The actions of the so-called messiah in Waco [Editor's note: this article was written on March 11, 1993] have once again put people in mind of the fact that there is a significant difference between true religion and bent religion. There is a small minority who will use the actions of a crazy to justify their rejection of religion altogether, but for most of us it is still true that only "the fool says in his heart 'There is no God.'" And, as is normally the case, the media were quick to do some background research on the deeply religious teen who turned out to be an deluded prophet who apparently wanted to provoke a fatal gun battle with law enforcement personnel so he could mimic the martyrdom of Jesus Christ. If it weren't so tragic, it would be a grand joke: a deluded man claiming to be Jesus Christ!
There is one thing that all men lack to a significant degree that keeps them all from being enough like Jesus for anyone to mix them up: love.
Consider the love of Jesus. According to the Scriptures, He is the living God Who created both heaven and earth and all that is in them. So, having such power and wisdom as to be Creator, He obviously had nothing to gain by offering redemption to men who had sworn to oppose Him. But, with nothing to gain, He descended from His exalted estate to become man--and then He descended even further to submit to the death of crucifixion. And He did this knowing that no man would ever love Him enough in this world to follow His example perfectly.
And besides this, He died voluntarily for men who did not wish Him to do so knowing that many would come in His name during the course of history and so distort His message that multitudes would be left in deep confusion. When I lived in Texas, there was a story in a newspaper one day about a profane man who was in a fishing boat on one of the lakes in East Texas. This man was notorious for his antagonism toward God, and while he was out on the lake, he stood up in his boat and raised his fist toward heaven and cursed God and called upon Him to prove His existence by striking him down. And suddenly lightening struck from heaven and fried him. It was so shocking that it made the daily newspapers. That's my point. Consider the love of Jesus: in all of history, His willingness to zap rebellious men in the very act of their ranting profanity is so rare that one might hear of such a case once in all his lifetime. Normally Jesus does nothing in the face of such ranting foolishness. His love is very great.
Folks, Easter is just around the corner. It is a celebration of resurrection. But, more, it is a celebration of a kind of love that most people do not understand, and therefore, ignore. But, His love continues. Prophetic Scripture warns us of a day of wrath to come when Jesus' patience will finally end, but so far His love has held that day off. He's waiting. Is it you He is waiting for? Are you one of His lost ones that He is so intent upon seeking that He refuses to react to the violence and evil of ungodly men? Isn't it time you stopped putting Him off?
Where will Easter morning find you? Wasting away, or worshiping?