All of us can find salvation and forgiveness of our sins, just like one of the thieves who had been crucified next to Jesus on the cross.
That’s the message the Rev. Anthony Washington, pastor of the Mount Triumph Baptist Church in McAlester, delivered as featured speaker for the third gathering of this year’s Men’s Holy Week breakfast. Washington spoke to approximately 92 men and boys who were served a breakfast of pancakes, sausage, fruit, orange juice and coffee at All Saints’ Episcopal Church on Wednesday.
Washington delivered his presentation as a guest of Saint John the Evangelist Catholic Church in McAlester.
He spoke of Jesus hanging on the cross between two thieves.
“He is the one who can forgive us of the sins we have committed,” Washington said.
Washington noted that one of the thieves admitted his own guilt to Jesus and said “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus looked down on him and forgave him of his sins, Washington said, adding that Jesus can still forgive as well.
“This world can cause us a lot of problems,” Washington said. “We are going to have problems as long as we are here.”
But by forgiving us of our sins, Jesus can cleanse us, Washington said.
Returning to the two who were crucified along with Jesus, Washington said “I believe one of them said ‘Remember me’ in the midst of his suffering and dying, and Jesus remembered him.
“When we call on the name of Jesus, Jesus is able to forgive us of our sins,” Washington said.
“We lean and depend on God,” he said. “When you’re weak in your body and can’t find your way, you call on somebody.”
Washington told how the thief had called on Jesus while they were on the crosses and Jesus said “This day you shall be with me in paradise.”
“If you take nothing else away from this day, remember God has the power to forgive your sins,” Washington said.
If you look at the people who crucified Christ, they were the religious leaders, he said.
Referring to the thief who Christ forgave on the cross, Washington said “The court system may not forgive us, but this man received a pardon from the highest office in the land.”
Washington said that Golgotha, the hill where Jesus was crucified, was known as the place of the skulls, near a busy roadway and that some individuals had followed Jesus from Jerusalem to watch him be crucified.
“It wasn’t a good Friday for him, but it was a Good Friday for us,” Washington said.
“He died that Friday evening and then was taken to a tomb where he stayed Friday night and all day Saturday,” said Washington.
“But then, the Bible tells us, he got up on Sunday morning!
“We ought to be thankful that he got up and forgave us of our sins,” Washington said. “God bless you and keep you, amen.”
John Goodyear, of All Saints’ Episcopal Church, briefly addressed the group, followed by Wanye Hanway, who gave the closing prayer.
“We can go forth sharing your love with everyone we meet,” he said.
Thursday’s gathering was held at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church.
Friday’s Holy Week Breakfast is set for 7 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 222 E. Washington Ave., with Chris Mills, of First United Methodist Church, scheduled as the featured speaker.
Saturday’s breakfast is set to begin an hour later than the rest, with a scheduled start time of 8 a.m. Tony Edwards, of the First Christian Church, is scheduled to address the group.
Contact James Beaty at email@example.com.