Letter To Our Children
by Pastor Joe | April 6, 2022 | Letters To Our Children
When Jesus began, His earthly ministry, people were amazed at what He was teaching. In the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke, the word amazed gets a lot of play. Have you ever wondered why? Yes, it was Jesus, and Jesus is well, Jesus! But was there more to it? There was.
The people Jesus taught had been taught wrongly by their teachers. Their teachers always spoke about change from the outside (behavior) as the key to everything with God. They said if you change and perfect your behavior, then and only then, God will forgive you and bless you, and you will experience His favor (grace). In other words, if you are good enough, God will give you grace. Meaning, yes, God will accept you if you are good enough; but you must keep being good enough for things to stay the same. That is not grace. Grace cannot be earned.
Therefore, what Jesus taught and what the teachers taught weren't the same. And it's not that everything He taught was new to them. Jesus taught from the Old Testament. For example, the passage from Isaiah chapter 44.
In chapter 44, God’s people were making and trusting in idols. Idols they made with their own hands, they thought up from their own minds. Because of this, what the teachers were teaching, and the people, in turn, were learning was all messed up. Even more importantly, grace would never be needed with the idols they made and worshipped. In pagan worship, a person needed to make a sacrifice to get what they wanted. So, God used Isaiah, a preacher, to set things right.
One of the main things Isaiah preached was God is a gracious God- return to Him. He will never forget them or stop loving them. God had chosen them not for a little bit of time; but for all time. He knew what they were when He began the relationship with them, when He made them part of His family. He blots out their sins like they were clouds; and will not kick them out because of their sin. People forget, but God does not. He ties them to Himself not because of what they do for Him but what He does for them.
This is what the Lord says—
He who made you, who formed you in the womb,
and who will help you:
Do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant,
Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.
I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me, for I have redeemed you.
Which was the same basic message Jesus was teaching the people of His day (Mark 1:14) some 700 years after Isaiah taught. God’s grace alone provides acceptance with God and deliverance from sin. In fact, the name Jeshurun reminded the people God had freed them for Himself, by Himself. They were His dearly loved people.
Small wonder people were amazed at Jesus’s teaching. Compared to what they were hearing- work your way to God; grace is amazing. Speaking for myself, to know what I was, and sometimes still am—the words of the late Jerry Bridges are amazing.
Our worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace.
And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace.
God bless you this week in all things great and small.
P.S. Good Friday and Easter will soon be here! Please consider inviting a friend to our services on Friday night and Sunday morning; pray they will be amazed by Jesus.