“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” (Matthew 23:33)
Yes, this is Jesus speaking. He is pretty hot. He is pretty upset with the religious leaders who do not listen to the One they supposedly serve. Jesus never seems to have much patience with the self-righteous. He comes down hard on them and here reveals that God will actually separate them from Him by sending them to hell. He goes on to explain some of why this is. They will persecute and kill the followers of Jesus who bring the truth about Him.
Sometimes we may seem to relish the thought that those who persecute Jesus’ followers, us, will get their day of reckoning. Even though the Lord’s judgment will come upon those who oppose Him it is a sad day. It is a day they have chosen, not God. He has had His arms wide open, drawing all to Himself. He has given all the opportunity to be in His Kingdom forever. Yet, sadly there will be those who are separated from Him forever by their own choice. That will be their hell. This does not frighten us who follow Jesus but informs us of this reality. Yes, there will be a reckoning for those who reject Jesus.
Heavenly Father, we praise You for drawing us unto You through faith in Your Son, Jesus. He is our life and our salvation. He is our All in All. We are sad for those who would reject Him and pray that they might repent of their ways. Open their hearts and minds to Your Son.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Robert Forsberg is retired from Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Fairborn.