"Houston, we have a problem." Tom Hanks from the movie Apollo 13
It was the third time the Apollo program had successfully launched a craft into space. This mission wouldn’t really be any different than any of the others. Only this time, the plan was to actually land on the moon. That made this mission special. This mission, if successful would be a historical event.
Or at least that was the plan until something went terribly wrong. An unexpected explosion caused a loss of power to the craft, dangerously low levels of oxygen, and no moon landing.
In an instant, everything changed and they had a problem.
It reminds me of the fall of Adam and Eve. I wonder, was it a typical day in the garden, not any different than others? Were they thinking that they were going to do something special as the only living humans at the time? Was seeing the snake unexpected?
Either way, in an instant everything changed and not only did they have a problem, but now we have a problem as well.
And what a problem it is. Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (NIV) God gave them one rule and they broke it. They disobeyed. From that moment on, they were sinners. Their lives changed by one bad decision. Cast out of not only the beautiful and perfect Garden of Eden, but of heaven to. To live an entire life with the stain of that one mistake on you, like a branding. Condemning them and us forever.
The crew of the Apollo 13 mission were not alone. Back here on earth there was a staff of people feverishly working on a solution to their problem. How to keep them alive, save enough energy to power the craft back, and keep them from burning up on reentry? It almost seemed impossible. However, eventually they came up with a solution to the problem and brought them home safely.
Lucky for us God didn’t have to work feverishly to come up with a solution to our problem. The solution was simple.
Jesus. The Bible says “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”, Romans 6:23 (NIV) That’s right, death. The only way to pay for our sins is death. Hmm, sounds like we still have a problem, not a solution, right? Well, here’s what happened. God sent His son to earth. He was born a human like us. He lived on this earth like us as well, with the exception of one thing. He did not sin. No, not once. Never. (John 3:16)
So how does that solve our problem? When Jesus died on the cross, the blood he shed was payment or the “wage” that was paid for our sins. God doesn’t accept anything we do on this earth, no matter how good it is, as a payment for our sin. God accepted His payment to cover for us. It’s like when you owe someone something and someone else comes along and pays that debt for you. It’s covered now. You don’t owe anything. Jesus did the same thing, only his payment was something we could have never done. the wages of sin is death….Death as it is used here is not just a physical death, it means separation from God. That’s right, no heaven. And if you aren’t going to heaven, then you know what the alternative is. Not only that, in heaven our lives will continue. We will live in perfection with each other forever in a place that has everything we need. Our true home.
So, unless our problem is taken care of, we cannot enter heaven. Jesus says, I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved He will come in and go out, and find pasture John 10:9 (NIV) It is only through Jesus can our problem be taken care of.
We all want a problem like that taken care of. Don’t we? Here’s the best part. We don’t have to do anything to receive what Jesus has done for us. The Bible says in order to be counted in that debt payment by Jesus on the cross we must do this: Romans 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (NIV) And also this: Acts 16:31 They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household."(NIV)
We need to confess that we are indeed sinners who cannot pay the wage that God requires of us, believe that Jesus was who He said He was and did what the Bible said He did, and then have faith that what He did was enough. After that, it is really just a matter of realizing what a wonderful gift we have received and living our lives accordingly.
Our lives are very much like those astronauts. We are in a situation that we are unable to get out of on our own. They were floating around in outer space completely helpless and dependant on someone else to fix the problem. So are we.
Jesus came along and made a way when it seemed impossible.
He fixed it so we could come home.