My memory verse for this week:
"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ." Titus 2:11-13
NTC Day 44 Luke 23 and Philemon 1
Although i haven't done it, I have heard of some generous people who, when paying for their fast food in the drive through line, they pay for the person behind them as well. That seems like such a small thing, but to the person who gets their meal for free, it could be huge! Would you be willing to pay someone else's bill, or even their debt? In today's readings, that seems to be the theme.
Philemon is a very short book of the Bible, just one page. To be honest, I don't think I ever really read it before! Apparently, Paul writes this letter to Philemon to plead the case of Onesimus, who was a run away slave belonging to Philemon. Onesimus had stolen something from Philemon and then run away. He met Paul, the two became friends and Paul led him to Christ. Paul thinks so much of Onesimus, that he writes this letter to his friend and fellow Christian leader, Philemon, asking him to forgive Onesimus. He even goes as far as offering to pay whatever debt Onesimus owes.
In verses 17-18, Paul says, "So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me." That is a kind thing to do for someone, isn't it?
When you think about it, isn't that what Jesus did for all of us? Our Luke reading for today is about Jesus' final moments. He is sent to Pilate, wrongly accused, questioned, sent to Herod, questioned, mocked, and sent back to Pilate. Pilate gives the people the chance to set him free and they refuse. He then is beaten, mocked, forced to carry his own cross, and then is crucified. Jesus didn't have to do this...God didn't have to follow through with his plan to save us from our sins...the suffering and death of Jesus was done to pay our debt.
Our debt is much more than a Happy Meal at McDonalds, and even much more than Onesimus had stolen from Philemon. Our sins, which we cannot help doing, deserve death. We owe God our lives. Jesus paid that debt for us. He gave God his life for ours. We should rejoice at the gift of grace given to us by what Jesus did for us!
Have you seen the movie "Pay it Forward?" It premise behind it is, since someone did something nice for you, you should do something nice for someone else. Jesus did something more than nice for you...he paid your life-debt to God. Doing good for others every day of your life could never pay back what you owe, but it sure feels good! Look for ways every day to "Pay it Forward" and do nice things for others! It could be a's simple as paying for someone's Happy Meal!