Summary: Jesus completely paid for our sins on the cross. Yet Satan will always try to "remind" us of our unworthiness and or our sins, but God the Holy Spirit wants us to know that because of our faith in Jesus, we ARE saved and God remembers our sins no more.
YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN
Stephen Becker, M.Div.
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church—Elk Grove
June 17, 2007, 3rd Sunday after Pentecost
There was once a little boy and his sister visiting their grandparents on their farm. Grandpa gave the little boy a sling-shot to play with out in the wood. The boy practiced in the wood, but he could never hit his target. So, getting a little discouraged, he headed back home for dinner. As he was walking back he saw Grandma’s pet duck. Just out of impulse, he took the slingshot and aimed a rock at Grandma’s duck and—you guessed it—he hit the duck square in the head and killed it. This little boy was shocked and grieved because not only had he killed the duck, but he killed something that his Grandma loved and cherished. So in a hurry, he hid the dead duck in the wood pile, only to see his sister watching him. Sally had seen it all but at first she said nothing. After lunch the next day Grandma said, “Sally, let’s wash the dishes.” But then Sally said, “Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen.” Then she whispered to him, “Remember the duck?” So Johnny did the dishes. Later that day, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing, but Grandma said, “I’m sorry but I need Sally to help me make supper.” Sally just smiled and said, “Well that’s all right because Johnny told me he wanted to help you with supper.” She looked over at Johnny again and just said, “Remember the duck?” So Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed to help. After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and those of his sister, he finally couldn’t stand it any longer. He came to Grandma and confessed that he had killed the duck. Grandma knelt down, gave him a hug and said, “Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing. But because I love you, I forgave you. I was just wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you.”
Friends, have you had Satan throw your sins in your face? I have. There have been times, especially when I accepted the Call to the ministry or afterwards when I’ve counseled somebody on the Christian faith where Satan has butted in—to “remind” me of all the things I have done wrong in my past. Satan has tried over and over again to use my sin of the past to make me feel like I am unworthy of God’s love and unworthy of forgiveness today. The story I just read you is cute, but it is just that—a story, a sermon illustration. But in our Gospel reading today in Luke, Jesus teaches us the nature of forgiveness but using the example of the woman who washed his feet with her tears. Jesus was invited into the home of a Pharisee for dinner, and so Jesus did go to this guy’s house and sat down at the table. During the time of Jesus’ earthly mission, the Pharisees were the “so-called” religious experts of the time. They prided themselves in knowing and adhering to every little letter of the Law. These Pharisees believed that by knowing every detail of God’s Law with their minds and by blindly obeying the letter of the Law, they could earn their way into heaven. Sounds good, but as I said, they followed the Law with their mind, not with the Spirit. So for example if on the Sabbath—the day of rest—somebody became really sick…deathly sick…a Pharisee doctor would refuse to help the sick person because the letter of the Law says no work on the Sabbath. The spirit of the Law, however, didn’t matter much to them.