But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him. Matthew 26:50
Jesus died on the cross to forgive the sin of the world. He bled and suffered to pay the price of sin . . . all sin for all time. You and I are forgiven today because of that payment. If fact, all people are forgiven, but not all walk in that forgiveness. It must be personally received in order for the payment of forgiveness to be activated in someone’s life.
Jesus forgave sin, long before He died to pay the penalty. We see in today’s reading that when Judas came to betray Him, Jesus called Him friend to show that He still loved Him despite what he was doing to turn Jesus over to be crucified. Throughout His entire ministry, Jesus spent time with sinners. Those that wanted to be forgiven at brought to a place of redemption. Forgiveness was always in His heart, and He gave it freely everywhere He went. Even when He was suffering on the cross, He prayed: “Father forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.” He was praying for those who were executing the order to kill Him because He had a heart to forgive, not to be grudging. It was because He is love and there was no holding on to offense in Him.
Your and I have the power to forgive, also. Our heart is always prepared to either forgive or hold on to hurts and resentments. It is up to each individual to decide ahead of time the heart they want to have. Thankfully, we will never have to pay the penalty for sin because Jesus already did that, but we do have to make the choice to release anything we are holding on to that keeps us in unforgiveness.
Today I want to encourage you to choose forgiveness. Choose to receive the forgiveness that God gives you through the blood of Jesus and choose to forgive others that have hurt and offended you. You have a choice, but you have to determine ahead of time that you are going to do it. God put the power of forgiveness in your heart when He put His love on the inside of you. Use that power to set yourself free from the bondage and bitterness of retaliation. Instead, release those who have sinned against you and walk in the freedom of God’s love and forgiveness from now on.
Today’s scripture reading: Matthew 26:47-75
47 And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people.
48 Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.”
49 Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him.
50 But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him.
51 And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.
52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.
53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?
54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”
55 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me.
56 But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.
57 And those who had laid hold of Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.
58 But Peter followed Him at a distance to the high priest’s courtyard. And he went in and sat with the servants to see the end.
59 Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death,
60 but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward
61 and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’ ”
62 And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?”
63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!”
64 Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
65 Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! 66What do you think?” They answered and said, “He is deserving of death.”
67 Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands,
68 saying, “Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?”
69 Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.”
70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.”
71 And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
72 But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!”
73 And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.”
74 Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” Immediately a rooster crowed.
75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.
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