"A Heavenly Debate"
January 19, 2014
In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15
Who has the worst spot in hell?
When the Italian poet Dante was writing the Inferno, he gave that dubious spot to Judas. Because of the disciple's traitorous betrayal of his Savior, the author put the fallen disciple into the mouth of Lucifer. Dante could think of no punishment more terrible than that of being chewed on by Satan for all eternity.
And who has the best spot in heaven?
Of course, nobody knows the real answer to that question. Even so, I do have an imaginary story that tells of a debate that is supposed to have taken place in heaven. There the saints were discussing which of them was the greatest monument to God's forgiveness. Since this was heaven, everyone was polite and each individual waited patiently for his turn to speak about his forgiven sins.
The frontrunner of the discussion seemed to be a man who had committed just about every sin in the book. "But then," he said, "the Lord Jesus came to me on my deathbed and saved me." Then, just as everybody was ready to vote, another fellow stepped forward and asked if he could tell his tale.
This is what he said: "I learned to know and love my Savior when I was baptized. In Sunday school I was told of all the things the Savior had done to save me. I'm pleased to report my entire life was spent as a member of the church. I sang hymns, but not too loudly; I gave my offerings, but not too much; I attended worship, but not overly often. Lifelong I enjoyed all the benefits of knowing the Savior, but never once did I share Jesus with anybody else."
The vote was taken, and the result was a landslide for the non-witnessing Christian. All agreed he was the one who had received the most forgiveness from the Lord.
Now I would not have anyone think the joy of heaven is marred by such trivial discussions. The story is made up. On the other hand, it does emphasize the importance of sharing the Good News of great joy that has come to us in the sacrifice of our Redeemer.
We who are recipients of His great grace have been given a commission to share the salvation story with others. Some look upon that sharing as a duty; others consider it to be an obligation; me, I would say it is an honor to tell a lost and dying world that they -- because of Jesus -- have been found, forgiven, and can live in paradise eternally with their Lord.
I hope you agree.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, send Your Holy Spirit upon me, so I may gladly share the redemption story of Christ crucified and risen. This I ask in the Name of my living Lord. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries