Summary: forgiveness in practice
Jesus’ Example of Forgiveness – Matthew 26:47-56
Illustration:Chuck Swindoll reports that a seminary student in Chicago faced a forgiveness test. Although he preferred to work in some kind of ministry, the only job he could find was driving a bus on Chicago’s south side. One day a gang of tough teens got on board and refused to pay the fare. After a few days of this, the seminarian spotted a policeman on the corner, stopped the bus, and reported them. The officer made them pay, but then he got off. When the bus rounded a corner, the gang robbed the seminarian and beat him severely. He pressed charges and the gang was rounded up. They were found guilty. But as soon as the jail sentence was given, the young Christian saw their spiritual need and felt pity for them. So he asked the judge if he could serve their sentences for them. The gang members and the judge were dumbfounded. "It’s because I forgive you," he explained. His request was denied, but he visited the young men in jail and led several of them to faith in Christ.
How do you suppose we can lead people to a greater understanding of how Jesus forgave those who sinned against Him so they can follow His example?
1. Unless we want to become bitter, defensive and resentful of others it is essential to learn how to forgive. We choose to be bitter or better through every hurtful situation.
Jesus forgave those who betrayed Him and sold him for thirty pieces of silver.
Many people who suffer from emotional, physical or spiritual pain do so because they have failed to forgive others as Jesus did.
2. Believers need to learn how to avoid internalizing their feelings of resentment. Jesus teaches us how to yield all of our rights to the Sovereign leading of God since He is the ruler of everyone.
3. Only the Lord is able to teach, enable and guide us through the process of forgiving others who sin against us. Jesus teaches us in this passage how to exercise the power of forgiveness even when it seems one has been unjustly dealt with.
Judas betrayed Jesus to the chief priests who felt threatened by His spiritual authority. We can be completely confident that Jesus will help us forgive those who betray us through the power of His Holy Spirit. God supplies us with the all sufficient grace to face any trial realizing that the Lord’s greater purposes can be carried out in our life even through adversity.
Trust and obey God for the strength to forgive others as Christ has forgiven us.
What did it take for Jesus to forgive a friend who betrayed him for thirty pieces of silver. HOw do you think Jesus must have felt when he saw that some of the chief priests and religious rulers were actually behind his trial and death sentence.
In contrast how to we feel when someone sins against us?
Illustration:In A Forgiving God in an Unforgiving World, Ron Lee Davis retells the true story of a priest in the Philippines, a much- loved man of God who carried the burden of a secret sin he had committed many years before. He had repented but still had no peace, no sense of God’s forgiveness.
In his parish was a woman who deeply loved God and who claimed to have visions in which she spoke with Christ and he with her. The priest, however, was skeptical. To test her he said, "The next time you speak with Christ, I want you to ask him what sin your priest committed while he was in seminary." The woman agreed. A few days later the priest asked., "Well, did Christ visit you in your dreams?"
"Yes, he did," she replied.
"And did you ask him what sin I committed in seminary?"
"Well, what did he say?"
"He said, ’I don’t remember’"
What God forgives, He forgets.
David H. Bolton.
4. Jesus Christ refused to retaliate against those who sought to arrest him for a crime he did not commit.
Peter wrote, “When He was reviled, he did revile in return but kept entrusting Himself to one who judges righteously.”
5. Let us focus on how the we can resist the temptation to take vengeance into our own hands, but to forgive those who do offend.
The Holy Spirit enables us to overcome the temptations to react in anger against someone who has betrayed us. (I Cor. 10:13) How does Christ’s example and the power of the Holy Spirit give us the power to overlook another’s fault?
6. Jesus Christ allowed himself to go through the terrible pain of being betrayed, arrested and taken away for a trial. The Lord Jesus gives us a great example of how to allow the sovereign will of God be accomplished in one’s life without becoming resentful.