Sunday, December 17, 2006

Why do we need a savior?

Today's readings are full of disaster. The book of Nahum talks about the destruction of Nineveh, which happened around 612 B.C. according to my NIV Study Bible. Interesting that Nahum ends with this remark, addressed to the king of Assyria:
Nothing can heal your wound;
your injury is fatal.
Everyone who hears the news about you
claps his hands at your fall,
for who has not felt
your endless cruelty?
Nahum 3.19
The fall of Nineveh apparently won't be seen as a disaster by everyone. So it is when evil deeds are avenged. But wait a minute. Weren't there a bunch of innocents there as well? Grannies and mothers and children and babies? I'm not sure what to make of that, but it's certainly true that kings can make life miserable for their people. Not only directly (by oppressing them, say) but also by making bad decisions that bring the wrath of God on the place. Yet another reason to pray for kings and those in authority.

But disaster isn't only for 612 B.C.; it's also in our future. In today's New Testament reading, from the book of Revelation (or the Apocalypse), talks about the seven angels with seven trumpets. One angel sounds his trumpet and a third of the earth is burned up; the second one causes marine disasters, and so on. Then an eagle calls out: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!” (Revelation 8.13). You can guess that those other trumpets won't signal the start of a sporting event.

So here's the thing. The just wrath of the Lord is coming on the earth. It's not just because of the endless cruelty of kings, but also because of all the times that you and I have been petty or selfish, ungrateful or spiteful, insensitive or unforgiving — all the times we have looked elsewhere for what only Jesus can provide. So let's pray for each other too.

And by the way, that's why we need a savior — because try as we might to do better, we do all those things that we shouldn't.

So it really is good news that Jesus Christ came to earth to save us from our sins.

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