While working out this morning I had a strange thought: ‘What was it like when Larry King, the consummate interviewer, passed from this life and faced his own interview with the Greatest Interviewer?
Scripture teaches that he did face his own interview the moment he passed from this life. I can see it now: Larry, trembling before the One who has his life in his hands, his mouth now shut, having nothing to say. Of course, that assumes that Larry King was not a believer and I can make no such assertion, not knowing him personally. I do know he asked several well-known preachers in interviews he conducted what would happen to Jews who don’t accept Jesus? He seemed to recognize the exclusivity of Christ, even if he did not believe it himself.
This week the world remembered the life of Larry King who passed away at 87. I grew up with Larry King, watching many of his interviews over the years, especially on his award-winning show on CNN, Larry King Live. For me, it was a daily ritual. At the end of the day, we would park ourselves in front of the tube and watch Larry, the consummate interviewer, drill someone for an hour.
Larry was considered by most to be one of the best interviewers of all time. His skill as an interviewer lay mainly in the fact that he really took an interest in the people he interviewed. He once said that he rarely overprepared but approached each interviewer asking, “What would people want me to ask?”
It’s a sobering thought; that every man and woman who has ever lived will one day face their own interview. And we have a clear idea based in Scripture as to what he or she will be asked when standing before the great Judge. There will be no questions about how much money we made or what kind of car we drove (although there definitely will be an examination on how we stewarded what we were given). The first question all will be asked is ‘What did you do with my Son whom I sent to save the world? Did you believe on him?’ That is the most important question that anyone can be asked in this life since answering it properly ensures safety in the next, not to mention peace in this life having been freed from the guilt of condemnation that torments us.
The apostle Paul, the apostle of grace, spoke often about that day in which every human being faces the Great Interview. Few want to talk about that Day today, touting instead a cheap grace (to borrow a phrase from Bonhoeffer) in which God just turns his face away from everyone’s sins, being a God of love. But the apostle, when describing that Day speaks of the “terror of the Lord” (the word can be defined as fear or terror):
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,
so that each one may receive what is due for what
he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others.”
II Corinthians 5: 10-11
What causes such terror when brought before the throne? For one, Scripture reminds us that the Interviewer we all will stand before has no questions he must ask us in order to gain information about us, since there is no fact about us, he doesn’t already know. (Jesus summed it up when he said that he numbered the very hairs of our head). That means he has full awareness of our sin in thought, word and deed. As the writer of Hebrews says: “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrew 4:13). Just think about it; the Interviewer has total recall of every thought that entered your head, every word that passed through your lips, and every action you’ve ever taken.
This terror is known not only by the rankest sinner, but by holy prophets as well. When Isaiah stood before Him his very strength (Isaiah was known as the golden-tongued orator of the Prophetic period) was now viewed as an instrument of sin (see Isaiah 6). “Woe is me; I am ruined”, the prophet cried, as what had previously been lauded by men now causes him to writhe in his presence. But one of the creatures before the throne took a blood-drenched coal from the altar and applying it to his lips, purged his sin. It is a clear picture that God purges sin through the Gospel. It portrays the amazing forgiveness the Gospel offers.
That means that the most important thing a person can do in this life is to prepare for the Great Interview. It is the Day in which every human being will stand before that One who has only one question to ask: “What have you done with my Son?”
Are you prepared for the Great Interview?