by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson
In an old commercial, in a noisy room full of people, a man says, “My broker is E. F. Hutton. And E. F. Hutton says . . .” And the room grows suddenly silent.
“When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen,” says the commentator.
Dining with a large group, I felt like I was in an E. F. Hutton ad when the man next to me said, “You know, the longer I live, the more I can’t imagine a loving God turning anyone away from heaven, just because they don’t believe in Jesus. Can you?”
Time froze as the image of Jesus the night of his betrayal popped into my mind. I pictured him sweating drops of blood as “He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death” (Hebrews 5:7 NASB).
I looked at my companion, oblivious to whether or not those around me were listening, and reminded him that Jesus had asked if it were possible to avoid the cross (Matt. 26:36–56). “I can’t imagine a loving Father forcing his only Son to die on a cross if there was any other way to God,” I said.
“I never thought of it that way,” he said. Then he turned away to talk with someone else.
My companion’s declaration made me realize that when God seems narrow, it’s safe to say we’re looking at the situation from the wrong perspective. Maybe it’s better to say he is precise, because he knows what works and what doesn’t.
When my husband and I visited Yad Vashem—The World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem—story after story of needless cruelty crushed me. A picture of a smiling mother and her two-year old son was followed with the story of how the Nazis separated them and sent them to different camps before murdering them both. I left a wet mess.
If just reading short snippets of those World War II horrors pained me, I can only imagine what it was like to live them. Jesus did more than live them; blameless Jesus, who’d never had even an impure thought, became each horrendous sin.
The agony Jesus experienced on the cross sliced much deeper than the physical pain of crucifixion. Jesus took on His body every sin that has or ever will be committed. That means He took the sins that were committed against us as well as the ones we’ve committed. He suffered in a few hours what would have taken the rest of us an eternity to suffer.
He took the hell we deserve, so we could share His heaven.
Study the founder of any religion, and you will discover a flawed person who needed a Savior. Jesus is the only person since Adam and Eve born spiritually alive and without sin. He is the only one who can supply spiritual life.
If there had been another way to save us, Jesus would have skipped the cross. But there was no other way.
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12 NIV
(Adapted from Little Faith, Big God, Feb. 2020)
About the author: Drawing from her walk with Christ, and years as a Christian counselor, coach, and Bible teacher, Debbie W. Wilson helps women give themselves a break so they can enjoy fruitful and grace-filled lives. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. She and her husband Larry founded and run Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit counseling, coaching, and Bible study ministry. Debbie is an AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) certified speaking and writing coach.
God expects spiritual growth to be a process. Do you? By exploring the biblical men and women of Hebrews 11 who failed, got up again, and finished well, Little Faith, Big God will inspire you to persevere in your own faith. Present-day stories and guiding questions invite personal reflection, application, and discussion.
Join the conversation: What encouraging thoughts has God given you in this Easter season?