(Jesus said) "If that wicked servant says to himself, 'My master is delayed,' and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 24:48-51
The Carolina Reaper: most of the Daily Devotion subscribers have not heard of it.
If so, I can tell you that the Guinness Book of World Records now lists the Carolina Reaper as the world's hottest pepper. And if you're wondering just how hot is this hot pepper? Well, let me explain: "pepper heat" is measured in Scoville Heat Units.
* The heat of a jalapeno pepper is somewhere between 5,000 and 8,000 Scoville units.
* Habanero peppers (that's about as hot as I can handle) are 300,000 Scoville Units.
* The pepper spray used by the police is around 1.3 million Scoville units, while ...
* the Carolina Reaper is more than 1.5 million Scoville units.
That means eating a Carolina Reaper is painful; it's enough to take your breath away; it's enough to make anyone who tries to chew down a chunk weep and gnash his teeth. Even so, amazing as it sounds, there are a whole gaggle of Internet videos showing the discomfort endured by people who try to eat the super-hot chili.
Are you, like me, wondering why would anybody do such a thing? If so, I think the answer is probably simple.
People do such a thing because they like to play with fire. That may be the fire of a hot pepper or seeing how fast they can drive in traffic. It may be experimenting with forbidden drugs or practicing their favorite forbidden sin. Like the fellow in Jesus' parable, these folks say to themselves, "I can do what I want and not be afraid of any punishment or reprisal."
Jesus is quite plain when He tells us that anyone who thinks this way is making a mistake -- a very, very big mistake. It is a mistake because sin is wrong and will be punished. Sinners may be punished immediately, or they may be punished at some unknown date in the future. It makes no difference; the soul that sins will die.
This is why the smart person will do his best to stay away from temptation and transgression.
That's the smart thing to do, but even the smartest person cannot escape being tainted by sin. We are born with a sinful nature; sin is part of who we are. The only way to escape judgment for all of our violations of God's commands is to have our sins removed.
For that we need the Savior.
We need Jesus who came into this world to bear our griefs and carry our sorrows. We need Jesus who came to fulfill the Law and win forgiveness and eternal life for all humanity. We need Jesus and the faith in the crucified and risen Savior, which the Holy Spirit bestows.
With such a faith our sins are erased, and we are free from condemnation and damnation.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may I be given the wisdom not to play with sin and its consequences. Grant me a repentant heart and an obedient spirit. This I ask in the Name of Jesus, my Savior and Lord. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries