Pretty Good People?

Angelynn and I drove home from Searcy yesterday, getting home at might night. So now with the Pepperdine Lectures and Harding's graduation in my rearview mirror, I can now return to the old grind. I love the old grind! Back to the blog from our daily Bible readings--

For the third time in our daily Bible reading, today we come to the story of the crucifixion of Jesus. And it is excruciating (Latin, “of the cross”) every time we read it. In the greatest, most ultimate act of love and sacrifice that the world has ever known, the perfect Son of God choose to die so that his imperfect and rebellious creation might not die. Our sinfulness, rebellion and insistence on going out own way means that we are the ones who deserve to be on that cross.

Of course, we don’t really believe that except in the most general terms. We basically see ourselves as pretty good people; we’re not perfect, of course, but then again, nobody is perfect. Compared to the great unwashed masses in the world today, we are actually pretty good people. Most of us if we are pushed will admit, “Yes, I am a pretty good person.”

The eyes that saw the cross saw something else entirely. Jesus told the women of Jerusalem, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children…” (Luke 23:28). Jesus’ concern was not pointed at himself but at the people he came to save. Why? Harder times were coming, darker times in the human heart. Jesus says, “For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” (23:31). If such evil could be generated in human hearts while the Son of God lived on the earth, then what would happen after Jesus returned to heaven?

When left to our own devices, we really aren’t pretty good people. Maybe sometimes we look pretty good in comparison to others. I look pretty tall when standing next to Roger. But then there was that time I met Julius “Dr. J” Erving and I looked pretty not-so-tall. We can declare ourselves as “pretty good people” only as we compare ourselves to others. But that is only a game we play, right?

Jesus didn’t die for pretty good people. He died to save sinners in full rebellion against the Holy God. He died because the only way that we can ever become good and holy is for his goodness and holiness to be applied to us through faith in what happened that day at the cross.

What would you have done had you been in that crowd watching the crucifixion of Jesus? Probably the same things that all those other pretty good people did. But the real question is, "What are you going to do with Jesus NOW?"