When I entered the hospital room she was crumpled up off to the edge of her bed. She was a very small, gray haired older woman. As I checked to see if she was awake she opened her eyes and smiled and said “hello” and greeted me warmly with a smile. And then she asked me how I was doing. That always amazes me that a person dealing with their own health concerns and issues would inquire about me!
We had a very nice visit together and then she sat up in her bed and began to look for paper she had written on. She said “Oh, I’ve got it here somewhere…I wrote down everything I’ve ever done wrong.” I was quieted by that and could only say “How did you come to make such a list?” She told me someone had asked her to do that (she couldn’t remember who) and then she was to give that list to a pastor. She insisted I take it and I held two notebook pieces of paper written on both sides in my hands right next to her bed.
I said to her “Would you like me to take this list of things you have done wrong and treat it how God would treat it?” “Oh, yes”, she said, excitedly. And I began to tear the sheets in half and then in half again until I held almost nothing. And I threw the paper away in the trash can. Her eyes got real big and turned a brighter blue than they were before.
I told her that this is what God does to our list of the things we’ve done wrong. God tears it up…throws it out, because Jesus has paid the price already for those things and more! The Gospel Good News is that all of our lists, no matter how long or on how many sheets, have been torn up and thrown away. The free gift is Jesus came to tear up our “sin list” and throw them out into the largest trash can you can imagine! Gone forever and ever and as the Psalmist puts this in our Bible “as far as the east is from the west, so far has God removed our sins from us…” Ps. 103:12.
This is the Easter story in a nutshell. All our sin, the list of things we’ve done wrong, take on the Cross and there they bled and died. And on Easter Sunday morning, Jesus rose again to new life and now completes that new life in us. With Risen hope we go about our daily task all to the glory of God!
So I asked my lady friend patient where her list was of everything she had ever done right. She thought a moment and said “Pass me my notebook, I’m over 80 you know this will take awhile!”