Last night Karen and I were watching the Food Network and we saw two episodes of Bobby Flay’s “Throwdown” where he is given an envelope of instructions. In these instructions he’s told what food dish he has to make and what chef he has to challenge. It reminded me of the old Mission Impossible episodes I used to watch as a child
It starred Peter Graves as Mr. Phelps and he would always receive an envelope with pictures and a tape inside that would start, “Good morning Mr. Phelps. Your mission, should you decide to accept it…” There would be a brief explanation of the mission and then it would finish with: “as always, should you or any of your IM force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions.”
And then the most famous part…wait for it! “…this tape will self-destruct in five seconds”
Now that was great television!
What was so intriguing about the show is that I could never figure out how the IMF team was going to accomplish their mission. Thinking back on my late son Eddie’s question when he was a boy, “Dad, what if Jesus never came?”, I contemplated that this morning in light of today’s verse from John’s gospel:
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:17)
Imagine a scene from Mission Impossible with Jesus playing Mr. Phelps’ part and God being the sender of the envelope. It might go something like this:
“Good morning My Beloved Son. Your mission, should you decided to accept it, is to save the world from eternal damnation. You will have to leave your throne, be born of a virgin, live the life of a carpenter’s son, and you won’t get to preach until you are 30. You will be arrested by those you came to save, beaten, scorned, ridiculed, and then crucified and die. But before you die, I will pour all of humanity’s sins upon your glorious body and soul and you will die in them.”
As a human Jesus might have thought, that’s impossible; I’ll never accomplish this mission. But He knew His Heavenly Father. Jesus knew that the grace of heaven would be poured upon Him and that is why as a man He prayed constantly. (Most of you missed that) I said, that is why as a man He prayed constantly! And contrary to some New Testament-only Christians, Jesus put His stamp of approval on the Old Testament:
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” (Matthew 5:17)
And unlike the fictitious evil men that Mr. Phelps and his team had to face every week on Mission Impossible, Jesus faced a real and powerful enemy:
“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” (Hebrews 2:14-18)
As Christians we can never rightly say, “It’s too hard; it’s just impossible!” The passage above delivers that response feeble. Jesus knows what we are going through because He went through it; that’s what makes Him the Sympathetic High Priest.
After dealing with the rich young ruler, Jesus astonished His disciples with this:
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’ When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, ‘Who then can be saved?’ But Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'” (Matthew 19:23-26)
So rich people are going to have a hard time going to heaven? Yes, if they love their riches more than God and believe those riches will buy them salvation. But with Jesus, those riches can be used for the glory of God, spreading the gospel, and meeting the needs of the Body of Christ. So being rich does not automatically disqualify you. As Jesus said, with God all things are possible.
I am so glad that my Jesus decided to take on the most important mission ever given and achieved in humanity’s history. And because of this mission possible accomplished through the blood of Jesus Christ, at the moment of faith I received a life that is endless and one that is shared with my Lord.
When was the last time you thanked the Savior for life everlasting? Do you think He hears it too much; do your thank you’s to Jesus bore Him? I doubt that you and I say it enough to become too much to the Lord.
Do you even have eternal life; are you saved? If not, why not?
Won’t you believe unto Jesus and receive this eternal life?
I’ll be praying for you.
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Copyright © 2010 David Jeffers