new life fellowship

serving jesus christ the king

October’s Verse

(From the Irish Christian Calendar 2011)

A man drowning. Not waving but drowning. Frantic. From safety a hand reaches out. Grab on! Still he thrashes. Grab on! More thrashing around—panic. Take hold! The thrashing ceases. A gradual sinking… too late, now.

Why? A voice from the depths. I didn’t need rescued. Not by him. I was doing fine myself. I couldn’t admit that he was right. It would cost too much. I’d lose face. What would my family think—rescued by him. Just pride. Pride. And fear. Fear of what? Not drowning. People. Opinions. Talk. Just pride really.

And where has it got me?

“These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” – John 5:39-40

Haunting words from Jesus Christ. In Ireland we have the scripture in Irish and English and many other languages. It’s only a click away on the internet, a step away on a shelf or cupboard, a walk away in Easons or other bookshops.

But it’s not the having that counts, it’s our hearts—
“yet you refuse.”

Haunting words. Words that will haunt for all eternity. French philosopher John Paul Sartre said, “Hell is other people”. He was wrong. Part of Hell will be ourselves. Our own memories—recriminating, accusing, “I had the message, yet I refused it. I had the opportunity and I refused. Why O why did I not take it? How could I have been so stubborn, so proud, so fearful of others’ opinion?”

Haunting words, for our attitude to Jesus in this life determines the next. If we accept him in this life he will accept us in the next. If we refuse him in this life, he will refuse us in the next. It is not our actions or our good lives, but our acceptance or refusal of Jesus’ salvation that determines it.

And one of the staggering things about Jesus’ statement is that he spoke it to the devoutly religious of his day, even to people who
‘diligently study the Scriptures’ (John 5:39). They thought that by reading and keeping commands they were in. Jesus says that it’s about more than the commands. It is about him—‘testify about me…come to me’. You can come so close, and still refuse the hand that reaches out.

You who read this column, thank you for reading, but can I ask “Have you got Him?” Or is something causing you to hold back, as yet, refusing to come to him that you may have life?

Haunting words. May they haunt you here, so that they do not haunt you there.