Why Jesus Talked About Hell
Life on earth can be dark and hard and painful. But imagine if all of God's love and care and influence and restraining power were removed from this world. That's even worse. At least now there's the hope that things can get better. What happens when that hope is gone? The less space we make for God in our lives, the worse things will get in the world. Imagine that carried all the way out to its logical conclusion. Imagine life without God. That's hell. And no one likes to think about this or talk about this because it's depressing.
"If a liar and deceive comes and says, 'I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,' that would be just the prophet for this people!" (Micah 2:11)
I like beer, and I like wine. But I've noticed that it doesn't make me more alert. It makes me comfortable, but it's not coffee.
When something is uncomfortable or yucky, we don't like to think about it. We would rather stay comfortable, and we can do that. We can get used to life without God. We can get used to living in hell.
It takes something out of the ordinary for us to sit up and pay attention.
Today all the headlines are talking about New York City's push to ban the sale of super-sized sugary drinks. Why is that getting so much attention? Because it's unusual.
Never mind the fact that hundreds of people were murdered in the past 24 hours, thousands of children are starving to death, millions of people told lies. None of that makes headlines because we've gotten used to it.
We've gotten used to living life without God, and life without God is hell. We've gotten used to living in hell, and nobody notices anymore.
But there was once a man who did notice. His name was Jesus, and he understood what the human heart is truly capable of when it partners with God. He knew. He saw. He noticed.
Jesus wanted people to wake up, to stop ignoring this. He knew how good life can be when it's lived with God. And he knew how dark life can be when it's lived apart from God. And that's why Jesus talked about hell so much.