When I was a child, I used to love getting asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I loved it because the answer to that question was never the same. Like most kids, I was constantly changing my mind about what I wanted to be one day (and believe me, I still haven’t figured it out what I’m going to be when all is said and done).
But I remember that there was a long period where I really wanted to be a lawyer. That was my dream. Coincidentally, this happened to be right around the time of A FEW GOOD MEN – the Hollywood hit starring Tom Cruise, Demi Moore and Jack Nicholson. Man I loved that movie!
(even more coincidental was the fact that I also wanted to be an Navy pilot after seeing TOP GUN – the original Tom Cruise classic – where Maverick and Goose stole all of our hearts. “I feel the need…for speed. Whoa!” What can I say. We all have our little quirks. Mine is Tom Cruise movies. Judge not, lest ye be judged.)
Anyway, back to my point. I never did become a lawyer but I did end up reading a lot about them and watching a lot of movies about them. And eventually, when I made it to college, I took a law class and one of the coolest experiences was when we served as jurors in a mock trial.
I remember it like it was yesterday. Here we were, a group of students gathered in the courtroom before the trial. We were carrying about our normal business – laughing, joking, chatting away – completely casual and relaxed. Until……
….THE JUDGE WALKED IN. That was when everything changed drastically. You see, once the judge walks in, the court is in session. And that means it’s time for business.
Jesus once said, “For judgment I have come into this world” (John 9:39).He also said, “Now is the judgment of this world” (John 12:31).
Wait a minute…I thought Jesus came into the world to save the world, not to judge the world? Why does He seem to be saying otherwise in the above verses?
Judgment doesn’t mean punishment. Judgment simply means standing before the Judge. There are innocent people in courtrooms all over America who are awaiting “judgment.” For them, judgment doesn’t mean punishment; it means exoneration or freedom or validation. It means the end of a long struggle and a chance to finally see the judge and hear him pronounce their freedom.
Simply put, judgment means standing before the judge. That’s why Jesus said what He said. He is the true Judge of the universe and once the Judge (Jesus) walks into the courtroom (your life), it’s time for judgment!
“For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22)
That’s why I believe that Judgment Day is coming much sooner than you think. It might even be right in front of you today. Yes, there will be a Judgment Day at the end when all is said and done and it’s time for us to move on to the next life – but every day where you see Jesus and He walks into your life is a judgment day in and of itself.
For example, do you remember the time when Jesus was on “trial” before Pontius Pilate? I put the word “trial” in quotes because this is the epitome of absurdity. Jesus stands before Pilate as the accused and Pilate sits on the throne as judge. But the reality is quite the opposite. This wasn’t Jesus’ judgment day; it was Pilate’s judgment day. He was the one on trial and unfortunately for him, it didn’t turn out so well.
Here is an excerpt from John 19:10-16. You tell me who’s judgment day is at hand?
Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”
From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, “If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar’s friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.”
Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led Him away."
That was it for Pilate. That was his judgment day. It doesn’t matter if he lives 1 day or 1 million days, that was his chance. He had a private one-on-one session with the Judge and instead of asking for mercy, or confessing his sins, or seeking strength to do what’s right, he chose to act in the most cowardly manner possible – even though he knew he was guilty.
“When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.” (Matthew 27:24).
That was his judgment day. That was when he stood before the Judge of the universe and sealed his own fate. Why? Because he faced the Judge and confessed his own guilt.
Contrast that with the day that the Samaritan woman met Jesus (see John 4) or the day that Zaccheaus came face to face with Jesus (see Luke 19:1-10) or the day that Peter realized that Jesus was more than an ordinary teacher (see Luke 5:1-11).
Stop thinking about Judgment Day as some far away event in time.
It is much closer than you think. Every day that you come face to face with the Judge – THAT’S YOUR JUDGMENT DAY! Remember that today if you hear His voice, or receive a message from His Word, or feel the gnawing of the Holy Spirit within you.
I’ll state my opening question once again – are you ready to see the Judge? If not, what are you going to do about it?