Summary: A look at the cost of sin.
Picture this; a man is hanging on a cross far away in a place that means “the skull.” Think about the scars on his hands and feet, bleeding for you. Also think of the scars that this event leaves on you. Think about all the times you cried for him, as he stood by and allowed others to beat him up and call him names. Think of all the kisses you gave him at night. And remember all the good things that you have seen him do for others. Now picture that this man is your son and that all he has/had to go through was all a part of God’s plan.
Now you are not Mary, Jesus mother, but as Christians we should all feel the pain that Mary must have felt on that day, when her son died. Even though she knew that Jesus was going to be resurrected in just three days, she must have felt terrible.
Have you ever wondered whether Jesus can feel the pain of the cross every time that we sin against him? I think about it a lot. I say to myself, “As many times as I do this thing, as many times as I sin and continue to hurt Jesus, how can he continue to forgive me and never leave me and say now it’s your turn to feel the pain.” But that’s the good news Christ died and will forgive us as many times as we ask.
I was challenged by a story I heard recently. It was a story about an Old Catholic woman that claimed to hear God speaking to her. This is a big claim in the Catholic Church, so they sent out their bishop to go see what he thought and evaluate the situation. He went to her house and asked her to prove it. “If God speaks to you, then surely he can tell you what I confessed in my confessions last night, I will come back tomorrow and I expect you to give me an answer. Ask God what I told you to and see what he says.” He left confident that he had disproved another so-called miracle. The next morning, he returned and asked her what God had told her about his confession from the night before. She replied, “God told me that he forgot.”
That is the good news, God will forget what we do if we truly ask for forgiveness. We also have to forgive ourselves before God can truly work through us. For instance, a man was in prison for murdering a bank teller in an armed robbery. One night while in prison he asked God into his heart. Bad things continued to happen, he was racked with guilt for his sin and so he went to see the prison chaplain. The chaplain asked him if he had asked God to forgive him, he said yes I have. The chaplain then asked if he had been able to forgive himself. He said, “what do you mean, I have to forgive myself?” The chaplain said to him that in order for God to work through him and forgive his sin, he must forgive himself. He then asked for forgiveness for not giving himself to God wholly and forgave himself for his own sin. The man then became a minister to the prisoners and many came to Christ because of this.
Just like the prisoner, we must forgive ourselves before we can have God use us to our full potential. When we first accepted God, many of us were ashamed of the scars that we carried and did not want God to see them; but these are the things that we have chosen to do. Christ shows us his scars and says did you not know that I chose the scars that I have too.
We have however changed the way we think about things like this, we know or maybe we don’t that in order to be forgiven of anything we must lay it at the foot of the cross. Christ’s blood will fall on it and make a clean slate and God will forget all about, just like in the story of the old woman and the bishop.
Christ came to Thomas and showed him the scars in his hands, feet, and side. Thomas then believed that Christ had risen from the dead, but Christ had a plan that day, and it’s a plan that has lasted for 2000 years. He said, “Thomas, you believe because you have seen, but blessed are those who believe without seeing.” I believe that what Christ meant by this is, that we must believe by faith in him, faith in itself is believing without seeing. We should not have to ask for a miracle, just to believe in God. Testing God is not wise; God will just say the same thing that he said to Satan 2000 years ago. “Do not tempt the Lord your God.”