The time of grace
September 15, 2014
by Pastor G. Koivukangas, Cokato Laestadian Lutheran Church

Centuries ago, in a far-off land, very remarkable, miraculous, and thought-provoking incidents were taking place.

Throngs of people filled the streets. They wanted to see, to listen, and to partake in the joyous and miraculous events. The sweet call and invitation was heard from God, the Father, through His Son, our Lord Jesus. A time of visitation had begun.

The Bible clearly says, “There followed Him great multitudes of people.” (Matthew 4:25) Mothers and fathers brought their children. Many brought their sick and diseased loved ones and friends. Many came tormented by illness and disease themselves, both temporal and spiritual.

“They brought onto Him all sick people that were taken with diverse diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and He healed them.” (Matthew 4:24)

Dear friend and neighbor, Jesus still wants to help in whatever distress or affliction is in your life. The loving call of Jesus is heard in this time, and unto the end of time. He desires to heal the disease of sin and unbelief.

The Bible relates how the Lord Jesus came, “preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” (Matthew 24:23) Without question, Jesus cured all those different temporal and spiritual diseases and torments, and everyone would have to agree, these were great miracles. Yet, the greatest miracle is that He granted eternal grace, forgiveness, and the gift of living faith onto the poor and distressed.

Jesus came into the world to save mankind from sin and unbelief. Very early on in this work of the Lord, He returned to his home village of Nazareth. He wanted to afford his previous acquaintances and neighbors with the crucial invitation to enter into God’s kingdom, by the way of the gospel of His kingdom. He, however, went there alone.

What was the opening remark which He spoke to them? It is the same statement which the people of God today rightfully proclaim: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. . .” (Luke 4:18)

Should this be strange? Indeed not! The resurrected Lord Jesus had breathed upon his disciples this same Spirit. He authorized them to preach the remission of sins (John 20: 22-23). In so many of His teachings, by the way of parables, he stressed the gospel of the kingdom.

Not only that, but He established the first priority of life to be, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. And all things shall be added onto you.” (Matthew 6:33) The latter portion of this verse refers to all the needs of this temporal life.

Was this message received there, in his home town? Quite the opposite! At first, they wondered at the gracious words that proceeded out of His mouth, just as you dear friend and neighbor. They did not avail themselves of this gracious offer, and the end result was tragic to the audience. They cast Him out.

Dear reader, how would you have reacted had you been in the assembly? Would you have inquired further about the word of salvation which Jesus brought to them? Or, would you have been offended at His humble demeanor, at the poor, the maimed with whom he associated; that he was the son of Joseph the carpenter, that he lacked credentials, titles, diplomas – seemingly so necessary to speak authoritatively?

There was another assembly, cited in Acts 13:38, where you might place yourself instead. It was there that the apostle Paul pronounced basically the same message. This, you can own personally: “Be it known onto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man [Jesus] is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins.”

The time of grace and visitation is now before you.

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