Wednesday 23 April, 2014
Jesus told them, ‘This is what is written: the Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.’(vss 46-47)
More than any other book in the New Testament, Luke’s Gospel is about forgiveness. In this Gospel Jesus tells the story we call ‘The Prodigal Son’, though it is really the story of the forgiving father. In the story a son acts as if he wishes his father were dead, by asking for his inheritance while the father lives. He wastes the fortune he receives. He discovers that he is both hungry and alone. He turns for home, practising a little speech that will ask his father for forgiveness. But before he gets home, as he rounds the last bend, his father sees him and runs down the road to forgive him.
After his Resurrection, Jesus tells us that that story of forgiveness is the good news he tells. It is also the good news he acts out. His death on the cross (which we did not deserve) and his Resurrection (which we did not expect) are the ways in which God is always running down the road to greet us, to forgive us, to welcome us home.
And now Jesus says that all those who have known God’s forgiveness are ‘witnesses of these things’. It is not only that we have known about forgiveness, we have known forgiveness. In that way, even though we were not in Judea on that first Easter, we are true witnesses of the Resurrection.
Prayer † Kind God, strengthen us to accept the gift of your forgiveness, and let us turn to others in forgiveness, too. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) is a fellowship of 75 million Reformed Christians in 214 churches in 107 countries. Its member churches are Congregational, Presbyterian, Reformed and United churches with roots in the 16th-century Reformation led by John Calvin, John Knox and others. WARC has a small secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland.