Summary: As part of our ongoing study in the book of John, we have spent several messages examining some of the claims of Christ. In each of those messages we have seen different ways that Jesus claims to be God. Today we will finish this mini-series as we look
“It’s just not fair!” You’ve heard that before, haven’t you? I can guarantee you that if you’re a parent, you’ve heard that. “All the other kids get to go. Why can’t I go?” And then, being the reasonable person that you are, you give them a logical, well-reasoned defense of your position. You craft the argument so well that any reasonable person could see and understand your position. And then is when you hear it. The comeback of all comebacks—“It’s just not fair!” Well, in reality, kids aren’t the only ones who act like that, are they? Because we do the exact same thing. We look around at the world and we see things that just aren’t fair. We see people who haven’t worked a day in their life who have a whole lot more than we ever had. We see people who eat right and exercise and die earlier than the guy who smokes and drinks and gets winded when he uses the remote control. We see some of the sweetest, most successful kids come out of the most terrible homes you can imagine. And at the same time, some of the meanest kids come from wonderful homes. That just isn’t fair, is it? I think that the Psalmist was thinking along these lines when he wrote the 73rd Psalm. In the first 14 verses, he wrote, “Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no bands [pains, difficulty] in their death: but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment. Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.” Do you ever feel like that? I look around and see evil going unpunished. And at the same time, I see the righteous suffering. Starting tonight, over the next four Sunday nights, we’re going to look at suffering. Tonight, we’re going to see the source of suffering. And next week we’ll see the purpose of suffering. But still, even when we understand those things, one thing is immanently clear. Life’s not fair! It’s not fair for godly Christian couples to not be able to have children or even to lose their child. It’s not fair for that to happen at the same time that crack babies are being born left and right to mommas who don’t have a clue who daddy is. It’s just not fair. Each of us is born with an innate sense of justice. We can immediately recognize when things aren’t fair. And when things aren’t fair, it makes us cringe. It makes us cringe and cry out for justice. That’s why people protest. That’s why we demand that laws get created. That’s why we throw out old politicians and vote in new ones. And sometimes in history, that’s why we revolt. We do those things because we demand justice. The problem is, we live in an unjust world. And the only thing that we end up doing is multiplying laws, which in turn just seems to magnify and multiply the injustices. Thinking about that can lead us to the place the Psalmist was, can’t it? It can lead us to the place where our feet are almost gone and our steps have well nigh slipped. But that’s not where he stayed. Because in verses 16-20, he went on to say, “When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.” You see, we only see a small part of the picture. Yes, there is terrible injustice in the world. But that’s only a small part of the story. Because there is a time when all things will be made right. As the prophet Amos wrote, there will be a time when justice will flow down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. How can that happen? Who in the world cam make that happen? Laws can’t make it happen. Politicians can’t make it happen. Rulers and kings and leaders can’t make it happen. Who can make justice happen? Revelation 5 tells us who can make it happen. Revelation 5:1-10 says: “And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.” Do you know what those 7 seals are? They are seven seals of judgment. Verse 2: “And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.” Why was John weeping? Wouldn’t you think that he would be happy to know that none of the horrifying judgment of the rest of the book was going to happen? Wouldn’t he be happy that the wrath of God wasn’t going to be poured out on all of creation? Wouldn’t he be happy that the Lake of Fire was not going to be opened and all who are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life cast in it? Why wouldn’t that have made him happy? Because if no one opened the seals of judgment, then there would be no justice in the world. If there was no judgment, then all suffering is meaningless. If there is no judgment, then nothing makes sense. If there is no judgment, then God is capricious, cruel, pointless and evil. No wonder John wept. But then we get to verse 5: “And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Why are they worshipping Jesus in heaven? They are worshipping Jesus in heaven because He is about to rain down horrific judgment on creation. Why? Because He is worthy to do so. He is worthy because He is pure and sinless and holy. But He is also worthy because He is the Lamb who was slain. He was slain to buy us out of the judgment that we deserve. Because God is just, someone has to be punished for sin. And Jesus was slain to bear that punishment and accept on Himself the judgment that He will execute. But for those who have not accepted His redemption, judgment awaits.