We have been watching the video Soul put out by Christianity Explored for youth group time. The video and materials that come with it are intentionally evangelistic, so any visitors will get to hear the gospel or at least part of it (the video is 7 weeks long). The benefit for those in the youth group is that they get to better understand it or believe it for the first time. I never assume everyone who regularly comes is a Christian.
In addition the youth are afforded a way to learn the gospel in a way that they can share it in the language of those outside the church, as opposed to "simply" using words like "ask Jesus into your heart" that only people in the church understand.
But the final benefit of hearing and re-hearing the gospel is that it provides so much application for believers as well. For instance, the video highlighted the resurrection, but spent time explaining one of the "perks" of the resurrection for Jesus' followers: Jesus is the Great Judge.
Jesus is being "judged" by the high priests, he tells him that they will see "The Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds in heaven (Mark 14)." Jesus is ultimately saying, "You're judging me now, but you will see me judging you in just a bit. And I'm right and you're wrong." What irony: that the one being judged is actually the just judge of all!
So what difference does that make? Well the video highlighted some helpful stuff. First of all that no one will pull a "fast one" on God. Jesus will have the last laugh. Not the Taliban, murderers, rapists, etc....
Since Christians don't stand on their record but Jesus' record, the image of a Great Judge should provide comfort. But it also makes a huge difference in life. We went a bit further than the video to mine this truth for more application.
Oprah teaches us to not let anyone judge us (meaning don't let anyone tell you are sinning, even if you are). Paul teaches us to not let anyone judge us according to the new moon or a Sabbath (Col 2:16). I think he means that we can defend our not celebrating new moon or special Sabbaths (not referring to the weekly Sabbath). Don't cave. Relax. You're in the right. Let Jesus take care of it.
But what happens when people do judge us incorrectly? What happens when other Christians judge us according to standards not in line with the gospel? I think the Jesus response to the high priest applies for both situations: "you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power."
Whether our accusers are Satan and his goons (the great accuser), non-Christians, or Christians, we will all face the great judge. Thankfully.
Give it to Jesus. If we're right, we'll be vindicated. If we're not, we'll be forgiven. Win-win.
Now that's not always easy to do. In fact, whenever I'm judged incorrectly (as far as I know), I hate it. It seems so unfair. But it's not nearly as unfair as what was done to Jesus. And I want to retaliate. Yet ultimately why I demand justice now is that I don't believe what Jesus says. That's really it.
But there is also hope in this life too. Consider Paul's words to Timothy:
Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds......At my first defense, no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might by fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen."
-II Tim 4:14, 16-18
That perspective can be ours when we believe. Lord give us faith to believe.