The Land of New Beginnings
“He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.” (Mark 8:13)
When I was a child, I sometimes watched films that related to the Second World War. In some of these films, you would see trains arriving into stations with soldiers returning from battle. Hundreds of soldiers were on the trains. The platforms were also densely packed with mothers, fathers, wives, sisters, brothers and children waiting eagerly for a first glimpse of their returning loved one. Each soldier was a hero.
Recently I was reading again the resurrection account of Jesus in Mark’s gospel. It’s actually an account that saddens me every time I read it. I imagine you must think that this is a strange comment to make about the resurrection! Let me explain why.
We read that after the Sabbath had ended, some of the women who had accompanied Jesus went out and bought spices so they could ‘anoint the body of Jesus’ (Mark 16:1). The women who approached the tomb, approached it with no thought of resurrection in mind. They obviously had no thought of Jesus returning in triumph over death, and hell and satan. Despite Jesus telling them on a number of occasions that He would rise again, there was no-one to welcome Him back from the battle that changed the destiny of humanity.
I’m sure that after the resurrection both the apostles and the women would have loved to have turned back the clock, imagining themselves making their way through the faint, dawn light with anticipation in their hearts to the tomb where the body of Jesus lay. Alas, that’s not how it happened. Jesus returned to ‘an empty platform’.
Then, after Jesus’ resurrection, He appeared to several people. Even with this evidence, the disciples didn’t believe their reports. Mark goes on to tell us that Jesus appeared to them and ‘rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief’ (Mark 16:14). Then we read some truly remarkable words. Despite their failure, Jesus said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone’ (Mark 16:15). That, my friends, is forgiveness in action!!
Jesus did not relegate the unbelievers to a back seat for the rest of their lives. He had a plan for each of them and encouraged them to move forward into it. As Billy Graham once said,
“In one bold stroke, forgiveness obliterates the past and permits us to enter the land of new beginnings.”
That’s exactly what God wants to do for each one of us when we fail Him. Life is too short to sit down and indulge in a pity party. If you have failed Him in some way recently, go to Him and confess your sin, accept His forgiveness and begin to enter your land of new beginnings.
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