1 John 2:2 Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (NIV)
There’s a beautiful part of our Communion liturgy that I totally love. It’s when I get to pray over the bread and wine, saying, “O Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world, grant us Your Peace.” I don’t know what the good folks in the pews experience at that sacred moment, but I feel completely grateful to God for allowing us sinners the divine opportunity of being absolutely forgiven. As well as offering this to all of Christ’s believers, the grace of God is extended beyond the table, out of the sanctuary, and into the heart of the community around us.
It humbles me to think that God’s mercy and love can be experienced by anyone who chooses to accept this gift from God. I don’t fully understand how God does this, but I count it as a great blessing to humanity, coming directly from Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, Savior of the world, and Healer of our souls.
Sometimes Christians are condemned for being judgmental, graceless, and self-righteous people, who feel spiritually superior and are arrogantly convinced that we are elevated above all others. We erroneously think that we own the moral high ground and often justify our ideas and opinions as being equal to those of God. Our pride gets in the way of our compassion; our sense of privilege and entitlement undermines our effective and personal witness to God’s words and ways.
God’s love is deeper than we can ever know, and His grace is beyond what we imagine it to be. Both in our Communion liturgy and today’s verse from 1 John, we can read, discover, and embrace a great plan of salvation for a sinful planet. We can find a true meaning for life when we humbly understand that Jesus has sacrificially died, not just for our sins, but for those of the entire world. Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to take the Good News into our communities and let all people know that because Jesus fully atoned for every one of our mistakes, regrets, and sins, we can be completely restored to God’s love as His precious daughters and sons, no matter who we are or what we’ve done.
Questions for personal reflection
How have I individually experienced God’s grace through Christ? How can I share this beautiful blessing with others?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are the Savior of the World who heals our broken ways, forgives our personal sins, and restores us to God’s love. We can never sufficiently thank You for such a beautiful gift, but we can extend Your blessing by lovingly sharing it with our families and friends, colleagues and neighbors, community and world. In Your Holy Name, we gratefully pray. Amen.
John Stuart is 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 Easter drawings called ‘Passover.’ If you would like to view a larger version, please click this link: Passover.