Jesus came from heaven. Jesus was sent by God. Before Abraham was, He is. Jesus knew that many people would reject the nature of the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus knew he was going to die a painful death at the hands of His creation. So, why don't more people think He was serious about what He taught?
There are a lot of theologians in our post-Christian culture who would agree with many around the world that Jesus was on the level of Ghandi, Buddha and Confucius. He was a good teacher with many things to say about how to live a better life.
Many of these same theologians who hold this view must do so by minimising or eliminating Jesus' warnings about the realm of the dead. Call it Hades, Hell, Gehenna, etc... It doesn't matter what you call it. What matters is that it exists.
A couple of things are clear from the teachings of Jesus. There will be a day of judgement. There will be those who will be punished for rejecting the ways of the Living God and participating in all manner of injustices across the earth.
It makes me uncomfortable to type this. I'm sure it makes some of you uncomfortable to read it. One reason it makes me uncomfortable is because I have participated in injustice. I have rejected the ways of Christ. I should be with the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida. But, I won't be because of God's mercy through His continual working in my life.
It is also interesting to note that Christ addresses whole communities in his warning. Yes, we will all be held personally accountable for our actions and our hearts. But, we are social beings. Our personal failings infect those we interact with to the point where our personal failings become failed communities.
Jesus gave up everything to preach, "Repent. For the kingdom of heaven is at hand." He asks his followers to sell everything and invest all of who they are to preach, "Repent. For the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Why? Because it is just that serious. Everything is at stake. Jesus, in his service, in his love, for his creation teaches and shows us that we have a clear choice. Either we will live or we will die. Either we will be saved or we will perish. Either we will join Him in the Kingdom of Heaven or we will brought down to the realm of the dead.
Across the English Channel, many soldiers knew they were going to die. They would heading straight into enemy territory where there were guns, rockets, mines, and bayonets. Reading a few diaries of those soldiers prior to 6 June 1944, they knew there was a strong possibility they would not see home again.
What would motivate a person to face such a situation? Because, they knew what was at stake. The injustices of a hateful tyrant had to be stopped before more damage was done and their own loved ones lives were at risk. They trusted they were giving there lives so that others would have the opportunity at a good life.
In the first century, a different kind of invasion took place. But, Jesus had the same kind of courage. In the face of an enemy that hated him, he lovingly warned them. "Repent. For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."