Monday, December 17, 2012

Jesus came not to arbitrate, but to forgive

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:13-21 (ESV)
People want Jesus to intervene and be a judge. It still happens today, be an arbitrator in disputes. I suppose there is precedent for that in 1 Cor. But this isn’t what Jesus came to do. This would just reinforce trust in this sinful world’s concepts of justice. There is not justice in this world. No one is righteous and so there can be no justice, not true justice. It takes awhile for that to sink in. I’m not saying there is no need for courts, for jails. There is tremendous need for those things, and you want them to run as just as a sinner can run them. But I think back on times when justice was not granted. Perhaps it happens to you directly. Perhaps you think you know better than the system concerning some highly publicized case. The first thought is, they escaped justice in this world, but their day is coming. They will answer on the last day. I have had to repent of such thoughts. The justice of this world will be the last of our concerns then. And thank God for that, because he is the one who has secured it that neither will you have to answer for your sins that day. On that day we don’t want worldly justice. On that day we want God’s justice, the forgiveness of sins won for us by Jesus Christ who did not come to be our arbitrator, but to die in our place that we might escape justice not in this world, but in the next.

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