2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 (VOICE)
Jesus the Lord will appear from heaven dealing out perfect justice to anyone who doesn’t know God and anyone who disobeys the good news of our Lord Jesus . . . They’ll be banished from the Lord’s presence and glorious power.
“Perfect justice” — when all is said and done, no one will say that their trial was unfair.
Those people who annoy me, Lord–
grant me grace to hope they go to Heaven.
“Don’t say that a loving God is going to send you to hell – He’s not. The thing that’s going to send you to hell is that you’re a sinner and you don’t want to admit it.”
J. Vernon McGee (1904-1988)
Pastor, teacher, theologian, radio minister
(Dr. McGee’s vision: The whole Word to the whole world)
How can a loving God send anyone to Hell?
Surely you’ve heard the question. Your answer?
- Good question!
- That’s not the way it works
- If everybody winds up in Heaven what’s the point?
In his book on Heaven, Randy Alcorn offers a memorable response:
“He so much wants us not to go to Hell that he paid a horrible price on the cross so that we wouldn’t have to.”
John 3:16 (NIV)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
On Good Friday, I tend to picture myself with the cluster of faithful followers gathered at foot of the cross. Truth be told, Stuart Townend’s version is more like it:
“Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.”
How Deep the Father’s Love for Us, 1995
Forgive me, Lord.
These words are so familiar, we hear them on autopilot:
Luke 22:20 (NIV)
After the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
Imagine hearing Jesus say them. For the first time. Ever.
And imagine the next day, seeing the blood drip from his wounds.
I sometimes wonder how Jesus made it through this last week of his earthly life–the last meal together, betrayed by a friend, a kangaroo-court of lies, pain and ever-greater pain. Did he keep one ear tuned to the words his Father spoke at his baptism?
Matthew 3:17 (ESV)
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
May your words, dear Father, be my strength.
Just like Jesus.
Gotta hand it to these two unnamed disciples. They followed instructions:
Matthew 21:1-2 (NIV)
Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me.”
Me? I’d push back.
We just help ourselves to a couple donkeys? Isn’t that stealing? Are we going to return them? Why do you want them? Why not just buy a donkey? Wouldn’t you rather have one that’s already broken in?
Hush. Listen. And follow instructions.
I’ve been through Lent more than 60 times. How about you?
- Been there, done that
- This story never grows old
Every year of life changes me. Every person is different. And God has a new message for every one of us, every year.
Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
God’s got something new just for you. Listen for it.