March 19, 2017

“How Great My Sin and Misery Are”

Luke 22:54-62

He went outside and wept bitterly.

—  Luke 22:62

Many Christians around the world use the Heidelberg Catechism as a guide to biblical teaching about the good news of Jesus, highlighting all that Jesus has done to bring saving grace to the world, and pointing out the ways God enables believers in Jesus to show their love to God and neighbor in lives of obedient service.

The catechism also identifies the essential “step one” that must be taken before the benefits of the good news can take hold. Each believer must come to realize and to say personally, I know “how great my sin and misery are.” Without this, we see no need to change the way we’ve been living. Without this, we see no need for the grace that Jesus offers. Without this essential step we remain mired in the misery we do not acknowledge.

For Peter, the rooster crowed. Then, as Jesus turned and looked straight at him, Peter remembered that Jesus had said he would disown him. And Peter took that vital first step. He opened his eyes to his own sin and misery, and his tears flowed in bitter sobs of repentance. His confession may have been without words, but in that moment Peter began to receive forgiving grace.

Have you taken that first step toward repentance and forgiveness? Do you truly know your need for a savior? 

Lord Jesus, I want to experience your good news. Open my eyes to see my own sin and misery. Help me to take that essential first step, to pray, “Lord, I am a sinner.” Amen.

About the author — Fred Bultman

Fred Bultman began a “second career” as a pastor in 1997, after a first career in the banking business.  He served as pastor to congregations in the U.S. and Canada. In retirement, he continues to enjoy sharing in the ministry of the churches in and around his home in Fremont, Michigan.

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