Paa shook his head as he saw the crowd gathering around the preacher after delivering another sermon with ultimatum. He was talking about the “Fiery hell and Jesus Escape”. Paa was sure he’d be very able to preach that message by heart now.
He opened the door to his room and saw his roommate look up from his reading. ‘Hot day’, Paa said. Kweku laughed. ‘It gets hotter every day’, he said. Paa said dryly, ‘One day, we’ll wake up and it’ll be as hot as hell on earth.’ ‘Hahahahaha, I doubt that. There’s no heat on earth to fairly describe the torment of hell. Worms that never die…’, he stopped abruptly as he noticed Paa was giving him a hard look. ‘What’s wrong?’ ‘oh nothing, but I guess you’re going to end by saying Jesus is the great escape.’ There was a sarcastic ring to it. ‘Yes indeed. Jesus is the only way to save one’s soul from hell.’
His unbelieving roommate would never get into Christianity talks with him so Kweku wanted to take full advantage of this window Paa had opened. ‘Quite the ultimatum, isn’t it? Choose me to die, says the loving Jesus. Well, I won’t choose someone who threatens people with flames to come to him and love him. I’d run and so should you.’
Paa took out the things from the carrier bags and placed them in the fridge. He went to his bed and sat as he took off his shoes. ‘Is that how you see it, Paa?’, Kweku asked with a twinkle in his eye. ‘It’s not how I see it. It’s how it is.’ I don’t get why someone as intelligent as yourself would rally behind this Jesus ‘stuff’. He wanted to say nonsense but didn’t want to hurt Kweku’s feelings. Kweku smiled and looked thoughtful. ‘Do you remember what happened on 3rd June?’
Paa’s face became sober and intent. Kweku never referred to the day after it had happened. It had been raining that night and Paa was standing drenched under a shed by the filling station when a stranger just stopped by to offer him a lift. Five minutes later, there was an explosion from the filling station.
‘Do you remember what I said when I rolled down the window?’, Kweku asked. A smile played at the corners of Paa’s mouth. ‘Get in before the cold kills you.’ Kweku smiled. ‘Yes, you’re right. Would you call that an ultimatum too?’ Paa narrowed his eyes. ‘Of course not. You came out of nowhere and lent a helping hand that day. If the explosion hadn’t got me, I would have still caught pneumonia from standing in the rain that long.
What are you playing at?’ Kweku was still smiling. ‘Well, it’s the same as the Jesus scenario you mentioned.’ ‘No, it’s not’, Paa objected. ‘Really? How so? The man was headed to destruction. Jesus shows up and says, ‘Come to me else you’ll die’. Your error is in thinking that death is punishment for not accepting Jesus.
The Real Ultimatum
Truth is, we’ve been headed to death from the time of Adam. Jesus comes in, stretches his hand and says, ‘You’ll die on this path you’re on. Come to me and be safe.
Now is that what you call ultimatum? The way I see it, it’s our only chance of escaping the fate that already awaits us. Are you sure you still want to continue on your path? Jesus is here now asking that same question.’ Paa bent his head with tears in his eyes. It all seemed so clear now. ‘I’ll take my chance with Jesus.’
If you had been the only sinner on earth, Christ would still have come to die for you. That’s how much he loves each one of us and there is nothing that can separate us from that love (Romans 8:38-39).
That love is found in Christ Jesus and his work on the cross. God doesn’t say, ‘Come to me or die.’ Even to those who believe, he stands at the door of their hearts and knocks (Revelation 3:20).
What are you waiting for? Tomorrow might be too late. Surrender to him today and lay all your cares on him (1 Peter 5:7). He is ever willing to answer when you call (Isaiah 65:24, Jeremiah 33:3, Psalm 86:7).