Second Chances

Dear Members and Friends of IBCZ,
Last Sunday we considered the ascension of Jesus into heaven and what that means for us. We saw that the disciples were filled with joy, even though it meant they would not see Jesus again in this life, because they were assured Jesus would someday come back. In addition, with the ascension of Jesus the Holy Spirit would be sent ten days later, helping all followers of Jesus be transformed into Christlikeness and equipping us for service in the Kingdom of God.
Another benefit of the ascension of Jesus is that it reminds us that God graciously gives us second chances. Who were the ones gathered with the resurrected Jesus to hear His final words before ascending to the Father? Of course, it was the disciples – the very ones who abandoned Him when he was arrested and crucified out of fear for their lives (Mk. 14:50). Peter, as we know, even denied three times than he was a disciple of Jesus.
Yet how did Jesus respond to those who abandoned Him? Did He abandon them, and try to find some new disciples who would be more dependable, courageous, and steadfast? Amazingly, Jesus did not do that. Instead, the resurrected Jesus first sought them out to reignite their faith and restore their joy. Second, just before ascending to the Father, He commissioned them to ministry, promising them that the Holy Spirit would come upon them, and in the power of the Spirit they would be His witnesses throughout the world (Acts 1:4-9). Jesus gave them another chance.
We all need second chances in life, and specifically with our faith, for we sin, we stumble in our walk with God, and sometimes like Peter, we even deny our Lord. But no matter what failures mark our past, we can be sure that the risen Jesus treats us the same as He did His original followers. He restores us and gives us another chance. How gracious is our Lord!
The disciples made the most of their second chance. Within days they were boldly preaching the Good News of Jesus, spreading God’s love throughout the whole Mediterranean world. By God’s grace and in response to His grace, let us resolve to make the most of the second chances He gives us.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Bob

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