There is a story that I saved in one of my older files that seems very relevant for today. It starts out by saying it’s a true story about a pastor named George Thomas, from an unnamed small New England town. (any emphasis mine)
One Easter Sunday morning, Pastor Thomas came to the church carrying a rusty, bent, old birdcage and set it up on a stand by the pulpit. Everyone looked at the cage with obvious questions on their minds. Pastor Thomas gave the message below, which had an obviously deeper meaning.
“I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me swinging this birdcage. On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright.
I stopped the lad and asked what he had. He replied, ‘just some old birds.’ When I asked what he was going to do with them, he said he was going to have ‘fun’ with them. He intended to tease them and pull out their feathers, and eventually feed them to some cats.
I asked the boy how much he would take for the birds. The boy said they weren’t pretty, couldn’t sing, and were good for nothing.
I again asked how much, and the boy said $10.00. I gave the boy the $10.00, and took the cage to a tree in a grassy spot and set them free – they were saved.”
At this point, the pastor told a story of why he had brought that cage to church.
One day, Satan and Jesus were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and with an evil laugh, said he had set a trap and caught the people there. He said he used “bait” that they could not refuse. Jesus asked Satan what he was going to do with the people, and Satan said he was going to have “fun” with them.
He was going to have them marry and divorce each other; learn to drink and smoke and curse; and then teach them to make weapons to kill each other.
Jesus asked what Satan would do when he was done with them, and Satan said he would kill them all, including all offspring.
Jesus asked Satan how much he wanted for them. Satan laughed and said that Jesus didn’t want them because they’re totally no good. He said they would turn and hate Jesus, spit in His face, and kill Him.
Once more, Jesus asked, “How Much?” Satan told Him, “All your blood, tears and your life. Jesus simply said, “Done,” and paid the price.
At this point, Pastor Thomas picked up the birdcage, and without another word, left the church.
Granted, we are not in the Easter season, but rather Christmas when many celebrate the Birth of our Savior. What we need to understand is that Jesus was destined to come as our Messiah from the very beginning of creation when there were no holidays. Though God cursed the serpent, and therefore put a curse on Satan (Genesis 3), He knew from that time forward what was to take place right up to the very end of the existence of this present earth. He knew that humans could never save themselves, and they must have someone to offer the perfect sacrifice they could take hold of and be rescued.
First, Grace is being given blessings we do not deserve. Second, Mercy is not being given the punishment we do deserve. Our Lord and Savior gave us the absolute greatest gift we could ever have. For His gift to be effective, we must receive and accept it. Otherwise, it would be like leaving a present under the tree and then throwing it out when the tree is removed, never having opened it.
As humans with a sin-nature that has been passed down from Adam and Eve to every person born or that will be born on this earth, we deserve no less than to be condemned by our Heavenly Father. He is a perfect God, our Creator, and cannot tolerate any sin, large or small. Only with the proper “sacrifice” to atone for our sins can we have any Hope of an eternal life with Him. The only sacrifice that He could possibly accept would be to offer a part of Himself in our place. Jesus did not come into existence with His human birth here. He has always been with God, and is, in fact, God. (John 1:1-4)
Prior to the human birth of Jesus, God allowed temporary measures that had to be repeated often as a sign of repentance and submission. The blood of animals and birds could never satisfy His requirement of pure, sinless blood.
Jesus led a sinless life while He was here, and His Blood met all requirements of the Father at Calvary. Now, when anyone becomes a part of the Savior’s flock, they meet the criteria of Psalm 103:11-12, which states, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.” The blood of Jesus was so pure that it reached all those who, prior to Calvary, were in God’s will, and will reach all from Calvary to the end of the Millennium that will call on Him to be their Savior. He paid completely to satisfy the Heavenly Father for us.
At the same time, all who were disobedient prior to the Cross, and all who will refuse to call on Jesus and accept His gift, will appear at the Great White Throne of Revelation 20:11-15. This is not a “rewards” judgment, and all who are there will be given what degree of punishment they will suffer forever. There is no pardon there, and it will be too late to call on Jesus to be saved. Eternity is a long time to make this mistake.
God also realizes that we are humans, and we will slip and sin. As long as we have His Son as our Shepherd, He will forgive us when we confess and ask for His forgiveness (1 John 1:8-10), As humans, we can never fully understand the total scope of God’s love for us, but by faith, we know He is absolutely true to His word.
When we are saved (Romans 10:9-13), our past is just that – behind us. For those who will not be saved, their past will be paid for, in full, by them in the Lake of Fire that was originally made for Satan and his demons (Matthew 25:41).
This world is full of false prophets and antichrists that are doing everything possible to fulfill Satan’s wishes. The Father knows that more will accept this world than will accept Jesus, but He stands ready to receive and forgive all who truly repent and call out to be saved.
If you haven’t asked Jesus to be your Savior and to forgive you all your sins, right now would be a great time to do so. We do not know the day or hour that He will come to call for His flock, but it could be any time now. God does not want us to fail but will not force anyone to accept His Son. Those who do will spend all eternity in forever, imperishable, immortal, pain-free bodies with Jesus.
It’s a gift we did not earn (Grace), and without the punishment we deserve (Mercy). Jesus is the only way to the Father (John 14:6; Acts 4:12), and we cannot buy or earn our own Salvation. Being “good enough” doesn’t cut it and is not an option as we are all lost sinners (Romans 3:23). We deserve death for all we have done (Romans 6:23), but we will receive the “free gift” promised by asking Jesus into our lives, to be there forever.
Call on Jesus; develop a relationship with Him through Bible reading and prayer. Just talk to Him, nothing formal or rehearsed. He’s listening 24-7, and it gets more natural each time to talk to Him. If you’ve never read the Bible, be sure to get a true version you can understand from a reputable Christian source, and start with the book of John. From there, go to Romans, and then go to the very beginning – Genesis – and read from there on.
Before long, you too will rejoice that we have a Savior and God that loves us and didn’t leave us to Satan’s evil plan. We have a wonderful option of a Heavenly Home, and He’s coming soon to take us there. Please don’t miss the call.
Ahava B’Shem Yeshua! (Love in the Name of Jesus)