Luke 7:48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” (NIV)
There is not a day that goes by that I do not end up saying “Sorry” to God. There is not a Sunday in worship, when the prayers of confession are read and said, that I don’t feel guilty and in need of those prayers. Some folks would say that this is because of my Presbyterian Calvinist roots; however, I personally know it’s because I am a sinner who falls short of God’s standards, day after day, week after week, and year after year.
Without Christ, there could be no forgiveness for any one of us. He was given total authority from God to pardon our mistakes. He compassionately listens to our personal pleas, especially when we humbly and honestly confess our mistakes to Him. He helps us overcome temptation, but He also is willing to forgive our faults when we recognize them.
This forgiveness from Jesus can also be found in the Gospel story (Luke 7:36-50). The heartbroken woman who cried at Christ’s feet must have been carrying a lot of guilt, perhaps for many years. She saw in Jesus the source of her salvation. She recognized her unworthiness, but at the same time she clamored for His Holiness. She understood what the host of the house had failed to see: that Christ was the Only One who could forgive her, save her, and restore her as a beloved child of God’s grace.
At the end of today, like many other Christians, I will remorsefully come to God and ask Jesus to forgive me. There is no other person or power that I can appeal to for real mercy. There is no other source or entity that I can pray to for total absolution. And at the end of my confessional prayers, from within my mind and heart, I feel the same beautiful words of Christ being conveyed to me, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Question: When and how do I ask Christ to forgive me? Am I willing to see that same forgiveness at work in the lives of other people?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are the Savior of the world, as well as our individual souls. You allow us to come to You each day to confess our faults in order to receive Your grace. Thank You for this blessing, as well as for Your patience and love. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is currently the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to ask questions or make comments about today’s message, please send him an email to Traqair@aol.com.
Today’s image is one of John’s latest drawings called “Mountain Hummingbird.” If you would like to view a larger version of the drawing, please click on this link: Bird.