Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Matthew 21-25

Listen, friends - I have been reading these verses and parts of these verses over and over. These five verses are saying three things that go together and are so BIG, so tough, so significant, I hardly know what to write. Here it is anyway, because I need to move on. (verses are NAS version)

1 - You can't fake it with God.

23:23 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.

Jesus is addressing the pharisees throughout these passages. Again and again, he calls them on their bluffs. They try to set him up, challenge his authority. How dare they? They know his answers before He gives them - and this time he refuses to even respond to their foolishness.

2 - You can't put God off unitl a later time - there is just no tomorrow with God.

24:17-18 "Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. "Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak.

24:44 For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.

We have no business living for ourselves today and promising God our tomorrow. God already bought your yesterday and your tomorrow with his own blood. But here's the deal - He gave it back to you. You get to use it how you want to use it, and you can either use it for His purpose or use it for your own. His ways are higher. I'll back that up down the road but for now, read this story - it's a great illustration.

3 - You can't escape God's righteous judgement.

25:41-46 Then He will also say to those on His left, Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.' "Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?' "Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' "These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."'s coming. I can't know when, and I can't fake it. That. Is. Scary. How can I read this stuff and still face tomorrow? I might think in my head that I am good enough to stand up to judgement. Heck, I'm better than most people I know, right? (right....) I might think that in my head, and I might even beleive it in my head, but I know in my heart that I can't measure up to the holiness of God. That is why I am separated from Him in the first place. That is why I read those verses and feel fear.

This is where we come back to the whole "bought my life" part. He didn't suffer and die so that He could throw me into hell. The Bible says that he bought my life so that He could literally stand in my place in that judgement. Because He created me, because He loves me, He said in deed "Father, these people deserve to be thrown into Hell for what they have done, and there is nothing they can do to make up for it, but I can do something to pay the penalty." Now only though giving Him back the lives He gave us, we can be saved. That is why they call it The Good News and not the Book of Really Scary Stuff. That is why Jesus had to die and why I am compelled to know Him more and more each day.