Posts Tagged ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Sermon 03-09-14: “The Coming Judgment”

March 18, 2014


There is something within us that demands that justice be done. We live in a world, however, in which justice can never be done fully or perfectly. And sometimes when we try to do justice ourselves, we make things worse.

The good news is that God promises that justice will be done—on Judgment Day. But if God judges the world, that means he judges us as well. Is that still good news? Yes! And this sermon explains why.

Sermon Text: James 2:8-13

The following is my original sermon manuscript with footnotes.

Some of you watch the PBS show Downton Abbey, about a family of aristocrats and their servants living in 1920s England. One of the story lines this past season revolved around one of the servants named Anna—a “ladies maid” who is one of the most kindhearted, sympathetic characters on the show. This season she was raped by another servant who was visiting the house. It’s difficult enough today for women to come forward and seek the justice of the courts when this happens today; it was much more difficult back then. So going to the police isn’t really an option.

At first, Anna tries to keep it a secret from her husband, Mr. Bates, because she was confident that if he found out, he would definitely take the law into his own hands and murder the man who did it. And then he would be imprisoned and hanged—and what good would that do for anyone? Eventually, Mr. Bates does find out most of the truth, except Anna lies and tells him that a stranger did it—someone she had never seen before who broke into the house. Again, if Mr. Bates knew who really did it, he would hunt him down and kill him.

So, one of the suspenseful elements of the story this season was watching Mr. Bates piece it together, solve the mystery, slowly and surely figure out the full truth about who did it. What’s he going to do?

Since in the past I’ve been accused by my own family of giving away the endings of movies in sermon illustrations, I won’t reveal what happens to either the rapist or Mr. Bates. What I will say is this: the writers wrote the story in such a way that they had even Christian pastors like me rooting for Mr. Bates, hoping that he would avenge this terrible crime against his wife, Anna. I don’t think I’m the only one who felt that way, either.

We want justice to be done in this world. It angers us to see people who perpetrate evil get off scot-free. Read the rest of this entry »