Do you ever long for a fresh start?
I have lived in the same town all of my life. I don’t have a bad reputation and don’t need to get away from bad memories. But for someone like me who really does not thrive with routine, change is something I embrace and even need.
Sometimes a fresh start is forced on you. When we first moved to our current home 26 years ago, it was a brand new neighborhood and we had fun with our neighbors, but then a transfer here and a transfer there, a divorce here and a divorce there and pretty soon everything had changed. They all had a fresh start forced upon them.
Other times, we choose the fresh start. I have read about many people literally determining that they wished to live a different lifestyle. They sell everything and go off to an island and start a completely new life!
But what about being in a state where you realize you have made so many wrong choices. You would give anything to make it all go away and to get a fresh start. That is the person who Jesus wants to offer His hand out to.
“Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
Luke 15 : 1 – 7
This was such an important message to Jesus that he tells 3 different parables in a row just to be certain that people get it.
He loves that we as Christians believe in Him, but His mission was to save the Lost.
Unlike most people of high position or church leaders, Jesus was often seen mingling with those that society and the church would not even speak to.
“When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.”
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4 : 7 – 10
So Jesus is speaking with a woman that according to the rules of society, He should not be associating with. Then He begins to offer her the gift of God. Tells her she can have eternal life. All the while knowing that she is living with a man that is not her husband.
“Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
John 4 : 17 – 18
Realize that in those days, this was a sin punishable by death. Jesus was not surprised to know she was a Samaritan and He was not surprised to know she was breaking the law. He knew all of these things and yet reached out to her and offered her the gift of God…and a fresh start.
Another time, the Pharisees had caught a woman in adultery and brought her to Jesus so that she could be stoned. You will notice time after time after time, Jesus never executed the punishment of the Law.
“So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” John 8 : 7
One by one, the people left and when Jesus looked up again, He asked the woman:
“Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” John 8 : 10 – 11
One more example, not parable, of Jesus extending grace to those caught in sin. A fore coming of His work on the cross.
If you are one who has walked away from the Lord. You don’t pray. You don’t offer up every day to Him that He may guide your steps. You have done terrible things but you want a fresh start, Jesus is eagerly waiting for you. You are the very one His eyes are on. You are the one, yes you, that He wants to gather in His arms and say welcome home!
“Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
Luke 15 : 11 – 32
We were God’s idea. We were not forced upon Him. He desired to create us and have a relationship with us. We were meant to be immortal before we sinned. He walked with Adam and Eve in the garden. He sees and knows everything you are going through and wants you to be able to go through it with a new confidence, knowing you are wanted, celebrated and loved…no matter what you may have done. No matter what.
Try to imagine having a child and then someone stealing them from you. What wouldn’t you do to get them back? There is one overriding goal for having Jesus come to earth and die and be raised again and that is to find those that the Devil stole through sin and win them back to their Father in heaven. Give them a brand new fresh start!