Morning Reading for December 16

Luke 24:36-43
Suggested further reading: Matthew 5:38-48

Our Lord introduced himself to the disciples with singularly gracious words (v. 36). This was a wonderful saying when we consider the men to whom it was addressed. It was addressed to eleven disciples who three days before had shamefully forsaken their Master and fled. They had broken their promises. They had forgotten their professions of readiness to die for their faith. They had been scattered every man to his own and left their Master to die alone. One of them had even denied him three times. All of them had proved backsliders and cowards. And yet behold the return that the Master makes to his disciples! Not a word of rebuke is spoken. Not a single sharp saying fails from his lips. Calmly and quietly he appears in the midst of them and begins by speaking of peace.

We see in this one touching saying that the love of Christ `passeth knowledge'. It is his glory to pass over a transgression. He delights in mercy. He is far more willing to forgive than men are to be forgiven and far more ready to pardon than men are to be pardoned. There is in his almighty heart an infinite willingness to put away transgressions. Though our sins have been as scarlet, he is ever ready to make them as white as snow, to blot them out, to cast them behind his back, to bury them in the depths of the sea, to remember them no more. All these are scriptural phrases intended to convey the same great truth. The natural man is continually stumbling at them and refusing to understand them. At this we need not wonder. Free, full and undeserved forgiveness to the uttermost is not the manner of man. But it is the manner of Christ.

Where is the sinner, however great his sin, who need be afraid of applying to such a Saviour as this? In the hand of Jesus there is mercy enough and to spare. Where is the backslider, however far he may have fallen, who need be afraid of returning? Christ is willing to raise and restore the very worst. Where is the professing Christian who ought not to be forgiving towards his brethren? The Saviour's words were full of peace.

For meditation: If Christ gives us peace with God when we have sinned so greatly, will we be unforgiving towards others?

These readings (ISBN: 0 85234 420 1) are copyrighted and made available with permission by
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