Let me tell you a true story that happened some time ago. A young boy’s father died in a car wreck when he was only 12 years old. He read it in a newspaper before anyone got word to him to tell him about it. When he saw the picture of the family car smashed up on the front page of the newspaper and read that his dad had died he was thrust immediately and painfully into the sharp numbness of deep grief. Strangely, one of the very first feelings were those of guilt. He remembered how some months before at the family picnic he was showing off with a baseball. At one point he got careless and threw the ball wildly. It hit his dad in the hand and broke his thumb. The young boy felt terrible. He said to himself, “What a terrible son I am; I have caused my dad great pain.”
It seems that all he could remember after his father’s death was the pain he caused his dad. Finally the young boy went to see his pastor and told him about the deep feelings of guilt for breaking his father’s thumb. The young boy, well, listen in his own words:
He said, “I’ll never forget how my pastor handled that. He was so great. He came around the desk with tears in his eyes. He sat down across from me and said, ‘Now Jim, listen: if your dad could come back to life for five minutes and be right here with us… And he knew you were worried about that what would he say to you?’
‘He would tell me to stop worrying about that.’ Jim said.
‘Well, all right,’ the pastor said, ’Then you stop worrying about that right now. Do you understand me?’
‘Yes, sir.’ I said.”
And he did.
That pastor was saying, “You were forgiven. Accept your forgiveness, and make a new start with your life.” The young boy did make a new start. And many years later he served a 9,000 member church, St. Luke’s in Houston, TX. The young boy? James W. Moore, the author of over 30 books on Christian living.
That’s Easter. The risen Lord comes to life and assures the disciples they are forgiven. Peter denies the Lord three times. Thomas doubted. All the disciples had betrayed him. But Christ came back, forgave them, Resurrected them. He came back to share with them… He comes to-day. To share with you the joy of forgiveness, the joy of Easter.