Summary: How we can learn to love others through the love of Jesus.
LOVE LIKE JESUS:
Jesus Forgives – We Forgive
September 18, 2016
Has anyone ever hurt you or a loved one? I’m not talking about a simple incident which has been resolved. I’m talking about a real - big - ugly mess of a hurt! It was something which was devastating. It maybe altered your life, or changed you for a period of time. What do you do when that happens?
Last week, I spoke about forgiveness and wanted to couple last week with this week and move into a short 3 week series about loving like Jesus. We're going to look at three different images from Jesus. We are not just called to receive the love of Jesus, but we're to show the love of Jesus.
Next week, we will look at the image of Jesus washing feet, with a call for us to serve, then for communion, we’ll look at breaking bread and living in community.
We need to understand - - we're not only sinners who receive forgiveness, but we're sinners who are called by Jesus to love like Him and to forgive other sinners as well. It’s usually not easy to do! But, that's what we're going to talk about.
In Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus said this ~
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,
15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. – Matthew 6:14-15
When you read that verse, some panic may set in. Someone may have committed the unpardonable and unforgiveable sin. Yet, Jesus makes this statement. How can you forgive someone who does something that seems absolutely unforgivable?
Now let’s look at what happens in Luke 23. We're going to see the most amazing display of forgiveness you could ever imagine - - while Jesus was hanging on the cross. Remember, Jesus was completely innocent, never sinned, hanging between two criminals.
In Luke 23:32, we read ~
32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with Jesus to be executed.
33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified Him there, along with the criminals—one on the right, and the other on His left. – Luke 23:32-33
I don’t think people really understand just what was going on, on the cross. For one thing, we typically see Jesus or the other criminals hanging high up on a cross.
In reality, the cross was designed to torture, to bring extreme humiliation. It was reserved for the worst criminals, to make a statement to the others. They would drive the nails through hands and feet. Then they would hang on a cross, which had a little foot rest, which would cause more pain as you struggled to breathe. And rather than being way up, they would literally be a foot off the ground.
Whenever people would come by and mock them, they weren't looking up - - - they were looking at them eye to eye. People are yelling in their face and spitting on them.
This is exactly what was going on to Jesus. They were spitting on Him and mocking Him. And at that moment, when creation, the people, were at their worst, mocking the Creator in the flesh, Jesus prayed the most amazing prayer.
As they are in Jesus’ face, He looks up to the Father and in verse 34 prays ~
34 “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Daddy, Father, forgive them . . . they don't even know what they are doing. They don’t understand, this is too big for them to get. Jesus was asking for forgiveness for those who were sinning against Him, in the moment forgiving something like that seemed totally and completely unforgivable.
We’re all going to get hurt deeply by somebody. In fact, many of you are carrying a significant wound. Someone abused you, took advantage of you, lied to you, cheated you. Someone hurt someone you love, someone hurt your child, your sibling, your parent, your best friend. It’s personal.
Someone who is a Christian didn't act very Christ-like to you. Some church you were a part of did something that devastated you. Someone gossiped about you and said something that was not true. Someone at work lied about you and you got in trouble. The boss didn’t like you and you lost your job and it was totally and completely unjustified and unfair.
Some of you were hurt by people who are no longer alive, and yet you're carrying the weight and the bitterness against them.
It may be that it’s not something which is really big, but it's just that person. Every time they’re around you, it’s like fingernails on the chalkboard. They say things and whatever you do is not good enough and they just make you crazy.