When my daughter was a student at Anderson University, she lived in an apartment very near Second Chance Baptist Church in Anderson, Indiana. I loved walking by that church. It always stopped me in my tracks and made me realize, “Every day I wake up is another chance.”
This weekend I am preaching a sermon called: “Jesus has something to tell you.” My text is Mark 16:1-9. It’s the place where the angel of the Lord meets several women who have come to the tomb to embalm Jesus’ body. The women are terrified when the angel appears. Here’s what the angel said:
6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
Paul, when writing the first letter to the church in Corinth, is compelled to mention Peter’s name too:
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, [Peter] and then to the Twelve. I Corinthians 15
Do you hear the message here, friends?Jesus is saying: “I am alive, and you, my friends — my beloved Peter, my buddy Don Follis, all of you, yes all of you from every tribe, every people group, every language, are forgiven! Yes, all who call on the name of the Lord are forgiven, set free, released. So, forgive as you are forgiven. Step off that old escalator of revenge this Easter. Look at my hands. Put your hand in the scar in my side. I paid the price. You are free indeed. So please, forgive yourself and forgive others! Release yourself from that bitterness you have carried for far too long, and set those people free who need your love more than they need your hate.”
This Easter the doors are wide open, as they are every day, at the Church of the Second Chance! Step right on in, friends. You always, always, always are welcome here!