From Pastor Johnnie R. Newton.....
As I was looking at an old Reader's Digest "Atlas of the Bible", I came across a pictorial map of what the city of Jerusalem may have looked like in Jesus' day.
I was struck by the fact that, if the map is anywhere near accurate, Jesus was crucified on a small hill in a place where He could see for some distance.
He could look straight ahead and see the glorious temple. As it would have reflected the morning sun, it would have no doubt reminded Him of Heaven. Where He had come from and where He was going.
If He turned His head to the right, He could have seen the smoke rising from the valley of Hinnom. This is the Garbage dump. A fire of refuse was continually burning there.
When Jesus talked about hell, He used a word that referred to this valley. "Gehenna"
Hell, then is a place where people go who can not go to heaven. It was never meant for people, but for the devil and his angels.
If Jesus had looked closer to His position, He would have seen His mother and the Apostle John. People who loved Him with all their heart.
A little farther away, He could see people walking down the road, shaking their heads and thinking that He was just another rabble rouser. Rejecting His claims to be the Son of God.
At the foot of the Cross He could see the Roman soldiers gambling for His clothes. completely indifferent. completely uncaring.
On either side of Him were other crosses. On one the thief railed on Jesus and mocked Him. On the other, one confessed that He was a sinner and that he deserved his punishment. Jesus told him, "Today you will be with me in Paradise."
If Jesus looked at us today, what kind of people would He see? Rejector, indifferent spectators, people who would go to be with Him in the real Temple in Heaven, or people who would be cast into the universal garbage dump, Gehenna, hell, forever.
Hopefully He would see us as He saw His mother and John and some others, or like the penitent thief. Someone who loves Him whole heartedly, and will spend eternity with Him in a beautiful and happy place.
He does see us every moment of every day. When He looks at me, I wonder, what does He see???