A parson regularly told his children, when they were still young, that Jesus, as the Son of God, paid for people’s sins so that they would not be lost but could have eternal life with Christ. He told them that nothing that we do can grant us eternal life, only a true belief in what Jesus did for us. One day the family pretended that they had arrived at the heavenly gate and had to say why they should be allowed into heaven. By that time his children had the “right” answer. When it was their dad’s turn, he said: “I must be allowed because I was a parson and often preached to people. I have …” Alarmed, the children began to shout: “No daddy it’s wrong, it’s wrong!”
Jesus spoke about the symbolic gate to heaven. “Go in through the narrow gate, … the gate to life is narrow and the way that leads to it is hard, and there are few people who find it” (Matt. 7:13).
We need to remember of what we must remind Jesus when we reach the gate of heaven. We read in the Bible of people who remind God about their good deeds. Jesus said: “When the Judgment Day comes, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord! In your name we spoke God’s message, by your name we drove out many demons and performed many miracles!’ Then I will say to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you wicked people!’” (Matt. 7:21-23). Jesus explained that we may do many wonderful outward things like preaching, even exorcism, attend church, read the Bible, etc. But if we depend on thát to be allowed entry at heaven’s gate, we make a mistake. It may be possible that we can do such things without truly knowing God, so that He won’t acknowledge us as his children. Paul later writes: Those of you who try to be put right with God by obeying the Law have cut yourselves off from Christ. You are outside God’s grace (Gal.5:4).
One of the two criminals crucified with Jesus confessed his sins, put his faith in Jesus, and said: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). He had no good deeds to offer. He only asked that Jesus remember him, whereupon Jesus promised the man a place in Paradise.
In his Requiem Mozart tells of Jesus’ journey of suffering and of the day of reckoning. It contains the following touching lines: “Remember, merciful Jesus, that I am the reason for your journey, don’t forsake me on that day.”
All that I can remind Jesus of at the gates of heaven is: “I am the reason for your suffering and death on the cross. You hung there for me. Those injuries and the crown of thorns were for me. There You bore the punishment for my sins so that I may be forgiven and be with You forever.”
Thank you, Lord Jesus, that You are my Redeemer. Amen.