Lent 2023 Day 15: Fri 10 Mar
‘Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you – even Jesus. Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.
Peter continues. He is not speaking in a condescending way when he tells his fellow Israelites of their ignorance. After all, who would know? Scholars of the Scriptures may have picked up the strands that suggested the Messiah would not be the all-conquering hero of the popular imagination, but the more attractive teaching was about overturning the Romans. In a land occupied by a cruel and oppressive force the thought of a more powerful Messiah who could defeat the Roman army and declare national sovereignty would be more attractive than the truth of a meek and gentle Saviour who would die. People had not realised that the suffering Messiah would defeat a far more powerful force than the Romans, Satan himself.
A suffering Messiah was probably the last thing people wanted. But this is what God wanted. This is what God had planned, as an act of love for us. Suffering runs through the Bible as Felixstowe runs through a stick of rock.
Why did Jesus have to suffer? I’d recommend the Alpha course, but essentially it’s the price Jesus paid for me. And you. It’s personal. He redeemed you and me by his blood, his perfect sacrifice of himself on the cross as he carried my and your sin and brought us forgiveness. The core of the rock should be blood-red.
Now that Jesus has done it, we may come to him in repentance, turning away from our life of sin to forgiveness and his life in us. Sins are wiped out, and every fall back into sin may be forgiven. Forgiveness is a shower of blessing, not a ticking off. Confession is the first step back to times of refreshing. It is not a sackcloth and ashes affair any more. We do not have to prove how sorry we are, but instead rejoice in how forgiven we are!
Do I believe that God is pleased to forgive me?
Do I believe that there is no payment on my part for God’s forgiveness?
Do I believe that Jesus died for me?
Do I believe that Satan has no power over me?
Father God, you offer me restoration once again, not as a child but as your son or daughter. You long for me to bring my whole self out of the shadows so that you may bathe me in glorious light. You love me so much that you gave me Jesus, who carried me on the cross. Ten thousand years in eternity is not enough time to praise him. Amen