms proclaimed the Styles and Titles of His Royal Highness:

“The late most Illustrious and most Exalted Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Member of the Order of Merit, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order upon whom had been conferred the Royal Victorian Chain, Grand Master and Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom, One of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, Admiral of the Fleet, Field Marshal in the Army and Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Husband of Her Most Excellent Majesty Elizabeth the Second by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories.”

Impressive!  Few have ever been so honoured.

But as these words were spoken, Prince Philip’s coffin was lowered into the royal vault.

And his personal regalia, sewn onto nine cushions?  All left behind.

Rank and riches cannot prevent the coming of death.  
Prestige and possessions cannot be taken into eternity.

Says the Bible:  “We brought nothing into the world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out”.

Francis Beaumont (1584-1616) penned these powerful words:

“On the Tombs in Westminster Abbey”

‘Mortality, behold, and fear, 
What a change of flesh is here! 
Think how many royal bones 
Sleep within this heap of stones, 
Hence removed from beds of ease, 
Dainty fare, and what might please, 
Fretted roofs, and costly shows, 
To a roof that flats the nose: 
Which proclaims all flesh is grass; 
How the world's fair glories pass; 
That there is no trust in health, 
In youth, in age, in greatness, wealth; 
For if such could have reprieved 
Those had been immortal lived. 
Know from this the world's a snare, 
How that greatness is but care, 
How all pleasures are but pain, 
And how short they do remain: 
For here they lie had realms and lands, 
That now want strength to stir their hands, 
Where from their pulpits sealed with dust 
They preach: " In greatness is no trust". 
Here's an acre sown indeed 
With the richest royalest seed, 
That the earth did e'er suck in 
Since the first man died for sin. 
Here the bones of birth have cried, 
"Though gods they were, as men they died". 
Here are sands (ignoble things) 
Dropped from the ruined sides of kings; 
With whom the poor man's earth being shown 
The difference is not easily known. 
Here's a world of pomp and state, 
Forgotten, dead, disconsolate; 
Think, then, this scythe that mows down kings 
Exempts no meaner mortal things.’

Death is the great leveller, the great equaliser, the great robber, the great thief.

What then should be our priority?

Not time, but eternity.

Not this life, but the next.

Not the accumulation of silver, but the acceptance of the Saviour!

Prince Philip had arranged his own funeral service.  The music to be played.  The hymns to be sung.  The readings to be given.

The second reading, delivered by the Archbishop of Canterbury, was John 11:21-27.

How very significant!

“Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever Thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.  Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.  Martha saith unto Him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?  She saith unto Him, Yea, Lord: I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.”

In these verses, we see: Unparalleled Ability.

The ability of the Lord Jesus - with men and with God.
The power of His presence with men -
Had He been with them, Martha knows that her brother would not have died.
Death could not have operated in His presence.
The power of His petitions with God -
Any request He would make in prayer would be answered.

In these verses, we see: Unchanging Identity.

“Thy brother shall rise again.”
Martha’s brother, Lazarus, may have died, but even in death he remained her brother and he would rise again as her brother.

In these verses, we see: Unmistakable Deity.

Jesus said: “I am”.

As God revealed Himself in the Old Testament to Moses at the burning bush: “I am that I am”, “say ‘I am hath sent me’”, so the Lord Jesus revealed Himself in the New Testament: “I am”.  

The Jehovah of the Old is the Jesus of the New.

In these verses, we see: Unique Authority.

“I am the resurrection and the life.”

Bethany was a busy place that day.  There were those who had come to mourn with the two bereaved sisters and there were disciples who had accompanied the Lord Jesus.

No one, however, would dream of saying: “I am the resurrection and the life”.

Death exposed their inadequacy.  
Death emphasised their impotence.  
Death exclaimed their ineffectiveness.

The inadequacy, the impotence, the ineffectiveness of all, but One!

The Lord Jesus declared these words and shortly afterwards demonstrated their veracity by raising Lazarus from the tomb. 

The enemy of men was no enemy for Him.

He cried: “Lazarus, come forth” - and death gave Lazarus up.

In these verses, we see: Unambiguous Necessity.

Having declared who He is, the Lord Jesus declared what we must do: believe in Him.

This means far more than simply believe in the existence of Christ.  No one at Bethany would dispute that the Lord Jesus was in their midst.  But, what is required is belief in the sense of belief in the excellence of Christ, a trust in Him, a dependence upon Him.  His person and His power.  His worth and His work.  

Such belief is vital.

Without it, we are in our sins.
With it, we are saved.

Without it, Christ will be our Judge.
With it, Christ is our Saviour.

Without it, death means banishment.
With it, death means bliss.

In these verses, we see: Undeniable Certainty.

“He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die.”

For those who have believed on the Lord Jesus, the day will come when their graves will be opened, when they shall rise in glory.  They may have died, but they shall live again.

Physical death shall be ended - and spiritual, eternal death shall never be experienced.

In these verses, we see: Unavoidable Scrutiny

The Lord Jesus said to Martha: “Believest thou this?”

A question Christ asked.
A question Martha had to answer.

She answered in the affirmative.

“Yea, Lord: I believe.”
“I have believed, and do believe.”
“This is my faith, and has been for a long time.”

The fact that Prince Philip selected these verses for his funeral suggest that he too was a believer in the Lord Jesus.

And that made all the difference for him in his hour of death.

But what about you?

Is your faith, is your heart’s confidence, is your hope for Heaven based entirely, and exclusively on the Lord Jesus?

Used by permission of Fraser Munro/Kirkcaldy Gospel Hall Facebook

No comments

Blogger Template Created by pipdig