One of the blogs I read is De-Conversion, which is a blog for and by people who struggle with many of the elements of religion–especially Christianity. If you want your faith to be challenged, or you want to know what many people in the world think of your beliefs, this is the blog for you!
One of the contributors, Quester, recently made a post about hell. He concluded this post with the following retelling of Luke 10:25-37, the Parable of the Good Samaritan. This retelling struck me, because it reflects my own journey over the past 4-5 years in my understanding of Jesus, grace, and missions.
Here is what he wrote:
One day, a theologian decided to challenge a street preacher. “Preacher,” he asked, “what must we do to be saved?”
“What is written in the Gospels?” the preacher replied. “What do you read there?”
The theologian answered answered: “It is through Jesus that we are saved. We must believe in Him.”
“You have answered correctly,” the preacher replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But the theologian wanted to justify himself, so he asked the preacher, “And who is this Jesus that we must believe in?”
In reply, the preacher said: “A man was walking downtown, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stole everything, even his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him to die. After he died, Jesus came to him, wearing a frayed loincloth and a crown of thorns. Blood dripped from his hands, feet, brow and side. He was beaten but not broken, and there was a fanatic gleam in his eyes when he raised his head to snarl,
“Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.” (Mt. 25:41b-43)
Again, Jesus came to him, blond and blue-eyed with a sad smile and a pure white robe. He sat in the midst of quiet children and clean sheep and gently told the man,
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Mt. 7:21-23)
A third time, Jesus came to him, almost unrecognizably: a young, Jewish man with traces of sawdust on his faded blue jeans. When he saw the man he took pity on him. He went to him and healed his wounds, tears of compassion falling down his face. Then he took the man up in his arms, and carried him to our Heavenly Father. “Look after him,” he said, “I have paid for any debt he may owe.”
“Which of these three do you think was a saviour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The theologian replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
The street preacher smiled, “Go and do likewise.”