Wednesday April 15th 2020
Jesus Christ, we greet you!
Your hands still have holes in them, your feet are wet from the dew;
And with the memory of our names undimmed by three days of death,
You meet us, risen from the grave.
We fail to understand how; we puzzle at the reason why.
But you have come........ Not to answer our questions, but to show us your face.
One of my favourite hymns, and.........if I could get away with it......I would have it each Sunday,.......is Praise my soul, the King of heaven!
I love it for one line in the first verse which states, we are,
Ransomed, Healed, Restored, Forgiven.
These words sum up the Good News of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The resurrection reading I want to ponder this morning comes from John’s gospel.
“When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained”.
A wonderful moment for the disciples, who are in lockdown, both physically and emotionally.
Jesus appears in their midst and speaks words of peace. I can understand why he would say that, for the disciples minds were full of confusion and fear.
But, I’ve always puzzled over the words he spoke on that occasion about forgiveness.
I wondered perhaps if he was speaking about their need to forgive those who had carried out the arrest and crucifixion.................then, I wondered if he was asking them to forgive their brother Judas.
But just yesterday I wondered if he was speaking to each of the disciples, and their need to forgive themselves.
Forgive themselves from any sense of regret or failure during the last few days.
For each one of them had let Jesus down.
They had failed to stay away on the garden of Gethsemane, they had fled after is arrest, all but one, had stayed away from the cross, and now here they were shut away, living in fear that they might too be arrested for knowing him.
Often over the years as I have made visits to bereaved families, I have sometimes listened to words of regret.
Sometimes there has been a breakdown in the relationship with the deceased. Sometimes there has been a perceived lack of care, or perhaps regrets about not saying all the things they felt they should have said.
Of course I always try to reassure, saying, “we are all only human, and sometimes things happen that we wish hadn’t, but.......take heart, the Lord knows your heart and he wants to offer you his peace and his forgiveness.”
Jesus did not want his followers to punish themselves for letting him down; he wanted them to be able to forgive themselves, as he had already forgiven them.
Jesus does not wish that we hide behind locked doors of regret; he is present with us today to heal our hurts and to lead us on into a new future with him.
God forgave my sin in Jesus’ name; I’ve been born again in Jesus’ name
And in Jesus’ name I come to you, to share His love as He told me to
He said: ‘Freely, freely, you have received, freely, freely give
Go in My name, and because you believe, others will know that I live.’
Let these words be your song and your testimony this new day.