Lent devotions 2011: Saturday 16 April

…and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning with Jerusalem. Luke 24:47

Lent is a time of the church year when we collectively study and meditate specifically on the events in Jesus’ life that led up to His trials, beatings, and ultimately His crucifixion. We know that the purpose of His death and resurrection was to take on Satan and defeat sin for all of creation. So we dedicate this season to soberly look on these events for our own repentance and forgiveness.

This verse in Luke reminds us that the result of Jesus’ saving works is not only that we personally repent and receive forgiveness of sins, but that we take it the step further and proclaim our redemption in His name to give Him the glory. In this verse, Jesus is giving us instruction in how we will react to His Word and works; that we not only internalize His message but that we also proclaim it to the people around us.

Let us focus for a minute, then, on what Jesus is asking us to proclaim. He states that “repentance and forgiveness of sins” is what should be proclaimed to all nations. By the work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ redeeming works lead us to both. Repentance and forgiveness do completely opposite things, and Jesus displays both of them in His death and resurrection. His beatings and brutal death show us what we are deserving of; they humble us and make our hearts contrite. And at the same time, they are the core of the glorious display of God’s unconditional love. Jesus took on the weight and burden of sin in our place! Our sins are stripped away and we are made new creations through forgiveness! In Luke, Jesus instructs us to proclaim both the harsh truth of the law, which leads to repentance, and the forgiveness of sins, which leads to joy and eternal life. We cannot proclaim one without the other.

Dear Lord, You are loving and gracious. Reveal my sins to me that I may know my need for my saviour. Thank You for sending Your son Jesus to take the penalty of sin for me. Please strengthen me to speak Your love to others. In Your most holy name I pray, Amen.