Christmas is a time that can highlight the brokenness in our lives. It’s also the ultimate story of hope in Jesus Christ, who came as one of us into our broken world to bring healing.
You can reflect on that hope in Luke 2:1–20.
God had sent prophets to restore the Israelites to a right relationship with him throughout the Old Testament. But time and again, his people rejected these messengers and turned away from God. Ultimately he sent his son into the world to give us all second chances.
I know from my work with Lutheran Media – and particularly from responses to Messages of Hope – that people are looking for a second chance and a way to cope with the brokenness in their lives. They need hope to cope with life’s challenges.
Are you in need of a second chance?
Or do you know someone who is?
In one way or another, we all need second chances, and even third, fourth and 77th chances.
Read Matthew 18:21–22.
There are many stories in the Bible about people receiving second chances from God. That is central to the Bible – God giving us second chances through Jesus Christ so that we are reconciled to him.
A much-loved story of second chances is the parable of the lost son or, as it is also known, the parable of the loving father.
Read Luke 15:11–32.
You might like to read it a few times and each time focus on a particular character or, if you are in a small group, different people can read the different character parts.
How do the sons and the father treat each other?
What do they have to overcome?
How do they do that?
How does this parable help your relationship with God and other people?
How can you share this hope with others who need second chances?
Read Romans 5:6–10. This text communicates God’s great sacrificial love to give us second chances.
How does this help you have a second chance?
The great king of Israel, King David, was also in desperate need of a second chance. He committed adultery and murder. Aware of his sin, David prayed Psalm 51. This Psalm offers a prayer to God and the hope of receiving a second chance. Take time to read it aloud as your prayer to God. You may also want to pray it on behalf of someone you know.
God offers everyone, including us, his forgiveness through Jesus Christ. We receive forgiveness through faith. Receiving forgiveness and a second chance gives us hope every day.
Read Romans 5:1–5 aloud.
If you are in a small group, you might like to take turns and read it to each other in pairs to encourage one another. What does it mean for you to have second chances with God? With others?
God is a God of second chances. Thanks to Jesus Christ we have hope that the brokenness in our lives and in the world can be healed.
For resources to help you or someone you know to learn about the second chances God offers, go to www.messagesofhope.org.au (www.messagesofhope.org.nz). You’ll find booklets, videos and stories to help deal with relationship issues, anger, alcoholism, abuse, guilt, forgiveness and all kinds of second chances.
This feature story comes from The Lutheran December 2019. Visit the website to find out more about The Lutheran or to subscribe.