Practical Proverbial, from Hebrews, 30 November 2016

 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  Hebrews 4, verse 16.

Let’s talk about Fidel Castro.  We’ll even cut to the chase about the conversation:   Jesus died to save Fidel Castro.

Since Fidel assumed room temperature last week, I’ve been posting online about what a monster he was.   Fidel was a cold blooded murderer.   I know people in Miami whose family was destroyed because of Castro’s rampage in 1950s and 60s Cuba.   He murdered thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of the countrymen he led because he considered them a threat to his grip on power.   He exported his communist cult of death all over the planet and, at least once, nearly caused a nuclear war.  Fidel lived to prove he hated God.  Fidel Castro was a hate-filled relic of the past and a timely reminder of Satan’s hold on so much of our fellow brothers and sisters.  He’s in the same league as Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Charles Taylor, Mao Tse-tung and every other tyrant who willfully, gleefully murdered to gain temporal power.

And Jesus died to save him.   As much as I despise what Fidel did in this life and as unforgiveable as his sins may seem to humanity, it is my sincere prayer that, at some time in these last few years, Fidel repented and accepted Jesus.  It is my sincere desire to see him in heaven one day.   Let’s keep it real:   it’s unlikely that Fidel did that.   It’s unlikely that he bent his dictator knee and confessed that he needed Jesus, that Jesus was more than he was.   It’s unlikely…but I hope it happened.   I truly do.   If he didn’t, then the moment Fidel died, a moment of sadness crossed the face of Jesus because one of His beloved people finally refused His greatest gift.  Jesus died for Fidel…just like He did for Billy Graham and Pope Francis…just like he did for Hitler, Mao and the rest…just like He did for you and me.

If we, as followers of Jesus, can’t bring ourselves to say that then we, as followers of Jesus, are hypocrites.   If we can’t say that, then we don’t have the confidence to approach God’s throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.   For people like Fidel, me, and you, our time of need is every minute of every day.   You and I can’t deny that Fidel’s sins were bigger and much more public than our own, but in God’s eyes, ours are just as big, bad, and bold.  A sin is a sin is a sin, even as some have bigger human consequences than others.  All of them are unholy rebellion against Jesus’ holy love.

Jesus lived and died so that we, as sinners just like Fidel, could approach God’s throne of grace with confidence.   So that we could lay aside the spiritual death of our sins and embrace the free gift of life that is confessing how we believe in hope that Jesus died for us.   Our Savior, who became one of us and is fully man like us, lived, died, and lives again to prove that He overcame the penalty of our sins:   the natural consequence of death.  Our Savior and great High Priest enters His Holy of Holies because He atoned with His blood for my sins and Fidel’s.   He sat down at the right hand of the Father to intercede now for us in our moments of need.   As we’ve seen, every moment is one in need.

Castro was a brutal monster.   More people on this planet suffered because of his life than benefited from it.  The things he did were crimes against liberty and crimes against God’s justice.  I wish that, during his life, Fidel had been subject to human justice for the terrors he brought on others.   Part of me wishes he could have tasted the pain and anguish he caused in others.   That never happened and still the communist dictator died the same lonely death as a pope in Rome.   Yet even communist pagan Fidel Castro was the object of God’s mercy.   Jesus loved Fidel and Jesus died for Fidel the same way He did for Dave Terry and you, friend reader.   It’s my sincere prayer that Fidel received that mercy.

For more reading:   Hebrews 7:19, Ephesians 3:12.

Lord, I pray, have mercy on us sinners.   Forgive us the terrible things we do and grant us Your mercy and peace.

 

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