Luke 24:45–47 (ESV) Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Jesus summarizes the message that is to be proclaimed to all nations as the proclamation of repentance and forgiveness of sins in his name. This proclamation is only good news to those who desperately see and feel the need for moral change in their lives. If there is no felt need for moral change, no desire for forgiveness of wrongdoing, then this proclamation is not very attractive.
Why would anyone want to repent, turn from what they are doing, if what they are doing in their own eyes is good and it’s working fine for them? The truth is you wouldn’t want to repent because there would be no desire to change.
Jesus said in Mark 2:17, it is not the healthy who need a physician but the sick. Now I only see doctors when I think I need their input. If I believe I know what’s wrong with me, then who needs someone like Dr. Allen Yee to tell me what I think I already know? But, if I have numbness in my left leg that doesn’t go away for six plus months, then I know something is wrong. I’m no dummy (At least that’s what I tell myself). At that point, I’ll call Dr. Yee and say, “I think I may have a problem. Can I make an appointment with you?”
The same is true when it comes to faith and trust in Christ. Your father or mother, brother or sister, son or daughter, grandfather or grandmother, co-worker, friend or casual acquaintance, will not desire to know about Jesus until there is a need to do so. This is not only true for non-believers but, unfortunately, it is true for believers too! We rarely seek out Christ when things are going smoothly.
But, when our lives no longer work - when our marriages begin to dissolve, when we can’t find a job for 3 plus years or when a few significant relationships fracture with no hope of healing – it’s then when we begin to feel our desperate need for rescue. It’s then, in pain and heartache, that we face our weaknesses, our shortcomings, our immorality, our selfishness and sin.
Until then, the message of repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus is similar to an advertisement on a bulletin board or website inviting us to desire something we honestly don’t think we really need. But, when life begins to fall apart, it’s then that the proclamation of repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus’ name becomes attractive and catches our attention as a sweet aroma of hope and new life.