Are You Open-Minded?
“The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day.’” Luke 24:46
After He was raised from the dead, Jesus appeared to the disciples and He opened their minds so that they could understand the Gospel. But what do these words mean for them and for us? Jesus went on to explain…
“Repentance… will be preached...” Luke 24:47
If Jesus is alive then real and lasting change is possible. Christ showed this by changing a mean, selfish tax collector into a generous giver, by taking a religious man who’d never gotten beyond the routine of doing his religious duty and bringing him into an authentic, personal relationship with God, and by later taking a violent, religious extremist and making him an apostle.
If Jesus is dead, none of that’s possible. But if He’s alive, then this inner change is possible for you. If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old has gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 2:17). He can break you free from the power of engrained patterns of sin that hold you. You may be saying, “That’s too good to be true. That’s what I have been longing for all my life. I dare not believe it.” You are right where the disciples were... until He opened their eyes. Are your eyes open to the fact that the risen Lord Jesus Christ is able to change you?
“Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached...” Luke 24:47
There is no greater expression of love than the readiness to forgive. At the beginning of His ministry Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me… to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18). God is offering to cancel every debt you owe Him and to wipe the slate clean of every sin you’ve ever committed.
Forgiveness is more than a legal transaction; it is relational. God is saying, “I love you and I want things to be right between us. I want to end the alienation. I want you to spend eternity in My home.” If Christ is not raised, we are still in our sins. But if He is alive, then God’s forgiveness is available to you.
Have you ever experienced someone who loves you so much that restoring their relationship with you is more important to them than the pain you’ve caused them? You may be saying, “That’s too good to be true. I’ve been looking for that kind of love all my life. I dare not believe it.” You are right where the disciples were… until He opened their eyes. Do you see that God is reaching out to you through more pain than you will ever know or can ever imagine?
Through Jesus Christ
“Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name...” Luke 24:47
The power to change comes from Jesus. God’s forgiveness flows to us because of His death and resurrection. Forgiveness is not God saying “Oh, let’s just forget about your sins. They never really mattered anyway. It’s no big deal.”
If it doesn’t really matter, then there’s nothing to forgive. Have you ever had someone apologize to you, and you had no idea what they were talking about? You say, “Please, don’t worry about it. I never gave it another thought.”
The forgiveness of our sins involves the healing of a real wound, the reconciliation of a real alienation and the removal of real guilt. All of this comes at a deep, personal cost to God. It flows from the wounds of Jesus. It comes to you because of His death and resurrection. The forgiveness is in His name. It is His gift, and it cannot be received from any other.
For all nations
“Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations.” Luke 24:47
One of the greatest deceptions to ever spread across the earth is the idea that the good news of Jesus Christ is only for certain types of people…
The poor in the city think Jesus is only for the middle class. The middle class in suburbia feel Jesus is most needed in the city. The man in the East says, “Jesus is not for me, I already have my religion.” The secularist in the West says, “Jesus is not for me, I’m not religious.” The young think, “Jesus is for older people.” The elderly think, “Jesus is good for the young.” When your life’s a mess you think, “Jesus is for people who have it all sorted out.” When you think you have it all sorted out you say, “Jesus is for people whose lives are a mess, I don’t need Him.”
Satan’s greatest deception is to say, “Jesus is not for you. You are not the type.” That’s how it is until Christ opens your eyes. This good news of repentance and forgiveness in Jesus’ name is for all nations. It is for all people.
Can you take this in today? Christ can change you. God reaches out in love to you. He sent his Son into the world for you. Christ died to bring you to God. Christ lives for you. He wants to fill you with His Spirit and lead you in the power of His risen life. Don’t let the wonder of it hold you back. Let it draw you to Him to receive.
This LifeKey based on the message “Daring to Believe,” by Pastor Colin S. Smith, October 27, 2002, from the series “Faith With Questions: Dealing With the Darkness of Doubt.”
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Colin currently serves as Senior Pastor of the The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He is committed to preaching the Bible in a way that nourishes the soul by directing attention to Jesus Christ.