31 August 2020 I Smell Life
Luke 24:32 NLT
They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”
Yesterday at church, Rob was teaching from Luke 23 about Jesus and the two criminals being crucified. It is interesting how at a time when it would be excruciating to speak as you slowly die of asphyxiation, one man used his painful last breaths to join in with the others mocking Jesus. The other criminal used his painful last breaths to get forgiveness. Both men heard, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” (v.34) But their responses were completely different. Jesus dies first, so the mocker died in misery and hopelessness, but the other criminal died in misery while clinging on to hope that he would wake up and see Jesus, just like Jesus promised. I’d rather die with hope like the second guy.
Three days later, two men are walking with a stranger on the road to Emmaus. They marvel at the conversation and even ask the stranger to stay with them and eat. And when they realized it was Jesus who had been walking and talking with them all day, he was already gone. But they also realized they should’ve known! They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”
When Jesus speaks, he invites. Our hearts “burn” within us one way or the other. When we read the Word and all that he teaches, we are invited into it, or repulsed by it. Two men on crosses heard about forgiveness at the very end of their lives, but their reaction to the exact same words were not the same at all. Here's why...
But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. 15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)
I smell life.
By the way, how kind of Jesus not to leave anyone out,; even two hard core crucifixion deserving criminals hear about forgiveness of sins!
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank you for your work on the cross that is an invitation for us all, everyone of us – even the mockers have an opportunity to grab hold of your great and precious promises. Thank you that I won’t ever suffer or die in hopelessness, but that I always carry around the hope of your promises, and thank you that your words smell like life to me! I pray for my unbelieving friends to smell life before it’s too late for them. Thank you for this great, good news for everyone, and I pray in your name, amen.