Last night, we cuddled up under the blankets to hear our president explain the next movement in the COVID-19 lockdown. Less than ten minutes into his speech, we experienced a power failure. There was light and then there was night. I went outside and it was scarily dark. A total blackout! I managed to get the generator going. Fortunately, it had a half tank of fuel … and we had light … praise the Lord! The street’s WhatsApp group started to buzz with various questions like “How?” “When?” “Where?” “Why?” “What?” … until a lady posted that a power pole in Cordonia Avenue, Waverly failed cutting the power supply to the greater area.
The sad news is that the municipal engineers could not provide a timeline for repairs because, due to COVID-19, they are functioning on a skeleton staff. We have a DSTV access package because the normal TV Signal in the valley is extremely poor. Once the generator’s power was on, the decoder rebooted, then upgraded the software, then rebooted again and then gave an error message (E33.0). I tried everything I could to get the decoder’s error cleared without success. Eventually, I found a WhatsApp number for them. Amazing … their technology works so well. The error was cleared immediately … though by this time the president’s speech was long completed! (The power was restored near to midnight. Thank you to the engineers who braved the icy weather for us.)
On the night of the Last Supper, we read Jesus saying to Judas:
Jn 13:28 “What you are about to do, do quickly,” Jesus told him, 28 but no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the Feast, or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.
And it was night! Look at the last seven words. Judas went out of Jesus’ presence and out of the house and out into the night. No Jesus, and it is spiritual night! So many people have been part of a fellowship, part of enjoying all the graces provided by the church, enjoying being with God’s people and supporting the church with their resources … and something happens. Perhaps not exactly like what Judas did, but similar. Similar because as Judas was not one of Jesus’ own, many are religious or seeking or “doing the right thing” and tag along with God’s people … until they are challenged morally, ethically or spiritually … and then they go out of the fellowship and out into the night … into the spiritual darkness. They then find an alternative to occupy their time and energy. It might be a hobby, a club, a sport … some sort of distraction to occupy their time and provide entertainment. The reality is that it is night! They now live in spiritual darkness!
An extended result of this night–this spiritual darkness–is the tragic end of their lives! In the Parable of the Wedding Banquet, Jesus says:
Mt 22:13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
You may read the parable yourself to get the context … what I want to highlight is that those not part of the Lord’s eternal wedding guests will be, on the Judgment Day, trapped, captured and doomed, “Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” That darkness is the eternal darkness of hell. The trauma of that eternal place is perpetual weeping and gnashing of teeth. Note:
Mt 22:14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
As much as verse 14 is scary, it is encouraging!
Still in Matthew … read the Parable of the Talents for context. The true children of God prove their love for Jesus through exercising real love, discipleship and service. Jesus says:
Mt 25:28 “‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Again, see the end result of the person whose heart is not true to Jesus. He is (they are) “worthless” in his (their) service to the King and is (are) thrown “outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” That darkness is the eternal darkness, depicting the pain and agony of punishment because the heart was not right with God (worthless), and the endless weeping and gnashing of teeth is the deserved reward for rejecting God and His rescue plan through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ!
The darkness of our ‘blackout’ was real and dark and night! I was reminded of the darkness of being separated from God both here on earth and in eternity! It is scary. Only once a person has experienced a true conversion to Jesus and His Kingdom is it possible to understand what you have been saved from. The absolute joy of knowing that you have escaped eternal punishment; escaped being blacked out from God eternally; escaped having all your sin held against your account (from start to end of life on earth) … and now being covered by the sacrificial, sinless, blood of Jesus … and having the Father looking at you and seeing the glorious merits of Jesus’ sacrifice covering you … and knowing that the righteousness of Jesus has been imputed to your soul … that the Father sees you as He sees His beloved Son … there is no greater joy and ecstasy! The result is a life of worship.
Dear God, thank You for choosing me for heaven. Thank You for rescuing me from eternal darkness. Thank You that like the decoder’s error was cleared, so my sin has been removed through Jesus’ blood. Amen.