Forgiveness – The Greatest Legacy of All!

Then said Jesus, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do!” And they parted His raiment and cast lots. Luke 23:34 KJV

What if Jesus had died for us and yet not forgiven? What if He gave us Heaven but not His heart? What if angels were sent to dry our tears instead of Him or if when we sat at His banqueting table, that His chair was empty? What if we were restored and given an eternity of mansions of delight but never saw His face?

But the greatest prayer and the greatest legacy of Jesus Christ is that He looked at the soldier’s and the thieves, the self-righteous priests and the mocking crowd and prayed Father forgive! And every time we receive the bread and drink from the cup, we are reminded of what this cost Him until He comes again. He has given us a legacy greater than miracles, more powerful than the armies of Heaven and more precious than all the rest of God’s creation. We are forgiven and we are loved! We are received and welcomed and embraced and He has given us HIs own Spirit of adoption by which our hearts cry out to Him – “Abba Father!”

Jesus what a friend for sinners
Jesus lover of my soul
Friends may fail me foes assail me
He my Savior makes me whole

Hallelujah what a Savior
Hallelujah what a friend
Saving - Helping - Keeping - Loving
He is with me to the end!

Our Great Savior by William Chapman 1910

When Did He Forgive Me?

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. Luke 23:34 KJV

As I grow older, I can’t say I have learned all of the answers, but I have come to discover some of the best questions. The funny thing is that when God gives an answer it is rarely as detailed as I would like. Today’s verse asks one of those. When does God forgive us? At the cross, when Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them!”  there were plenty of people in need of forgiveness, beginning with His disciples, who had run away. Then there was the crowd, milling about and hurling insults at the Lord, and of course the soldiers. Their hands had held the nails and they had shoved the crown of thorns on the head of Jesus. The list is endless, but today let’s consider the two thieves; who were crucified with Jesus. Scripture tells us that at first they both joined the crowd in cursing Jesus, yet somewhere along the way, one had a change of heart. That is when we hear him cry out, “Lord remember me!” How interesting that just after Jesus turned to that man and promised him paradise, that He makes His prayer; “Father forgive them.,” Forgive this thief, those hiding disciples, and the cursing crowd. Forgive the hands holding nails and, even the cowardly governor who has sent Me to the cross. Yes, Father forgive them.” Jesus’ request did not include “Forgive them all except, or don’t forgive them until. Jesus cried for mercy, both immediate and complete. Yet that day only a dying thief and a Roman executioner understood and received His gift. What about you? Are you wondering when God will forgive you my friend? The most wonderful news in the universe is, we don’t need to wait until we can figure out how it works or what we need to do before it will happen, because God has already forgiven us and all we need to do is believe!

At the cross, at the cross where
I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!
Isaac Watts

Returning From Lo Debar – Part One

Returning From Lo-Debar – Part One

And the king said, “Is there not still someone of the house of Saul, that I may show the kindness of God to him?” Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is crippled in his feet.” The king said to him, “Where is he?” And Ziba said to the king, “He is in the house of Machir the son of Ammiel, at Lo-debar.” 2 Samuel 9:3-4 ESV

Before David was the king of Israel, he served in King Saul’s army and became a well-loved figure in the king’s court (That is well loved by everyone except Saul.) Not long after David killed Goliath, Saul’s son Jonathan became David’s closest friend. Then when things fell apart and David found himself running for his life, Jonathan came to his defense. That is when they made promises to each other to always be friends, though sadly, things didn’t work out as they had planned. They never had the chance to be best men at each other’s weddings or to do any of the things that friends do, because Jonathan was killed in battle, trying to defend his father when a neighboring nation invaded. In fact, the situation was worse than just a defeat in battle. The invaders also killed every one of Jonathan’s family members they could find.  But, after David had mourned, he remembered his promise to always take care of Jonathan’s family. That is how we come upon the scene of today’s conversation. David discovered that there was one child left, a young man named Mephibosheth who lived in the Biblical boondocks, in a town named Lo Debar.

Now might say, “That’s sort of interesting, but what does it have to do with me?” And the answer is, “Everything!” You see Lo Debar was not just a town in Hicksville. Lo Debar was also the scene of the defeat of Saul’s once mighty army and the place of Jonathan’s death. Talk about being in a depressing, hopeless and bitter spot: well Lo Debar sure fits the bill. Now it just might be that as we are entering a New Year that you look back and can only remember the loss of a loved one, a broken relationship or a moral failure. In fact, that place of pain may still be so powerful that you have bought a house there and moved in!

But the good news in that You are not forgotten by the King! Not content just to hear about you, God is sending you an invitation to return. Lo Debar is not your home. Last year might have been a horrible mess, but God has something way better for the future. He has sent you an invitation, but you have to open the envelope and read His promise. Are you ready to start packing? Lo Debar might be your address today, but Jesus has a place prepared for you that is better than anything you can possibly imagine!