Friday, August 13, 2021
Are you a Bible quiz whiz? How many Bible verses do you know by heart? Today, we will learn not one, but two Bible verses by heart, and in almost no time at all. Then you will be well on your way to that most desirable of designations: a Bible Quiz Whiz. Okay then, open up your Bibles and put on your Bible memorization caps, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Is everyone ready to learn two very easy verses? Here we go…
The easiest of all Bible verses to memorize might be John 11:35. That’s the Gospel of John, chapter eleven, verse thirty-five. Has everyone found it? It contains just two short words: “Jesus wept.” See? It’s so simple and so very easy to memorize. Remind me now: What does John 11:35 say, aspiring Bible Quiz Whizzers? That’s right. It simply says, “Jesus wept.”
Good job! Now let’s learn the second super easy verse!
The second easiest Bible verse to memorize might be Luke 17:32. That’s the Gospel of Luke, chapter seventeen, verse thirty-two. Has everyone found it? It contains just three short words: “Remember Lot’s wife.” Again, it’s super simple and very easy. What does Luke 17:32 say, aspiring Bible Quiz Whizzers? That’s right. It says, “Remember Lot’s wife.”
Great job, everyone! You have now memorized not just one, but two very valuable verses: Jesus Wept and Remember Lot’s Wife. Repeat them after me one more time: Jesus Wept and Remember Lot’s Wife.
“Umm, Teacher, Teacher… excuse me.”
Yes, hold on, everyone. I see a hand over here. Do you have a question, kid?
“Umm, okay, yeah… so I don’t get it. Why did Jesus weep? And what are we supposed to remember about Lot’s wife?”
Oh my! Wow! Aren’t you inquisitive?! Those are two very good questions. For now, let’s wait on those questions until everyone has had a chance to perfectly memorize their verses; okay? Then maybe we will go to the pastor with what you just asked. Given all he has learned about the Bible, I am sure Pastor has the answers to your very good questions. Okay?
“Umm, okay. Do I have to wait, though? I just wondered why Jesus cried and what we’re supposed to remember about that guy’s wife. What was his name again?”
His name was Lot. Remember Lot’s wife.
“Yeah, Lot’s wife. Did she get into trouble for something? Did she do something bad?”
Well, hmm… if I recall the story correctly, Lot’s wife instantaneously turned into a pillar or statue of salt when she disobeyed an angel’s command to not look backwards at the very bad city they were fleeing from.
“Oh, wow. That is kinda weird. You say she instantly turned into a stone statue?”
Well, I think the Bible actually says that Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt. But she may have looked something like a stone statue. At least, that is always how I imagine it.
“Whoa. Still, I am confused. Why would the angel do that to her? Why did she have to turn into a statue of salt? What is so bad about turning around to look at a city? It seems like a really harsh punishment.”
Okay, kid, you’re asking a lot of tough questions. Do you really want the answers?
“Yes, I do, because Jesus specifically told us to remember Lot’s wife. Why would he tell us to remember Lot’s wife if it isn’t something important? Are we going to be in a similar situation someday? So honestly, yes, I do want some more answers. What exactly are we supposed to remember about her?”
Whether you realize it or not, you just put me in an awkward place, kid. The questions you are asking are actually very difficult. I would rather you just memorize the verse and quit with the inquisitive questions. Three short words, kid. I just wanted to entertain you with the two easiest memory verses ever. But then you started acting like you are genuinely interested in what Jesus was saying.
“Sorry, but I am genuinely interested in what Jesus said. I mean, shouldn’t we take him seriously? I thought the whole point of going to church is to take Jesus seriously.”
Fine, kid. I will give you some straightforward answers. Get ready, because this will require that you actually pay attention. Most people quickly lose interest when they realize that the answer is going to require a bit of time and effort.
“Umm, I am willing to try.”
That’s better than most people, kid. Let me try to explain some things to you. You asked a very good question a few minutes ago. You might not realize how good your question is. Your question was whether we will ever be in a similar situation to Lot’s disobedient backward-glancing wife. The shortest answer to that is yes, we will. If I say that, though, most people will think I am a bit crazy.
“It kinda does sound crazy, Teacher. Are we going to have to run away from a doomed city someday?”
Probably not. But from what I can see, Jesus was talking about a future event that will require us to make a hard and unequivocal choice between sticking with what is familiar (however evil it is) or suddenly leaving for the promise of something better but unknown.
“What does unequivocal mean?”
Lot’s wife equivocated. That means she hesitated because she was not sure what she really wanted. In her heart, she kind of liked the evil city, so she turned back, just to look. To make an unequivocal decision is to be completely decisive, and not hesitate.
“Was Jesus talking about a real event, though? Might he have meant it more generically or loosely?”
Sometimes people use the words literally and figuratively to ask that question. You are asking whether Jesus is talking about a literal future event or a figurative, hypothetical scenario. In this passage, it sure seems like Jesus is talking about a literal future event.
“But what event would that be?”
It could be one of two literal events. The first event was the siege and destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. If that is the event Jesus had in mind, then Jesus command to remember Lot’s wife might not apply to us now. Perhaps Jesus just meant that the believers living way back then needed to instantly leave Jerusalem and head to the mountains when they recognized impending danger and realized his prophecy was about to be fulfilled. But in Luke 17:20-37 Jesus does not mention Jerusalem at all, so I think he has something different in mind. I think he is talking about when he comes back. Jesus refers to the event in question as “the day when the Son of Man is revealed.” To me, that sounds like it might be a future event from our vantage point in history — an event we might live to see ourselves someday.
“Do you mean Jesus’ Second Coming?”
Yes, I do. As I read Luke 17, I cannot help but conclude that Jesus is talking about when he comes back at the end of this age. And I will even go a bit further than that. I think Jesus is describing the Rapture. Have you heard of the Rapture?
“Isn’t that when all the believers just instantly go up to heaven and leave all the unbelievers behind on earth? I thought that Pastor does not believe that.”
Yes, that is the general idea. And you’re right, a lot of pastors do not believe in the Rapture, because they think that Luke 17 and passages like it are just talking about the destruction of Jerusalem way back in 70AD. But if Luke 17 is actually talking about a future event, then it seems to describe a Rapture scenario, especially if it is read literally.
“So Jesus is telling us to remember Lot’s wife in the event of the Rapture?”
That is how I read Luke 17, yes. Jesus tells us to be ready to leave without hesitation and without equivocating in the event of the Rapture.
“Whoa! That is intense! I never heard it explained that way before.”
Admittedly, it is not a common explanation. But then again, I have not heard many, if any, sermons on Luke 17:20-37. When I read Luke 17 with the Second Coming and Rapture in mind, it just makes a lot of sense of the passage. Otherwise, I am not sure what Jesus is talking about.
“Okay. I think I get it. Jesus told us to remember Lot’s wife because we are supposed to be ready and willing to immediately leave when the Rapture happens. That’s kinda what you are saying; right?”
Yes, it is.