Monday, September 2, 2013

Question #6. God Asks 'Why Will You die?

Question # 6 God asks: Why Will You Die?
I was never much good at mathematics. However the significance of numbers intrigues me. This is especially true from the Biblical standpoint. The number two (2) is a case in point. It speaks of division, separation and alternatives. The number two calls upon us in certain situations to make a choice. The decision we make is
our own. The consequences of our choices are outside our control.

The Master Teacher, Jesus Christ, used the number two (2) in His parables frequently. The story of the two builders in Matthew 7:24–27 tells of people’s foundation for life. You can build your life on the quick, easy and worldly wise foundation depicted by sand. Or you can expend effort and determination to build your life on the rock. Both appear great until the storms of life come roaring down and over each life. Only the one whose foundations are on solid ground will stand the test.

I’ve seen may lives come crashing down due to having no support system, no sense of meaning, no hope and no sense of destiny. Jesus offered all people His foundation for life. It is a person’s choice whether or not to build upon the teachings and life of Christ.

Another parable is from Matthew 7:13–14 and relates to two gates, one narrow and one very wide. The wide gate is easy to find and is well trodden. It promises much. There is pleasure, prestige, power and plenty of everything. It introduces the unsuspecting to the Deceiver who is dressed in Mardi–Gras costume promising fun, fun, fun. I’ve seen young people rush to and through this gate without considering the consequences. The wreckage to their health, mind and relationships is a tragedy. I believe the Lord still offers escape routes out of the Broadway. It means turning of it and taking the narrow gate. Such fortunate escapees wear the marks of the Wide–gate but not the curse or destiny.

The Narrow gate seems unattractive to any superficial glance. To those who seriously consider what lies beyond and its destiny the appeal is irresistible. The path may be demanding yet it is meaningful, life enriching, health bestowing, offering forgiveness and mercy, noble relationships and a destiny in the Heavens. Why is this? Because the Narrow gate introduces a person to Jesus Christ as Lord, Saviour and Companion along the way! Where do we come across the Narrow gate? In the message of Jesus Christ and His life, crucifixion, burial and resurrection. Some hear it as foolishness. To others it is a stumbling block, a scandal. Others receive it as the liberating, life changing, heaven opening message of God’s grace.

Perhaps the most striking illustration of the number two (2) is found at the crucifixion of Jesus. Two terrorists were crucified with Him, one on either side of Jesus. Read the accounts in the Gospels. Both started out cursing Jesus and challenging Him to display His powers by getting them all off the cross and presumably destroying their enemies. Then one of them took notice of Jesus and His demeanour and words. The other one was so busy cursing and suffering he couldn’t grasp what Jesus was doing. The former said, Lord remember me when you come into your kingdom. The reply of Jesus is eternally awesome ‘today you will be with me in paradise.’ Again the number two (2) reveals separation, division and choice..
The same is true now. It will always be true. You and I have a choice as to how we will build our life and destiny and the road we will choose to travel and its destination. In a sense each of us becomes one or the other on the crosses looking at Jesus. Jesus offers life in the midst of death, forgiveness and a new destiny. The other alternative is despair and an eternity of regret.

So what then is God’s question for you and me to reflect upon?
‘As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live; turn back, turn back; from your evil ways for why will you die…’(emphasis added).Ezekiel 33:11. As the Lord God also said to Israel, so He would say to each of us ‘I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses, Choose life, so that you and your descendents may live.’ (Deuteronomy 30:19)

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