Have you ever wondered about anything? There’s something I’ve always wondered about Jesus. In fact, as long as I live, I’ll probably still always wonder.
Before I tell you all about one of the major things that makes me wonder, lets talk about some of my minor wonders. For instance, I’m amazed by technology. I know it’s all evolved and improved, but still I’m left to wonder. Last week, for example, I replaced a gasket on our front-loader washer and I thought to myself “the aliens must’ve designed this thing.” You get the idea. Not really amazing, right?
Jesus, on the other hand is truly amazing! I know some of you have a hard time with him. Well, not really him, but people who claimed to know him. Ex-bosses, fellow workers, family members the guys who knocked on your door. In a lot of cases these people had good intentions, yet they turned you off in some way through their business approaches, attitudes, actions and behaviors. Some of you said, “If that guy’s a Christian, count me out!” I get that. I’ve been both of those guys at times. Maybe you have too. So, lets forget about ‘that guy’ for awhile and talk. Lets talk about what the big deal is about Jesus.
We’ve all been wronged at one time or another. In some cases we’ve been wronged by Christians. There’s no denying that. The question is how do we respond when we’re wronged. That’s where Jesus turned the tables. He said if you treat people the way they treat you, you’re average. Jesus said, “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” (Matt. 5:43-44). He follows up by saying God waters the crops of the evil and the good. He makes the sun shine on both of them.
But that’s not the way most people respond, right? The Old Testament Law prescribed ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’. That was a leap ahead of other cultures at the time! What usually happens today, however, is you do me wrong and I own you. You kill my brother and I kill your whole village. You don’t respond to my text, I erase you from my contacts. You dis my post, I unfriend you. You yell at me over dinner and I don’t talk to you for a week. Lets face it, forgiveness isn’t one of our strongest traits.
The idea that God loves you regardless of what you’ve done is pretty amazing! In many pulpits around the world this week, there will be strong cases made to support the fact that Jesus was crucified, buried and rose again after three days. Is that amazing? Yes. But doesn’t it make perfect sense that God is able to do that if he’s truly God? What truly sets Jesus apart is the fact that after all he went through for us- ultimately the loss of his own life- he is willing to forgive! That’s a big deal. The bible says, “According to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22).
Because you’re forgiven, you are able to forgive others. That’s not natural. Remember how we talked about Matt. 5:43-44? Because you’ve been forgiven, you are able to forgive others, including your co-workers, friends, your boss, even your spouse. Not just once in a while, but daily! Why? Because Jesus lives in you.
Imagine if you decided today, I’m going to start keeping short accounts. Everyday’s a new day. Starting today, I’m going to forget about everything people owe me from the past. That has the potential to be life changing, right?
Chances are you know someone right now who needs to know that regardless of what they’ve done, God can forgive them. It’s simple. We’ve all sinned. God sent his son Jesus to die for our sins. He was buried and rose from the dead on the third day. If we repent and believe, he will forgive us and give us eternal life. It really is that simple.
Chances are you know someone right now who needs your forgiveness. It might be the parent who abandoned you at a young age. The person who molested you as a child. Someone who hurt your family. A boss. Your spouse. It’s your choice, but if God forgives you for all that you’ve done, doesn’t it make sense to forgive that person. After all, they may have done a cruel, wicked thing to you, but they didn’t kill you, right? Jesus, on the other hand, died because of what you and I did, yet he still forgives us. Maybe you need to forgive yourself.
Don’t take this the wrong way, but the real wonder of the world is not that Jesus rose from the dead. That had been predicted for centuries. He was the Son of God. God could do that as easily as you or I get out of bed. He’s all powerful. The real wonder of the world is that….he forgives sins! We killed his son, we put him through hell, yet…. he’s willing to forgive us….heal us….love us like sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. That’s Good News!
So congratulations! If you’re a Christian, you’ve been forgiven. And if you’re not, Congratulations! Jesus forgives sins! There’s still time. That’s the wonder of the world. Someone who never sinned himself, was willing to pay for ours. For yours. For mine. In fact, someone who was injured and killed because of you and I, is willing to forgive us and spare our souls for all of eternity. We can get off Scott-free, because of this unspeakable gift, you can have a life that matters. Your love is not in vain. You will be reunited someday with your friends and loved ones forever. What are you waiting for? Who do you need to forgive?
This week is a great opportunity to share with someone the fact that God is willing to forgive their sins. Think about that. God forgives my sins. God forgives my sins. Wow!