My wife and I are not getting any younger, and unless we be found like the proverbial unprepared king (see story below), this week we have gone to a presentation having to do with wills and estate planning.
A question was asked to the people giving the presentation. “By default, an estate passes on to surviving spouses and children. But what about debt?” Then the estate lawyer giving the presentation said something very interesting. “Debts are canceled at death!”
This made me think about something very special, especially in this season when people think about what happened to Jesus during a certain Passover season in Jerusalem in 30 C.E.
In the days of Jesus, people thought of sins as debts unto God. That is why the famous prayer often reads, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” People also believed that suffering and death atoned or “covered” people’s sins in the same way that a payment, by the debtor, or someone else, “covers” the amount of the debt.
I found it fascinating how the law of death acting as a payment for a debt finds correspondence in the Bible, especially in the events that happened at a certain Passover over 2,000 years ago.
Indeed at that Passover, a Man, who was said to have committed no sin and therefore had no need to die, was put to death as a criminal. Since He had committed no sin, He was not meant to be subject to death, but He had taught people around Him that His suffering and death was not to be a payment for His own debt, but for the debt of others.
May we remember at this season that this same Man also taught those who benefit from His payment of their debt, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” thus reminding them that this payment has one important caveat, to forgive others’ debts against them!
THE FOOLISH UNPREPARED KING!
There was a famous king who had a favourite jester in his court. Because of all his good works all those years in cheering up the king & making him happy & cracking jokes & being so funny, he gave him some property & quite an income & retired him. Then the king gave him this beautiful cane with gold wrought into the wood, & the king said, "I want to give to you this, my own cane, as a special present to you from me, because you have been such an encouragement to me all these years. You're going away now on a trip because I have set you free, & I want you to take the cane with you. That's my special gift to you for being the greatest fool I ever had!"
Some years later the king's fool heard that the king himself was dying & he came to his deathbed & began to sympathise with him & asked, "Are you ready to go?"
"What do you mean?" asked the king.
"Are you ready to die? Have you made any preparations for this journey into death?"
The king asked, "How could I make preparations to die, what do you mean?"
And the king's jester said, "Have you repented from your misdeeds? Have you made your peace with God?" The king said,
"No, I didn’t!"
The king's jester said, "Well, since the last time I saw you I have repented from the many wrong things I have done in my life. I have made my peace with God. I am ready to go!" They were both close to the same age. The jester said, "Once I was going on a long journey & you gave me this cane as a present because you said that I was the greatest fool you ever had. But I have made my preparations for that journey, the longest journey we'll ever take, & one from which we'll never return. But you have not made preparations for that journey. So I want to give you back the cane: You're a greater fool than I am!"
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