John 12:27-50; 2 Chronicles 16-17; Psalm 78:1-20
It ain’t over till the fat lady sings, or so they say. This saying probably originated with the opera Gotterdamerung when Brunhilde, usually a “well-upholstered lady” comes out and sings the final ten minutes of this interminably long opera. Usually used as a sporting metaphor, someone saying this would be reminding teammates that the game still isn’t out of reach. It’s a reminder in life that when things seem to be overwhelming, there’s always hope as long as we’re breathing. In the US court system, The Supreme Court becomes the “fat lady,” and there’s hope until the Supreme Court rules. Even then, if a ruling goes against people, they can work to find ways to change the law slightly or ways to work around the ruling. Generally, though, it ain’t over till the Supreme Court rules.
When looking at Jesus, hope is never over until life is over. There are some who would take people to task right now, and as judge, jury, and executioner, condemn people to hell. When you hear them talk about that judgment, you almost get the impression that they enjoy doing that. It seems that they have forgotten the mission of Jesus: to seek and to save those who are lost. Jesus didn’t come to judge anyone, not even the Pharisees. He did however, speak the truths by which people will answer to God for in the future. “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day.” (John 12:47-48)
Jesus was rough on the Pharisees, but He never confronted them out of hate. The Pharisees were so steeped in their man-made traditions that they couldn’t recognize God when He stood right in front of them. But Jesus didn’t condemn them. He continued speaking to them, wanting to see all of them repent, even though He knew they wouldn’t. Some believed, but they wouldn’t make it public for fear of being removed from the Sanhedrin, or even out of the synagogue. Jesus made it clear that as important as it was to hear His words and keep them, which you would only do if you believed in Him, He wasn’t going to worry about judging those who didn’t agree with Him. That was left for the final judgment to happen at the end of their natural life, or perhaps the end of time, and the one who would be their final judge. The point of all this? Jesus didn’t have time to worry about judging people, He was going to proclaim the kingdom of God.
We love to judge, unfortunately. Perhaps we judge so that we can figure out who the better Christian is. You know what I mean. I think that group is wrong because of one thing. They think I’m wrong because of another thing. We have public shouting matches because, after all, the winner is the better Christian. I’m not discounting the problem with heretics, let’s face it, they exist. Sometimes they are hateful and embarrassing because they call themselves Christians while acting like that. My job, though, isn’t to shout people like that down; my job is to keep proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ that promises hope, salvation, and freedom from sin. I can never stop speaking of the grace of Christ that leads to forgiveness. When I do that, I might make some of the heretics mad. So be it. Let them judge me. Preaching the gospel of grace may sound judgmental to those who would condemn the world, need I remind you that Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, He came to save it. If Jesus chose not to judge the people He interacted with every day, perhaps we should follow His example.
Oh Lord, remind me that I’m not the judge. Help me to see people through Your eyes and treat them with the same love and compassion You would show. Use me to spread Your grace to others.