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Chris (email link at the bottom of each page)

Repentance

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Jonah 3:1–10, Luke 11:29–32
 
Lent is a time to be healed, restored and lifted up.  Repentance was for the people of Nineveh the gateway to life, and so it is for us.
 
We follow One who is greater than Jonah and Solomon; we follow Christ, the Son of the Living God.  The Holy Spirit leads us to salvation along the well-trodden path of repentance.
 
The Queen of Sheba was moved by the teaching of Solomon.  The Nineties felt compelled to repent by the teaching of the reluctanct evangelist Jonah.
 
How much more, then, should we be moved and compelled to repent by the teaching of the One who is greater than Jonah Moses and all the prophets, Jesus Christ our Saviour?
 
Chris
 
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Anger, righteous or not

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Matthew 5:17–37
 
 
Jesus teaches with extraordinary clarity that 'everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgement; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, "you fool” shall be liable to the hell of fire’ (v.22).
 
Jesus’s radical teaching on anger sees it as the root of murder.  Angry feelings, if they are nursed and not dealt with, become hatred.  The fruit of hatred can sometimes be actual murder.
 
Jesus does not say that we must not feel anger, express anger or even act on it, but he does say that we do not have the right to hang on to it, nurse it and vent it.
 
We must let anger go so that we can imitate Jesus more closely.  
 
Jesus’s anger never led him to sin.  He was betrayed, insulted, ridiculed tortured and crucified, but he let go any feelings of anger and forgave his oppressors, 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’ (Luke 23:34).
 
Jesus shows us a new way of living.  As his disciples we must emulate him.  Whenever we are angry we must acknowledge our anger but let it go by calling on the Lord’s grace.
 
Christ’s Spirit will give us the power to fulfil his commandment to live as he did.
 
’Be angry but do not sin.’  (Ephesians 4:24)
 
 
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Forgiveness, the Scandal of Mercy

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Luke 19:1-10
 
This encounter between Jesus and Zacchaeus the tax collector illustrates perfectly the ‘scandal of grace’.  It brings to the fore this very important biblical teaching that where sin abounds, grace super-abounds.
 
God loves the sinner, but hates the sin.
 
Through his encounter with Jesus Zacchaeus had an experience of God’s mercy and compassion which touched him and led him to repentance and conversion.  No one is beyond God’s grace and mercy.
 
We are to be a living expression, a sign, a sacrament of this same mercy, kindness and forgiveness.  Learning to forgive others, to hold out the hand of friendship and brotherhood/sisterhood to those we find difficult is not easy.
 
In fact, without God’s grace it’s impossible, but with God’s grace all things are possible.
 
Lord, you treated everyone you met with great dignity and compassion; as persons created in your image and likeness.  May I now go and do likewise.
 
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