Bible Verse: “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many.” (Hebrews 9:27-28)

Scripture Reading: Revelation 20:1-15

At the risk of completely alienating our readership I am going to refer to the most overworked, overviewed, overspent, overboard event of the century: the O.J. Simpson trial. As soon as Judge Ito indicated the jury had reached a conclusion and that the outcome would be read at a specific time, the world seemed to take its cues from the case.

We wanted to hear those much-awaited-for words. We wanted to see O.J.’s face when they were read. We all wanted it to finally be over. It’s like the whole world was on its tiptoes waiting for one thing: the verdict.

I could almost feel O.J.’s heartbeat, and then I discovered it was mine. The tension I felt as I waited for the jury to pronounce his fate gave me flashbacks to my past and “flash forwards” to my future.

Well do I remember standing before the judge. Well do I remember the gravel in my mouth and the knots in my gut. How can I ever forget the shortness of breath, the overwhelming sense of shame, the final judgment? I was guilty and I knew it. So did they. The verdict? Guilty! I hung my head and paid the fine.

To the future my mind also wandered. I tried to picture what the Bible calls, “The Last Judgment,” when every person’s life will be judged against the absolute holiness of God. I realized that in that trial there will be no uncertainties. The judge won’t be bought nor the jury swayed.

In Heaven’s courtroom the verdict will not be a surprise. We already know it. Has any person ever lived 100% perfect without failure? All of us are fully aware that we have missed that mark of perfection. Everyone of us is, therefore, guilty!

That future judgement used to scare the living daylights out of me (if I dared to let myself think about it). As I contemplate it now, however, I get rather excited. Not because I am innocent. Not because my good outweighs my bad. Not because I have connections. Not because I am religious. Not because I can present a good case. I’m guilty through and through and I know it.

I get excited about the future judgment because my case has already been tried. Although I was judged and proven guilty, my full penalty was carried and paid for by another. Jesus Christ, the only person in human history to live a perfect, sin-free life, willingly chose to die on my behalf, paying my penalty. He took my capital punishment. He paid for my failure.

Because I have accepted his payment for my offences, I am declared, “forgiven.” Those who put their trust in Jesus Christ discover a complete release from the penalty of their failure.

O.J. Simpson’s trial was quite a media event, but “we ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” The big trial is still to come. We’ll all be involved. Because of Jesus Christ, I’m on tiptoes waiting for the day!

— Dave Petrescue in Pastor Dave’s Reflections
©Brenda Petrescue, 2008. Used By Permission.

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