Sep 1, 2015

Brutal Forgiveness

By Rebekah Theilen

“Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “‘Brothers, what shall we do?’” (Acts 2:37)
.

The verdict was in.

Peter preached it loud and clear. Filled with the Spirit he minced no words.   Our precious Lord was whipped to shreds. The Long-expected had come and gone, was dead and buried.  The infant Son was born and raised, tossed and turned away for the sins of the world.  The people stood accused of murder.  Pontius Pilate’s hands were not the only ones covered by the innocent blood of “this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Perhaps then they remembered.  They were there, as was I.  You, too, were witnesses of these things.  We stood at the crossroad, perplexed at Heaven’s sign.  Bethlehem’s Star fell to His knees.  The once and future King now bled through the streets.  How could this be? A carpenter’s boy--crushed by the wood of His own making.  Something was wrong, terribly wrong.  Crucifixion was nothing new—but this?

This was something new under the sun.

Man was now without excuse.  Peter no longer could hide his denial.  Creation broke down and shook for joy and holy fear.  The cosmic light bulbs came on as the sun was soon darkened, the moon bathed in blood.   Angel mourning turned to dancing with the song of “It is finished” blasting from the cross.  Nicodemus brought myrrh.  Even the demons believed and trembled and the Devil knew then--his time was short.  

But how long, O Lord, how long? The shock waves continue two-thousand years later. Stories of blood drench the media and our news feeds. The evidence is here and the truth has been told. The recent Planned Parenthood “evil laid bare” exposes and pierces the heart of our nation. From the mouths of slaughtered babes comes a cry for mercy. Silence is no longer an option. Indeed, it never was.

The broken law demands action. So we pray for grieving mothers. We hold our babies tighter. We echo the question of the Pentecost hearers, “Brothers, what shall we do?”  It remains an easy question with still no easy answers. Perhaps again the apostle’s words can stir our hearts. He bids us turn away from evil. Be born of Word and water. Be still and hear the Father’s promise made for you and all your children. For in a brutal act of appalling love--

God finds the defendant not guilty.


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Rebekah is the wife of Joshua, her husband of eleven years. With the help of the Lord they have brought forth six children. Five grow and play and learn here on this earth while one (lost due to miscarriage) lives and sings in the glory of heaven. They reside in southern Illinois where Joshua serves as pastor to the Lord's flock. Each day ushers and compels them deeper and deeper into the promise of new mercies, the hope of the resurrection, the coming King of Kings, and the blessed life of the world to come. 

Image: George Edmund Butler, "A roadside cemetery near Neuve Eglise"

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