Today I began reading the book of Judges. Judges summarizes itself before beginning to tell all the stories we remember when we think of the book. In this summary a question is begged. See if you notice the question that is begged.
"They were in great distress. Then the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshipped them. Unlike their fathers, they quickly turned from the way in which their fathers had walked, the way of obedience to the LORD's commands. Whenever the LORD raised up a judge for them, He was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the LORD had compassion on them as they groaned under those who oppressed and afflicted them. But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their fathers, following other gods and serving and worshipping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways." Judges 2:15b-19
This introduction to the book of Judges begs the question: "What if the judge never died?"
The pattern of the book of Judges is: sin, oppression, rescue by a judge, peace and prosperity under a judge, judge dies, people become even more sinful, oppression, repeat. What if the judge never died? The people needed a judge that never dies.
We need a Judge that never dies.
The book of Judges causes us to dream of a judge that could rule forever. The New Testament proclaims that Judge. Jesus is the Judge who lives forever.
We desperately needed Jesus to die for us. We needed His atoning sacrifice on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. We needed the Judge to swoop in and save us. But like the people of Israel in the time of the judges we don't just need rescue, we need the Judge to continue to live and rule.
Jesus came and rescued and that is so important, but we must never forget that Jesus lives for us today. Because He lives we can have assurance of faith. I know that I will remain faithful to Jesus because He is the Judge that never dies. He died once to pay the penalty of sin, but He was raised from the tomb to never die. Jesus' rule as Judge will never end and neither will the peace and prosperity of His Kingdom when He brings it to earth. Those saved by this Judge will remain faithful to God because this Judge broke the cycle of the book of Judges; this Judge lives.
Thank God that Jesus didn't just die for us. Thank God daily for Jesus' death, but also thank Him for Jesus' never ending life today.