Have you ever seen the episode of Scooby-Doo where the Mystery Machine breaks down, and as the team starts to walk to a nearby house, they find themselves in the middle of a mystery? In this particular episode, Fred sets a trap for the villain, using Shaggy and Scooby as bait. Then, he unmasks the culprit at the end, only to find that it’s a character that they met during the beginning of the episode.
As you may know, if you’ve watched any episode of Scooby-Doo (at least, from the original few seasons), the plot of every episode goes almost exactly like that. Time and again, the villain’s plot is foiled by “those meddling kids”. For whatever reason, though, children – like myself – kept tuning in to the next episode! Maybe we were drawn in by the comfort of knowing the outcome, or the twists and turns that made each variation of the same plot a little different.
The wise king Solomon, whose wisdom was granted from God (see James 1:5-6 to get your own wisdom), realized that much of happens is not new. He wrote about this in the book of Ecclesiastes:
History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new.
Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 NLT
While Solomon seems to have some questions about purpose and meaning, which he works out over the course of 12 chapters1, I think that we can agree that some things don’t change. Technology and languages may vary over time, but human beings’ nature of selfishness and sin continues to draw us away from God, even as He reaches out and calls us back. Some people accept this offer, while – sadly – others reject it.
The good news is that, while a lot of the challenges we face aren’t new, our Savior Jesus Christ is also unchanging.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Hebrews 13:8 NLT
For whatever temptation we face, Jesus has dealt with the same kind of thing (see Hebrews 2:17-18, Hebrews 4:14-16). For any sins that bring us shame and drag us down into darkness, Jesus provides an offer of salvation (see John 3:16-17). For anyone who doesn’t believe that the God of the universe cared about His creation and wanted to restore our relationship, Jesus is the proof that God is personal, loving, and holy (see John 1:14 and 1 John 4:9-10).
Maybe you feel like an exception in this world: maybe you feel like your sins are too great for you to find your way back to God, or you fear that the suffering you face is because you aren’t good enough to receive God’s blessings. The great news is that your life has been uniquely crafted and you have been placed with purpose by God. No matter the plot, you and I can still find joy at the end of our “episode” (i.e., our respective lives). No matter how the odds seem stacked against you (even if it feels like you – just like Shaggy and Scooby – are the bait for some sort of trap), Jesus proves that God has a happy ending prepared for you.
It is true that each of us must accept Jesus’ gift: giving Him first place in our lives, in exchange for the abundant life that He offers. However, if we are willing to step up and follow His script, we will find ourselves freed from the penalty of sin. I imagine sin (personified) lamenting over sinners who choose to reject a broken life and allow themselves to be rescued by Jesus, “I would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t been for Jesus’ meddling sacrifice.”
May you join the millions of other lives who successfully unmask the deception of sin, and join the Hero in the closing scene, victorious over the pain of this fallen world, in yet another episode of “Salvation by Jesus”.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
- While the chapter divisions were added for convenience long after the book was written, the fact that 12 chapters were used for the book of Ecclesiastes shows us that the author had a lot to say on this subject. ↩