Sheep, Goats, Heaven and Hell
What about heaven, hell and is God really that angry?
In Matthew 25, Jesus tells a series of stories in response to a question posed by the disciples. Their question was essentially, "Hey Jesus... when is the 'end' coming?" I'm not sure they meant what we mean today by that question but regardless, Jesus answers with a bunch of stories. He describes bridesmaids waiting with lamps, servants being given money and sheep and goats being separated by the King. If they were looking for a straight, simple, easy answer well...they didn't get it. Instead they got a series of short image rich stories each highlighting different aspects of Jesus' answer. The piece we'll be exploring today is the section about God separating the sheep and goats (aka people) and then sending some to what we might call heaven and others to hell (Jesus uses neither of those terms). The problem for many with these words is this: How can a good loving God knowingly send people to eternal suffering? Is that God? Is that our God? Images of God gleefully smiting sinners is an image that has caused many problems and much pain throughout history and yet, we have scriptures like these which seem to say, "Yeah, it isn't pretty, but that is what God is going to do." So what do we do with this? Is God really this angry king eager to dish out divine torment or could there be more to this story than meets the eye? We're so glad you're here today to help us wrestle with this last scripture in our Vice Verses series. We hope your time here draws you closer to God and closer to others for the glory of God and the sake of the world.