At last Sunday’s open worship, brother Michael Teo shared about Singapore’s golden jubilee and what the Bible has to say about the occasion. The scripture referenced was Leviticus 15 and the passage particularly impressed him on the messages of restoration and reconciliation.
The year of jubilee mentioned involved a year of release from indebtedness and bondage. All property were returned to their original owners (restoration) and new opportunities given to people who had failed or fallen on hard times (reconciliation).
First, on restoration. Take the case of Peter. His denials were recorded in Scripture to underscore two great facts: the weakness and sinfulness of even the most prominent saints; and, the greatness and abundance of God’s love and grace toward those who fail. For those who are walking with the Lord, this story warns us to take heed lest we fall. Peter believed in his own commitment more than he believed the word of the Lord (Lk 22:31-33). He also believed that he was more committed than the other disciples, as “even though all may fall away, yet I will not” (Mark 14:29). But Peter was blind to his own pride and self-confidence.
As we all know, the Lord personally restored Peter and did not kick him out of the apostolic team. When the Day of Pentecost came, it was Peter who stood in Jerusalem, before some of the same people who had heard him deny Christ, and boldly proclaimed Him as Saviour and Lord, risen from the dead. So he preached and God was pleased to save 3,000 souls.
For any who have failed, the story holds the hope of pardon through God’s abundant grace if we will turn back to Him.
Next, on reconciliation. Relationships are perhaps the most important thing in life, because the two greatest commandments in the Bible have to do with right relationships — first toward God, and then toward one another. There is perhaps nothing as moving as witnessing a fractured family being reconciled and reunited recorded in Genesis 45.
Joseph made a choice to trust God to deal with his brothers and to right the wrongs they had done against him. Reconciliation is costly. When God forgives our sins in Christ, it doesn’t mean that He brushes them aside. It means that Jesus Christ paid the penalty so that we could go free.
When we submit to God’s ultimate sovereignty, we can say with Joseph, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” We are to relate every event in our lives to God and submitting to His loving sovereignty in those events. We will trust God to overrule even the sinful things people do and uses them to accomplish His purpose.
Restoration and reconciliation, two important aspects for us to work towards in our spiritual growth.
Deacon Henry Leong