One of the terrible side-effects of the rise of media over the past fifty years is that we are largely desensitized to violence and death. Consider these statistics I found online:
- In 1950, only 10% of American homes had a television and by 1960 the percentage had grown to 90%. Today 99% of homes have a television. In fact, more families own a television than a phone.
- The average child spends approximately 28 hours a week watching television, which is twice as much time as they spend in school.
- The average American child will witness over 200,000 acts of violence on television including 16,000 murders before age 18.
- A study of population data for various countries showed homicide rates doubling within the 10 to 15 years after the introduction of television, even though television was introduced at different times in each site examined.
I’ll include the link to more statistics below. Television is just one aspect of the non-stop onslaught on our minds and hearts. People who are my age and live in my world have no idea of the level of perversion and depravity that kids (and adults) consume through media.
Death has become commonplace. Add about forty years of our schools and universities teaching there is no God, that heaven and hell are fairy tales, that all religions are basically the same, that spiritual light and life can only be found by looking within ourselves, and it’s no wonder that no one gives much thought anymore to what happens when we die.
Jesus, however, tells us the truth. There is life after death, and we ought to think about what that might look like before we die.
In Luke 13, two tragedies had happened. Pilate had killed some Galileans and mixed their blood with pagan sacrifices. Also, eighteen people had died under tragic circumstances, when a tower had collapsed. Jesus asks His Jewish listeners if they thought these people deserved to die because they were more wicked? Did they suffer because they were worse sinners than those who escape tragedy?
The common thought is that if you’re good, you go to heaven, and if you do bad things, you might go to hell for a little while but can work your way out. Isn’t that what happens in the movies? Jesus dispels this myth:
Luke 13:3 – I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
Luke 13:5 – I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
Later in this same chapter, His disciples asked Him, “Lord, are there just a few who are being saved?” He answers, “Strive to enter the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” (13:24) He goes on to explain that simply being in the presence of God (in their case, Jesus Himself) was not enough. People can eat and drink with Jesus, and hear Him teach, but unless they repent, they will all likewise perish. A desire to go to be a good person and go to heaven isn’t enough to gain entrance into God’s kingdom. There will be multitudes who enter hell who went to church every Sunday.
For several generations now, death has become a passing thought. A favorite character dies on a show we’re watching. Bodies are simply staged props for a murder mystery. Bullets flying and bombs exploding with multiple people violently killed are just spectacular special effects. It’s not real. And if it is, our superheroes will save the day, rushing in to undo what the villains tried to do.
Unfortunately, that’s a lie. People don’t get up and walk off the stage of life; they enter into eternity to stand before the holy God who created them and give account for their sins. Only those who have repented and rolled their wicked and worthless deeds to Jesus will be able to present a zero balance to the Father, and be accepted into His home, Heaven. They will have received the gift of salvation by grace alone, through faith in Christ alone. Everyone else, no matter what religion or how many “good deeds” they did in the eyes of humanity, will all likewise perish. They will hear God say, “I tell you, I do not know where you are from; depart from me, all you evildoers” (Luke 13:27).
Jesus loved us enough to tell us the truth. He came to earth to deal with death, but if we want to escape eternal death, we have to hear the whole story, which begins with recognizing our own sin. That’s why Jesus went to the cross. He paid the price of our sin, but we must acknowledge it, take responsibility for it, and ask Him to apply the blood He shed to wipe our account clean.
Romans 3:23 – The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
One of the most encouraging, blessed verses in the Bible is found in 2 Peter 3:9. Peter is warning his readers about the coming day of the Lord when Jesus returns. He answers the question of why it seems that God delays. It’s not because His word has failed; everything He warned us would happen will happen, and there is a day of reckoning on the horizon. There’s only one reason God waits.
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
Don’t be desensitized and deceived by what passes for entertainment. Death is real. Death is final. When you take your last breath here, your eternal fate is sealed. Deal with your sins while you still have life. The Superhero already came, and His name is Jesus.