What if you betray somebody and that person dies and then he comes back to life? It must be bad news for you. We often think that resurrection is a good news. No doubt, it is. The problem is if you are among those who betray and crucify Him, would it be good news for you? When the religious leaders who conspired to kill Jesus found out that the tomb was empty on Sunday morning, it was a bad news for them. They rushed to bribe the soldiers to make up a story that the disciples stole the body while they were asleep. They also bribed Pilate so that he would not punish those soldiers.
For the disciples, it was not all good news in the beginning. While they were all happy, they remembered vividly that they abandoned Jesus in His final hours. Peter, especially, remembered how he denied Jesus three times, contrary to his earlier commitment to stay with Jesus even to the point of death. They felt bad about themselves. They were somewhat embarrassed for what they did before Jesus died. They wondered if Jesus would want to accept them back as His disciples.
The resurrection is not just about the fact that Jesus is alive. It is also about the forgiveness of sins. Jesus, who was betrayed, denied, and abandoned, is willing to forgive us. He is alive not to take revenge at those who crucified Him. He is alive to extend forgiveness that He achieved on the cross. Think about it. The resurrection is Jesus’ chance to repay His killers and enemies. Instead of doing that, Jesus proclaimed His power to forgive sins. He proclaimed His willingness to forgive sins. He told His disciples to proclaim the forgiveness of sins to all creation.
The renewal of our broken relationship with God is possible because Jesus forgives us. Forgiveness gives us the precious second chance. It gave Peter the much-need second chance to show that he loved Jesus. It gave Thomas the second chance to believe that Jesus is indeed God and Lord. It gave the other disciples the chance to be emboldened in their faith and proclamation of Jesus Christ as Lord.
Our boldness does not come from a haughty attitude of a winner. It comes from the humble recognition that Jesus has forgiven us. He does not count our past sins against us. We are free. We are forgiven. That is how we gain boldness and confidence to proclaim Jesus as the Only One who can forgive sins. Our boldness does not from the confidence in our ability. It comes from the confidence that Jesus forgives and loves us.
Let us extend Jesus’ forgiveness to others who need forgiveness. Let us proclaim the good news of the forgiveness of sins to those who are oppressed by sin and guilt. Tell them that Jesus has forgiven them long before they realized. Encourage them to accept that forgiveness that they might have a restored relationship with God. God is willing to be their Father when they accept Jesus and His gift of forgiveness. Let us proclaim this good news joyfully with our word and deed. And finally, let us continue praying for God’s kingdom to come, the kingdom of light and love.
Rev. Wilson Suwanto