By Mike Mathews
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. – John 3:17-18 (ESV)
One of the greatest tragedies in the Bible is the story of Absalom and David. Absalom was David’s son and the prince of Israel. One day, Absalom decided that he wanted the throne of Israel so he decided to enact a coup. He gathered allies in Israel and drove his father, David, out of Jerusalem and into hiding. After a chain of events, Absalom is killed and David mourns his son’s death. This is one of the most powerful and tragic events in the life of David. The emotion within the words of David evoke sorrow and tears. The text says “The king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, “O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Sam. 19:4).
What do these two passages have to do with one another? I think the story of David and Absalom provides a vivid picture of God’s relationship with those who are condemned. Christ did not die on the cross so that people will be sent to Hell. No. He died so that salvation would come to the earth. However, this does not mean that people will not be condemned. I have heard many people object to the aspect of eternal judgement for sin. If one were to read the story of Absalom, we would see rebellion, strife, and anger on the part of Absalom towards David. In this act of rebellion, Absalom sealed his fate. Not only did he willingly go against the King of Israel, but he rebelled against the decree of God. However, when he was justly punished for his actions at the hands of David’s men, David was not pleased nor joyful. David cried. He wept at the death of his son. He covered his face and cried out. God weeps for the death of the sinner. He loves his creation and he does not want any of them to parish. However, we rebel against God and reject his gift. That is why God sent Jesus. John 3:16 plainly shows that God sent Jesus to save people from sin and rebellion. To make them new. Condemnation is a reality but so is Salvation.