The Tough Crowd In The Back
I had been invited to speak in a high school health class to deal with the question, “What happens when we die? When I entered the classroom, it was packed, and several guys stood against the back wall with their arms folded across their chests. This was not going to be an easy crowd.
I sketched out different answers to the question: the Hindu answer—reincarnation and the materialist conclusion, since we’re only physical stuff, when this stuff dies, we cease to exist. When I came to the Christian view that after death not only the spiritual, invisible part continues, but Jesus also taught that our bodies would be resurrected and each of us would face God as the totally impartial, just Judge, the class divided.
The divide got stronger when I explained that according to the Bible none of us would make it in this final court, but there was one hope. Jesus, God’s Son, died to take the punishment we deserve. Some of the guys in the back unfolded their arms and wanted to talk more after class about this grace. Others intensely rejected this idea of God’s free forgiveness based upon believing in Jesus. They were convinced that they were good, moral, and devout in the beliefs that they had chosen and vehemently attacked the idea that Jesus needed to pay for their guilt.
The divisions I faced that day were the same divisions the Apostle Paul faced as he came to the close of his discussion in the synagogue. He warned those sitting in the back with their arms folded, filled with sarcastic scorn against the idea that God would forgive someone based solely on their belief in his Son’s sacrifice for them. Check out Paul’s warning and look who wants to hang with Paul and Barnabas when the synagogue meeting breaks up.
“Therefore see to it that what the prophets have said doesn’t happen to you: ‘Look, you scoffers, be disturbed and be destroyed! Because I’m going to do a work in your day, a work that you would not believe, even if someone detailed it out for you.’ (God is talking in this passage as Paul quotes Habakkuk 1:5)
Now when it was time for Paul and Barnabas to leave, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath. And when the meeting broke up, many of the Jews and devout converts followed Paul and Barnabas out of the synagogue, and they talked. Paul and Barnabas urged those who had followed them out to remain in the grace of God.” - Acts 13:40-43
In tomorrow’s Devo we’ll see how the entire city comes out for the next discussion time, and whether it’s the scoffers in the back with their arms folded who carry the day or Paul and Barnabas and their message of God’s grace.
LORD, we need Your point of view when it comes to the question of life after death and, more importantly, who gets to live eternity with You and who will be turned away. Help those who are reading this Devo to receive Your grace and, like Paul and Barnabas urged, help them to continue to respond to this grace.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!
You can also listen to weekly messages from Dave on OnePlace.com.