I was working on a shed on our farm, replacing the corrugated iron roof. I went along the whole roof, pulling out the nails that were holding the sheets of tin to the rafters. When I got down the one end of the shed after pulling out all the nails, I wanted to get to the other end. So instead of getting down off the roof and then walking along the ground, seeing all the sheets of tin there, I thought I bet I can make it across. So I started walking, then moving faster and faster to get across the tin, but the vibrations of my footsteps was causing the sheets of iron to begin to slide down off the roof. About halfway down the shed, I realized: this was a bad idea.
Suddenly the tin was no longer under my feet and I was falling through the rafters. Somehow I managed to throw up a hand and catch myself on the rafters. That was a bad idea.
Maybe you can think of times when you’ve made similar bad ideas. Now, that idea wasn’t necessarily wrong. But there are some ideas we’ve had in our head and decisions that we’ve made are wrong. In the midst of them, or sometimes after them, we can look back and think, oh, that was just a bad idea. That was wrong.
That change of mind, that recognition, that was not a good idea is an illustration of repentance. Repentance means to change your mind about something, especially about something that is bad or sinful. Jesus wants everyone to repent. He wants you to look at your life and see those bad decisions that you’ve made and have a change of mind and heart so that you recognize that was not right, that was wrong.
After his resurrection, he said this to his disciples in Luke Chapter 24
And repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. (Luke 24:47)
Jesus has given this message of repentance to go out into the world, not just so that he can convince people how stupid they are, what bad ideas they’ve made, how sinful and immoral they are, but no, so that the forgiveness of sins can be declared.
Yes, you’ve had some bad ideas. Bad ideas about right and wrong. Jesus has forgiven those bad ideas. God came up with this wonderful plan that he would punish Jesus in your place, and it was a good idea. It was a great idea of God to be able to rescue you from your sins so that no matter what you’ve done wrong. No matter how many times you’ve been foolish in your moral choices. Jesus has forgiven you. His death was the payment, the price necessary to free you from the consequences of your sins. And he is paid it.
God raised him from the dead so that you can know that the payment is complete. So your sins are forgiven. When you look back at your life and you see those foolish choices, take heart. Because God loves you. And God has forgiven you. That’s the good idea that God wants you to use to shape your life.
May his good idea to save you through Jesus fill you with Peace now and always, Amen.