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Part of the FBCS 2010 Read Through the Bible Project: Enter the Story. Join the Song.

Good Lord Pardon . . .

John 19:17-42   2 Chronicles 30   Psalm 86

“Incline your ear, O Lord . . .” (Psalm 86:1). In today’s readings we witness people seeking the Lord. But notice just what “kind of folks” they are. People who “had not cleansed themselves” (2 Chronicles 30:17,18), the “poor and needy” (Psalm 86:1), and two men described as “secret” disciples of Jesus (John 19:38,39). Well. What should God do with such a motley crew? There would, to be sure, be those who would cast such rule breakers aside . . . But how would God have us respond? Or, more to the point, how does God respond? For, to know the latter is to have our answer to the former.

“Even though not in accordance with . . . the rules” (2 Chronicles 30:18,19). It is a beautiful example of grace, the prayer of Hezekiah. “The good Lord pardon all who set their hearts to seek God,” rule-breakers though they be.  And it captures the essence of Jesus work, the one who dies for the sins of many by completely fulfilling the scriptures (John 19:36, Exodus 12:46), becoming “the Passover lamb for everyone who was not clean” (2 Chronicles 30:17). So it is that even “secret” disciples of the one who said, “Whoever denies me before others, I will also deny before my Father” (Matthew 10:33), become part of the story when they set their hearts to seek God. Grace, indeed.

“The Lord heard” (2 Chronicles 30:20). And healed; cleansing the rule breakers and welcoming their worship. So, also, God welcomed the gifts of service offered by Joseph and Nicodemus, thereby inviting them to bring their faith into the light. This is how God responds to the broken. And it leads the psalmist to say in complete confidence, “you will answer me” (Psalm 81:7). Just ass God will answer you and me, broken though we be.  And God calls us to do the same, joining Hezekiah in the prayer of grace, “The good Lord pardon all who set their hearts to seek God” even though they break the rules. May we be such people of grace. Amen.

“Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
listen to my cry of supplication.
In the day of my trouble I call on you,
for you will answer me.”

— Psalm 86:6,7

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