2 Thessalonians 1:7b-9 - ... when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His might.
The great escape artist Harry Houdini was a master of publicity. To assure a crowd would come to see him, every time he came to a community he would break out of the local jail. There is no evidence that Houdini ever escaped from Alcatraz.
Alcatraz is a small island in San Francisco Bay.
Although it is located only a mile and a quarter from the mainland, Alcatraz prison has long been considered to be inescapable. The sharks, the deadly currents of the harbor, along with the corpses of those who tried to escape discouraged most prisoners from ever considering a plan which ended up in freedom.
That is why, from the opening of the Alcatraz prison in 1934 until the year it closed in 1965, the government was proud to say the facility was "escape proof."
Now, 50 years after the last inmate left the island, it appears the prison's boast may have been premature.
In 1962, Frank Morris along with brothers John and Clarence Anglin chiseled a hole in the jail wall, and using a raft made out of raincoats tried to navigate the bay and make it to the mainland.
Although their bodies were never found, it was always assumed the three were swept out to sea and drowned. Things might have stayed that way but, recently, their relatives have produced Christmas cards and letters from the three. Along with that, there is a recently released old letter from John to the police. In that letter, he says he is willing to turn himself in if he can receive medical treatment.
Although none of the individual pieces of evidence make an unbreakable case for the survival of the three, they certainly raise some doubts.
So much for being inescapable.
That being said, Scripture is clear there is one place of punishment which is permanent: one place from which there is no escape, no reprieve, no release, no pardon. That place, of course, is hell.
The amazing thing is no longer does modern man have to spend eternity in that place of punishment.
You see, God's Son, our Savior, entered this world for the express purpose of taking our place under the Law. To that end, He successfully resisted all of Satan's suggestions to sin, all of the world's enticements to disobey. His life, unlike that of the rest of us, was lived perfectly.
Then, when He had healed and preached and called humanity to a new way of thinking, living, and believing, Jesus took our sins upon Himself and died for us. His third day resurrection from the dead is pardon and freedom from the punishments which once were ours. It is life eternal for all who are brought to faith.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, accept my heartfelt thanks for my Savior's sacrifice which sets me free from the punishments for sin which once were mine. Grant that I may, while there is still time, point others to the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
The inspiration for today's devotion comes from an article written by Neal Colgrass for Newser on October 11, 2015. Those who wish may visit this link, which was fully functional when this devotion was written: click here.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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