Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18
Peace be with you!
Two years and four months ago, my brother went into rehab for doing drugs. His habit had taken a toll on our family, especially Mom and me since we were the ones who fighting with him to stop. He had stolen hundreds of dollars from of both us and pawned our belongings to feed his addiction. We would kick him out when he went too far. Of course, my mom and I could never see my brother be homeless, so we would have him move in when his friends kicked him out. Each time when he moved back in, my brother would say he stopped doing drugs, but that was never the case. The vicious cycle repeated itself for years.
Two months before going into the rehab, the police caught my brother with drugs and he finally hit rock bottom. My brother made the tough decision to go into rehab, and we all prayed he would be able to break free of his addictions. Within a week of him being in rehab, I sent my brother a letter. I told him that I should hate him, but that I didn’t; I only wanted my brother back. My brother had a long road ahead of him, and I would see him through it.
Jesus is traveling a tough road – the road to the cross. He knows and understands what lies ahead in Jerusalem as he faces his pending beatings, crucifixion, and death at the hands of the Roman Empire. Despite the terrible road ahead, Jesus is prepared. , This is the mission God the Father sent him to complete.
Despite their motives – whether they met to be helpful or not, the Pharisees warn Jesus that Herod wants to kill him (Luke 13:31). This is not news to Jesus. He has known his whole life that Herod is going to have his hand in Jesus’ pending beatings, crucifixion, and death.
Jesus simply states what he is doing in the moment: casting out demons and performing cures (Luke 13:32). God sent Jesus into the world to share his love and to invite people– even outsiders–to be in a relationship with him. Jesus will go on doing his work until the day he is on the cross, and then he will continue to call people to know God the Father.
Jesus also knows that many prophets have been killed in Jerusalem. Again it makes sense that Herod wants to kill Jesus who understands his pending beatings, crucifixion, and death are for our redemption and the forgiveness of our sins. Nothing is more important to Jesus and to God the Father than his love, grace, and forgiveness—even at great cost.
As Christians, we forget the power of forgiveness. We become so accustomed to forgiveness as a free gift that we forget its power. Do you remember the first time someone forgave you? Forgiveness lifts up the weight that holds you down. It lifts away the weight of worrying about [whatever “it” is] that holds you back in life. It lifts the weight of feeling lost in the world of darkness. It lifts the weight of being on the defense when the world got the best of you. It lifts the weight of anger from your shoulders. It lifts the weight of everything that comes between you and the Triune God. Jesus came down to restore our relationship with God the Father by giving us his love, grace, and forgiveness.
My brother has been clean for two years and four months. Recovery is a battle he fights daily, but it helps that his family supports him and forgives him of his past. This helps him to move forward in life as well as giving us back the young man we loved and cared for.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the gift of forgiveness, even when we do not deserve it. Help us to turn to you when the darkness seems to close in on us. Remind us of your light as we seek forgiveness from those who we have hurt. Thank you for your grace, love, and forgiveness. Amen.
Thanks to the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the comment covenant.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
1. Who do you need to forgive? Why?
2. What does forgiveness mean to you?