Last weekend many of the Launch Team members of Harvest Bible Chapel Austin traveled to Chicago for training. A couple of the members stayed a few hours after the last session to help Lindsey and I pack our house to move to Austin. Because they stayed as long as possible to help us pack, they ended up hitting some serious Chicago traffic. But that traffic, and the following events, led to a great opportunity to reflect on the gospel. The following is from an email from Starsky as he retells the event and what it taught him.
"Thanks to bumper to bumper traffic, it took us almost two hours to get to the airport last night. Once we arrived we had 50 minutes before our flight left which I assumed was plenty of time. Well, I was wrong! The ticket counter line was outrageous and the security line was even worse. As Jeremy and I were trying to get through security, our names were announced over the intercom. Once we finally made it through, we grabbed our things and ran like sprinters through the airport with our shoes untied and belts in hand. As we completed our 400 yard sprint, we rushed up to the desk only to be received by a shaking head and an 'I’m sorry, it’s too late.' The lady told us that the doors were locked and they can’t open them again. While gasping for air, I exclaimed, 'but this is the last flight out until tomorrow.' She said in her yankee accent, 'I know, I’m sorry, IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.' I looked at Jeremy, who was still trying to recover from our dash across the airport, with a helpless look of despair. As we were both still trying to process the fact that we were about to spend the night in the airport, the pilot walks up to the counter and says, 'let them on, they’re with me. I was locked out too.' Jeremy and I looked at each other and shouted out praises to God. After a couple of minutes, the doors open and we were allowed on the plane. Our bags didn’t make it, but we did.
On the drive home last night, it hit me, that’s what Jesus did for us on the cross. Because of our sin, we should be turned away at the gates of Heaven. We should hear, 'IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.' But then Jesus appears out of nowhere and says, 'let them in, they’re with me.'
What a great reminder of the glorious gospel that has saved us! Every Christian can quickly relate to this illustration because we have all come to a place in our lives where we stood hopeless and in despair. BUT God rescued us when there seemed to be NO hope!
In reflecting on Starsky's encounter with the gospel at the airport a little further, I started to play out the illustration a little bit. Here are a few things that hit me.
First, the gate men will desire to enter is Heaven, but the alternative is not a night in the airport. It isn't even an eternity in the airport (although that seems awful in itself). The alternative is an eternity in Hell, a place where the full wrath of God will be poured out and all of God's common grace withheld.
Second, Jesus Christ is not a good-hearted pilot who wants to help a few late-comers on board. Rather, Jesus is a Savior who arrived exactly on time in order to DIE for people who need more than a little help (Ephesians 2:1-10). Starsky and Jeremy were left in an inconvenient situation, but all of us as sinners are in a much worse condition. Jonathan Edwards speaks of the condition of sinners well:
"Your wickedness makes you as heavy as lead, and adds a downwards
with great weight and pressure towards hell; and if God should let you
would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the
and your good health, and your own care and prudence, and best plans for
salvation, and all your righteousness, would have no more influence to
you and keep you out of hell, than a spider's web would have to stop a
Third, we have lives that sing the praises of the Good News of Jesus Christ everyday, if we will just open our eyes. Every good thing that happens to us is a reminder of God's grace on the cross. At the same time, difficulties remind us of the gospel as well. They remind us that we live in a fallen world that is hopeless without Christ. Trials remind us of our need to be refined into the people God has already declared us to be in Christ.
Regardless of what is happening in your life, the gospel is present. But do you stop long enough to see it? Pray and ask God to keep the person and work of Christ in the forefront of your mind today. Look for situations, illustrations, and other ways to be reminded of the riches you have in Jesus (Ephesians 1:7-10). And when you find these "gospel moments," don't keep them to yourself. Use them as opportunities to make disciples!