I have one daughter living on the Scandinavian coast. Weather report: cold, cloudy, wet.
I have another living in Southern Cal. Weather report: hot, sunny, dry.
Yep, that pretty much sums it up. Sounds like a fairly consistent gig for the weather man.
Now, here in the Midwest, it’s different story.
I’m writing this in the thick of twister season, and if you’re from this area of the planet, as much as we appreciate the weather man’s sophisticated technology to warn us in advance, sometimes just one look at the sky or that feel in the air can send your own personal internal radar up.
There’s just something about low-hanging, greenish clouds that makes one check that the flashlight batteries are working properly and that the cellar door is unlocked.
I think the people in Jesus’ day were even more in tune with the weather signs, since they didn’t have my Channel 7 News Team:
“Then Jesus turned to the crowd and said, ‘When you see clouds beginning to form in the west, you say, ‘Here comes a shower.’ And you are right. When the south wind blows, you say, ‘Today will be a scorcher.’ And it is.’”
Now that He’s got their attention with something they recognize, He gets a little personal…
“You fools! You know how to interpret the weather signs of the earth and sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the present times. Why can’t you decide for yourselves what is right?”
Okay, maybe more than a little personal. But I think He’s taking this in a really interesting direction.
“When you are on the way to court with your accuser, try to settle the matter before you get there. Otherwise, your accuser may drag you before the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, who will throw you into prison. And if that happens, you won’t be free again until you have paid the very last penny.”
Before we complain about Jesus mixing metaphors here, look at what He’s driving at. This has nothing to do with weather or legal proceedings. And of course we know He’s talking about our sinful state and our need for repentance before God; that’s a pretty obvious exegesis here. But I think perhaps there’s another point to be made.
This passage isn’t just dealing with sin; it’s also talking about guilt. And guilt comes in different packages. I can bear true moral guilt for something without even knowing it (as some of these people were), or knowing it without acknowledging it or just not feeling any remorse. OR, I may have (false) guilt feelings over something for which I am not morally accountable. (That’s always fun.)
Both of these, left unresolved, are extremely dangerous. The accuser, our enemy who is still quite active, continues gleefully dragging people off to his dungeon. John Bunyan referred to it as “the Castle of the Giant Despair”, which is a really great comparison, as guilt (false or otherwise) robs a Christian of joy and confidence, which in turn can actually harm those around him!
The good news—REALLY good news—is that the matter is already settled with the Judge. I don’t have to even walk along with the accuser anymore (and dare not), but instead, run to my Father, Who just happens to be the One sitting behind the bench anyway:
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
And that’s a good report that will never change.
Luke 12:54-59; Hebrews 4:16 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.