Opinion

Expect more than one wise guy in heaven

I remember in high school one of my favorite teachers of all time, Mr. Terhaar, used to affectionately call me a wise guy. I have no idea what he was talking about, since I was a model student, listened intently and rarely disrupted class...OK, that isn’t true. But he did call me a wise guy often and oddly enough I was always a little bit flattered. I would learn later there is a big difference between a wise guy and a wise man.

Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe (Proverbs 28:26).

Who were the wise men who came to find the baby Jesus and how do we know they were wise? It’s important to remember these men were not Jews and they were not simply from East Jerusalem. They were men from the Far East, most likely Persia, and they would have traveled for nearly two years to cover the 900-mile trek to Bethlehem through the desert. In a time of BMWs, airplanes, helicopters and trains that may not sound too impressive, but in a time of camels, donkeys and sandals this was a perilous and courageous journey. Somehow these magi had heard of the God of Israel and believed in him. Not only did they believe, but they were willing to forsake all to pursue what they believed to be the truth and who they believed to be God! Their pursuit of the truth is what earned them the title of wise men.

I wonder how many Jews of that day, who all their lives had heard the teachings of the Old Testament, didn’t even venture across town to fall at the feet of their creator? Many of the Jews of that day stood around Jesus questioning his words and doubting where he came from. They are no different than a lot of people today, exchanging the pursuit of the truth for the pursuit of questions. We have many witty philosophers with poorly constructed arguments built on their own folly and conceit, ever learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

The difference between a wise man and a fool has nothing to do with exposure to truth, but rather the pursuit of truth. A fool walks right past wisdom all the day long and mistakes it as common. Wisdom stands in the street crying out and the fool is annoyed by the clamor. Wisdom is gained in the acknowledgement of our own sinful heart and at the revelation of God’s love, power and mercy. But a fool will harden against the truth and cling to a bed rather than knowledge. A fool examines God skeptically and questions his ways. A wise man falls at the feet of their creator and seeks instruction. A fool stands toe-to-toe with God and likes his chances while a wise man takes a dive in the first round.

When this wise guy discovered God’s word I fell in love with it. It proved itself to me so profoundly and destroyed the web of lies I had become ensnared in. Like the Bible says in John 8: 31-32, “If you continue in my word then you are my disciples indeed. Then you will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free.” The truth is worth pursuing because it sets you free! Jesus is the truth and he is worth pursuing with your whole life.

If you have never confessed him as your lord and savior, do it today and ask him to come into your life and set you free. If you are already a believer, I urge you not to stop pursuing him. Like the way young lovers pursue one another, don’t allow your love to wax cold. You will never exhaust the depths or height or breadth of God’s love. Many believers are just coming into the revelation of what it means to be free and made righteous by faith in Christ alone. There is a powerful revelation of God’s love and grace coming forth. This revelation will reach the lost and free the Saints of God who have become entangled again in bondage of the law. In Christ we have no more guilt, shame or condemnation because they were nailed once and for all to the cross. We can rest from our works which could never make us righteous. Righteousness is obtained by faith in Jesus Christ alone and we are saved by his grace and we are kept by his grace.

I have a feeling there will be more than one wise guy in heaven.

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