Posted by Johnny Richards

Another journey is beginning. Last November, I talked about us taking a journey to Bethlehem to celebrate the birth of Christ. We took part in advent Sundays as we lit candles and talked about hope, peace, joy and love. Each Sunday we were able to focus on one word that would allow us to experience Christ’s birth as a time of celebration as we gave thanks to God for the gift of his Son to the world.

Now we are preparing our hearts for another gift of God. This time, we are looking at the gift of God’s Son, not as a baby, but as the perfect, sacrificial lamb that died upon the cross for our sins. He was buried in a borrowed tomb and rose again three days later. We are journeying and our destination is the empty tomb. Just as we did for Christmas, each Sunday we are going to take time to focus on a word that can help prepare our minds and hearts for that special and life changing day. While the words are different, the reason behind the words are the same. I hope you will join with us during worship as we focus on the “Seven Last Words of Christ.”

We have already begun the journey as we looked at the first word this past Sunday. Sunday, we looked at Luke 23:34 as Jesus said to His Father; “forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” Forgiveness isn’t something to be taken lightly. There were a lot of people making wrong choices when Jesus was crucified. However, we need to understand that Christ showed us the greatest example of forgiveness when He was able to forgive so many people for so many mistakes.

I can’t think of the word forgiveness without thinking of the passage in Matthew when Jesus is talking about forgiveness and Peter asked Him, “how many times should I forgive my brother and sister? Up to seven times?” Peter was willing to go the extra mile to forgive someone seven times. But Jesus knew forgiveness is more than just words, but an attitude of the heart. Jesus told Peter he was to forgive them, “seventy times seven.” That’s an image of no limit. We should always forgive those who hurt us, if they ask for forgiveness. But that’s hard. Forgiveness is hard. It is a lot easier to do harm. But Jesus is about love and forgiveness. His life and His words were about forgiveness. He challenges us to be about forgiveness.

This Sunday we will be looking at the second word from the cross and that is from Luke 23:43. The word we will be looking at is the word “salvation”. This is the reason Jesus went to the cross and we are going to talk about how salvation is always available. As long as we have breath, we have the hope and opportunity for salvation. I hope you will join us as we continue our journey to the cross and empty tomb. Until next week…

Peace and Blessings…  Johnny