The death of Al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, has been big news around the world. He is believed to be the man who planned the attacks on the New York and Washington in 9/11, in which nearly 3000 people died. He has been top of the US “most wanted” list for 10 years. The operation, which was carried out by the elite Navy Seal Team Six, was highly sophisticated and clinical. Bin Laden was shot and killed in his home in front of his wife and family. The President and Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, with their senior advisers, watched the operation live in Washington. President Obama said, “Justice was done.”
Governments have real power. Sometimes they exercise that power well and sometimes they misuse their power. Many of the early Christians were persecuted by the Roman Empire and some were put to death because they refused to worship the Emperor. Yet the Apostle Paul urged Christians to submit to the authority of the State. He wrote, “For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.”
When Osama bin Laden died he passed immediately into the presence of the living God, just as all of us will when we die. We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due to him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. His judgement is perfectly just and is final, there can be no appeal. So, we all need to find God’s mercy before we die.
Two criminals were crucified alongside Jesus. One of them remained angry and defiant to the end. The other criminal asked him, “Don’t you fear God, since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our sins deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”