“He told them, ‘This is what is written: the Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day; and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.’”
Luke 24: 46-47
John 16: 7-11
There are many recorded ‘famous last words’ of remarkable people in humankind’s history. I smile sadly at the poignant humour of the British-Irish comedian Spike Milligan who, as part of his epitaph, had recorded on his gravestone the words, “I told you I was ill.” Jesus is THE most remarkable man ever so His last words should be considered extremely carefully. There are a good number of His words recorded in the Gospels and Acts post resurrection and prior to His ascension. The verses detailed above are of crucial importance.
Jesus spoke these words in an encounter with His disciples where He confirmed the reality of death’s defeat, explaining how His resurrection was the fulfillment of Scripture and exactly what He had said would happen. This the means of God’s salvation plan, the mission of reconciliation. Jesus went on to say that this Good News would be spread amongst the nations but notice His very important ‘famous last words’ within His statement; repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached. He is not telling His disciples, and therefore us, to judge, convict or condemn others or ourselves for our sin and failings. He is telling us to preach forgiveness.; to firstly know Jesus. On Monday we considered the deep love of our Prodigal Father God who will run to us with open arms when we repent and turn back to Him. Jesus is the means by which we enter that embrace; He paid the price for our sins and paved the way for forgiveness.
In our western culture of individualism there is a contradiction of acceptance that quickly turns to condemnation when an individual or idea does not match society’s current standards. What an incredible wonder we have to know that our creator does not want to condemn but to forgive. Please know I am not saying that evil should not be challenged, nor am I saying that a brother or sister in Christ should not be called out over sinful behavior. What I am saying is that Jesus calls us to preach forgiveness. He tells us that the conviction of sin is within the Holy Spirit’s remit. Jesus explained that the Holy Spirit has a threefold ministry to convict: the world of its sin; of the need for Christ’s righteousness; and of an accountability that awaits all of us (John 16: 8-11). So let us preach the good news; repentance for the forgiveness of sins; let us preach Jesus. Encouragement towards life works far better than condemnation that leads to death.
To Ponder: What do you condemn yourself or others for? Do you naturally want to speak condemnation rather than forgiveness? Real forgiveness is truly liberating; how might you or others be freed by God’s love?
We will be considering the deep truth of ‘no condemnation in Christ’ on Sunday 12th July at 9.30am when we look at Romans 8: 1-11
Prayer: Almighty God, you have broken the tyranny of sin and have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts whereby we call you Father: give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service, that we may be brought to the glorious liberty of the children of God; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy spirit, one God now and forever. Amen
I heard the voice of Jesus say
Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mXMQqiLW9c
Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMn0QNdiuGE
Incumbent at St Aidan's Anglican Church,