Preparing Your Conscience: Seeking Forgiveness

*Theme Week – Jesus: Matthew 27

Old Testament: Joshua 3 & 4

Psalms Reading: Psalm 96

Let’s face it. We’ve all done things we have felt guilt over. Accepting responsibility for our actions is one of the most difficult lessons to learn. 

We see in this account of Jesus’ arrest and subsequent torture and death a few different takes on acknowledging wrong done and accepting, or denying, blame. 

Judas’ guilt is overwhelming. So much so, that he no longer knows how he can go on living. We don’t know what Judas said to God in his final moments or whether he sought forgiveness. But rather than trying to find repentance in living a Godly life, he decides to take his own. 

The Jewish leaders who paid Judas to betray his rabbi and Christ acknowledged that the money Judas returned to them was blood money. If that isn’t a confession of some form of guilt, I’m not sure what is. And yet they, too, choose not to repent. Instead they continue on with their mission. 

Pilate, warned by his wife, knows that the man before him is not guilty of any crime worthy of death. He gives the people several outs, including offering over a known, terrible criminal. But rather than stand up to the crowd, he proclaims himself guiltless and allows them to take away to torture and kill a man he knows is innocent. 

And the Jewish crowd. This one hurts me most of all, because in true mob mentality, they flippantly ignore their consciences, ignore God’s presence, and accept all guilt of Jesus’ death. And they do it without second thought, it seems. They accept the blame not only on themselves, but on their children as well! 

Our savior stood before all these people, blameless and betrayed, and said not a word of condemnation or defense. How many sins have we committed that have been laid upon his shoulders? 

Isaiah 53:6-8 says: 

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
    for the transgression of my people he was punished.

For our transgressions, to take care of our guilt, he was punished and died. 

Today is Good Friday, the day we remember Christ’s sacrifice. Take some time with me today to prepare yourself by seeking forgiveness. Ask yourself:

What sins have I committed that I have laid on my Messiah’s shoulders? There are so many, but which have I not sought forgiveness for? 

Are there sins that I’m not sure how to handle, and that seem hopeless, like Judas’? How can I turn them over?

Are there sins that I’m choosing to ignore, like the Jewish leaders? How can I repent and turn the other way?

Are there sins that I could avoid or turn a blind eye to like Pilate? How can I call them out for what they are and act against them?

Are there sins that I’m willingly accepting blame for but I’m determining them inconsequential so I can continue doing them like the angry mob? How can I fully realize and accept how they are affecting my life in a negative way?

I pray that today as you meditate with me and observe Jesus’ sacrifice for all our sins, we are able to call out our sins for what they are and spend time with God seeking forgiveness and redemption. His son suffered and died for us, to cleanse us of those sins. Today is a day for reflection and repentance, so please take the opportunity for it. 

We mourn the suffering of our savior today and the fact that we, and our sins, are the cause of it. But because our God is good, we know that our sin and that cross are not the end of the story. 

Jenn Haynes

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