The “In My Father’s Footsteps” devotions will return in September of 2019. Enjoy this devotion from the archives!
This is Part 2 of “Repentance and Forgiveness of Sins” where we’ll explore what it means to “repent.”
And [Jesus] said to
them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on
the third day rise from the dead, and
that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be
proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
The two disciples who met and talked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus have returned to Jerusalem. They had their minds opened to the Scriptures by the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself explained to them why he was born, lived, suffered & died, and rose again.
They were going in the wrong direction – not to Emmaus but in their hearts. Everything about Jesus, they thought, was all over. Jesus was dead and buried. What began three years ago was quickly snuffed out on a Roman cross.
But while going in the wrong direction of hopelessness and despair, Jesus uses his own GPS – God’s Provided Scriptures – to let them know that they needed to change direction.
Now the Holy Spirit burns this in their hearts, as it says in Luke 24:32
“Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
While they were explaining their change of direction to the other disciples in the upper room, Jesus appears again!
Part of what Jesus says is:
“Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. – Luke 24:46-47
Repentance and Forgiveness of sins. That is a great summation of the Christian life!
To Turn From
First, repentance. Basically, repentance means to “turn away,” or specifically to “turn away from” sin.
Jesus says that this is part of what we “proclaim” to all nations as we live in a post-resurrection world.
Jesus’ rising to life on the third day after his death is such a huge thing. But he sums it all up in a simple phrase “repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations….”
Repentance – turning away from sin – has a couple of steps.
Because I’ve led a men’s Bible study on the Book of Job – and subsequently published a book of devotions based that that study – let me take you to Job to see these steps.
The first step is to turn away. Job 34:31 puts it this way:
“For has anyone
said to God,
‘I have borne punishment; I will not offend any more
“Not offend any more” is turning away. Stopping. Cease and desist. I realize that this is easier said than done. To be honest, on our own it is impossible.
Nevertheless, it is part of repentance. I’ll get to a solution for us in a moment.
Willingness to learn from God
Another step of repentance that I learned from the Book of Job is what is written in Job 34:32
“teach me what I do not see”
As we go through the process of repentance, we need to have a willingness to learn from God.
Are you willing?
Of course, you are going to say, “Yes!” right?
However, it seems like saying “yes, I’m willing” and actually doing so are two different things.
It is in our sinful human nature to be – at best – reluctant to repent and learn from God.
As a result, we need the Holy Spirit!
The Holy Spirit Gives Us the Power To
The Holy Spirit – sent to us by our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – gives us the power to turn away from our sin and gives us a willingness to learn from God.
Working through Word and Sacrament, the Holy Spirit offers to remove the reluctance to do these things.
Therefore, when the reluctance to learn is removed, we learn to proclaim repentance.
And we proclaim repentance because Jesus died and rose from the dead.
Heavenly Father, as you call me to change direction – to repent – I pray that I will heed the prompting of the Holy Spirit and turn back toward you. Thank you for forgiving my sin through the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. In His name I pray. Amen.
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