For I am the least [worthy] of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I [at one time] fiercely oppressed and violently persecuted the church of God.
(1 Cor. 15:9, AMP)
I’m the one. It was me. I’m the one who gnashed my teeth and spat in His face. I’m the one who yelled, “Kill Him! I want Him dead!” I’m the one who hated Him, teased Him, and rejected Him. I’m the one who detested Him and refused His love. I’m the one who turned a deaf ear and laughed at Him when He spoke in love, speaking the truth. I’m the one who didn’t believe, the one who needed more proof even after I saw the miracles He performed. I’m the one who asked for signs over and over again. I’m the one.
And even though I wasn’t there when they dragged Him from judgment hall to judgment, I’m the one. I wasn’t there when they violently beat Him and placed a crown of thorns on His head (Matt. 27:27-31). Though I wasn’t there when He walked the dusty roads of Jerusalem beseeching the people to experience His love and forgiveness, at times, I do what the people did in Jesus’ day. At times, I’m blinded to the truth. At times I question and doubt Him, even after I’ve experienced His faithfulness. I’m like the nine lepers who received Jesus’ healing, but refuse to go back to say, “thank you” (Luke 17:12). I’m Thomas, needing hands-on proof to believe; I need concrete evidence that I can see and touch (John 20:25). I’m James and John; so caught up in my position, that I don’t want to see the importance of being a servant (Matt. 20:35-45). I’m that hypocrite who tries to take the speck out my sister’s eye, but has a large log in my own eye (Matt. 7:1-5). I’m David scheming and conniving for my own selfish pleasure and gain (2 Sam. 11). Shamefully, I’m the one.
But God’s mercy is great, and he loved us very much. Though we were spiritually dead because of the things we did against God, he gave us new life with Christ. You have been saved by God’s grace. (Eph. 2:4-5, NCV)
On the other hand, I’m the thief on the cross. I know I have done wrong. I’m guilty of my crimes, ready to take my punishment. But I’ve asked Jesus to remember me (Luke 23:40-43). I’m Peter weeping badly because I’ve failed Him (Matt. 26:75). I’m the blind man having a desire to see Jesus; in despair, I cry out for His mercy (Mark 10:46-52). I’m the woman with issues (oh, so many issues). I’ve used up all of my resources and have nothing left. Hopelessly, I press my way to Jesus (Luke 8:43-48). I’m Mary sitting at His feet, hanging on to His every word sincerely want to learn more of Him (Luke 10:38-42). Justifiably, I’m the one.
Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. (Eph. 2:7-10, MSG)
Sisters, we are these people. We’ve messed up countless times. Time and time again, we’ve let Jesus down, but time and time again, He has been so very faithful. His mercy and His grace continue to chase after us. His grace is sufficient, adequate, necessary, plenty and always enough!
Let us pray: Lord, we are guilty and we need for Your forgiveness. We need Your cleansing. Father, we beg for Your mercy! Father, wash away our guilt and shame. Make us whole – brand new. Father, we realize we need You and cannot live this life without You. Show us Your way! Show us how to do things Your way. Show us how to serve You more, in humility, and how to worship You with our lives. Lord, give us thankful lips that praise You in the good and in the bad. We want a grateful heart. Thank You, sweet Father, for allowing us the beautiful privilege to always come to You. By Your grace, we can approach Your throne and never be turned away. We love You. In Jesus name. Amen.