At the risk of over spiritualizing this incident, it got me thinking about how we often take people where they don't want to go. We sometimes take them on a ride of sheer terror, and they will do anything you ask if you would just them go. Paul encourages us to give grace to the hearer, but do we? How often have you heard this coming from someone who loves to tell people about hell -- "Jesus preached on hell twice as much as he did about heaven". I've heard countless people tell me that, but now with the age of computers we can now easily dispel that myth. I went to biblegateway and did a search of only the gospels and found the following statistics.
- Hell appears in the Gospels 11 times, you can get up to 18 times if you include verses about 'outer darkness', and 'fiery furnace'.
- 'Kingdom of Heaven', 'Kingdom of God', or Kingdom (in reference to the previous) appears in the Gospels 110 times.
- Heaven appears 135 times.
Apparently Jesus actually talked about God's Kingdom 10 times more often than he talked about hell. Jesus never dismissed the reality of hell, but it obviously wasn't his main method of inviting people into the Kingdom. Now you know the truth of the matter the next time someone tries to tell you that, you can tell them you know better. May we give grace to a world that is already familiar with fear and terror.