Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The list of grace

Now, this is what the Lord says, the one who created you, O Jacob, and formed you, O Israel:
“Don’t be afraid, for I will protect you. I call you by name, you are mine. Isaiah 43:1 (NET)

In the early 1980’s, a situation comedy, Night Court, aired on television. The leading character, Judge Harry Stone, was an unconventional judge who presided over a circuit court that was held at night. In the very first episode, Judge Stone described how he was appointed judge. It seems that on a Sunday evening, which was the last day that the mayor of New York was in office, he needed to appoint a judge. The mayor had a list of 1000 candidates, and he began calling each name on the list, but nobody answered. Finally, the mayor called the last name on the list, which was Harry Stone, and Harry answered the phone. It seems that the most unlikely candidate for judge won the appointment because he was home and answered the phone.

However, Harry makes a point that is worth thinking about. He said: “You know, my name was at the bottom of that list of prospective judges because I haven’t had much experience really. But, every candidate goes through a screening process, and whatever anybody thinks of that list, I was on it.”

The point is not that Harry was at the bottom of the list and answered the phone—the point is that Harry was on the list and answered the phone. He was qualified for the appointment, no matter how the appointment came about. This is a wonderful analogy for God’s saving grace. Christ died on the cross for all of us. We are all qualified to be on the list because God personally wrote all of our names on the list with the blood of His own son. God calls each of us by name—each and every one of us—to an eternal appointment, but it is up to us to answer the call.