Now Streaming Week 3: The Good Place

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading


The Good Place ranks as one of contemporary television's most bingeable shows. And it's one of NBC's highest-rated shows, with around 10 million weekly viewers across platforms. People are drawn to its imagined afterlife in which the characters wrestle with spiritual and philosophical issues.

Through a miscalculation in eternal judgment or perhaps just a celestial clerical error, Eleanor discovers that she has mistakenly been sent to the Good Place, and she commences to right her wrongs in order to earn and keep her spot there. The premise makes for must-watch television, but it isn't supported by biblical truth.

The Bible reveals that there is life after death, heaven and hell, and no one will enter either eternal destination by mistake. In fact, we might be a bit surprised by who is in heaven. In his gospel, Luke drew a contrast between Jesus and the contemporary religious leaders. Sinners were attracted to Jesus. They "drew near to Him to hear Him" (15:1). The Pharisees and scribes were repulsed by these sinners and disgusted that Jesus would receive them (see 15:2). Jesus had compassion for the multitudes (see Matthew 9:35-36). The spiritual leaders felt defiled by them. Jesus never saw people as an inconvenience. The religious leaders conveniently avoided them altogether.

What was it that attracted sinners to Jesus? It was His compassion. The Bible uses the Greek word splagchna—meaning the viscera, inward parts, or emotions—to describe this attribute. Jesus loves people at the gut level. The very people who were cast out by the religious elite were loved and accepted by Him. We are His sheep. He is our Good Shepherd. If you are lost, know that you are not just one sheep in a herd; you personally are valuable to Him. And He will rejoice when He finds you.