Only the good die young (Really?)


This entry is part 4 of 11 in the series Protected from the Bible

Only The Good Die Young

You may have heard that.

I heard it playing in my car yesterday.
In case you don’t remember or never heard of it, I’m talking about the song by Billy Joel.
Complete lyrics are available here.

Actually, it wasn’t really yesterday.  It was almost five years ago – March 31, 2012.  I’m moving to a new site, and doing updates as part of the process.  I’ll put the new stuff in text like this, so you can tell what’s new.

Here’s the line that caught my attention yesterday –

I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
the sinners are much more fun

I have to say, that’s probably a pretty common feeling –
that the saints cry –
the sinners have more fun –
and the good (the saints) die young.

I mean – look at Jesus.
He died in His thirties.
And He didn’t have any fun –
no one wanted to be near Him, right?

Oh – but wait

Wasn’t there something about water and wine?

 

Jesus Changes Water to Wine

Jn 2:1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
Jn 2:4 “Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”
Jn 2:5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Jn 2:6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
Jn 2:7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
Jn 2:8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
Jn 2:11 This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.

Huh – that doesn’t sound too boring – sounds like fun, no?

Jesus performs His first miracle, and it’s to make really good wine for a wedding banquet.


Well – maybe that was just a one time thing.
Was there anything else?
What about the part that no one wanted to be with Him –
especially not the fun people – the sinners?

The Calling of Matthew

Mt 9:9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
Mt 9:10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
Mt 9:12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Oops –
those fun loving sinners were eating with Jesus so much that the Jewish leaders were getting upset.


There’s a few more lines from the song to bring in now –

You got a nice white dress and a party on your confirmation
You got a brand new soul
mmmm, And a cross of gold
But Virginia they didn’t give you quite enough information
You didn’t count on me
When you were counting on your rosary

Interesting –

they didn’t give you quite enough information

Well – if there’s a lack of information – it would seem to be on the part of the people who think that saints don’t have fun – that fun’s something had only by the sinners.

Whatever it was that Jesus had – these “sinners” wanted it more than the fun they were having up to that point.

How’s that for quite enough information

Oh yeah –
and then there’s the dying part –

you know that only the good die young
that’s what i said
i tell ya
only the good die young

Maybe that’s not quite true either?


Pretty much everyone who has ever watched a football game on TV has seen the John 3:16 sign in the crowd.
Most people know at least how that famous verse starts:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…”

But –
did you notice the “” at the end?

There’s more –
and the next two verses are one heck of a lot of information –

 

Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Did you catch the part about not dying young?
In fact – actually – not dying at all?

whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

The song says – they didn’t give you quite enough information

If you didn’t know about how John 3:16 ends –
maybe this little piece of information is of interest.


Want more information?

How about –
like where was Jesus when He was saying this –
who was He talking to?

Remember the part above where the Jewish leaders were getting upset because Jesus was eating with the sinners too much?
Well – this particular section of the Bible that includes John 3:16 comes from what the NIV titles Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

So – who is Nicodemus?
And when did this happen?

 

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

Jn 3:1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

Really?

More information!


So Nicodemus was one of the Jewish leaders, and he comes to talk to Jesus under cover of darkness because he wants to talk with this man (Jesus) who is from God even though the other Jewish leaders want to kill Him (Jesus).
The man that the sinners want to eat with.


I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
the sinners are much more fun

If that’s true –
why do all these sinners –
and even one of the Jewish leaders whose colleagues want to kill Him –
why do they all want to be with Jesus –
if He’s the one who isn’t any fun and is going to die young?

Well –
there’s a line in the song for that too –

They say there’s a heaven for those who will wait
Some say it’s better but I say it ain’t


So – now we get to the real issue.

Maybe it isn’t so much a lack of information –

maybe it’s more like there’s too much mis-information.

There’s a very informative part at the end of the song –

I’m telling you baby
You know that only the good die young

Read carefully –

I’m telling you

You know

I’m telling you [that] you know.

Here’s the problem –

do you really know for sure that only the good die young?

This reminds me of a conversation in the Garden of Eden –

The Fall of Man

Ge 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
Ge 3:2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”
Ge 3:4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

The first problem is –
the question the serpent asked is reworded –
it’s asking something different from what God actually said.

The second problem is –
Eve’s reply isn’t what God actually said either.

The third problem is – and this is the big one –
since the first two lines – the hypothesis – are incorrect –
the conclusion is also incorrect –
or at least misleading.

Here’s what God really said –

Ge 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;

Ge 2:17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

And of course – the big question here today is –
do the good really die young? an equally important question would be –
what does God mean by “die”?

There’s a clue to this in Revelation –

The Dead Are Judged

Rev 20:11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Check out verse 12 again –

Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.

There’s the “dead” – and there’s those whose names are in the Book of Life.

The dead are sent to the lake of fire – a second death.

Those in the Book of Life – they don’t suffer that second death.

So what does happen to those in the Book of Life?
yes – they spend eternity in Heaven –
but will that be fun & joy – or will it be boring?

Here’s what Jesus has to say on the subject –

Jn 15:11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

So here we have this man that the sinners wanted to eat with –
He’s telling us that He wants His joy to be in us –
and that he wants our joy to be complete.

But Virginia they didn’t give you quite enough information

I’ve tried to give some information in this short article.

There’s a whole lot more available –
just click on any of the Bible reference links above that look interesting to you –
and get all the information you need.

Don’t miss out on the real fun and joy for lack of information.

And don’t die for lack of information.

Live – and experience real joy.

Update

It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing this for almost eight years now.  Sometimes it seems like longer.  Other times, more like I’ve just barely gotten started.

Lately, more like I haven’t even gotten started yet.

After these years of reading – studying – researching – one of the things that really amazes me is how many people who claim to be atheists have so much to say about God.  About the God they claim, very loudly and frequently, doesn’t even exist.  The scary part of that is to also wonder how many people “learn” about God from them.  The same is true for humanists, evolutionists, and the list goes on and on and on.  

Talk about disinformation and lack of information.

One really has to think about the people Jesus associated with – and wonder why they wanted to be with Him, if He’s so awful.  Jesus didn’t hold anyone prisoner and make them stick with Him.  But they did.  Many of them were even willing to (and did) die for Him.  Rather than renounce their belief in Jesus as the Son of God, they died younger than if they had chosen differently when questioned about this Jesus that the “fun” people seem to hate so much today.

Looking at the issues brought up in the Bible, it doesn’t seem like people have really changed that much.  There aren’t any new sins.  Yes – we can sin faster and on a grander scale than ever before with today’s weapons of destruction, mass media, the internet, Etc.  But we haven’t invented a new sin since the beginning of time.

Ecc 1:9 What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecc 1:10 Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.

That was from Solomon of the Old Testament – letting the people of his time know there was nothing new.  And here we are, thousands of years after that, and there’s still nothing new.

There’s no new way to sin.

And there’s no new way to be saved.

Just the same choices as always.

And –

The Workers Are Few

Mt 9:35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

And because of all that – too many people still think the good die young,
when the truth is –
the good don’t die at all.

 

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