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May 2019

“Second Chances” a Devotion by Pastor Ralph J Mineo

Jesus was a RABBI, entrusted to teach and interpret the Word of God. According to the religious leaders of the day, the Scribes and Pharisees, Jesus wasn’t doing it right! According to them, Jesus was weakening the traditions, weakening the religion itself. He was considered to be a danger to the religious establishment.

Jesus was meddling with the Sabbath Law by healing on the Sabbath. He brought forgiveness to a woman caught in adultery. Instead of losing her life as the Law demanded, Jesus set her free, telling her to “sin no more.”

Jesus went about the countryside healing, being compassionate, forgiving sins. He was giving people second chances when the Law said “no second chances.” He was being generous with God’s grace. The religious establishment was saying he was being “too generous.”

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The teaching of the day for breaking the most serious of laws was: “You break the law — you DIE!” Rabbi Jesus came on the scene and proclaimed: “No! Receive divine forgiveness. Repent. Stop sinning. Stop breaking God’s Law. In so doing — you LIVE!”

In Luke 5:21, it was asked of Jesus: “Who does he think he is? Only God can forgive sins!” Jesus claimed to have divine authority to forgive sins. The religious leaders, and the people, were unable to believe that. Eighteen chapters later, in Luke 23:21, the judgment came down from leaders and people: “Crucify him!”

Jesus gave his life for the sake of forgiveness of sins, for our salvation. In Christ, God will truly forgive us. This forgiveness came at great cost! It’s important for us to not cheapen this gift of grace.

There are consequences to sin: suffering, broken relationships, sometimes even DEATH!

There are also consequences to following Jesus: forgiveness, healing, restored relationships, second chances, always LIFE!

Life in Christ matters. Maybe we, too, should be going about the countryside (our homes, church, school, work, relationships) and tell people that, with faith in Christ Jesus, their sins are forgiven!

We, like Jesus, can give people second chances.

We, like Jesus, can be generous with God’s grace.

We, like Jesus, can be compassionate.

We, like Jesus, can truly LIVE!

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