Thursday, October 14, 2004
It's always a good idea to lock your luggage when you're flying commercially. It's especially a good idea if you're going out of the country. It's an even better idea if you know where the keys for your suitcase locks are before you lock them! I was packing in a rush for my flight to Mexico, and I had my padlocks ready to go. I couldn't find the keys, however. With only minutes left before I had to leave, we launched this all-out desperate search. We checked drawers we thought we'd seen them in - no keys. We looked in creative places - no keys. I was resigned to leaving with unlocked suitcases - when I zipped my garment bag shut and I found the keys. Someone had been wise enough to attach them to the zipper that we use the lock on - right on the suitcase. What a concept! What I had been looking for everywhere had been right in front of me all along.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Key that is Right in Front of You."
In a sense, our whole life is a search for a key. A key that will answer some of life's bottom line questions: Why am I on this planet? How can I find love that I won't lose? A relationship I can totally trust? How can I get some lasting peace? What happens after I die? Well, like this guy with a lock that had no key, we look a lot of places for answers. It may be that your inner search is taking you through a series of relationships (some good, some bad), or down a variety of spiritual roads trying various approaches to God. Or maybe through some successes that were supposed to quiet your heart, but they never did. May I suggest that maybe the key you've been looking for has been right in front of you all along, on a road so familiar, so accessible that you've missed it.
Our word for today from the Word of God will take you right there. You'll have to climb a hill with me. It's called Skull Hill - outside the city of Jerusalem - and there you will find the one and only Son of God battered and bleeding on a Roman cross. We're going to take our place next to a Roman officer. In fact, he's the man personally in charge of the execution of Jesus Christ. He's a tough, hardened executioner. He's about to speak. You need to hear what he's saying. Mark 15:39, "And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how He died, he said, 'Surely this was the Son of God!'" That was the executioner. He says, "This is the Son of God!" He didn't believe that when he came there that day, but he believes it when he leaves.
What changed his heart? It says, "he saw how He died." He heard Him say, "Father forgive them." And he knew He was forgiving those who were responsible for His death. The centurion said, "Man, that's me He's forgiving." You know, it was me, too - and you.
The Bible says that "He carried our sins in His own body on the tree." The one you and I have sinned against stands ready to forgive every sin we've ever committed. He died to do that. This officer heard Jesus say then, "Today you will be with me in Paradise," to a thief on the cross next to Him. This Jesus has the power to take us to heaven with Him. It's ultimate peace to know that on the day your heart beats for the last time, Jesus is going to say to you, "Today you will be with me in Paradise."
Your search ends at the cross of Jesus. That cross where God's Son died for you is the place where you will finally find God, find peace, find unloseable love, and finally find eternal life. This could be your day to stand at His cross and know you belong to Him. I'd love to help you with that search and help you make that commitment with a booklet I wrote about it called Yours For Life, if you'll just let me know you want it. It's been a long, long search hasn't it? It doesn't have to be any longer. When the Savior on that cross becomes your personal Savior, you have found the key that unlocks it all.