Thursday, April 08, 2021

Getting what you don’t deserve!

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

Over Easter time you may have considered Jesus Christ and why He went to die on a cross for us. You may have stopped to think how much He must have loved us to suffer so much. You might even have contemplated why a God who is so affronted by sin would send His perfect, sinless Son to die for ungodly sinners like us.   

These questions are in one sense unanswerable! We cannot fathom the depths of God’s love and we certainly cannot understand His thoughts. The prophet Isaiah stated, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.

Yet it is a stated fact that God’s word the Bible attests to, ‘That the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world!’ The Good News of Jesus Christ is that He loved you and died for you and if you believe on Him you will be saved.

What a transformation!

The Gospel is transforming! Do you know its transforming power?

Towards the end of the Bible there is a book with just one chapter. It is a book that I love, for it tells of what happened to Onesimus, a runaway slave, around thirty years after the Lord Jesus Christ had died for us all. At that time a runaway slave, if recaptured was at the mercy of his master and many were punished severely. We are left to fill in the blanks as to the details of what had happened.

The slave Onesimus probably got fed up with his life sleeping on an uncomfortable bed, maybe serving his master’s household the finest food, while surviving on the leftovers. He probably saw his master’s wealth and dreamed of having some of it for himself. There are all sorts of issues with inequality in this narrative.

However, Onesimus chose to escape. I imagine him waiting until the house went quiet and stealthily creeping through the house to where his master’s money was kept, filling his bag with golden coins, and sneaking out of the house and using the shadows as cover as he made his way out of the town to the nearest port. 

He used his master’s stolen money to buy passage as far away as possible. What we definitely know is that he ended up in Rome. In Rome he heard the Apostle Paul preach, maybe he preached on breaking God’s law and possibly mentioned, you shall not steal! Whatever happened Onesimus realised he was a sinner and even more importantly realised that God still loved him, and that Christ had died for him. 

There in Rome, Onesimus the runaway slave repented to God and trusted Jesus Christ as Saviour.  Paul came to know his story. Paul knew his master, Philemon and that he too had become a Christian. Paul sent him back! What would happen? I expect Onesimus was petrified, Philemon could have him beaten or killed!

Paul calmed his fears, he would send him back with something, what would it be? A guard, a sword? No Paul sent him back to his master armed with a letter. In the letter Paul asked Philemon to forgive Onesimus, he could not really argue because Jesus Christ had died to forgive Philemon of his sins. It would be a hypocrite that would not forgive in such circumstances. 

The letter also asked Philemon to accept Onesimus back not as a slave, but as a brother, as family. Philemon had no other choice but to do that as through faith he had been accepted by God and had become a child of God. His debt was forgiven, and he had a home there with Philemon’s family. Paul even said he was confident that Philemon would do even more.

When we accept the Lord Jesus as Saviour, we know that ultimately Heaven will be our home for all eternity, and we will know uncountable blessings. All this is ours when we trust Jesus Christ as Saviour – have you?

Written by Stuart Scammell for Messages with Meaning (07/04/21) for Your542Day


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