Even before I write the first sentence of this post, I know it will offend some of you. In fact I realize full well that there are a number of you for whom this will be the last visit to 'Homeward Bound'. If its any consolation, my intention is not to offend, but I feel I have been given something I need to share, and I will bear the burden, and accept any consequences that come along with my decision. Before you go away angry, please read the post in its entirety!
Ever since I posted the article on a tale of three cities this morning, something has been nagging at me. At first I didn't know what it was, a word, a sentence, some turn of phrase that that set off my sub-conscious alarms, which my natural mind either glanced over, or refused to see because I was so focused on the task at hand.
The feeling that I had missed something, something big, stayed with me throughout the day, and as much as I tried, I couldn't shake that feeling.
After going to the grocery store, I finally turned my laptop back on, and yes, I am not proud to say it, I actually read my own post from this morning.
Only when I read the last few words of the scripture I quoted in Luke, did I realize what I had missed. At the end of His lamentation over Israel, Jesus essentially said, all these things will come upon you, 'because you did not know the time of your visitation'.
That phrase got me thinking, always a dangerous thing, and as I continued to ponder it, it was like the tumblers of a lock falling into place, each one getting me closer to something that was locked beyond, until finally it opened up.
For many years now, many within the church have nurtured and fostered the idea that God is standing by, throughout our lives, ready to extend the proverbial olive branch, ready to save us with our dying breath, hoping, just hoping, that we look up into the starry sky one night and wonder, and perhaps wave hello. This mentality has caused many a soul, to put off repentance, because there was always tomorrow, and God would still be there, even if today I felt a tug in my heart, a prickling of the soul.
There is another, oh so comforting idea for the masses, that is being spread without regard for truth, that at any time, in any season of one's life, the heart is capable of answering the holy calling.
After you've lived your life, after you've sown your oats, after you've settled your affairs, in the last few minutes of your life on earth, with the feeling of accomplishment and a job well done, you turn your gaze toward the eternal, thereby being added peacefully to the number of those who have entered their eternal rest.
I believe it was Augustin who once said, that a man coming to God in his old age, is like giving God whatever was left over from the devil. It doesn't sound very pleasant, but it has a ring of truth to it nonetheless.
The Bible has a different philosophy on salvation, than what we in our modern age have come to perceive as the way. It is true, God is calling in perpetuity, arms always open, ready to receive, offering love and forgiveness to those that would receive it, but man doesn't always have the capacity to receive them. In our pilgrimage on earth there are moments, times of visitation, when the door is opened to us, and we must walk through.
The Word speaks to us in various places concerning the time of our visitation, which we must know, acknowledge and receive, but it also speaks to us of men whose conscience has been seared, men left to the desires of their hearts. The Bible speaks to us of being given time to repent, but also of hardening one's heart.
Between the time that Jesus was captured, after being betrayed by Judas, and his carrying of the cross up the hill of Golgotha, there was a span of about four hours, wherein he stood before two of the most powerful, influential, and preeminent figures of that time. I am of course referring to Pilate and Herod.
Two men who had power, who had much influence in the eyes of the people, two men who had much in common, yet were treated very differently by Christ.
The gospel of John tells us that Jesus answered all of Pilate's questions, speaking to him of the Kingdom, of truth and of salvation. In essence Jesus was evangelizing Pilate. Another indicator that Pilate was going through his time of visitation, is that his wife had had a strange dream, a prophetic dream which she had shared with him. He had heard enough concerning salvation, and concerning the Savior, that he was now able to either receive the gift, or reject it.
The gospel of Luke tells us of the way Jesus treated Herod, and as we can see in the pages of scripture it was very different than his treatment of Pilate. The gospel tells us that Herod was exceedingly glad when he saw Jesus, for he had desired a long time to see Him, for he had heard many things about Him, yet Jesus stood before him refusing to answer his questions. Jesus looked upon Herod and saw a man whose hour of visitation had already come, a man who had rejected salvation, He looked upon Herod and saw a walking corpse. It was the first time, that Jesus had met either Herod, or Pilate, so the question begs to be asked, why did he treat the two so differently?
The answer can be found in the past. Both men had met Jesus for the first time, but one of them had heard the Word of God before that day, He had been given the opportunity to receive salvation, and rejected it outright.
Herod was the man who some time prior had kept John the Baptist in his prison, a prison located beneath his home, and every day, he would hear the voice of the most powerful and incisive evangelist ever to walk the earth cry out 'repent, repent, repent of your wickedness.'
Though he heard the message, he did not repent, what's more he killed the messenger, hoping the message would die along with him. His time of visitation had passed. God had no more sermons for Herod.
Maybe this has gotten you thinking. Maybe this is not the way you imagined God at all. In fact it is only one of His attributes. God is not mocked, nor will He be put off indefinitely. God is not a twenty four hour shop, there for our convenience, ready to pour out blessings.
Blood was shed, a sacrifice was made, suffering was had, and death was experienced by none other than the Son of God. Do not belittle His sacrifice dear friend, do not believe the stories of the bearded fellow, up in heaven, smiling down, shaking his head ruefully and smiling at our indecision, at our callousness, at our indifference for what He has done.
God is an all consuming fire, and for every man a time of visitation has been set aside, divinely scheduled, and it is in that hour that you must either embrace eternity, or turn your back on love.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.