|The Boastful Sorcerer
“Whether God likes it or not, I must sleep in my house today.” That was to show his disregard for God and dependence on his magical powers as a sorcerer. With that, he set to return to his village against his host’s plea to sleep over the night since it was late to trek in the dangerous forested and hilly terrain in the dark. Indeed, he reached his village very late that night. But some few metres away from his house, a snake bit him.
He fell down, groaning in pain and helpless. Neighbours heard him, came out and met him sprawling. They carried him immediately to a hospital in a nearby town where he spent the rest of the night and more days. After his discharge, he continued in his wicked acts; destroying and helping people destroy others with his sorcery.
Much later, he became terminally sick. He sent for the local Pastor. Unfortunately the pastor had travelled out. The sickness worsened by the day that he couldn’t talk nor get out of bed. The pastor returned and learnt of the sorcerer’s call and went immediately to see him. Surprisingly, the man spoke on seeing the pastor. He asked to be helped sit on the bed. Without wasting time, he told the pastor that he wanted to follow Jesus. The pastor led him to believe in Christ. The man died that night and went to be with the Lord…
Early the next day, the church bell rang in a way that told a Christian had died. People wondered, who? When told it was the sorcerer; they wondered, how? When did he become a Christian? Some asked if God will admit such a man into heaven. Even at the graveside, some whispered in small groups of ‘the strange development’ – a sorcerer being accorded a Christian funeral service. Some felt the pastor did not know what he was doing even after learning that the man became a Christian the previous day. Someone sarcastically remarked, “Those who believe that making heaven is by luck might be right after all- otherwise how could they say that this wicked man is in heaven now?”
This is what one of my missionary colleagues called “an unexpected escape to heaven”.
Like the Thief on the Cross
In the crucifixion account of Jesus, Luke 23:32-41 states that, “Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him. Finally, they came to a place called The Skull. All three were crucified there — Jesus on the center cross, and the two criminals on either side”.
The one on the left joined the mocking party. He challenged, ‘… “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself — and us, too, while you’re at it!”
But the one on the right protested and countered,
“…Don’t you fear God even when you are dying? We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.”
Then he made an unexpected but strategic request that swiftly changed his destiny
“…Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
Even in pains Jesus remained true to his word, when he said in John 6:37,
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.”
He granted the man’s request immediately,
“…I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Like the thief on the cross who made it to heaven because he trusted Jesus while dying on the cross, the sorcerer if he truly trusted Christ for his salvation made it to heaven the day he trusted and died.
How and why both made it to even is not for us to debate. Rather, it is for us to be encouraged that God’s word proclaimed and demonstrated by any means will someday lead someone to Christ and to rejoice that people get saved when we don’t expect.
Of course, believing in Jesus is the only way people make it right with God. They believe when they hear the message preached.
“Yet faith comes from listening to this message of good news — the Good News about Christ (Roman 10:17)
So did the sorcerer and the thief hear enough to get them saved?
We will look at this critically next week.
Have a wonderful week.
– Namani J Nharrel