Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets. (Luke 6:23 NASB)
People want to know what they gain by following Jesus, but their language is important. Whenever I hear, “How is He relevant today?” I’m immediately suspicious that I’m dealing with someone for whom heaven is not much of a motivator. When it comes to our relationship with God, that’s a problem.
The reason heaven is so important is that the things people seek prior to belief in Jesus are things we gain in heaven. What Jesus holds out to us is eternity with Him, life lived forever in His presence. But lately we have capitulated this position to those in our culture who seek instant gratification. They believe God should answer in such terms like everything else in their world.
Some trees take thousands of years to reach maturity, rocks remain virtually unchanged for millennia, and the light of stars is sometimes a million years old. But if we don’t see a benefit this week, the offer can’t be real. The offer to “hang out” with the Creator should meet our time schedule rather than His? When did that start making sense?
Such a position neither declares Jesus is Lord, nor has any belief that God raised Him from the dead. Of what redeeming value is it? How can such faithlessness save? In a sense, unless we are heading for heaven where Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, we deny Him access to our lives on the trip. Unless we receive suffering, pain, and trouble on this road to heaven, we will never make it to the end of it.
Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. (Luke 6:22 NASB) If we want to live a “blessed” happy life, then it comes through being hated, ostracized, insulted, and scorned. You can pick another, easier road, but it won’t lead to heaven.
That’s my small view through the knothole. What’s yours?