Jesus’ sacrifice, our forgiveness

Published 11:16am Saturday, April 6, 2013

By Nicole Blakely
We had a beautiful Easter service at First United Methodist Church of Wetumpka last Sunday.
I walked into our sanctuary and there was white all around. Lilies flooded the sanctuary windows and the sweetest smell filled the room.
The cross in the sanctuary had lilies all over and around it. The scene was set to remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in saving us from our sins.
He washed us white as snow through His blood shed on the cross at Calvary.
How wonderful it is to have someone on your side to take your punishment for sins you haven’t even committed yet.
He didn’t have to, but Jesus paid our debt.
He loved us before we were here. He was the perfect sacrifice.
How often do we take His sacrifice, our salvation for granted?
We began Holy Week with the celebration of His entrance into Jerusalem, by crossing over Bibb Graves Bridge.
On Maundy Thursday we hosted a Seder meal to remember the Last Supper before His crucifixion on Good Friday.
Last Sunday, we celebrated His resurrection and ascension into Heaven.
It’s hard to believe that one man, the Son of God, would sacrifice himself for those who didn’t even know him and offers forgiveness for the sins they commit against Him.
In our celebration we often forget the men on the crosses next Him.
Both crucified justly for their crimes.
One believing that Jesus Christ was the Messiah says, “And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:41-43
This scripture says so much to me about the forgiveness of our Lord.
Forgiveness is something we all yearn for and ask for daily, but we are less eager to give it so freely.
As Christians we chose to serve Jesus Christ by leading others to a relationship with Him, having compassion, helping those less fortunate and living as He would intend; in the world but not of it.
Giving and receiving forgiveness can change the giver and the receiver in so many ways.
I am truly amazed by Jesus’ mercy offered without hesitation to everyone, including me.
I strive daily to be a better witness for Jesus Christ.
I am sure some of you can relate to being hesitant in giving forgiveness like I am.
However, the experience of extending and receiving forgiveness radiates a love beyond explanation.

Nicole Blakely is the Children’s Ministry Director at First United Methodist Church of Wetumpka.

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