Jesus, Friend of Sinners

Good morning. It is Saturday, February 21, 2015. 44 days until Opening Day.

I love today’s word of the day. It is dumbsize. This is a verb, indicating what corporations tend to do. “To dismiss (staff) in excessive numbers or without regard to organizational function, with the result that work can no longer be carried out effectively.” I think the place Christi worked for about ten years or so, before getting laid off, did this.

Today is Sticky Bun Day. Do I even need to elaborate?

I’m not going to spend a lot of time in this part. Had a good day at work yesterday, and Christi’s day went well, also. We had pizza and watched the finale of The Mentalist, last night. The series finale. Like many other shows, it ended this season. I was pleased that they allowed it to end happily, unlike Parenthood. Well, I guess Parenthood ended okay, but there was sadness. No sadness in The Mentalist finale, other than the person they killed off about three episodes ago. Then we watched this week’s Big Bang Theory, which had plenty of sadness. That’s all I’ll say about that. Don’t want to be guilty of spoilage.

I have about 20 minutes to get my devotion in, since I’m going to work this morning. So here goes. First, I will mention that we have, as always, our Anchor prayer gathering today, followed by our worship gathering, all beginning at 4:45. We are The Exchange. I might not make the prayer gathering today, but I hope to.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

The LORD dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me.
Psalm 18:20

(From Knowing Jesus)

Today’s reading is “Jesus, Forgiver of Sinners.”

And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—”Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
Matthew 9:2-8
. . . for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Matthew 26:28
One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
Luke 7:36-50
Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Luke 23:32-43

Here, we see several amazing examples of the forgiveness of Jesus during his life. “Jesus made forgiveness possible by suffering crucifixion, thereby atoning for the world’s sins.” This would be the message that he commanded his disciples to announce after his resurrection and ascension.

In today’s world, when someone is forgiven, it is assumed that they have done something wrong to the one who forgives, and that they need for that person to forgive them. We tend to thing in terms of repentance, an audible request for forgiveness. In regards to God and his law, we are born sinners. We have broken the law of God and offended “God’s holiness, justice, and righteousness.” We are sinners, both in nature and in deed. Therefore, we need God’s forgiveness.

Before he went to the cross, Jesus offered forgiveness. As the Son of God, he had the right to forgive people. First, we see Matthew’s account of the story that was examined yesterday, the paralytic. This man made no confession, had no visible desire to be forgiven. His friends brought him for physical healing. Yet he walked away with both physical healing and spiritual healing! Jesus forgave him first, then in order to prove that he had the authority to do that, he healed the man. In spite of what many might think, Jesus “demonstrated the best news possible, namely, that sinners can be forgiven.” This was big news in that day.

In the first Luke passage, a “real live ‘sinner’ worked her way into a dinner party so that she could worship Jesus by wetting his feet with her tears and drying them with her hair.” This behavior was disgusting to Simon, the host, and he verbalized his disgust. Jesus turned the tables on him, though, by first reminding Simon that he had done nothing for Jesus, upon his arrival. He had not washed his feet, yet, here was this “sinner” washing his feet with her tears. Simon had not anointed Jesus’s head, yet here was this “sinner” anointing him with precious perfume. The woman made no verbal appeal for forgiveness, yet Jesus forgave her many sins (7:47). Her deeds indicated her desire for forgiveness. In doing this, Jesus showed that anyone who repents can be forgiven. The nature of her sins showed that anyone can receive forgiveness.

As he was being crucified, Jesus performed two amazing acts of forgiveness. The first was asking God to forgive his own executioners! We have no other explanation for this than for his endless compassion. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!” Then there was the brief interaction with the thief on the cross. One thief joined in with others, mocking and scoffing. But the other thief, by the grace of God, had seen something remarkable. He rebuked the first thief, stating that Jesus had done nothing wrong. After this, he simply turned to Jesus and said nothing more than, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus’s famous reply was, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”.

Just be sure we don’t miss the significance of the cross, Jesus made a statement as he passed out the first “Lord’s Supper.” In Matthew 26:28, he says, “. . . for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

“Whatever our deeds and failures, the blood of Jesus covers them all.”

Father, I thank you and praise you for the blood of Jesus, and the forgiveness of our sins that was accomplished by his selfless acts. I pray that more people will know of this great forgiveness, and avail themselves of it, as we are all sinners, both by nature, and by deed, as well.

I am short on time, Lord. I pray for this day, that my work day will be smooth, and that travel to and from will be safe. I pray for Christi this morning. I think she is taking her mother shopping. I pray for grace as they interact, and that her mother will behave. I pray ahead for Monday morning, that weather will not prevent us from getting to my mother’s surgery.

May our prayers and worship this evening glorify your name!

No matter how good we think we have been, we are still sinners, both in nature, and in deed. We need the forgiveness offered by Jesus.

Grace and peace, friends.

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